Cavalry School, Samur, France


On back:
Ecole de Saumur
Entertainement des eleves
(Samur School/Training of students)

In 1763, Louis XV (via the Duc de Choiseul) reorganised the French cavalry. A new school for officers from all the cavalry regiments was set up at Saumur, managed and supervised by the “Corps Royal des Carabiniers” – since its inception the school has been hosted in the carabinier regiment’s quarter of the town, latterly in a magnificent 18th century building. This functioned until 1788. At the end of 1814, after the First Restoration, Louis XVIII set up the “École d’Instruction des Troupes à cheval” in Saumur. Its activities declined from 1822 onwards so it was regenerated by Charles X under the name of the “École Royale de Cavalerie” (later renamed the École impériale de cavalerie de Saumur). Most of its building complex was taken up with a military riding area and a riding-academy training hall. From 1830, with the disappearance of the École de Versailles, Saumur became the capital and sole repository of the French equestrian tradition, and its knowledge (such as in the Cadre Noir and its training regime in dressage) is still recognised throughout the world. At the end of the Second World War the French mounted cavalry (reduced to several squadrons of spahis retained for patrol work by this point) and armoured troops merged to form the ‘Arme blindée et cavalerie’ (ABC), with the École de Saumur becoming the new branch’s training centre.
Wikipedia.

If the wars of the Revolution and the Empire confirmed the legendary bravery of the French cavalry, they also revealed a lack of equestrian training. The troops were destroyed by contagious illness, the ferocity of combat, and the poor quality of the military equitation of the time. The French cavalry was decimated after the Napoleonic wars. In 1815 a Cavalry school was created in Saumur to reform the mounted troops and to standardize the use of the horse in war. Faced with the urgency of retraining riders and horses, a body of instructors was set up, made up of several great civilian riding masters, out of the Manèges of Versailles, the Tuileries and Saint-Germain. Considered the elite of the period, they trained the officer pupils of the cavalry : In 1825, it was the birth of the Cadre Noir of Saumur.

However at the beginning of the XXth century when the cavalry became mechanized (tanks and planes having gradually replaced horses on the battlefield) the question was raised of the usefulness of the Cadre Noir at the heart of the army. The government of the time could not bring itself to eliminate something which had become a real living heritage for France with the passage of time. A spectacular increase in riding for pleasure in the 70’s saw the creation of innumerable equestrian centres. The creation of the National Riding School was aimed at organizing the teaching of riding in France; its vocation to prepare for high level teaching diplomas and top level competition.. The National Riding School was created by decree in 1972 under the charge of the Minister for Sport.
Le Cadre noir de Saumur

Zoological Park, Cleres, France


On back:
Parc Zoologique de Clères (Seine Inf.)
Façade Nord du Château et Antilopes

(North face of the Chateau & antelopes)
c.1930
Publisher: Parc Zoologique de Clères

Cleres Zoological Park was established in 1919 in the grounds of Medieval/Rennaisance chateau.

Google Maps.
Official website (in French)


On back:
Parc Zoologique de Clères (Seine Inf.)
Nandous blancs

(White rheas)
Publisher: Parc Zoologique de Clères

Parc Monceau, Paris


Parc Monceau
Postmarked 1908

Google Street View.

The Hector Berlioz Website (more old views of park)

When France’s royal family want an absurdist Anglo-Chinese garden filled with an architectural pastiche from around the globe, who dares say no? Parc Monceau was built in 1778 at the request of King Louis XVI’s cousin – the Duke of Chartres, Phillippe d’’Orléans – who dreamt of opening a park that would amaze and surprise all who passed through its gates by foregrounding his eclectic taste in landscape design and architecture. What resulted was a monumental act of public folly, albeit one that possessed a tender charm all its own.

Constructed with a distinct lack of care for either the epoch or people from which he was borrowing, Parc Monceau originally contained a Roman colonnade, a miniature Egyptian pyramid, a Tartar tent, a Dutch windmill, a water lily pond, an enchanted grotto, a temple of Mars, an Italian vineyard and numerous antique statues, all within arms’ reach of each other. At the time of its debut, the garden also featured servants in flamboyant dress and exotic animals like camels. Taken as a whole, none of it it made much sense, but that had never really been the Duke’s point; unlike the Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale which was built to mimic foreign cultures for spectatorship, Parc Monceau was built as pure fantasy.
Atlas Obscura.

