Press enter after choosing selection

Foreign Correspondence

Foreign Correspondence image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

Paris, Juno 1, 1873. St. Denia is a dirty old place of 16,())0 popu'ation, only half an hour's ridenorth of the cily, pon a bend in the Swine, and having no importance to strangersexcept its old Abbey church, the burial place of the Kings of France fat matiy conturies. It has frequently suffcred ii: the conuuotiona of the day, and being in possession of the French, together with the villas during the last three days ot' the recent war, it was considerahly injurpd by the bomlmrdment of the Prussians, and atc the time of our visit was undergoing repairs which Tery mnch disturbed the aroper effect of the venerable edifico and lts silent population. The portal and owers belong to the til&o of the rusade 12th oentary), and aboui a eentury later, after st;riouH injury from lightning the church was restored by St. Louis, and iike all eclesiastical stiuotures hns undera;one alterations at varions times. As it now stands it is regaided as one if the ïnest specimens of the Fronch Gothic. rh o fncade ia enibelliahed with numerous sculptnre8 about itn three portáis, representing the Ijast Judgnient, the Wiseand Foolish "Virgins, etc, and upon the south side is the Martynlom of St. Denis and tnany other representatioiis. The stained glass is uiostly modern, but comprises a wonderful variety of design - forming an extmisive portrait gallery of kingg, quoeus, popes, abbota, aaints, etc, scenea from the crusudes and life of St. Denis, the rcstoration by Xapoleon }., visit of Louis Philippe, eto. Some of these present a fine effect aa the windows arenuineroua and lurge. But it is its tombe and raonument8 which most excite the atten tion of the visitor, though in respect to the monuments thomselves we fouud them generally quite simple, a great ma. jority of them being plaiu sarcopbagi, supporting the full length reclining figure. One of the most extensivo is thut of Louis XII., with his wrfe, Anne of Bretagne (1527). Twelve arches richly decorated snrround the sarcophagus, within which are statues of the Apostles - the sides of the pedestal having historical reliëfs from the life of the king. That to Henry II. and Catlierine de Mediéis is of similar general design, with emblematic figures of Faith, Hope, and Charity, and Good works, the virtues, which oan scarcely be said to correspond with the memories of St. Bartholnmt'W night In the other transept is one to Francia I and hia Quaen (1517), well uontod work and ornamented with reliëfs of the battles of Meriguano and Cerisoles, and other fine sculptures. One of the most natural and effective single figures waa the kneeling statne cf Marie Antoinette. Hut, as suggwsted, the monuments were generally very plain and were interosting inurely because of the personal and liistoric associations. In thu wild political fanatioism of 1793, by a decrue of the convention this sanctuary of the Noble detid was desecrated and luany of the bodies dragged frou the vaults and cast into trenches outside. There was a complete remodeling of the crypt began under Napoleon III. and that portion of the church eontaining a larger number of luunuinents is not yet acoessible. Very extensive buildings adjoin the church, which frora being an old monastery has been converted into a school for the sisters ind daughters oi uiembers of the Legión of Honour, and is said to furniah very superior advantages to over 500 pupils. The proapect of a heavy thunder shower prevented any exploration of the environs of St. Dunis which by the way, did not promise any grea entertainment. Paris is in view all the way and we seeraed scarcely to have lef the city so shurt seemed the distance. It was before the High Altar of St. Denis that Napoleon and Marie Louise were married, April 1, 1810, and consumnmtec the pormis8ible liberty of kings to repudi ate and take again as many wives as thoir ambition or lust inclines. The con cave apse is finished after the Byzantin style, having a crimson ground set wit] stars, and presen ts quite a contrast to th other portions of the church. Grea nunibers of the niiddle classes make ex cureioiis to these places that are just outside the crowded city especially on Sundays, and on most of the railroads about the large cities there is a large deduction made upon tickets to ttuch places and re turn. amounling to about 33 por cent. The Luxemburg palaee, its beautiful park and extensive collection of modern paintings by eminent artists, is one of the sights whioh all strangers see. It is one of tho largest palaces and many of the apartments are ütted up with great splendor, but at present nothing but the gallerie are open, as since the destruction of the Hotel de Tille it is occupied by the Prefet of tho Seine and hisoffioer?. It hiiR been intimately connected with the history of Frenoh affairs, not merely as a Eoyal residence down to the period of the rovolution, but as the pliice where the Directory, the Consulate, the Senate, and Chaniber of Pfors havo at vaiious tinies held their essions, as also the hocialists under Louis Blanc during the troubles of 1848. Tho picture are not numerous, but generally good, and most of them by living artists. ' It was in this gullery that we saw the " Hay Harvest" and the " Plowing Oxen," by Rosa Bonheur, referred to in another letter as being in the Louvre. No pictures are admitted to tho latter until, at least, two yearB subsequeut to the artist'sdeatb. Of the païntings which most pleased