The Story of Paris
by Thomas Okey
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[Footnote 167: It was composed by one of the emigres, M. de Limon, approved by the Emperor of Austria and the King of Prussia, and signed, against his better judgment, by the Duke of Brunswick.]

No room for compromise now. The printed trial of Charles I. was everywhere sold and read. "This," people said, "was how the English dealt with an impossible king and became a free nation." Old and new were in death-grapple, and the lives of many victims, for the people lost heavily,[168] had sealed the cause of the Revolution with a bloody consecration. Unhappily, the city of Paris, like all great towns in times of scarcity (and since 1780 scarcity had become almost permanent), had been invaded by numbers of starving vagabonds—the dregs that always rise to the surface in periods of political convulsion, ready for any villainy. When news came of the capture of Verdun, of the indecent joy of the courtiers, and that the road to Paris was open to the avenging army of Prussians, the horrors of the Armagnac massacres were renewed during four September days at the prisons of Paris, while the revolutionary ministry and the Assembly averted their gaze and, to their everlasting shame, abdicated their powers. The September massacres were the application by a minority of desperate and savage revolutionists of the ultima ratio of kings to a desperate situation: the tragedy of King Louis is the tragedy of a feeble prince called to rule in a tremendous crisis, where weakness and well-meaning folly are the fatalest of crimes.

[Footnote 168: The numbers have been variously estimated from 100 to 5000 killed on the popular side.]

On 21st September 1792 royalty was formally abolished, and on the 22nd, when "the equinoctional sun marked the equality of day and night in the heavens," civil equality was proclaimed at Paris.


Execution of the King—Paris under the First Republic—the Terror—Napoleon—Revolutionary and Modern Paris

An inscription opposite No. 230 Rue de Rivoli indicates the site of the old Salle du Manege, or Riding School,[169] of the Tuileries, where the destinies of modern France were debated. Three Assemblies—the Constituent, the Legislative and the prodigious National Convention—filled its long, poorly-furnished amphitheatre, decorated with the tattered flags captured from the Prussians and Austrians, from 7th November 1789 to 9th May 1793.

[Footnote 169: The Academie d'Equitation was an expensive and exclusive establishment where the young nobles and gentlemen of fortune were taught fencing, riding and dancing. It was long and narrow, 240 feet by 60, and only the most powerful voices could be heard in the Assembly. The Rue de Rivoli between the Rues d'Alger and de Castiglione cuts through the site.]

There, on Wednesday, 16th January 1793, began the solemn judgment of Louis XVI. by 721 representatives of the people of France. The sitting opened at ten o'clock in the morning, but not till eight in the evening did the procession of deputies begin, as the roll was called, to ascend the tribune, and utter their word of doom. All that long winter's night, and all the ensuing short winter's day, the fate of a king trembled in the balance, as the judgment: death—banishment: banishment—death, with awful alternation echoed through the hall. Amid the speeches of the deputies was heard the chatter of fashionable women in the boxes, pricking with pins on cards the votes for and against death, and eating ices and oranges brought to them by friendly deputies. Above, in the public tribunes, sat women of the people, greeting the words of the deputies with coarse gibes. Betting went on outside. At every entrance, cries, hoarse and shrill, were heard of hawkers selling "The Trial of Charles I." Time-serving Philip Egalite, Duke of Orleans, voted la mort, but failed to save his skin. An Englishman was there—Thomas Paine, author of the Rights of Man and deputy for Calais. His voice was raised for clemency, for temporary detention, and banishment after the peace. "My vote is that of Paine," cried a member, "his authority is final for me." One deputy was carried from a sick-bed to cast his vote in the scale of mercy; others slumbering on the benches were awakened and gave their votes of death between two yawns. At length, by eight o'clock on the evening of the 17th, exactly twenty-four hours after the voting began, the President rose to read the result. A most august and terrible silence reigned in the Assembly as President Vergniaud rose and pronounced the sentence "Death" in the name of the French nation. The details of the voting as given in the Journal de Perlet, 18th January 1793, are as follows: "Of the 745 members one had died, six were sick, two absent without cause, eleven absent on commission, four abstained from voting. The absolute majority was therefore 361. Three hundred and sixty-six voted for death, three hundred and nineteen for detention and banishment, two for the galleys, twenty-four for death with various reservations, eight for death with stay of execution until after the peace, two for delay with power of commutation." Three Protestant ministers and eighteen Catholic priests voted for death. Louis' defenders were there and asked to be heard; they were admitted to the honours of the sitting. At eleven o'clock the weary business of thirty-seven hours was ended, only, however, to be resumed the next morning, for yet another vote must decide between delay or summary execution. Again the voice of Paine was heard pleading for mercy, but without avail. At three o'clock on Sunday morning the final voting was over. Six hundred and ninety members were present, of whom three hundred and eighty voted for death within twenty-four hours.

To the guillotine on the fatal Place de la Revolution, formerly Place Louis XV., the very scene of a terrible panic at his wedding festivities which cost the lives of hundreds of sightseers, the sixteenth Louis of France was led on the morning of 21st January 1793. As he turned to address the people, Santerre ordered the drums to beat—it was the echo of the drums reverberating through history which had smothered the cries of the Protestant martyrs sent to the scaffold by the fourteenth Louis a century before. This was the beginning of that annee terrible, into which was crowded the most stupendous struggle in modern history. Threatened by the monarchies of Europe, united to crush the Revolution, France, in the tremendous words of Danton, flung to the coalesced kings, the head of a king as a gage of battle. A colossal energy, an unquenchable devotion were evoked by the supreme crisis, and directed by a committee of nine inexperienced young civilians, sitting in a room of the Tuileries at Paris, to whom later Carnot, an engineer officer, was added. "The whole Republic," they proclaimed, "is a great besieged city: let France be a vast camp. Every age is called to defend the liberty of the Fatherland. The young men will fight: the married will forge arms. Women will make clothes and tents: children will tear old linen for lint. Old men shall be carried to the market-place to inflame the courage of all." In twenty-four hours, 60,000 men were enrolled; in two months, fourteen armies organised. Saltpetre for powder failed; it was torn from the bowels of the earth. Steel, too, and bronze were lacking: iron railings were transmuted into swords, and church bells and royal statues into cannon. Paris became a vast armourer's shop. Smithy fires in hundreds roared and anvils clanged in the open places—one hundred and forty at the Invalides, fifty-four at the Luxembourg. The women sang as they worked:—

"Cousons, filons, cousons bien, V'la des habits de notre fabrique Pour l'hiver qui vient. Soldats de la Patrie Vous ne manquerez de rien."[170]

[Footnote 170: "Sew we, spin we, sew we well, behold the coats we have made for the winter that is coming. Soldiers of the Fatherland, ye shall want for nothing."]

The smiths chanted to the rhythm of their strokes:—

"Forgeons, forgeons, forgeons bien!"

On the new standards waving in the breeze ran the legend: "The French people risen against Tyrants." Toulon was in the hands of the English; Lyons in revolt. With enemies in her camp, with one arm tied by the insurrection in La Vendee, the Revolution hurled her ragged and despised sans-culottes,[171] against her enemies. How vain is the wisdom of the great! Burke thought that the Revolution had expunged France in a political sense out of the system of Europe, and his opinion was shared by every European statesman; but before the year closed, the proud and magnificently accoutred armies of kings were scattered over the borders, civil war was crushed, the Revolution triumphant. Soon the "dwarfish, ragged sans-culottes, the small black-looking Marseillaises dressed in rags of every colour," whom Goethe saw tramping out of Mayence "as if the goblin king had opened his mountains and sent forth his lively host of dwarfs," had forced Prussia, the arch-champion of monarchy, to make peace and leave its Rhine provinces in the hands of regicides. Meanwhile terror reigned in Paris. In the frenzy of mortal strife the Revolution struck out blindly and cut down friend as well as foe; the innocent with the guilty. At least the guillotine fell swiftly and mercifully. Gone were the days of the wheel, the rack, the boiling lead and the stake. Under the ancien regime the torture of accused persons was one of the sights shown to foreigners in Paris. Evelyn, when visiting the city in 1651, was taken to see the torture of an alleged thief in the Chatelet, who was "wracked in an extraordinary manner, so that they severed the fellow's joints in miserable sort." Failing to extort a confession, "they increased the extension and torture, and then placing a horne in his mouth, such as they drench horses with, poured two buckets of water down, so that it prodigiously swelled him." There was another "malefactor" to be dealt with, but the traveller had seen enough, and he leaves, reflecting that it represented to him "the intolerable sufferings which our Blessed Saviour must needs undergo when His body was hanging with all its weight upon the nailes of the Crosse."

[Footnote 171: The term implied rather an excess than a defect of nether garment and was applied in scorn by the fashionable wearers of culottes to the plebeian wearers of trousers.]

Too much prominence has been given by historians to the dramatic and violent activities of the men of '93 to the exclusion of acts of peaceful and constructive statesmanship. The 11,210 decrees issued by the National Convention in Paris from September '92 to October '95, included a comprehensive and admirable scheme for national education, with provision for free meals in elementary schools and the moral and physical training of the young. It fulminated against the degradation of public monuments, ordered an inventory to be made of all collections of works of art, and decided that the Republic be charged with the maintenance of artists sent to Rome.

It decreed the adoption, began the discussion, and voted the most important articles of the civil code. It inaugurated the telegraph and the decimal system, established the uniformity of weights and measures, the bureau of longitudes, reformed the calendar, instituted the Grand Livre, increased and completed the Museum of Natural History, opened the Museum of the Louvre, created the Conservatoire of the Arts and Crafts, the Conservatoire of Music, the Polytechnic School and the Institute.