Parc Monceau had its beginning in 1769 when Louis Philippe, the duke of Chartres, who was also the cousin of Louis XVI and the father of King Louis-Philippe I and who would later become the Duc d’Orléans and be known as Philippe-Egalité, purchased a hectare of land on Boulevard de Courcelles. At this time he had architect Louis-Marie Colignon build a pavillion in the middle of a French-styled garden. During 1773-1778, he acquired twelve more surrounding hectares. He built on this property, with the designing help of painter Carmontelle, a windmill, a minaret, a pyramid, a Chinese pagoda, a Roman temple, a waterfall and the “Naumachie” which is a pond half-encircled by broken Corinthian columns. . . In 1793, the now Duc d’Orléans bought more of the surrounding properties and landscape architect Thomas Blaikie transformed the garden with trees and lawns into an English-styled garden. This was one of the first landscaped parks in Paris and it become a place of festivities.
Paris Walking Tours

After the monarchy was restored, the park was returned to the family of the Duke. During the Second Empire, the family sold lots within the park to real estate developers, who built luxurious town houses, reducing the size of the park by half. The remaining part of the park was purchased by the city of Paris in 1860. All that remained of the original folly was the water lily pond, the stream and the fantasy “tombs”, including the Egyptian pyramid.

In 1860, the park was purchased by the city, and in August 1861 Parc Monceau became the first new public park in Paris to be created by Baron Haussmann as part of the grand transformation of Paris begun by Emperor Louis Napoleon. Two main alleys were laid out from east to west and north to south, meeting in the center of the park, and the alleys within the park were widened and paved, so carriages could drive the park. An ornamental gate 8.3 m (27 ft) high was installed along a newly created avenue, boulevard Malesherbes, curving paths were laid out around the park for strolling. The pavillon de Chartres was also modified by the architect, Gabriel Davioud, who had a graceful classical dome added to the structure. He also built a bridge modeled after the Rialto bridge in Venice over the stream to replace the Chinese bridge by Carmontelle that had once been there. He preserved the other follies remaining from the original garden. Haussmann embellished the park with a rich collection of exotic trees and flowers from around the world.

The park is unusual in France due to its “English” style: its informal layout, curved walkways and randomly placed statues distinguish it from the more traditional, French-style garden. It includes a collection of scaled-down architectural features, or follies — including an Egyptian pyramid, a Chinese fort, a Dutch windmill, and Corinthian pillars. A number of these are masonic references, reflecting the fact that Philippe d’Orléans was a leading freemason. Parc Monceau includes statues of famous French figures including Guy de Maupassant, Frédéric Chopin, Charles Gounod, Ambroise Thomas, Alfred de Musset, and Edouard Pailleron.
Wikipedia.

Royal Hotel, Caen, France


CAEN – Hôtel de la Place Royale
La Salle Normande

The Royal Hotel Caen Centreis one of the oldest hotels in Caen: once called Grand Hotel of the Place Royale, then Hotel Royal and even Kyriad (as we partnered this franchise for a short decade). The original sign, found in the rubble after the bombing of Caen in 1944, is still with us and keeps the past present! Already present in the first editions of prestigious tourist guides (now more than hundred-year-old!!), the ancient “Grand Hôtel” keeps telling its story through collections of engravings and period post cards, as well as through maps of the old CAEN city center… With the current building dating back to 1951 and the reconstruction of Caen, the hotel has gained in comfort what its façade has lost in terms of architectural sophistication. . . . For those who would like to know more, here is an extract from a beautiful book [“Caen yesterday and today”, Yves Lecouterier & Bernard Enjolras, 2000] in a section called “La rue de Strasbourg et l’hôtel de la place Royale”:

“Known as Horses Alley in the 17th Century, it is renamed rue de la Municipalité during the Revolution. After the Republic was decreed in September 1871, the rue de l’Impératrice (as it became in the meantime) was renamed rue de Strasbourg in memory of the Alsace region’s capital which was then occupied by the Germans. Starting at the Rue Saint Pierre, it opens up on to the Place de la République. In memory of the square’s old name, the hotel kept the Place Royale name. The hotel, which served as lodgings for the troupes passing through Caen, was succeeded by a second built in 1835 to accommodate stagecoaches and the following inscription is added to its façade: ‘Royal Messengers’. At the start of the 20th Century, this hotel while boasting comfortable rooms with electricity, central heating and a lift, also had an exceptional location overlooking the town hall gardens. Destroyed during the bombings, it was rebuilt in the same place and still overlooks the gardens of the Place de la République.”
The history of the Royal Hotel Caen Centre (hotel’s website)