us the "Reading of the naraes of the last viotims of tho reign of terror to the prisoaers confined in the Luxemburg" (it wan then used as a prison for the Noble class) was most striking. It is a largo picture, by Muller, the Bubject a uiOBt thrilling one and woll executod, in fact, we have geldom seon the persons and objects rosen tod on canvas so as to appear more real and actual. The ': Song of Edward in the tower ot' London," by Delaroche ; " Napoleon III. and his Staff," by Messonier; "Dflnto ;tnd Yirgil Crossing the Styx," by Do1h roix, and man y olhers are deeerving of the highest praise, bat space wiil not nllow. The gaidens or pink is a delightful resort and though now orossGcl ty iwo new streots is still quite extensive and retiderod yery ittractive by the great abundamie of beaiitiful shrubbery and its ma'.iy well srronged parterres of fiöwerv Arnöng tho itatuary with wbioh the prounds aro adorned Hre twenty lite-size f-tutues of ivninen celebrated in the bistory of Franco, standing upon pedestal atranged in a long circuit abouj, tiae terniee. Por sorae reason unknown to ns thrtt of .Tonn of Aro was nut oceupying tho pedestal asfñgned it. Thu Avenue du Luietnburg, wliioh extends in a straight direction to the Observator}', is a vry wide well-shaded street, appenring ahnost like nu oxteusion of the park. About half way up this avenue we camK to the brotise stat.ue of Marshal Noy, designed by Rade, and it wan uot without sentiuipiitM of Mytnpathy íind profound legre t that we looked in fancy ttpoii thu needless savagery wliioh directed the cowardly shooting of tli is " bril vest of the bravo," Deo. Tth, 1H1Ó. Tl:e pedestal stands upon thu veiy spot whuru the bei o feil, and with tliis ot' placía of the bronzo semblance of the patriot viptiru beforu us, there was a terrible distinctness in the soenu vvbich fancy rc-producod. The pedestal is fairly oovered with tbe long list of a hundrod battles in which, tlnoiigh va rious grades, he had fougbt for the glory of Frunce. The Observatory is an extensive edifico, or pile of buildings, but not at all perched upon a hill.nor partlculariy notioetibléfor its movirig dome. Tho meridian of Paris i una through its centre. Angther place of mach interest is the so-ualli d Hotel de Oluny, ereeted in the 1 jth ceiitnry by the Abbots of the Benedictino Abb.'y of Otany in Burgundy niid h' -uce its iMiiiti. It is na inteieating hditiue, exterually resembliug a castle ot mediiKval tiinee, with its irrugularturrettd walls and towers ; but froui its low situation, and the huuihle height of the structure, it does not form a conspiouous olject, even to the passer by. lts interior is equally of siugularly peculiar and attractive oonstructiou, with its quaint old fire places and ceilings, curious rooms, halls, and stuircasea. The rear portiou of this building once formad a part of tho baths of sume old lioman, and it is Hupposed to havo been the Emperor Constantine's chlorus, who resided in Gaul, A. D , "292, and a great nuruber of rudo statues and other sculptures, found in this place and other parta of the city, are the only remains preserred trom that early period. The uaths were lently of large proportions, but nothing seetus to have been done to ronder these antiquities at all attraetive, aad they aie jutubled together like ome of the fraginents piled about the Roman forum. The principal attraetion to the stranger is the extengive collection of inediral curiosities belonging priucipally to the Hth, lólhand 16th centuries, and curious indeed most of theui are, being of all sorts and descriptions, secular and eeclosiastieal, ornamental and useful, genre picture ,earv, ings, reliëfs, ifeo. Two rooms contain grand old state oarriages and sleighs of the time of Louis XIV and later times, got up regardless of expense, but of the heavy ltimbering stylo of our old-fashioned stage coaches, swung upon leathern supports, and the sleighs very atrong and of fanciful shapes, reuiinding us of tbe odd looking band wagons seon somotiines in circus processions, on a small suale. In a glass case are preserved various objecta in gold, amoug them nine crowns of Gothic Kings of Spain found near Toledo. They are very anoient, one of them hearing the name of Eecinvirethiis, being of the 7th century. Thoy ure of rudr construction, and though iich on account of the material, are not of nny great beauty of forui. We hud here the pleasure of seeing another of the Pope's golden ioses - a present f rom Clement V, to the Archbishop of h o- not so largo as that we sitw in Venioe, but like that wholly constructed of tho metal unrelieved by any other colors. Tbe bono of Moliere is also here exhibited, but if thero was any peculiarity of eonstruction ii bout it we fuiled to observe it. Ouo ot' the room is called the "Chauiber de la Reine Blnnch," us it was the custom of the ijueeus of Frunce to wcar white uiourning. ïhis particular room was one oceupied by Mary, widow of Louis XVI ; an:l here, in 153", the niarriage coremony was performed between James V of Sootland, and tho d&ughter of Francis I. It is a snug and pleasant littleapartmentadjoiningthebeautifulBinall chapnl. But we must not attempt to describe all wo saw in the various rooms, - it would not be loss difficult tlmn to catalogue the contonts of soms ono of Barnum's museums. A beautiful small park is attached to the promiseN, and both it and the collection are freely open two days in every week to the public, and at all time to strangera upon presentation of passport. Afjain fcood-by. Ever yours,


Old News
Michigan Argus