The Convention abolished negro slavery in the French colonies, and Wilberforce reminded a hostile House of Commons that infidel and anarchic France had given example to Christian England in the work of emancipation. In 1793 it was reported that the aged Goldoni had been in receipt of a pension from the ancien regime and was now dependent on the slender resources of a compassionate nephew: the Convention at once decreed as an act of justice and beneficence that the pension of 4000 livres should be renewed, and all arrears paid up. This is but one of many acts of grace and succour among its records.

The closing months of '95 were sped with those whiffs of grape-shot from the Pont Royal and the Rue St. Honore, that shattered the last attempt, this time by the Royalists, at government by insurrection. The Convention closed its stupendous career, and five Directors of the Republic met in a room furnished with an old table, a sheet of paper and an ink-bottle, and set about organising France for a normal and progressive national life. But Europe had by her fatuous interference with the internal affairs of France sown dragons' teeth indeed and a nation of armed men had sprung forth, nursing hatred of monarchy and habituated to victory. "Eh, bien, mes enfants," cried a French general before an engagement when provisions were wanting to afford a meal for his troops, "we will breakfast after the victory." But militarism invariably ends in autocracy. The author of those whiffs of grape-shot was appointed in 1796 Commander-in-Chief of the army of Italy, and a new and sinister complexion was given to the policy of the Republic. "Soldiers," cries Napoleon, "you are half-starved and almost naked; the Government owes you much but can do nothing for you. Your patience, your courage do you honour, but win for you neither glory nor profit. I am about to lead you into the most fertile plains of the world; you will find there great cities and rich provinces; there you will reap honour, glory and riches. Soldiers of Italy, will you lack courage?" This frank appeal to the baser motives that sway men's minds, this open avowal of a personal ambition, was the beginning of the end of Jacobinism in France. Soon the wealth of Italy streamed into the bare coffers of the Directory at Paris:—20,000,000 of francs from Lombardy, 12,000,000 from Parma and Modena, 35,000,000 from the Papal States, an equally large sum from Tuscany; one hundred finest horses of Lombardy to the five Directors, "to replace the sorry nags that now draw your carriages"; convoys of priceless manuscripts and sculpture and pictures to adorn Parisian galleries. So persistent were these raids on the collections of art in Italy that Napoleon is known there to this day as il gran ladrone and the chief duty of the new French officials in Italy, said Lucien Bonaparte, was to supervise the packing of pictures and statues for Paris. No less than 5233 of these works of art were confiscated by the Allies in 1815, and returned to their former owners.

In less than a decade the rusty old stage properties and the baubles of monarchy were furbished anew, sacred oil from the little phial of Rheims anointed the brow of a new dynast, and a Roman Pontiff blessed the diadem with which a once poor, pensioned, disaffected Corsican patriot crowned himself lord of France in Notre Dame. The old pomposities of a court came strutting back to their places:—Arch Chancellors, Grand Electors, Constables, Grand Almoners, Grand Chamberlains, Grand Marshals of the Palace, Masters of the Horse, Masters of the Hounds, Madame Mere and a bevy of Imperial Highnesses with their ladies-in-waiting. One thing only was wanting, as a Jacobin bitterly remarked—the million of men who were slain to end all that mummery. The fascinating story of how this amazing transformation was effected cannot be told here. The magician who wrought it was possessed of a soaring imagination, of a mental instrument of incomparable force and efficiency, of an iron will, a prodigious intellectual activity, and a piercing insight into the conditions of material success, rarely, if ever before, united in the same degree in one man. Napoleon Bonaparte was of ancient, patrician Florentine blood, and perchance the descendant of one of those of Fiesole—

"In cui riviva la sementa santa Di quei Romani che vi rimaser quando Fu fatto il nido di malizia tanta."[172]

He cherished a particular affection for Italy, and, so far as his personal aims allowed, treated her generously. His descent into Lombardy awakened the slumbering sense of Italian nationality. In more senses than one, says Mr. Bolton King the historian of Italian unity, Napoleon was the founder of modern Italy.

[Footnote 172: Inferno, XV. 76-78.—"In whom lives again the seed of those Romans who remained there when the nest (Florence) of so much wickedness was made."]

The reason of Napoleon's success in France is not far to seek. Two streams of effort are clearly traceable through the Revolution. The earlier thinkers, such as Montesquieu, Voltaire, D'Alembert, Diderot and the Encyclopedists, whose admiration for England was unbounded, aimed at reforming the rotten state of France on the basis of the English parliamentary and monarchical system: it was a middle-class movement for the assertion of its interests in the state and for political freedom. The aim of the Jacobin minority, inspired by the doctrines of the Contrat Social of Rousseau, was to found a democratic state based on the principle of the sovereignty of the people. If the French crown and the monarchies of Europe had allowed the peaceful evolution of national tendencies, the Constitutional reformers would have triumphed, but in their folly they tried to sweep back the tide, with the result we have seen. For when everything is put to the touch, when victory is the price of self-sacrifice, it is the idealist who comes to the front, and as the nineteenth-century prophet Mazzini taught, men will lay down their lives for principles but not for interests.

Let us not forget that it was the Jacobin minority who in the heat and glow of their convictions saved the people of France. Led astray by their old guides, abandoned in a dark and trackless waste, their heads girt with horror, menaced by destruction on every side, the people groped, wandering hither and thither seeking an outlet in vain. At length a voice was heard, confidant, thrilling as a trumpet call; "Lo this is the way! follow, and ye shall emerge and conquer!" It may not have been the best way, but it was a way and they followed.

It is easy enough to pour scorn on the Contrat Social as a political philosophy, but an ideal, a faith, a dogma are necessary to evoke enthusiasm, the contempt of material things and of death itself. These the Contrat Social gave. It defined with absolute precision the principles latent in the movement of reform that broke up mediaevalism. Does power descend from God, its primeval source; or does it ascend, delegated from the people? Once stated, the French mind with its intense lucidity and logicality saw the line of cleavage between old and new—divine right: or sovereignty of the people—and bade all men choose where they would stand. The Contrat Social with its consuming passion for social justice, its ideal of a state founded on the sovereignty of the people, became the gospel of the time. Men and women conned its pages by heart and slept with the book under their pillows. Napoleon himself in his early Jacobin days was saturated with its doctrines, and in later times astutely used its phrases as shibboleths to cloak his acts of despotism. But in that terrible revolutionary decade the Jacobins had spent their lives and their energies. A profound weariness of the long and severe tension, and a yearning for a return to orderly civil life came over men's minds. The masses were still sincerely attached to the Catholic faith: the middle-classes hailed with relief the advent of the strong man who proved himself able to crush faction; the peasants were won by a champion of the Revolution who made impossible the return of the aides, the tailles, the gabelles, and all the iniquitous oppressions of the ancien regime and guaranteed them the possession of the confiscated emigre and ecclesiastical lands; the army idolised the great captain who promised them glory and profit; the Church rallied to an autocrat who restored the hierarchy. Moreover, the brilliancy of Napoleon's military genius was balanced by an all-embracing political sagacity. The chief administrative decrees of the Convention, especially those relating to education and the civil and penal codes, were welded into form by ceaseless energy. Everything he touched was indeed degraded from the Republican ideal, but he drove things through, imposed his own superhuman activity into his subordinates, and became one of the chief builders of modern France. "The gigantic entered into our very habits of thought," said one of his ministers. But his efforts to maintain the stupendous twenty years' duel with the combined forces of England and the continental monarchies, and his own overweening ambition, broke him at length, and he fell, to fret away his life caged in a lonely island in mid-Atlantic.

The new ideas were none the less revolutionary of social life. The salon, that eminently French institution, soon felt their power. The charming irresponsible gaiety and frivolity of the old regime gave place to more serious preoccupation with political movements. The fusing power of Rousseau's genius had melted all hearts; the solvent wit of Voltaire and the precise science of the Encyclopedists were a potent force even among the courtiers themselves. The centre of social life shifted from Versailles to Paris and the salons gained what the court lost. Fine ladies had the latest pamphlet of Sieyes read to them at their toilette, and maids caught up the new phrases from their mistresses' lips. Did a young gallant enter a salon excusing himself for being late by saying, "I have just been proposing a motion at the club," every fair eye sparkled with interest. A deputy was a social lion, and a box for the National Assembly exchanged for one at the opera at a premium of six livres. Speeches were rehearsed at the salons and action determined. Chief of the hostesses was Madame[173] Necker: at her crowded receptions might be seen Abbe Sieyes, the architect of Constitutions; Condorcet, the philosopher; Talleyrand, the patriotic bishop; Madame de Stael, with her strong, coarse face and masculine voice and gestures. More intimate were the Tuesday suppers at which a dozen chosen guests held earnest communion. Madame de Beauharnais was noted for her excellent table, and her Tuesday and Thursday dinners: at her rooms the masters of literature and music had been wont to meet. Now came Buffon the naturalist; Bailly of Tennis Court oath fame; Clootz, the friend of humanity. The widow of Helvetius, with her many memories of Franklin, welcomed Volney, author of the Ruins of Empires, and Chamfort, the candid critic of Academicians. At the salon of Madame Pancroute, Barrere, the glib orator of the Revolution, was the chief figure.

[Footnote 173: Mlle Curchod, for whom Gibbon "sighed as a lover but renounced as a son."]

Julie Talma was famed for her literary and artistic circle. Here Marie Joseph Chenier, the revolutionary dramatic poet of the Comedie Francaise, declaimed his couplets. Here came Vergniaud, the eloquent chief of the ill-fated Gironde; Greuze, the painter; Roland, the stern and minatory minister, who spoke bitter words, composed by his wife, to the king; Lavoisier, the chemist, who is said to have begged that the axe might be stayed while he completed some experiments, and was told that the Republic had no lack of chemists. Madame du Deffand, whose hotel in the Rue des Quatre Fils still exists, welcomed Voltaire, D'Alembert, Montesquieu and the Encyclopedists.

