Part 2 out of 3
was the puppet of more artful priests. 3. The conqueror had quite
forgotten his early knack of conquering. 5. The terror of his enemies (for
4, the marvel of his age, we pretermit, it being a loose term, that may
apply to any person or thing) was now terrified by his enemies in turn. 6.
The love of his people was as heartily detested by them as scarcely any
other monarch, not even his great-grandson, has been, before or since. 7.
The arbiter of peace and war was fain to send superb ambassadors to kick
their heels in Dutch shopkeepers' antechambers. 8. Is again a general
term. 9. The man fit to be master of the universe was scarcely master of
his own kingdom. 10. The finished hero was all but finished, in a very
commonplace and vulgar way. And, 11, the man worthy of immortality was
just at the point of death, without a friend to soothe or deplore him;
only withered old Maintenon to utter prayers at his bedside, and croaking
Jesuit to prepare him, with heavens knows what wretched tricks and
mummeries, for his appearance in that Great Republic that lies on the
other side of the grave. In the course of his fourscore splendid miserable
years, he never had but one friend, and he ruined and left her. Poor La
Valliere, what a sad tale is yours!...
While La Valliere's heart is breaking, the model of a finished hero is
yawning; as, on such paltry occasions, a finished hero should. Let her
heart break: a plague upon her tears and repentance; what right has she to
repent? Away with her to her convent! She goes, and the finished hero
never sheds a tear. What a noble pitch of stoicism to have reached! Our
Louis was so great, that the little woes of mean people were beyond him;
his friends died, his mistresses left him; his children, one by one, were
cut off before his eyes, and great Louis is not moved in the slightest
degree! As how, indeed, should a god be moved?...
Out of the window the king's august head was one day thrust, when old
Conde was painfully toiling up the steps of the court below. "Don't hurry
yourself, my cousin," cries Magnanimity; "one who has to carry so many
laurels can not walk fast." At which all the courtiers, lackeys,
mistresses, chamberlains, Jesuits, and scullions, clasp their hands and
burst into tears. Men are affected by the tale to this very day. For a
century and three-quarters have not all the books that speak of
Versailles, or Louis Quatorze, told the story?
"Don't hurry yourself, my cousin!" O admirable king and Christian! what a
pitch of condescension is here, that the greatest king of all the world
should go for to say anything so kind, and really tell a tottering old
gentleman, worn out with gout, age, and wounds, not to walk too fast!
What a proper fund of slavishness is there in the composition of mankind,
that histories like these, should be found to interest and awe them. Till
the world's end, most likely, this story will have its place in the
history-books, and unborn generations will read it, and tenderly be moved
I am sure that Magnanimity went to bed that night, pleased and happy,
intimately convinced that he had done an action of sublime virtue, and had
easy slumbers and sweet dreams--especially if he had taken a light supper,
and not too vehemently attacked his "en cas de nuit." ...
The king his successor has not left, at Versailles, half so much occasion
for moralizing; perhaps the neigbhboring Parc aux Cerfs would afford
better illustrations of his reign. The life of his great grandsire, the
Grand Llama of France, seems to have frightened Louis the well-beloved;
who understood that loneliness is one of the necessary conditions of
divinity, and, being of a jovial, companionable turn, aspired not beyond
Only in the matter of ladies did he surpass his predecessor, as Solomon
did David. War he eschewed, as his grandfather bade him; and his simple
taste found little in this world to enjoy beyond the mulling of chocolate
and the frying of pancakes. Look, here is the room called Laboratoire du
Roi, where, with his own hands, he made his mistress's breakfast; here is
the little door through which, from her apartments in the upper story, the
chaste Du Barri came stealing down to the arms of the weary, feeble,
gloomy old man.
But of women he was tired long since, and even pancake-frying had palled
upon him. What had he to do, after forty years of reign; after having
exhausted everything? Every pleasure that Dubois could invent for his hot
youth, or cunning Lebel could minister to his old age, was flat and stale;
used up to the very dregs; every shilling in the national purse had been
squeezed out, by Pompadour and Du Barri and such brilliant ministers of
state. He had found out the vanity of pleasure, as his ancestor had
discovered the vanity of glory: indeed, it was high time that he should
die. And die he did; and round his tomb, as round that of his grandfather
before him, the starving people sang a dreadful chorus of curses, which
were the only epitaphs for good or for evil that were raised to his
On the 10th of May, 1774, the whole court had assembled at the chateau;
the Oeil de Boeuf was full. The Dauphin had determined to depart as soon
as the king had breathed his last. And it was agreed by the people of the
stables, with those who watched in the king's room, that a lighted candle
should be placed in a window, and should be extinguished as soon as he had
ceased to live.
