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Day 136: Formal garden

I quite like walking around the Marais quarter, which is lively and bustling but also attracts a certain kind of fashionable crowd (not that I am one of them – and I doubt I could afford to be one either), making it an interesting people-watching neighbourhood. More importantly, the quarter did not undergo a Haussmann “re-looking” (a casual French term for makeover apparently) and therefore plenty of interesting architecture to check out too.

Hôtel particulier is one of the features which I think of as a link to the romantic past of the streets here, thanks to the favours bestowed by the royalties and the peers of French court once upon a time. The grand urban mansions usually come with entrance courts and gardens, and if you could cast your imagination a little back, if only back to the days where Impressionist artists could cast paintings of garden strolls in Victorian dresses and suits, the gardens would be just perfect for socials and interludes in between attending various soirées that one had been invited too.

Today, a number of these hôtel particulier have been converted into administrative buildings as well as museum spaces. Some of these are free to visit (e.g. Musée Cognacq-Jay, Musée Carnavalet, la maison de Victor Hugo) so there is no excuse to not get acquainted with the idea of grand Parisian townhouses. I should revisit them too. It has been a while.

Category: Project 365

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