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Day 240: South-East Asian House

From boulevard Jourdan, I have on a number of occasions noted this particular building, hidden away on rue Faguet. Curiosity abound, I detoured through today to check for the significance of the building. It turns out that this is actually one of the many houses within Cité U. This is the South-East Asian House.

Prior to this revelation, I was wondering if it’s a temple of some sort. Afterall, Buddhism is the third largest religion in the country and a friend previously told me that there are a couple of hundred Buddhist meditation centers and temples here. I admit to being a tad disappointed that my initial theory was not a correct one. Still, it’s a rather nice building and photos from Cité U website show impressive interiors too.

Day 173: Opéra Garnier

A little something from another famous landmark of Paris today for you – the figural group by Aimé Millet of Apollo, poetry and music at the Opéra Garnier. Standing tall and proud, Apollo holds the lyre high, which I take to interpret the triumph of music that one finds in this opera house. I have yet to attend any events here but for the 2011/2012 season, I’m going to try to watch an opera or two under what would be a magnificent setting.

Palais Garnier is steeped in grandeur. Various statues adorned the building, alongside busts of great composers along the front façade. In the interior, sweeping stairs and opulent chandeliers, deep crimson carpets and curtains, glittering gold borders and carvings – it’s no wonder this opera house inspired the creation of The Phantom of the Opera.

Day 89: Urn on window sill

While a large number of building in Paris are typically Haussmannian in style, there are of course parts of the city that still boasts architecture from other era, from Romanesque (e.g. Église Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre) to Gothic (e.g. Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris), to super modern (e.g. La Défense) and we certainly should not miss the period where Nouveau Art was all the rage.

Art Deco was the call of the day and on Boulevard de Sébastopol, today, it is Monoprix (a supermarket chain) that occupies the building above. Each window sill facing the junction between Boulevard de Sébastopol and rue Réaumur are sporting these stylish urn. It really was not a bad thing when the movement stormed across Paris in rejection of the uniform Haussmannian look.

Day 77: Maison Internationale

I mentioned the Maison Internationale a few days ago and thought, why not show it off? So voila, the grand building that welcomes all visitors to Cité U, looming majestically just as one walks past the main gate to the campus. It is supposed to be a replica of the Château de Fontainebleau. Since I’ve not been out in Fontainebleau, I can’t verify it. I shall check it during one of the upcoming weekends. ;)

Maison Internationale was built thanks to the contribution of JD Rockefeller Jnr and today, it houses a number of “stuff”, including a bank, the main campus restaurant, the library, the language lab (which I seriously need to pay a visit and make full use of) and even sports facilities to include swimming pool. Pretty impressive, right?

Day 74: Filming crew

I have no idea what was going on here, but at least I was not the only person who was busy snapping away while the crew worked at the entrance to one of the residence halls of Cité U. Puppets controlled by some guys sitting behind them, sign for World Poker Tour – what’s the link? And since we were supposed to be silent, I didn’t try to ask someone about the going-ons either.

Interestingly, reading the website of CIUP recently (I was researching options for dance and language classes) it seems like the campus is used regularly for filming purposes. However, since I don’t have a tv, bar some really famous French stars that have gone Hollywood or something, I doubt I’m going to recognise anyone. Is there a website for French equivalent of E! or something like that to improve my “celeb recognition skill”?

Day 73: Typically Parisian

Parisian housing architecture is one of the most distinct in the world. When Napoleon III commissioned Haussmann to whip up some magic to reform the city, this civil planner not only redesign the layout of the city but replaced the buildings which today are still seen all over the city. (Yes, they are *that* uniform).

Haussmann also incorporated various (small) gardens to his city plan, along with widened boulevards, specific building requirements, and quite importantly, winning everyone over with his genius in turning the old and rather unimpressive Paris into characters that many would still talk for years to come.

I’d imagine though, for anyone with an apartment to the narrow side of the building, how did one start to furnish the apartment? Standard furniture won’t fit into the nooks and corners properly, so unless you’re rich like Creosus and them custom made. Must be annoying.

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