The candle was put out. At that signal, guards, pages, and squires,
mounted on horseback, and everything was made ready for departure. The
Dauphin was with the Dauphiness, waiting together for the news of the
king's demise. An immense noise, as of thunder, was heard in the next
room; it was the crowd of courtiers, who were deserting the dead king's
apartment, in order to pay their court to the new power of Louis XVI.
Madame de Noailles entered, and was the first to salute the queen by her
title of Queen of France, and begged their Majesties to quit their
apartments, to receive the princes and great lords of the court desirous
to pay their homage to the new sovereigns. Leaning on her husband's arm, a
handkerchief to her eyes, in the most touching attitude, Marie Antoinette
received these first visits.
On quitting the chamber where the dead king lay, the Due de Villequier
bade Mr. Anderville, first surgeon of the king, to open and embalm the
body: it would have been certain death to the surgeon.
"I am ready, sir," says he; "but while I am operating, you must hold the
head of the corpse; your charge demands it."
The Duke went away without a word, and the body was neither opened nor
embalmed. A few humble domestics and poor workmen watched by the remains,
and performed the last offices to their master. The surgeons ordered
spirits of wine to be poured into the coffin.
They huddled the king's body into a postchaise; and in this deplorable
equipage, with an escort of about forty men, Louis, the Well-beloved, was
carried, in the dead of night, from Versailles to Saint-Denis, and then
thrown into the tombs of the kings of France!
If any man is curious, and can get permission, he may mount to the roof of
the palace, and see where Louis XVI. used royally to amuse himself by
gazing upon the doings of all the towns-people below with a telescope.
Behold that balcony, where, one morning, he, his queen, and the little
Dauphin stood, with Cromwell Grandison Lafayette by their side, who kissed
her Majesty's hand, and protected her; and then, lovingly surrounded by
his people, the king got into a coach and came to Paris: nor did his
Majesty ride much in coaches after that....
He is said to have been such a smart journeyman blacksmith that he might,
if Fate had not perversely placed a crown on his head, have earned a
couple of louis every week by the making of locks and keys. Those who will
may see the workshop where he employed many useful hours: Madame Elizabeth
was at prayers meanwhile; the queen was making pleasant parties with her
ladies; Monsieur the Count d'Artois was learning to dance on the
tightrope; and Monsieur de Provence was cultivating l'eloquence du billet
and studying his favorite Horace.
It is said that each member of the august family succeeded remarkably well
in his or her pursuits; big Monsieur's little notes are still cited. At a
minuet or sillabub, poor Antoinette was unrivaled; and Charles, on the
tightrope, was so graceful and so gentil that Madame Saqui might envy him.
The time only was out of joint. Oh, curst spite, that ever such harmless
creatures as these were bidden to right it!
A walk to the little Trianon is both pleasing and moral; no doubt the
reader has seen the pretty, fantastical gardens which environ it; the
groves and temples; the streams and caverns (whither, as the guide tells
you, during the heat of summer, it was the custom of Marie Antoinette to
retire with her favorite, Madame de Lamballe): the lake and Swiss village
are pretty little toys, moreover; and the cicerone of the place does not
fail to point out the different cottages which surround the piece of
water, and tell the names of the royal masqueraders who inhabited each.
In the long cottage, close upon the lake, dwelt the Seigneur du Village,
no less a personage than Louis XV.; Louis XVI., the Dauphin, was the
Pailli; near his cottage is that of Monseigneur the Count d'Artois, who
was the Miller; opposite lived the Prince de Conde, who enacted the part
of Gamekeeper (or, indeed, any other role, for it does not signify much);
near him was the Prince de Rohan, who was the Aumonier; and yonder is the
pretty little dairy, which was under the charge of the fair Marie
I forget whether Monsieur the fat Count of Provence took any share of this
royal masquerading; but look at the names of the other six actors of the
comedy, and it will be hard to find any person for whom Fate had such
dreadful visitations in store. Fancy the party, in the days of their
prosperity, here gathered at Trianon, and seated under the tall poplars by
the lake, discoursing familiarly together: suppose, of a sudden, some
conjuring Cagliostro of the time is introduced among them, and foretells
to them the woes that are about to come.