Lake, St Leger Thermal Spa, Pougues-les-Eaux, France


Pougues-les-Eaux (Nièvre) – Le Lac
c.1910
Pubilsher: Thibault

A drive of a few minutes had landed us in the heart of this little Paradise, baths and Casino standing in the midst of park-like grounds. Apparently Pougues, that is to say, the Pougues-les-Eaux of later days, has been cut out of natural woodland, the Casino gardens and its surroundings being rich in forest trees of superb growth and great variety. The wealth of foliage gives this new fashionable little watering-place an enticingly rural appearance, nor is the attraction of water wholly wanting. . . . A pretty little lake, animated with swans, varies the woodland scenery, and tropical birds in an aviary lend brilliant bits of colour. The usual accessories of a health resort are, of course, here—reading room, concert hall, theatre, and other attractions, rapidly turning the place into a lesser Vichy. The number and magnificence of the hotels, the villas and cottages, that have sprung up on every side, bespeak the popularity of Pougues-les-Eaux, as it is now styled, the surname adding more dignity than harmoniousness.
“East of Paris: Sketches in the Gâtinais, Bourbonnais, and Champagne”, Matilda Betham-Edwards (1902), p. 50

Pougues les Eaux is a town in the Center of France with a Spa and Gambling heritage. Although the Health Spa stopped in 1970, it was known for it’s miraculous water and gambling Casino since the renaissance.
Deserted Health Spa and Casino – Pougues les Eaux

Site is now Parc Saint Léger – Contemporary Art Center, which is here.

Ossuary, Bazeilles, France


BAZEIILES La Crypt-ou <<Ossuaire>>
Se compose de deux de séries de galleries paralleles se faisant face, séparées par un couloir central
Les galleries de droite sont occupées par les Françcais, celles de gauche par les Allemande.
(It consists of two galleries facing each other, separated by a central corridor
The galleries on the right are occupied by the French, those on the left by the Germans.)

Publisher: Suzaine-Pierson, Sedan

Street view (closest view)

Built in 1878 by the State on grounds that it had itself purchased from various parishes and individuals, the Necropolis and Ossuary was completed in 1890. It contains the remains of about 3,000 French and German soldiers.
Nécropole et Ossuaire de Bazeilles

For Germany, it was perhaps the Prussian Wars of Liberation that had the greatest effect upon relationships between soldiers, the army, and the nation.[9] In consequence, it was not republican France but imperial Germany that pushed for a comprehensive project to bury every officer and soldier who had died in the Franco-Prussian War. Article 16 of the Treaty of Frankfurt of 1871 set the tone and established the framework for this new development, stating that, ‘The French and German governments reciprocally agree to respect and maintain the tombs of soldiers buried on their respective territories.’ Since most of the dead lay on French soil, the article can be interpreted as having been primarily motivated by concerns for the safety of German graves after the army withdrew from occupation. . . . French obligations under Article 16 of the Treaty of Frankfurt were laid out in the law on military tombs of 4 April 1873. . . . In cases where large numbers of soldiers were interred, the state undertook to construct a vault or ossuary and to erect a funerary monument.
Remembering the Franco-Prussian War Dead: Setting Precedents for the First World War

In the devastated village of Bazeilles, however, the ossuary containing the remains of all those who had died in the battle, including civillians, was designed to produce the opposite effect. Visitors could enter and view for themselves the skeletons of over two thousand victims separated into two piles according to nationality. The resulting effects was devastatingly stark and horrifit. Those who recorded their impressionsdescribed their revulsion at seeing clothing still shrouding some of the bones, a good still in its shoes and fingers still wearing wedding rings.
“Unmentionable Memories of the Franco-Prussian War”, Karine Varley, 2008 in “Defeat and Memory: Cultural Histories of Military Defeat in the Modern Era”, p. 71

You descend into the partially underground crypt, and enter a central hallway. On the left, the German side, you will find several crypts containing grave monuments and memorials. These were erected and built during the German occupation of 1914-1918. When the Germans occupied this part of France in 1914 they were absolutely horrified to discover what the French had done with the remains of these soldiers of 1870. The bodies were not buried but lay stacked, haphazardly, inside the vaults. With their well-known Teutonic thoroughness, the Germans buried their soldiers in the crypt and sealed off the graves with concrete. Fortunately they left the French cellars untouched.

