I was particularly struck that in 1900 the building was able to integrate the line 3 Metro station into its facade. And I had never looked up and appreciated the decorative heads pointing down to the entrance.
Curious to find more, and determined to "look up", I took a lovely stroll this quiet, sunny (!), Sunday morning to see what I've been missing. In the next block to us, at 116, rue Reaumur I found one of several buildings on the street designed by Albert Walwein (1851-1916) who was considered a master architect. Here, the entrance to the building is flanked by two big "telamon" figures, sculpted in the likeness of Hercules, holding up the plinth above, standing on lion heads and glowing in the unexpected sunshine.
Across the street, another Walwein building has two "carytides" (sculpted female figures) gazing back at the "telamons"!
Back on the even side of the street, no. 118 rue Reaumur built in 1900 by Joseph-Charles de Montarnal (1867-1947), shows the extent to which the Haussman rules were being abandoned. A mix of stone and cast iron with huge metal-encased windows that rise through three floors and run the entire width of the building, show a distinct Art Nouveau influence.
Nor had I ever noticed this sweet tiled mosaic of pyramids and camels on the very corner of the Place and the rue du Caire.
Coming back on the rue Clery, I was happy to see the "scissors building" still has its giant pair of metal scissors suspended on the outside. Founded in 1818, Hamon has been the principal supplier of scissors to the rag trade and the fashion world, although the shutters were closed on this Sunday morning, so the endless displays were not visible.
At the corner of rue Clery and rue du Poissonniere, up on a little ledge, stands a figure that has intrigued me for a long time. Is she an angel, or a goddess, is she to be worshipped or feared?
A side angle shows what might be wings, so an angel, or maybe it's a shield, perhaps a warrior goddess. Either way, I like her a lot, and hope she protects all who pass below, even if they don't look up!
One thing I do always look up at is the living wall on rue d'Aboukir, which since its planting about four years ago has become a veritable forest of greenery.
Which is to say that as well as chicken, turkey, capons, duck and other more usual poultry products, they would also have offered pheasant, snipe, woodcock, etc...
...as well as wild boar and venison...
Major PS!! Since posting the above, I have discovered some real information about this sign. Made of ceramic tiles, it was installed in 1890 between the two windows on the first floor of the building for an establishment owned by coffee merchants. They called their business "Au Planteur", and they offered all kinds of exotic provisions, including coffee. The "Aucune Succursale" means it was a one-of-a-kind shop, with no branch locations elsewhere. (No Starbucks chains in 1890!) In 1984, the sign was declared a National Historical Monument, which explains why it is always in such good condition. No further information as to how long it remained in business, but I'm so happy to know at least its origin and its purpose!
Some images above the eye level clearly indicate the "specialité de la maison", as does this lovely snail atop the entrance to l'Escargot restaurant...
...but what about this one on the next corner? Is it some theatre mask figure indicating there might once have been a theatre here? Another mystery to unravel.
All I can say is that I hope the latter one proves to be correct, at least for a few more days. We've been hibernating under such grey skies for so long, we've almost forgotten what sunshine is! Things would then definitely be "looking up"!
À bientôt!Follow @JanetRobbins14