In the street, the great open-air salon of the people, was a feverish going to and fro. Here were the tub-thumpers of the Revolution holding forth at every public place; the strident voices of ballad-singers at the street corners; hawkers of the latest pamphlets hot from the Quai des Augustins; the sellers of journals crying the Pere Duchesne, L'Ami du Peuple, the Jean Bart, the Vieux Cordelier. Crowds gathered round Bassett's famous shop for caricature at the corner of the Rue St. Jacques and the Rue des Mathurins. The walls of Paris were a mass of variegated placards and proclamations. The charming signs of the old regime, the Pomme rouge, the Rose Blanche, the Ami du Coeur, the Gracieuse, the Trois Fleurs-de-lys Couronnees gave place to the "Necker," the "National Assembly," the "Tiers," the "Constitution"—these, too, soon to be effaced by more Republican appellations. For on the abolition of the monarchy and the inauguration of the Religion of Nature, the words "royal" and "saint" disappear from the revolutionary vocabulary. A new calendar is promulgated: streets and squares are renamed: Rues des Droits de l'Homme, de la Revolution, des Piques, de la Loi, efface the old landmarks. We must now say Rue Honore, not St. Honore, and Mont Marat for Montmartre. Naturalists had written of the queen bee: away with the hated word! She is now named of all good patriots the abeille pondeuse, the egg-laying bee. In the Punch and Judy shows the gallows gives place to the guillotine. No more emblems on playing cards of king, queen, and knave: allegorical figures of Genius, Liberty and Equality take their places, and since Law alone is above them all, Patriotism, as it flings down its biggest card, shall cry no longer, "Ace of trumps," but "Law of trumps," and "Genius of trumps." Chess terms too were republicanised. Furniture becomes of Spartan simplicity. The people lie down on patriotic beds and eat and drink from patriotic mugs and platters. Lotteries are abolished, regulations launched against the sale of indecent literature, drawings or paintings; the open following of the profession of Rahab prohibited; bull fights suppressed. Silver buckles are needed by the national war chest: shoes shall now be clasped by patriotic buckles of copper. The monarchial "vous" (you) shall give place to "toi" (thou); and "monsieur" and "madame" to "citoyen" and "citoyenne." The formal subscriptions to letters, "Your humble servant," "Your obedient servant," shall no more recall the old days of class subjection; we write now "Your fellow citizen," "Your friend," "Your equal." Every house bears an inscription, giving the names and ages of the occupants, decorated with patriotic colours of red, white and blue, with figures of the Gallic cock and the bonnet rouge. Over every public building runs the legend, "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity or Death"[174]—it is even seen over the cages of the wild beasts at the Jardin des Plantes.

[Footnote 174: The meaning of this much misunderstood phrase was simply that the citizens were ready to sacrifice their lives in defence of the revolutionary principles.]

Nowhere did the revolutionary ploughshare cut deeper than among the clergy and the religious orders. Nearly forty monasteries and convents were suppressed in Paris, and strange scenes were those when the troops of monks and friars issued forth to secular life, some crying "Vive Jesus le Roi, et la Revolution," for the new ideas had penetrated even the cloister. The barbers' shops were invaded, and strange figures were seen smoking their pipes along the Boulevards. Some went to the wars; others, especially the Benedictines, appealed for teaching appointments; many faithful to their vows, went forth to poverty, misery, and death.

The nuns and sisters gave more trouble, and the scenes that attended their expulsion and that of the non-juring clergy burned into the memories of the pious. "What do they take from me?" cried the cure of St. Marguerite in his farewell sermon. "My cure? All that I have is yours, and it is you they despoil. My life? I am eighty-four years of age, and what of life remains to me is not worth the sacrifice of my principles." Descending the pulpit the venerable priest passed through a sobbing congregation to a garret in one of the Faubourgs. There were but few, however, who imitated the dignified protest of the cure of St. Marguerite. Many a pulpit rang with fiery denunciations, which recalled the savage fanaticism of the League. Some of the younger clergy and a few of the bishops were on the side of the early Revolutionists. The Abbe Fouchet was the Peter the Hermit of the crusade for Liberty, and so popular were his sermons in Notre Dame that a seat there fetched twenty-four sous. But the corruption and apostasy of the hierarchy as a whole, and their betrayal of the people, had borne its acrid fruit of popular contempt and hostility, and the fanaticism of the worship of Reason answered the fanaticism of the Cross. In Notre Dame and other churches, which became Temples of Reason, statues of Liberty replaced those of the ci-devant Holy Virgin and every Decadi services were held in honour of Liberty or of the Supreme Being. The Rights of Man, the Constitution, despatches from the armies and new laws were read. Prayers were made to the Supreme Being and Liberty was invoked. Patriotic hymns were sung, virtuous acts in the sections recited and addresses on morality, the domestic virtues and other ethical subjects were given. In some, an orator of morality was appointed. Births, marriages and deaths were announced and—an essential detail—collections were made in aid of suffering Humanity. A Decadi Ritual[175] was printed with a selection of hymns and prayers to be used in the Temples of Reason. The services were crowded, famous preachers often evoked tears, tracts were published and saints of Liberty were in course of evolution. But less than eight years after Robespierre's solemn Festival of the Etre Supreme all the hierarchy of the old religion returned, sixty archbishops and bishops, and an army of priests, and a gorgeous Easter Mass in Notre Dame celebrated the reestablishment of the Catholic faith by Napoleon, the heir of the Revolution.

[Footnote 175: The services seem to have been not very dissimilar to a modern Ethical Society meeting. The notorious Festival of the 20th Brumaire was a Fete of Liberty not of Reason, the mistake being due to a careless transcription in the proces-verbal of the Convention. A living representative of Liberty was chosen as less likely to tend to idolatry than an image of stone. See La Revolution Francaise, 14th April 1899, La Deesse de la Liberte.]

It is not within the scope of the present work to deal with the later annals of Paris. Superficial students of her modern history have freely charged her with political irresponsibility and fickleness; no charge could be less warranted by facts. For a thousand years her citizens were loyal and faithful subjects of a monarchy, and endured for a century and a half an infliction of misgovernment, oppression and grinding taxation such as probably no other European people would have tolerated. With touching fidelity and indomitable steadfastness they have cherished the principles of the Great Revolution, in whose name they swept the shams and wrongs of the ancien regime away. There is a profounder truth than perhaps Alphonse Karr imagined in his famous epigram, Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose. Every political upheaval of the nineteenth century in Paris has been at bottom an effort to realise the revolutionary ideals of political freedom and social equality in the face of external violence or internal corruption and treachery. Twice the hated Bourbons were reimposed on the people of Paris by the bayonets of the foreigner: twice they rose and chased them away. A compromise followed—that of a citizen king, Louis Philippe of Orleans, once a Jacobin doorkeeper and a soldier of the Revolution, who had fought valiantly at Valmy and Jemappes—but he too identified himself with reactionary ministers, and became a fugitive to England, the bourne of deposed kings. The Second Republic which followed grew distrustful of the people and disfranchised at one stroke 3,000,000 citizens: one of the causes of the success of the coup d'etat of Napoleon III. was an astute edict which restored universal suffrage.

During the negation of political rectitude and decency which characterised the period of the Second Empire, a little band of Republicans refused to bow the knee to the new pinchbeck Caesar, "the man," says Freeman, "whose lips uttered the words je le jure and kept the oath by a December massacre." Inspired by Victor Hugo, their fiery poet and seer, whose Chatiments have the passionate intensity of an Isaiah, they braved exile, poverty, calumny and flattery; they "stooped into a dark, tremendous sea of doubt, pressed God's lamp to their breasts and emerged" to witness a sad and bitter day of reckoning, when the corruption and vice of the Second Empire were swallowed up in shame and disaster at Sedan.[176] The Third Republic, with admirable energy and patriotism, rose to save the self-respect of France. The first and Imperial war, up to Sedan, was over in a month; the second national and popular war endured for five months.

[Footnote 176: "The collapse of the Empire is tremendous. I have no pity for the melodramatic villain who ends as he began, in causeless and wanton blood." Lord Coleridge, Life, ii., p. 172.]

Dynastic and ecclesiastical ambition die hard, and the new Republic has had to weather many a storm in her career of a third of a century. Carducci in a fine poem has imagined Letizia, mother of the Bonapartes, a wandering shade haunting the desolate house at Ajaccio, recalling the tragic fate of her children, and, like a Corsican Niobe, standing on her threshold, fiercely stretching forth her arms to the savage Ocean, calling from America, from Britain, from burning Africa, some one of her hapless progeny to find a haven in her breast. But the assegais of South African savages laid low the last hope of the Imperialists, and it may reasonably be predicted that neither the shades nor the living descendants of Bonaparte or Bourbon will ever trouble again the internal peace of France nor her people be ruled by one "regnant by right divine and luck o' the pillow." Throughout the whole land a profound desire of peace possesses men's minds[177] and a firm determination to effect a material and moral recuperation from the disasters of the Empire.

[Footnote 177: "We could rouse no enthusiasm," said the head of a State Department to the writer at the time of the Fashoda incident, "even for a war for the recovery of Alsace and Lorraine, much less against England."]

The beneficent results of the Great Revolution have leavened the whole world. In no small degree may it be said of France that by her stripes we have been healed. With true insight the Revolutionists perceived that national liberty is the one essential element of national progress:—

"When liberty goes out of a place it is not the first to go, Nor the second or third to go, It waits for all the rest to go, it is the last."

But the great work is yet incomplete. Political liberty and equality have been won. A more tremendous task awaits the peoples of the old and new worlds alike—to achieve industrial emancipation and inaugurate a reign of social justice. And we know that Paris will have no small part in the solution of this problem.