"You, Monsieur l'Aumonier, the descendant of a long line of princes, the
passionate admirer of that fair queen who sits by your side, shall be the
cause of her ruin and your own, [Footnote: In the diamond-necklace
affair.] and shall die in disgrace and exile. You, son of the Condes,
shall live long enough to see your royal race overthrown, and shall die by
the hands of a hangman. [Footnote: He was found hanging in his own bed-
room.] You, oldest son of St. Louis, shall perish by the executioner's ax;
that beautiful head, O Antoinette, the same ruthless blade shall sever."
"They shall kill me first," says Lamballe, at the queen's side.
"Yes, truly," says the soothsayer, "for Fate prescribes ruin for your
mistress and all who love her."
[Footnote: Among the many lovers that rumor gave to the Queen, poor Fersen
is the most remarkable. He seems to have entertained for her a high and
perfectly pure devotion. He was the chief agent in the luckless escape to
Varennes; was lurking in Paris during the time of her captivity; and was
concerned in the many fruitless plots that were made for her rescue.
Fersen lived to be an old man, but died a dreadful and violent death. He
was dragged from his carriage by the mob. In Stockholm, and murdered by
"And," cries Monsieur d'Artois, "do I not love my sister, too? I pray you
not to omit me in your prophecies."
To whom Monsieur Cagliostro says, scornfully, "You may look forward to
fifty years of life, after most of these are laid in the grave. You shall
be a king, but not die one; and shall leave the crown only; not the
worthless head that shall wear it. Thrice shall you go into exile; you
shall fly from the people, first, who would have no more of you and your
race; and you shall return home over half a million of human corpses, that
have been made for the sake of you, and of a tyrant as great as the
greatest of your family. Again driven away, your bitterest enemy shall
bring you back. But the strong limbs of France are not to be chained by
such a paltry yoke as you can put on her: you shall be a tyrant, but in
will only; and shall have a scepter, but to see it robbed from your hand."
"And pray, Sir Conjurer, who shall be the robber?" asked Monsieur the
This I can not say, for here my dream ended. The fact is, I had fallen
asleep on one of the stone benches in the Avenue de Paris, and at this
instant was awakened by a whirling of carriages and a great clattering of
national guards, lancers, and outriders, in red. His Majesty, Louis
Philippe, was going to pay a visit to the palace; which contains several
pictures of his own glorious actions, and which has been dedicated, by
him, to all the glories of France.
Versailles in 1739
By Thomas Gray
[Footnote: From a letter to his friend West.]
What a huge heap of littleness! It is composed, as it were, of three
courts, all open to the eye at once, and gradually diminishing till you
come to the royal apartments, which on this side present but half a dozen
windows and a balcony. This last is all that can be called a front, for
the rest is only great wings. The hue of all this mass is black, dirty
red, and yellow; the first proceeding from stone changed by age; the
second, from a mixture of brick; and the last, from a profusion of
tarnished gilding. You can not see a more disagreeable tout ensemble; and,
to finish the matter, it is all stuck over in many places with small busts
of a tawny hue between every two windows.
We pass through this to go into the garden, and here the case is indeed
altered; nothing can be vaster and more magnificent than the back front;
before it a very spacious terrace spreads itself, adorned with two large
basons; these are bordered and lined (as most of the others) with white
marble, with handsome statues of bronze reclined on their edges. From
hence you descend a huge flight of steps into a semi-circle formed by
woods, that are cut all around into niches, which are filled with
beautiful copies of all the famous antique statues in white marble. Just
in the midst is the bason of Latona; she and her children are standing on
the top of a rock in the middle, on the sides of which are the peasants,
some half, some totally changed into frogs, all which throw out water at
her in great plenty.
From this place runs on the great alley, which brings you into a complete
round, where is the bason of Apollo, the biggest in the gardens. He is
rising in his car out of the water, surrounded by nymphs and tritons, all
in bronze, and finely executed, and these, as they play, raise a perfect
storm about him; beyond this is the great canal, a prodigious long piece
of water, that terminates the whole. All this you have at one coup d'oeil
in entering the garden, which is truly great.