On the right, the French side, the situation is presumably largely as when the human remains were originally placed here. When you look into the crypts from behind the glass, on the left and right of a narrow `path’ you see heaps of body parts mixed together. Because of the climatic conditions here, some body parts are partly mummified. Many of the remains still have fragments of skin attached to them; sometimes a whole arm, including the fingers, are clearly visible. Bones protrude from soldiers’ boots, there are carcasses still with shreds of uniform on them; if you look carefully — much helped by the use of a torch — you can see the horrors of war in a quite extraordinary way, although the effect had been toned down over the passage of time, the remains collecting dust for the past 150 years.
“The Franco-Prussian War, 1870–1871: Touring the Sedan Campaign”, Maarten Otte, 2020, pp. 146

Paris Metro, Paris


PAIRS — Le Métropolitain
Paris — The Metropolitan (Alma-Marceau station)

c.1950
Pubisher: Bobillard?

RTAP (official website)

The Paris Métro, short for Métropolitain, is a rapid transit system in the Paris metropolitan area, France. A symbol of the city, it is known for its density within the city limits, uniform architecture and unique entrances influenced by Art Nouveau. It is mostly underground and 214 kilometres (133 mi) long. . . . The first line opened without ceremony on 19 July 1900, during the World’s Fair (Exposition Universelle). The system expanded quickly until the First World War and the core was complete by the 1920s. Extensions into suburbs and Line 11 were built in the 1930s. The network reached saturation after World War II with new trains to allow higher traffic, but further improvements have been limited by the design of the network and in particular the short distances between stations.
Wikipedia.

Cheverny Castle, Loir-et-Cher, France


5 — CHEVERNY (L.-et-C.) — Le Château — Le Grand Salon
The Castle — The Great Saloon

1910s
Published: A. Papeghin, Paris-Tours (1900-1931)

Street View (exterior)

Chateau de Chervny (Official website)

Wikipedia.


13 — CHEVERNY (L.-et-C.) — Le Château –La Salle des Gardes
The Castle — Guard’s Room

1910s
Published: A. Papeghin, Paris-Tours (1900-1931)


11 — CHEVERNY (L.-et-C.) — Le Château — La Salle à manger
The Castle — Dining Room

1910s
Published: A. Papeghin, Paris-Tours (1900-1931)

Gros Horloge (Big Clock), Rouen, France


ROUEN
La Grosse Horloge

The Big Clock

Google Street View.
Wikipedia

The pride of the people of Rouen, the astronomic clock lays on a Renaissance arch spanning the busy street of rue du Gros-Horloge. This popular tourist landmark in the old town of Rouen is flanked by a Gothic belfry from the 14th century.
Gros-Horloge, the pride of Rouen

…Copyright © French Moments Ltd unless otherwise stated. Read more at https://frenchmoments.eu/gros-horloge-of-rouen/ .
Running between the Gothic cathedral made famous by Claude Monet and the old market square where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake is a pedestrianised street called ‘Rue du Gros-Horloge’. This quaint street with many timber-framed buildings is named after Le Gros Horloge, a Renaissance clock set in an arch over the street. The clock’s movement was made in 1389, and installed in the adjacent belfry that was constructed at the same time. The bells in the belfry were the first set of municipal bells in Rouen. At this time there was no dial to the clock. With the construction of the arch between 1527 and 1529, the clock was moved to the arch and attached to two identical dials – one on each side of the arch. Each dial is about two and a half meters in diameter.

The dials are rich in astronomical symbolism. A single hand points out the hour of the day, moving over 24 golden sun-rays and encircled by a blue starry night. The phases of the moon are indicated on a small sphere directly above the dial. On the opposite side, below the hour of VI, a panel reveals the day of the week, symbolised by the god of the day: Monday is represented by the Moon, Tuesday by Mars, Wednesday by Mercury for Wednesday, Thursday by Jupiter, Venus by Friday, Saturday by Saturn and Apollo indicates Sunday.
Le Gros Horloge: Renaissance Time in Rouen

Though it’s been run by an electric mechanism since the early 20th century, the old clockwork mechanism from the 1300s is still there, in situ, and is theoretically still in good working order if it were to be hitched back up. It was one of the earliest clocks to sound bells at the quarter of the hour, not just on the hour. The two clock faces also have black and silver globes above them that display the phase of the moon.
The Great Clock of Rouen (has photos of inside of clock tower)