* * * * *

It now remains to consider the impress which this stormy period left on the architecture of Paris. We have seen that the Convention assigned the royal Palace of the Louvre for the home of a national museum. The neglect of the fabric, however, continued. Already Marat had appropriated four of the royal presses and their accessories for the Ami du Peuple and the types founded for Louis XIV. were used to print the diatribes of the fiercest advocate of the Terror. All along the south facade, print and cook shops were seen, and small huckstering went on unheeded. In 1794 the ground floor of the Petite Galerie was used as a Bourse. On the Place du Carrousel, and the site of the Squares du Louvre were a mass of mean houses which remained even to comparatively recent times. In 1805 the masterful will and all-embracing activity of Napoleon were directed to the improvement of Paris, which he determined to make the most beautiful capital in the world. His architects, Percier and Fontaine, were set to work on the Louvre, and yet another vast plan was elaborated for completing the Palace. A northern wing, corresponding to Henry's IV.'s south wing, was to be built eastwards along the new Rue de Rivoli, from the Pavilion de Marsan at the north end of the Tuileries; the Carrousel was to be traversed by a building, separating the two palaces, designed to house the National Library, the learned Societies and other bodies. The work was begun in 1812, the Emperor commanding that the grand apartments were to be prepared for the sovereigns who would come, a lui faire cortege, after the success of the Russian campaign! Of this ambitious plan, however, all that was carried out was a portion of the Rue de Rivoli facade, from the Pavilion de Marsan to the Pavilion de Rohan, which latter was finished under the Restoration. Some external decorative work was done on the south facade. Perrault's Colonnade was restored, the four facades of the quadrangle were completed, and a new bridge to lead to the "Palace of the Arts" was built. Little or nothing was done to further Napoleon's plan until the Republic of 1848 decreed the completion of the north facade, which was actually achieved under the Second Empire by Visconti in 1857, who built other structures, each with three courts, inside the great space enclosed by the north and south wings to correct their want of parallelism. Later (1862-1868), Henry the Fourth's long gallery and the Pavilions de Flore and Lesdiguieres were rebuilt, and smaller galleries were added to those giving on the Cour des Tuileries: after the disastrous fire which destroyed the Tuileries in 1871, the Third Republic restored the Pavilions de Flore and de Marsan.

But the vicissitudes of this wonderful pile of architecture are not yet ended. The discovery of Perrault's base at the east and of Lemercier's at the north, will inevitably lead to their proximate disclosure. Ample space remains at the east for the excavation of a wide and deep fosse, which would expose the wing to view as Perrault intended it; but on the Rue de Rivoli side the problem is more difficult, and probably a narrow fosse, or saut de loup, will be all that space will allow there.

Napoleon I.'s new streets near the Tuileries and the Louvre soon became the fashionable quarter of Paris. The Italian arcades and every street name recalled a former victory of the Consulate in Italy and Egypt. The military glories of a revolutionary empire, which at one time transcended the limits of that of Charlemagne; which crashed through the shams of the old world and toppled in the dust their imposing but hollow state, were wrought in bronze on the Vendome Column, cast from the cannon captured from every nation in Europe. The Triumphal Arch of the Carrousel, crowned by the bronze horses from St. Mark's at Venice; the majestic Triumphal Arch of the Etoile—a partially achieved project—all paraded the Emperor's fame. Of more practical utility were the quays built along the south bank of the Seine and the bridges of Austerlitz and Jena, which latter Bluecher would have blown up had Wellington permitted it.

The erection of the new church of the Madeleine, begun in 1764, had been interrupted by the Revolution, and in 1806, Napoleon ordered that it should be completed as a Temple of Glory. The Restoration transformed it to a Catholic church, which was finally completed under Louis Philippe in 1842, and it soon became the most fashionable place of worship in Paris. Napoleon drove sixty new streets through the city, cleared away the posts that marked off the footways, began the raised pavements and kerbs, and ordered the drainage to be diverted from the gutters in the centre of the roadway.

The Restoration erected two basilicas—Notre Dame de Lorette and St. Vincent de Paul. The Expiatory Chapel raised to the memory of Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette on the site of the old cemetery of the Madeleine—where they lay, until transferred to St. Denis, in one red burial with the brave Swiss Guards who vainly spent their lives for them—is now threatened with demolition. Three new bridges—of the Invalides, the Archeveche and Arcole—were added, and fifty-five new streets.

Under the citizen king, Napoleon's Arch of Triumph of the Etoile was completed, and the Columns of Luxor, on the Place de la Concorde, and of July on the Place de la Bastille, were raised. It was the period of the admirable architectural restorations of Viollet le Duc. The great architect has described how his passion for Gothic was stirred when, taken as a boy to Notre Dame, the rose window of the south transept seized on his imagination. While gazing at it the organ began to play, and he thought that the music came from the window—the shrill, high notes from the light colours, the solemn, bass notes from the dark and more subdued hues. It was a reverent and admiring spirit such as this which inspired the famous architect's loving treatment of the Gothic restoration in Paris and all over France. To him more than to any other artist we owe the preservation of such masterpieces as Notre Dame and the Sainte Chapelle.

But the great changes which have made modern Paris were effected under the Second Empire. In 1854, when the Haussmannisation of the city began, the Paris of the First Empire and of the Restoration remained essentially unaltered. It was a city of a few grand streets and of many mean ones. Pavements were still rare, and drainage was imperfect. In a few years the whole aspect was changed. Twenty-two new boulevards and avenues were created. Streets of appalling uniformity and directness were ploughed through Paris in all directions. "Nothing is more brutal than a straight line," says Victor Hugo, and there is little of interest in the monotonous miles of dreary coincidence which constitute the architectural legacy of the Second Empire.

The sad task of the Third Republic has been to heal the wounds and cover up the destruction wrought by the Civil War of 1871. The chief architectural creations of the Third Republic are the Hotel de Ville, the new Sorbonne, the Trocadero, and the completion of the magnificent and colossal temple, rich with precious marble and stone of every kind, which, at a cost of L10,000,000 sterling, has been raised to the Muses at the end of the Avenue de l'Opera. The Church, too, has lavished her millions on the mighty basilica of the Sacre Coeur, which towers over Paris from the heights of Montmartre.

But some of the glory of past ages remains hidden away in corners of the city; some has been recovered from the vandalism of iconoclastic eighteenth-century architects, canons, revolutionists and nineteenth-century prefects. Let us now wander awhile about the great city and refresh our memories of her dramatic past by beholding somewhat of the interest and beauty which have been preserved to us; for "to be in Paris itself, amid the full, delightful fragrance of those dainty visible things which Huguenots despised—that, surely, were the sum of good fortune!"

"I see ... long ranks of the new oppressors who have risen on the destruction of the old, perishing.... I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long, long years to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time, of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out."—DICKENS.

Part II: The City


The Cite—Notre Dame—The Sainte-Chapelle[178]—The Palais de Justice[179]

[Footnote 178: Open 11-4 or 5. Closed Mondays and Chief Festivals.]

[Footnote 179: Open daily, except Sundays, 11-4.]

If the traveller will place himself on the Pont Royal, or on the Pont du Carrousel, and look towards the Cite when the tall buildings, the spire of the Sainte Chapelle and the massive grey towers of Notre Dame are ruddy with the setting sun, he will enjoy a scene of beauty not easily surpassed in Europe. Across the picture, somewhat marred by the unlovely Pont des Arts, stride the arches of the Pont Neuf with their graceful curves; below is the little green patch of garden and the cascade of the weir; in the centre of the bridge the bronze horse with Henry IV., its royal rider, almost hidden by the trees, stands facing the site of the old garden of the Palais, where St. Louis sat on a carpet judging his people, and whence Philip the Fair watched the flames that were consuming the Grand Master and his companion of the Knights Templars. To the left are the picturesque mediaeval towers of the Conciergerie and the tall roof of the belfry of the Palais. Around all are the embracing waters of the Seine breaking the light with their thousand facets. The island, when seen from the east as one sails down the river, is not less imposing, for the great mother church of Notre Dame, with the graceful buttresses of the apse like folded pinions, seems to brood over the whole Cite.

From the time when Julius Caesar addressed his legions on the little island of Lutetia Civitas Parisiorum to the present day, two millenniums of history have been enacted there, and few spots are to be found in Europe where so many associations are crowded together. In Gallo-Roman times the island was, as we have seen, even smaller, five islets having been incorporated with it since the thirteenth century. Some notion of the changes that have swept over its soil may be conceived on scanning Felibien's 1725 map, where no less than eighteen churches are marked, scarce a wrack of which now remains on the island. We must imagine the old mediaeval Cite as a labyrinth of crooked and narrow streets, with the present broad Parvis of Notre Dame of much smaller extent, at a higher level, enclosed by a low wall and approached by steps. Against the north tower leaned the Baptistery (St. Jean le Rond) and St. Denis of the Ferry against the apse. St. Pierre aux Boeufs, whose facade has been transferred to St. Severin's on the south bank, stood at the east corner, St. Christopher at the west corner of the present Hotel Dieu which covers the site of eleven streets and three churches. The old twelfth-century hospital, demolished in 1878, occupied the whole space south of the Parvis between the present Petit Pont and the Pont au Double. It possessed its own bridge, the Pont St. Charles, over which the buildings stretched, and joined the annexe (1606), which, until 1909, existed on the opposite side of the river.


