A day in Paris by Esprit de France #5

A day in Paris | Museums | Exhibitions | Cultural events
Centre Pompidou by Esprit de France
Do you want to visit Paris ? Stay at
Hôtel de la Place du Louvre
hotel de la Place du Louvre de la collection Esprit de France

From the Centre Pompidou to Popolare, or from America to Italy via Paris

A first retrospective in France of the major work of the American photographer, Walker Evans: From the thirties, his « documentary style » inspired photographers the world over, including Cartier-Bresson and his like. Following a stay in France, as was also the case for Edward Hopper with whom he is often associated, his distanced view on America at his time and its vernacular culture was established. His images of farmers made during the Great Depression, from 1935 to 1936, have become true icons; the photographic equivalent of Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.

On leaving the Centre Pompidou where the exhibition is held, we can cross an interesting part of the historic and popular Paris to reach the Pizzeria Popolare. On our left, we leave the Stravinsky fountain decorated with gaily colored figures made by Niki de Saint-Phalle and spurts of water escaping from the absurd machines assembled together by Jean Tinguely and then head towards the Town Hall nearby The Seine. Since 1357 it has been the seat of the Parisian municipality, but the current building in the neo-Renaissance style was rebuilt after a fire during the Commune in 1871. Along the Rue de Rivoli we find one of the most interesting Gothic vestiges of the capital: the Tour Saint-Jacques is a building that stands, isolated, in the middle of the square that bears its name. It was the steeple of a sanctuary that marked the starting point of one of the itineraries of the Pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela in the Middle Ages. The 19th century has restored it by adding statues and beautiful decorative gargoyles! The nearby Place du Châtelet is one of the busiest crossroads in Paris because it is on one of the major roads of the city, but also because it offers, facing each other, two of the most important theaters in Paris: the theatre du Châtelet and the theater of the City.
We then decide to head on our right to cross the district of Les Halles, a district in which we recommend one of the members of the collection of Hotels & Demeures Esprit de France: l'Hôtel de la Place du Louvre, a true witness of the history of its close environment.

Behind the famous jazz club of the Duc des Lombards, we encounter one of the oldest fountains of the city since it dates back to 1550. Commissioned by King Henri IV to the great architect of the Renaissance, Pierre Lescot, the four faces of the monumental Fountain of the Innocents are decorated with elegant nymphs carrying jars. We walk along Les Halles, a large multi-storey commercial gallery that has long since replaced the real “halles” that Emile Zola called "the belly of Paris". It has just been renovated with the addition of a large entrance surmounted by an elegant canopy. Then we go along the Eglise Saint-Eustache, with its imposing dimensions and numerous works of art: it is, in particular, famous for its organ and free concerts on Sunday afternoons. Finally, we take rue Montorgueil, a very pleasant pedestrian street where you can find shops, bars and restaurants, as well as trendy boutiques, which opens onto rue Réaumur. On the right hand side, before reaching the Place de la Bourse, where the impressive building built by Brongniart is located, and at the corner of rue Montmartre, the latest addition of the Big Mamma Group, Pizzeria Popolare, is established. 

Inside, there are large guest tables, walls illuminated with hundreds of colored bottles of spirits and a small band in the room which guarantee a friendly atmosphere for delicious pizzas and an impressive wine list. Be prepared to queue up as the restaurant is very popular.