The traveller who stands on the Parvis before the Church of Our Lady at Paris beholds the embodiment and most perfect expression of early Gothic architecture, the central type and model of the new style created by the genius of the masters of the Isle de France in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. On the west front the builders have lavished all their artistic powers in a synthetic exposition of their outlook on life and eternity. As the worshipper approaches the central portal his eye is arrested by a representation of the ultimate and most solemn fact of human destiny, the Last Judgment. On the lintel the dead are seen rising from their graves at the last trump; prelate, noble and serf in one equality of doom. Above, the fine figure of St. Michael is seen weighing souls in the balance. At his left the damned are hauled in chains by grinning demons to Hell: at his right the elect raise joyful eyes toward Heaven. Crowning the tympanum is Christ the Judge, flanked by angels, and by the Virgin and the Baptist kneeling in intercession while He shows His wounded hands. On the archivolts are, to the right of the spectator, demons and damned souls and quaint personifications of death: to his left the heavenly host, choirs of angels, seated prophets and doctors and the army of martyrs. On the jambs are the five wise and five foolish virgins; apostles and saints on the embrasures of the door; below them reliefs of the virtues, each symbolised above its opposite vice. On the central pillar stands Christ in act of blessing; below Him, bas-reliefs typifying the seven liberal arts.[180]

[Footnote 180: This portal suffered much from the vandalism of Soufflot and his clerical employers of the eighteenth century (p. 252): all that remains of the original carvings in the tympanum is a portion of the figure of Christ and the angels. The Revolutionary Chaumette, when it was proposed to destroy the Gothic simulacra of superstition, protected the carvings on the west portals on the plea that they related to astronomy, to philosophy and the arts. The astronomer Dupuis was added to the Commission and the reliefs were saved.]

We turn to the lovely portal of the Virgin under the north tower. In the lower compartment of the tympanum is figured the ark of the Covenant attended by prophets and kings; above, is the burial of the Virgin, and crowning all, Our Lady in glory. On the archivolts are angels, patriarchs, prophets, and kings. The jambs and casements are decorated with thirty-seven marvellously vivid reliefs of the signs of the Zodiac, the seasons and labours of the year, a kind of almanac of stone of rare invention and execution. On the embrasures of the door are, among others, the favourite Parisian saints: Denis, Genevieve and Stephen. On the central pier, below the Virgin and Child, are the Creation, Temptation and Fall. The whole of this portal will repay careful inspection.

St. Anne's portal, under the south tower, is more archaic, and indeed some of its sculptures are believed to have come from an earlier Romanesque building. Along the lintel are seen episodes in the life of St. Anne and in the life of Mary: in the central band, to the left, are the Presentation, the Annunciation, the Visitation; in the middle the Nativity in various scenes; to the right Herod, and the Adoration of the Magi. The whole of these reliefs are twelfth-century work, with the exception of the Presentation, which is thirteenth century. In the hemicycle above are the Virgin and Child under a Byzantine canopy with angels and founders on either side. On the central pier stands St. Marcel, Bishop of Paris, banning the horrible serpent that made his lair in a tomb: the retreating serpent's tail is seen on the pier. Both on this and on the north portal traces of painting still remain.

Before leaving, we note the beautiful mediaeval wrought hinges (restored) which came from the old church of St. Stephen and which have been copied for the central portal. The three portals were completed in 1208.

Above them and across the whole facade runs a gallery of kings, twenty-eight in number—a perennial source of controversy. Authorities are divided between the kings of France and the kings of Israel and Judah, the royal ancestry of the Virgin. From the analogy of other cathedrals we incline to the latter view. The gallery dates not later than 1220, but the statues are modern reproductions. Yet higher, on the pierced balustrade, is a group of the Virgin between two angels and on either side, over the N. and S. portals, Adam and Eve. A gallery of graceful columns knits the towers together (which were intended to be crowned by spires) before they soar from the facade. Between the towers, in olden times, as we know from an illumination in a Froissart MS., stood a great statue of the Virgin. The whole of this glorious fretwork of stone, including the tracery of the rose window, was once refulgent with gold and azure and crimson, and the finished front in its mediaeval glory has been compared to a colossal carved and painted triptych.

On the central pier of the greater portal of the N. transept, called of the Cloister, we note a fine ancient statue of the Virgin, famed for its grace of expression. The smaller Porte Rouge, further eastward, is remarkable for some well-preserved antique sculpture: a Coronation of the Virgin in the tympanum and six scenes in the life of St. Marcel in the archivolt: some old gargoyles and reliefs may be seen on either side of the door.

We pursue our way by the east end of the cathedral, where in mediaeval times was an open waste, the Motte aux Papelards, the playground of the cathedral servants, the graceful outlines of the apse and the bold sweep of the flying buttresses ever varying in beauty as we pace around. The south portal (ill seen through the iron railings) called of St. Stephen or of the Martyrs is decorated with statues of the saint and of other martyrs, with scenes of their martyrdom. The inscription (p. 88) may be seen at the base to the R.

We may now enter the noble and harmonious interior, unhappily bared of its rich old decorations, its tombs and statues cleared away, its fine Gothic altar destroyed by clerical and royal vandals to give place to renaissance and pseudo-classic pomposities (p. 252). We approach the choir from the right aisle, noting a fourteenth-century statue of the Virgin and Child on the left as we reach the entrance, perhaps the very statue before which povre Gilles did his penance (p. 142) and proceed to examine all that remains of the "histories" in stone on the choir wall round the ambulatory, twenty-three in number, begun in 1319 by Master Jean Ravy, mason of Notre Dame, and finished (parfaites) by Master Jean le Bouteiller in 1351, all dorez et bien peints. Those on the choir screen were destroyed by the Cardinal Archbishop de Noailles in 1725. On the north side are twelve reliefs drawn from earlier New Testament history: on the south are nine from later episodes in the life of Christ. These naive mediaeval sculptures of varying merit will repay careful examination. The gilding and colouring are modern. Of the jewelled splendour of the western rose and of the two great rose windows of the transepts the eye will never tire. With every changing light new beauties and new combinations of colour reveal themselves. Those who care to read the subjects will discern in the north transept rose, incidents depicted in the life of the Virgin, and eighteen founders and benefactors: in the south are apostles and bishops crowned by angels.

We return to the Porte Rouge in the Rue du Cloitre opposite which is the Rue Massillon, where at Nos. 4 and 6 we may note some remains of the cloisters and canons' dwellings, once a veritable city within a city, fifty-one houses with gardens sequestered within a wall having four gates. We continue to the Rue Chanoinesse, where, No. 10, is the site of Canon Fulbert's house: at No. 18, by the courtesy of Messieurs Allez Freres, we may visit the curious old fifteenth-century tower of Dagobert[181] which marks the site of the old port of St. Landry and affords a fine view of the north side of Notre Dame. We return to No. 10 and descend the Rue des Chantres to the Quai aux Fleurs: at No. 9, the site of the house of Abelard and Heloise, an inscription recalls the names of the unhappy lovers,

"... for ever sad, for ever dear, Still breathed in sighs, still ushered with a tear."

[Footnote 181: Now (1911) demolished.]

We turn westward along the Quai and ascend on our L., the narrow Rue de la Colombe, across which a double line of stones traces the position of the Gallo-Roman wall, that enclosed the Cite. We continue to ascend, and on our L., No. 26 Rue Chanoinesse, we enter a small court where we find a portion of the old pavement of St. Aignan's church, with the almost effaced lineaments on the tombstones of those, now forgotten, who were doubtless famous churchmen in their time, and where St. Bernard wept a whole day, fearing that God had withdrawn from him the power of converting souls. This faint trace of the past wealth of churches remains, but where are the sanctuaries of Ste. Genevieve des Ardents, St. Pierre des Arces, St. Denis of the Prison, St. Germain le Vieux, Ste. Croix, St. Symphorien, St. Martial, St. Bartholomew, and the church of the Barnabites, which replaced that of St. Anne, which replaced the old Abbey church of St. Eloy, all clustering around their parent church of Our Lady like nuns under their patroness' mantle? Until comparatively recent times the church of St. Marine was used as a joiner's workshop, and one of the chapels of Ste. Madeleine, parish church of the water-sellers, served as a wine merchant's store! All that survives of the ancient splendour of the Cite are Notre Dame and some portions of the Palais, including the Ste. Chapelle.

We turn R. to the Rue d'Arcole that has swept away the old church of St. Landry, near which, until the reign of Louis XIII., a market was held for the sale of foundling children at thirty sous. The scandal was abolished by the efforts of the gentle St. Vincent de Paul, Anne of Austria's confessor. Turning L. along this street we emerge on the Parvis, which we skirt to the R. along the facade of the new Hotel Dieu, and reach the Rue de la Cite. We turn R., cross to the L. and follow the broad Rue de Lutece to the Palais de Justice.


Entering the Cour du Mai by the great iron grille which has replaced the old stone portal, flanked by two towers, a passage on the left leads us to the Cour de la Ste. Chapelle (p. 86). We enter by the west porch of the lower chapel. On the central pier is a restored figure of the Virgin whose original is said to have bowed her head to the famous Scotch theologian Duns Scotus, in recognition of his championship of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, in 1304: in the decoration of the base of the column and of the embrasures of the door, the Fleur-de-Lys of St. Louis is seen alternating with the Castilian Tower of his mother, Blanche of Castile, a decorative motive repeated in the painting of the chapel.

Beautiful as are the vaultings and proportions of the lower chapel, and the decoration, copied, as in the upper chapel, from traces of the original colouring found under the whitewash, the visitor will doubtless prefer to ascend, after a cursory inspection, the narrow, winding stairway to the resplendent upper sanctuary, whose dazzling brilliancy moved an ancient writer to declare that "in the contest between light and darkness in architecture, the creator of the Ste. Chapelle in the pride of his victory built with light itself." In the apse, flooded by streams of colour falling from the windows, is the platform or tribune where, in a rich reliquary of gold, glittering with precious stones, and under a baldachin, the holy relics from Constantinople were exposed in days of old. Part of the tribune is preserved and one of the staircases by which it is ascended, that to the N., is said to date from the founder's time, and may often have been trodden by the very feet of St. Louis himself. Little else of the interior furniture has escaped destruction. The beautiful high altar, the rood loft, the choir stalls, have long disappeared. Four only of the statues of the apostles bearing the crosses of consecration are said to be originals—the fourth and fifth on each side of the nave counting from the west door; the relics, or all that escaped the political storms of the annee terrible, are now at Notre Dame, and the reliquary that contained them went to feed the hungry war-chest of the revolutionary armies. But the thirteenth-century jewelled windows, as left to us by the admirable restorers of 1855, are of paramount interest. The wealth of design and amplitude of the series are truly amazing. The panels, numbering about eleven hundred, are a compendium of sacred history and a revelation of the world to come: the whole scene from the Creation to the Apocalypse is unrolled before our eyes, pictured in a transparent symphony of colour. Seven windows of the nave and four of the apse deal with Old Testament history: three at the end of the apse with the New. The eighth window of the nave (the first to the R. of entrance), dealing with the story of the Translation of the relics from Constantinople, although the most restored—nineteen only of the sixty-seven subjects are original—is perhaps the most interesting, for among the nineteen may be seen St. Louis figured by the contemporary artist: receiving the relics at Sens; assisting to carry the relics, barefoot; taking part at the exposition of the relics with his queen and his mother; receiving an embassy from the Emperor Baldwin; carrying the Byzantine cross which holds a portion of the true cross. Another of the original panels contains a representation of the Cite with the enveloping arms of the Seine. The rose window at the west end is obviously later, and dates from the fifteenth century.

In olden times the lower part of the central window of the apse was made of white glass that the people massed in the courtyard below might behold the relics as St. Louis and his successors, after exhibiting them to the privileged congregation in the chapel, turned round to show them. Against the south wall of the nave is a little oratory with a squint through which it is said Louis XI. used to venerate the relics unobserved.

We step out from the west door of the upper chapel to examine the more richly decorated upper portal. The carvings are all modern and, except such as were suggested by traces of the old work, are copied from the west front of Notre Dame and other churches. Many a solemn and many a strange scene have been enacted in this royal oratory; the strangest of all perhaps when Charles V. of France, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV., and his son Wenceslaus, king of the Romans, in the role of the three Holy Kings, came to venerate the relics and laid oblations before the shrine.

Before we turn away from the building we should observe on the west facade above the rose window wherein the architect has literally sported with the difficulties of construction in stone a charming design of fleurs-de-lys framed by quatrefoils along the balustrade; the central design is an R. (rex), crowned by two angels. The present spire is a fourth erection. The second, which replaced the original spire in 1383, was one of the wonders of Paris, and fell a victim to fire in 1630. A third, erected by Louis XIII., was demolished in 1791, and in 1853 Lassus, Viollet le Duc's principal colleague in the restoration of the chapel, designed the graceful fleche we see to-day.

We return to the Cour du Mai: on the R., before we ascend the great stairway, we look down on the nine steps leading from the Vestibule (now a Cafe Restaurant) of the Conciergerie, up which those doomed to the guillotine ascended to the fatal tumbrils awaiting them in the courtyard. We ascend to the Galerie Marchande: the stairway, rebuilt after the fire of 1776, replaced the old flight of stairs at whose feet heralds proclaimed treaties of peace and tournaments, criminals were branded, and books condemned by the Parlement, burned. Here Pantagruel loved to stand and cut the stirrup-straps of the fat councillors' mules, and see the gros sufle de conseiller fall flat when he tried to mount; and here the clercs of the Basoche planted the annual May-tree, brought from the forest of Bondy, with much playing of drums and trumpets and elaborate ceremony.

The Galerie Marchande, formerly known as the Galerie Merciere, was once a busy and fashionable bazaar, where lines of shops displayed fans, shoes, slippers and other dainty articles of feminine artillery. The further galleries were also invaded by the traders, who were only finally evicted in 1842. We turn R. and enter the Grande Salle or, as it is now known, the Salle des Pas Perdus. It, too, was once a busy mart, booksellers especially predominating, most of whom had stations there, much as we see them to-day, round the Odeon Theatre. Verard's address was—"At the image of St. John the Evangelist, before Notre Dame de Paris, and at the first pillar in the Grande Salle of the Palais de Justice, before the chapelle where they sing the mass for Messieurs of the Parlement." Gilles Couteau's address was at "The Two Archers in the Rue de la Juiverie and at the third pillar at the Palais." Every pillar had its bookseller's shop. In 1618 the great chamber, the finest of its kind in Europe, with its rich stained glass, its double vaultings resplendent with blue and gold, was gutted by fire, and its long line of statues of the kings of France, from Pharamond to Henry IV.—the rois faineants with pendent arms and lowered eyes, the valiant warrior kings with heads and arms erect—disappeared for ever. This was the hall where the clercs of the Basoche performed their farces, sottises and moralites, and where Victor Hugo has placed the scene of the famous performance of the moralite, composed by Pierre Gringoire,[182] so vividly described in the opening chapters of Notre Dame.

[Footnote 182: Notes exist of payments in 1502, 1505 to Pierre Gringoire, histrion et facteur for the mysteries—well and honestly performed—at the entries of Madame la reine, before the portail of the Chatelet.]

Debrosse, who built the new Salle in 1622, left a noble and harmonious Renaissance chamber, which, again restored after the fire of 1776, endured until its destruction by fire during the Commune. The present rather frigid hall was completed in 1878 by J.L. Duc, who respected the traditional form and amplitude of the older structures. Nearly opposite the monument to Malesherbes (R.) was the position of the old Pilier des Consultations, where the lawyers were wont to give gratuitous legal help to the poor. The best time to visit the Hall is in the afternoon, when the courts are sitting and when the footsteps of the lawyers and their clients are indeed lost amid the buzz of conversation as they pace up and down.

The Premiere Chambre to the L., in the north-west corner of the Hall, is one of the most profoundly interesting in the agglomerated mass of buildings known as the Palais de Justice. This, now somewhat reduced in size, was the old Grande Chambre, rebuilt by Louis XII. on the occasion of his marriage with Princess Mary of England, which replaced the earlier bed-chamber of St. Louis.

Fra Gioconda's sumptuous decorations of 1502, which won for it the name of the Chambre doree, the gold used being, it is said, equal in purity to the famous Dutch golden florin, have been partially restored. Here the kings of France held their Beds of Justice; here the Fronde held its sittings, and here on 15th April, 1654, the young king Louis XIV. strode in, booted and spurred, and is said to have uttered the famous words l'Etat c'est moi. Here too, renamed the Salle Egalite, the dread Revolutionary Tribunal held its sittings and condemned 2742 victims; here on 14th October 1793, at half-past four in the morning, appeared Marie Antoinette, "widow of Louis Capet," before her implacable judges and heard her doom; hence the twenty-one Girondins trooped forth to their common fate; here Robespierre, St. Just, and, at length, the unwearied minister of death, Fouquier-Tinville himself, the revolutionary public prosecutor, heard their condemnation. We leave by the Cour du Mai and note, to our L., the restored clock tower, replacing the most ancient and famous clock of Paris. It was renewed by Germain Pilon in 1588 and restored in 1685. Demolished during the Revolution, the face and decoration were again renewed in 1852. The silvery-toned bell that hung here, called the tocsin, cast in 1371 and known as the cloche d'argent, was accused, together with the bell of St. Germain l'Auxerrois, before the Commune on 21st August 1792, of having given the signal for the massacre of St. Bartholomew, and its immediate destruction was ordered. We turn along the picturesque river facade, and between its two mediaeval towers, de Cesar and d'Argent, enter the Conciergerie.[183] The condemned cell of Marie Antoinette (transformed into a chapel) and the cell of Robespierre are shown, together with the chapel where the Girondins passed their last night and where their legendary banquet is famed to have taken place. The so-called Cuisine de St. Louis, a remain of the old Gothic palace of Philip le Bel, is no longer shown. The third tower on the river facade, which we pass on our way westward, has been wholly rebuilt. In the original tower was the judicial torture-chamber (an adjunct of every court of justice in olden times), used to wrest confessions from prisoners and evidence from unwilling witnesses, hence its name of Tour Bon Bec or Bavarde. The fine western facade and the Salle des Pas Perdus of the Cour d'Assises, looking on the Place Dauphine, were completed in 1868.

[Footnote 183: Permission to visit on Thursdays, 9-5, to be obtained by written application to the Prefect of Police, Rue de Lutece.]

Few Law Courts in Europe have so venerable a history as the Palais de Justice. From the times when the Roman praetor set up his court, more than two thousand years ago, to the present day, a temple of Law and Justice has ever stood on this spot.


St. Julien le Pauvre—St. Severin—The Quartier Latin.

As we fare S. from the W. end of the Parvis of Notre Dame and cross the Petit Pont, we behold the old Roman Road, now Rue St. Jacques, rising straight before us and on the annexe of the Hotel Dieu,[184] to the L. of the Place du Petit Pont find inscribed their names (p. 46), who nearly twelve centuries ago dared:—

"For that sweet motherland which gave them birth, Nobly to do, nobly to die."

On the site of the Place stood the Petit Chatelet, demolished in 1782, a gloomy prison where many a rowdy student was incarcerated. To the L. of the Rue du Petit Pont[184] we turn by the Rue de la Bucherie and on our R. find the Rue St. Julien le Pauvre. Here on the L., hidden behind a pair of shabby wooden gates, stands the modest little twelfth-century church, now used for the Uniat Greek services, where St. Gregory of Tours found the drunken impostor (pp. 32, 33), where the University of Paris first held its sittings, and where twice a year the royal provost attended to swear to preserve the privileges of the rector, masters and scholars. Near by stood the house of Buridan (note, p. 68). At the end of the street we turn R. by the old Rues Galande and St. Severin: at No. 4 of the latter, we see a trace of the original naming of the streets by Turgot, the marks of the erasure of the word "Saint" during the Revolution being clearly visible. Parallel with this street to the N. is the Rue de la Huchette, from which opens the curious old Rue du Chat qui Peche and the Rue Zacharie, in mediaeval times called Sac a Lie, which communicates with the Rue St. Severin. To our L. is the fine Gothic church of St. Severin, one of the most beautiful and interesting in Paris, on the site of the oratory of Childebert I., where St. Cloud was shorn and took his vows. On the thirteenth-century N. portal of the tower have been replaced the two small lions in relief between which, in olden times, the cures are said to have exercised justice. We note the thirteenth-century W. portal, transferred from the old church of St. Pierre aux Boeufs, and enter for the sake of the beautiful Gothic interior, mainly fifteenth century, with its double aisles and ambulatory and fine stained-glass in the nave. We turn L., on leaving, along the Rue des Pretres St. Severin (No. 5 is the site of the old College de Lisieux) which is continued by the Rue Boutebrie, in former times the Rue des Enlumineurs, famous for those who practised the art, "che alluminare chiamata e in Parisi."[185] At the end of the Rue des Pretres we turn L. along the picturesque Rue de la Parcheminerie, where we may recall the old poet Corneille sitting at a cobbler's stall while his gaping shoe was patched, and where still remain, among other curious old houses, Nos. 6 and 7, which in the thirteenth century were owned by the canons of Norwich Cathedral, who maintained a number of scholars there. We are now on the very foyer of the University quarter, in mediaeval times swarming with poor scholars, the busy hive of knowledge, and so notorious for its misery and rowdy depravity, that Charles V. during his regency had the Rue du Fouarre closed at curfew by strong iron grilles. We pass on to the Rue St. Jacques, then R. to the Boulevard St. Germain, again sharply to the L. and descend the new Rue Dante, R. of which, in the Rue Domat, are some quaint old houses: at 12 bis is the site of the old College de Cournouailles (Brittany). The Rue Dante is continued by the Rue du Fouarre (Straw Street) where Siger taught (p. 103) and in one of whose colleges the author of the Divina Commedia probably sat as a scholar. The houses are all modernised and the name alone remains. We turn R. along the Rue Galande, noting R. the Rue des Anglais which reminds us that there the English scholars congregated. We pass on by the Rue Lagrange and reach the place Maubert of dread memories, for here were burnt many a Protestant martyr and the famous printer philosopher, Etienne Dolet, friend of Erasmus, of Marot and of Melancthon, whose statue in bronze stands on the Place. Dolet's martyrdom is still yearly celebrated there by democratic Parisians, and the Place has always been famous for its barricades during the Fronde and later Revolutionary times. We cross the Boulevard to the Rue des Carmes, whose name recalls the Carmelite monastery founded by St. Louis, and at No. 15 find the site of the old Italian College (College des Lombards). Much of this "hostel of the poor Italian scholars of the charity of Our Lady," as rebuilt by two Irish priests, Michael Kelly and Patrick Moggin, still exists, including the chapel, and is partly occupied by a Catholic Workmen's Club It gave shelter to forty missionary priests and an equal number of poor Irish scholars, and the earliest disciples of Loyola found temporary shelter there. Some idea of the vast extent of the ancient foundation may be gained by walking round to 34 Rue de la Montagne Ste. Genevieve on the other side of the Marche where the principal portal may be seen. We return to the Place Maubert, which we recross, and descend direct before us to the Rue de la Bucherie on our L. This street was the centre of the medical students, and from 1369 to the times of Louis XIV. the Faculty of Medicine held its lectures and demonstrations there. At No. 13 still remains the old anatomical and surgical theatre of the Faculty erected in 1617, which has been acquired by the Municipality, but had a neglected, almost ruined aspect when we last passed (Feb. 1906).[186] We continue along this street and return to the Place du Petit Pont.

[Footnote 184: The annexe, the inscription and the Rue du Petit Pont—all have disappeared (1911).]

[Footnote 185: Purgatorio, XI. 81.]


Ecole des Beaux Arts[187]—St. Germain des PresCour du DragonSt. SulpiceThe LuxembourgThe OdeonThe CordeliersThe Surgeons' GuildThe Musee Cluny[188]—The Sorbonne[189]—The Pantheon[190]—St. Etienne du MontTour ClovisWall of Philip AugustusRoman Amphitheatre

[Footnote 186: Now demolished (1911).]

[Footnote 187: Open Sundays, 10-4.]

[Footnote 188: Open 11-4 or 5, closed Mondays and Chief Festivals.]

[Footnote 189: May be visited Thursdays and Sundays, 11-4. Apply Concierge, 7 Rue des Ecoles.]

[Footnote 190: Open 10-4 or 5, closed Mondays and Festivals.]

We cross to the S. bank of the Seine by the Pont du Carrousel (or des Saints Peres). Opposite on the Quai Malaquais stands the Ecole des Beaux Arts (on the site of the old Convent of the Petits Augustins where Lenoir organised his museum), founded by the Convention and now one of the most important art-teaching centres in Europe. We turn S. by the Rue Bonaparte, and soon find the entrance, on the R., to the first courtyard, in which we note, on our R., the fine Portal of the Chateau of Anet, built for Diana of Poitiers by Delorme and Goujon (1548): opposite the entrance, giving access to the second courtyard, is placed a facade, transitional in style, from the Chateau of Gaillon. An hour may profitably be spent on Sundays strolling through the rooms viewing the interesting collection of casts and reproductions of masterpieces of painting by the pupils of the school. Delaroche's famous Hemicycle, representing the great artists of every age, seventy-five figures larger than life, will be found in the theatre of the Musee des Antiquites entered from the second courtyard.

We continue along the Rue Bonaparte past the new Academie de Medecine and on our L. soon sight the grey pile of the old Abbey Church of St. Germain des Pres, once refulgent in colour and gold. A part of the great tower is said to have resisted the Norman conflagrations, but the church as we now behold it, is that rebuilt 1000-1163; enlarged in 1237 and restored at various periods in the first half of the nineteenth century. Of the great fortress-monastery, with its immense domains of land; its cloisters, walls and towers; its prison and pillory, over which the puissant abbots once held sway, only a memory remains. The fortifications were razed in the seventeenth century and gave place to artizans' houses. The famous Fair of St. Germain has long been suppressed, where Henry IV. on the royal entry of Marie de' Medici, after promising the merchants that they should grow rich, since his queen had de l'argent frais, disappointed them all by chaffering much and buying nothing. Over the entrance of the church within the W. porch is a well-preserved Romanesque relief of the Last Supper. Some bases and capitals of the triforium date from the twelfth century, but the heavy Romanesque capitals of the eleventh century nave are restorations, and the beautiful early Gothic choir has also been much modified at various epochs. The interest of the interior is enhanced to the lover of French art by Flandrin's admirable frescoes (p. 391), illustrating scenes from the Old and New Testaments. Unhappily, they are seen with difficulty, and a bright, sunny day is necessary to appreciate the masterly art, the noble and reverent spirit that animates them. One of the most successful and best seen is the Entry into Jerusalem, L. of the choir.

If we turn by the Rue de l'Abbaye, N. of the church, we shall find part of the sixteenth-century Abbot's Palace yet standing, and a walk round the apse and the S. side of the church will afford a view of its massive bulk, its flying buttresses and steep-pitched roof. Crossing the Place St. Germain obliquely to the S.W. we reach the Rue de Rennes: at No. 50 is the entrance of the picturesque Cour du Dragon with an eighteenth-century figure of a Dragon carved over it. At the end of this curious courtyard, paved, as old Paris was paved, with the gutter down the middle, will be seen two old towers enclosing stairways. We return to the Rue Bonaparte and faring still S. reach the huge fabric of St. Sulpice with its massive, gloomy towers and pretentious facade of cumbrous splendour. We enter for the sake of Delacroix' fine paintings in the side chapel R. of entrance: Jacob wrestling with the Angel; Heliodorus driven from the Temple; and St. Michael and the Dragon. In this and in many of the numerous chapels are other decorative paintings by modern artists, few of which will probably appeal to the visitor. It was in this church that Camille Desmoulins was wedded to Lucille, Robespierre acting as best man. On the S. side of the ample Place St. Sulpice is the great Catholic Seminary,[191] and the whole neighbourhood has an essentially ecclesiastical character. Shops and emporiums displaying objets de piete; all kinds of church furniture and art (most of it bad art) abound. We continue our southward way by the Rue Ferou, opposite the end of which is the Musee du Luxembourg containing a collection of such contemporary sculpture and paintings as has been deemed worthy of acquisition by the State. The rooms are crowded with statuary and pictures which evince much talent and technical skill, but the visitor will be impressed by few works of great distinction. The English traveller, perchance, will leave with kindlier feelings towards those responsible for the Chantrey pictures, though envious of a collection whose catholicity embraces works by two great modern masters, Londoners by option—Legros and Whistler. But any impression that may be left on the traveller's mind by the inspection of the examples of contemporary French art exhibited in this museum should be supplemented and corrected by an examination of decorative works of greater range in the chief public edifices, such as the Hotel de Ville, the Sorbonne, the Pantheon and the Ecole de Medecine. We enter the Luxembourg Gardens by the gate R. of the museum, turn L., pass the facade of the palace and opposite its E. wing discover the charming old Medici Fountain. After strolling about the delightful gardens, unhappily by the erection of the Observatory in 1672 reduced by more than one-third of their former extent, we leave by the gate N. of the Medici Fountain which gives on the Rue Vaugirard opposite the Odeon Theatre, formerly the Theatre de la Nation, where the Comedie Francaise performed for a few years after 1781. The Paris booksellers still have their stalls inside the colonnade even as they used to do in the great Salle of the Palais de Justice.

[Footnote 191: Now suppressed and the building taken over by the State (1911).]

Descending (R. of the Odeon) the Rues Corneille, Casimir Delavigne and Antoine Dubois, we strike the Rue de l'Ecole de Medecine where (No. 15 to R.) will be seen the Refectory, all that remains of the great Franciscan monastery, and now used as a pathological museum (Musee Dupuytren), for medical students. In this hall was laid the body of Marat after his assassination by Charlotte Corday, and the famous club of the Cordeliers, where the gentler rhetoric of Camille Desmoulins vied with the thunderous declamation of Danton to stir republican fervour, met in the Hall of Theology. We pass to No. 5, where are some remains of the old School of Surgery or Guild of SS. Cosmas and Damian, founded by St. Louis; adjacent stood the church of St. Cosmas, famous for the fiery zeal of its cure during the times of the League. The surgeons of the Guild being compelled by their charter to give professional aid to the poor every Monday, the churchwardens obtained a papal Bull authorising them to erect in their church a suitable consulting-room for the use of the patients. In 1694 the surgeons built an anatomical theatre which, enlarged in 1710, is now used as an art school. We continue our pilgrimage and, crossing the Boulevard St. Michel to the Rue des Ecoles, descend on our L. the Rue de la Sorbonne and find the entrance to the beautiful late Gothic palace built for the abbots of Cluny in 1490.

The delightful old mansion, (p. 159) now the Musee de Cluny, is crowded with a selection of mediaeval and renaissance objects unparalleled in Europe for variety and excellence and beauty. The rooms themselves, with their fine carved chimney-pieces, where on winter days wood-fires, fragrant and genial, burn, are not the least charming part of the museum. Many of the exhibits (about 12,000) are uncatalogued, and the old catalogue, long out of date, may well be classed among the antiquities. The traveller will doubtless return again and again to this rich and fascinating museum. The present installation is provisional, and we do but indicate the chief classes of objects exhibited, most of which are clearly labelled. L. of vestibule, Rooms I. and II. contain a miscellaneous collection of wood carving, statuary, ivories, etc. Room III. has some important examples of carved and painted altar-pieces: 709 is late fifteenth-century work; 712, Flemish of the sixteenth century; 710, a German domestic altar-piece, near which stands a fine Flemish altar-piece (no number), carved with scenes from the Passion. On a screen in the centre are some important paintings, carvings and other objects of ecclesiastical art from the Rothschild Collection. Room IV. shows some beautiful renaissance furniture, cabinets, medals, etc. To the R. is the smaller Room V. The chief exhibits here are an eighteenth-century Neapolitan Creche, with more than fifty doll-like figures; a rich tabernacle of plateresque Spanish work, and some furniture of interest. We return and descend to Room VI. (on the R), a large hall, where many important mediaeval sculptures will be seen. At the four corners are thirteenth-century statues from the Ste. Chapelle. We may also mention: 429 (under a glass case), some lovely fourteenth-century statuettes, mourners from the tomb of Philip the Bold, by the Burgundian artist, Claus Sluter; a painted statue of the Baptist, Sienese work; statuette in wood of the Virgin, French art of the fourteenth century; 725, statuette in wood of St. Louis from the Ste. Chapelle. Other noteworthy examples of mediaeval plastic art by French, Italian and Netherland craftsmen will be found in this room, and around the walls are specimens of tapestries, carvings, paintings and mosaics, among the last being some from St. Denis and one, 4763, by David Ghirlandaio from St. Merri. We cross a passage to the parallel Hall VII., where hang three grand pieces of early sixteenth century Flemish tapestry, illustrating the story of David and Bathsheba. Among the statuary are: 251, Virgin and Child, French work of early sixteenth century; 448, The Three Fates, attributed to Germain Pilon, and said to be portraits of Diana of Poitiers and her daughters. 449, The Forsaken Ariadne; 456, Sleep; 450, Venus and Cupid; 479, a small and beautiful entombment, are French work of the sixteenth century. Hall VIII. Here are exhibited the sumptuously decorated robes of the Order of the Holy Ghost (p. 187); other examples of fine tapestry; a Venetian Galley Lamp; and some statuary of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

We return to the passage and ascend the stairs to the first floor. Here are three galleries devoted to Faiences and other specimens of the potter's art of French, Italian, Flemish, German, Spanish, Persian and Moorish provenance. All are of admirable craftsmanship, the Italian (including some from Faenza itself, the home of Faience ware) being of especial beauty and excellence. Among the Della Robbia ware is an exquisite Child-Baptist by Andrea. We now ascend three steps to the room which contains, among other objects, a matchless collection of Limoges enamels; some Venetian glass; and the marvellous fifteenth-century tapestries from Boussac, probably the finest of that fine period which have survived to us. The upper portion illustrates the Life and Martyrdom of St. Stephen; the lower, the story of the Lady and the Unicorn, or the Triumph of Chastity.

We descend to the Gallery of Hispano-Moorish and Persian pottery, and cross to a suite of small rooms where specimens of Jewish sanctuary art, old musical instruments, wedding cassoni and Flemish cabinets are displayed. We then turn R. to the Hall of Francis I., with a stately bed of the period; carved cabinets and cupboards, and proceed direct to the room devoted to the ivories. These are of extraordinary variety and beauty, and range from the sixth century downwards. The next room is crowded with an equally varied collection of bronze and iron work, among which we note a fifteenth-century statuette in bronze of Joan of Arc. The examples of the locksmith's art shown are of great beauty and excellence. The elaboration of French keys has a peculiar origin. Henry III., as a mark of royal favour, permitted his minions to possess a key of his private apartment: as a piece of swagger the royal favourite was wont to wear the key ostentatiously on his breast, whereby French smiths were spurred in emulation to produce keys of exquisite craftsmanship and design. Another kind of interest attaches to the key (No. 5962 in the case on the L. as we enter) which was made by Louis XVI. The following room contains specimens of the goldsmith's art. 5104 is a curious sixteenth-century model of a ship in gilded bronze, with figures of Charles V. and his court on the deck: it has an ingenious mechanism for discharging toy cannon. 5299, is a set of chessmen in rock crystal; 4988, the face of an altar, rich gold repousse work, was given by the Emperor, Henry II., to Bale Cathedral. The glass case in the centre holds nine golden Visigothic crowns found near Toledo in 1860, the largest is that of King Reccesvinthus who reigned in the latter half of the seventh century; 5044 is a fourteenth-century Italian processional cross of great beauty. We retrace our steps to the Hall of Francis I., turn R. and enter the private chapel. Opposite the charming little apse are placed some admirably preserved fourteenth-century reliefs in stone from the Abbey of St. Denis. On leaving, we turn R. along the passage, hung with armour and weapons, to the stairway, descend to Room VI., ground floor, open a door at its W. end, and in the twinkling of an eye are swept back nigh two thousand years along the stream of the ages, for the frigidarium of the Baths of the Palace of the Caesars is before us, a fabric of imperial architecture, spoiled of its decorations but yet massive and strong, as of elemental strength, defiant of time, the imperishable mark of Rome. We descend and find in the centre the altar (p. 17), bearing the inscription of the Nautae. A statue of the Emperor Julian; some thirteenth and fourteenth-century statues are also exhibited. We may enter and rest in the garden where a twelfth-century cloister portal from the Benedictine Abbey of Argenteuil, a fourteenth-century portal from the Abbey of St. Denis, and other fragments of architecture are placed.

We return to the Rue des Ecoles which we cross to the imposing new University buildings. The vestibule, grand staircase and amphitheatre are of noble and stately proportions and adorned with mural paintings, among which Puvis de Chavannes' great composition, The Sacred Grove, in the amphitheatre, is of chief interest.[192] We continue along the Rue de la Sorbonne and soon reach the old chapel, all that remains of Richelieu's Sorbonne, containing his tomb, a masterpiece of monumental art of the late seventeenth century, designed by Lebrun and executed by Girardon. The church of St. Benoist and its cloister, where Francois Villon assassinated his rival Chermoye, has also been swept away. We proceed by the Rue Victor Cousin, a continuation of the Rue de la Sorbonne, and debouch on the broad Rue Soufflot. Turning L., an inscription on No. 14 marks the site of the Dominican monastery where the great schoolmen, Albertus Magnus and St. Thomas Aquinas taught. Opposite (No. 9), at the corner of the Rue St. Jacques is the site, marked by a plan, of the old Porte St. Jacques of the Philip Augustus wall. We are now on the Mount of St. Genevieve, crowned by the majestic and eminent Pantheon, whose pediment is adorned by David d'Angers' sculptures, representing La Patrie, between Liberty and History, distributing crowns to her children. Among the figures are Malesherbes, Voltaire, Rousseau, Mirabeau, Carnot, Bonaparte, behind whom stand an old grenadier and the famous drummer-boy of Arcole.

[Footnote 192: The College de France may be seen further along the Rue des Ecoles at the corner of the Rue St. Jacques.]

The Pantheon has the most magnificent situation and, except the new church of the Sacre Coeur, is the most dominant building in Paris. Its dome is seen from nearly every eminence commanding the city, and has a certain stately, almost noble, aspect. But the spacious interior, despite the efforts of the artists of the third Republic, is chilling to the spectator. Swept and garnished, it has no warmth of historical or religious associations; it is devoid of human sentiment. The choice of painters to decorate the interior was an amazing act of official insensibility. The most discordant artistic temperaments were let loose on the devoted building. Puvis de Chavannes, the only painter among them who has grasped the limitation of mural art, has painted with restraint and noble simplicity incidents in the story of St. Genevieve. Jean Paul Laurens is responsible for a splendid but incongruous representation of the death of St. Genevieve. A St. Denis, scenes in the lives of Clovis, Charlemagne, St. Louis, and Jeanne d'Arc, by Bonnat, Blanc, Levy, Cabanel and Lenepveu, are all excellent work of the kind so familiar to visitors to the Salon at Paris, but lacking in harmony and in inspiration. The angel appearing to Jeanne d'Arc seems to have been modelled from a figurante at the opera. The visitor who has perused the opening chapters of this book will have no difficulty in following the subjects depicted on the walls. A more ambitious scheme of decoration was abruptly closed by the Coup d'Etat of Napoleon III.: Chenavard, who had been commissioned, in 1848, to decorate the interior by a series of forty cartoons, illustrating the "History of Man from his first sorrows to the French Revolution," found his gigantic project made abortive by the Prince President's treachery.

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