I can not say as much of the general taste of the place: everything you
behold savors too much of art; all is forced, all is constrained about
you; statues and vases sowed everywhere without distinction; sugar loaves
and minced pies of yew; scrawl work of box, and little squirting jets-
d'eau, besides a great sameness in the walks, can not help striking one at
first sight, not to mention the silliest of labyrinths, and all Aesop's
fables in water; since these were designed "in usum Delphini" only.
Here, then, we walk by moonlight, and hear the ladies and the nightingales
sing. Next morning, being Whitsunday, make ready to go to the installation
of nine Knights du Saint Esprit. Cambis is one: high mass celebrated with
music, great crowd, much incense, King, Queen, Dauphin, Mesdames,
Cardinals, and Court: Knights arrayed by his Majesty; reverences before
the altar, not bows, but curtsies; stiff hams; much tittering among the
ladies; trumpets, kettledrums, and fifes.
By Augustus J. C. Hare
[Footnote: From "Days Near Paris."]
The golden age of Fontainebleau came with the Renaissance and Francis I.,
who wished to make Fontainebleau the most glorious palace in the world.
"The Escurial!" says Brantome, "what of that? See how long it was of
building? Good workmen like to be quick finished. With our king it was
otherwise. Take Fontainebleau and Chambord. When they were projected, when
once the plumb-line, and the compass, and the square, and the hammer were
on the spot, then in a few years we saw the Court in residence there."
Il Rosso was first (1531) employed to carry out the ideas of Francois I.
as to painting, and then Sebastian Serlio was summoned from Bologna in
1541 to fill the place of "surintendant des bastiments et architecte de
Fontainebleau." Il Rosso-Giovambattista had been a Florentine pupil of
Michelangelo, but refused to follow any master, having, as Vasari says, "a
certain inkling of his own." Francois I. was delighted with him at first,
and made him head of all the Italian colony at Fontainebleau, where he was
known as "Maitre Roux." But in two years the king was longing to patronize
some other genius, and implored Giulio Romano, then engaged on the Palazzo
del Te at Mantua, to come to him. The great master refused to come
himself, but in his place sent the Bolognese Primaticcio, who became known
in France as Le Primatice.
The new-comer excited the furious jealousy of Il Rosso, whom he supplanted
in favor and popularity, and who, after growing daily more morose, took
poison in 1541. Then Primaticcio, who, to humor his rival had been sent
into honorable exile (on plea of collecting antiquities at Rome), was
summoned back, and destroyed most of Il Rosso's frescoes, replacing them
by his own. Those that remain are now painted over, and no works of Il
Rosso are still in existence (unless in engravings) except some of his
frescoes at Florence.
With the Italian style of buildings and decorations, the Italian system of
a Court adorned by ladies was first introduced here under Francois I., and
soon became a necessity.... Under Francois I., his beautiful mistress, the
Duchesse d'Etampes--"la plus belle des savantes, et la plus savante des
belles," directed all the fetes. In this she was succeeded, under Henry
II., by Diane de Poitiers, whose monogram, interwoven with that of the
king, appears in all the buildings of this time, and who is represented as
a goddess (Diana) in the paintings of Primaticcio.
Under Francois II., in 1560, by the advice of the queen-mother, an
assembly of notables was summoned at Fontainebleau; and here, accompanied
by her 150 beautiful maids of honor, Catherine de Medici received the
embassy of the Catholic sovereigns sent to demand the execution of the
articles of the Council of Trent, and calling for fresh persecution of the
Much as his predecessors had accomplished, Henri IV. did more for the
embellishment of Fontainebleau, where the monogram of his mistress,
Gabrielle d'Estrees, is frequently seen mingled with that of his wife,
Marie de Medici. All the Bourbon kings had a passion for hunting, for
which Fontainebleau afforded especial facilities.
It was at Fontainebleau that Louis XIII. was born, and that the Marechal
de Biron was arrested. Louis XIII. only lived here occasionally. In the
early reign of Louis XIV., the palace was lent to Christina, of Sweden,
who had abdicated her throne.
It was in one of the private apartments, occupying the site of the ancient
Galerie des Cerfs, now destroyed, that she ordered the execution of her
chief equerry, Monaldeschi, whom she had convicted of treason. She
listened patiently to his excuses, but was utterly unmoved by them and his
entreaties for mercy. She provided a priest to confess him, after which he
was slowly butchered by blows with a sword on the head and face, as he
dragged himself along the floor, his body being defended by a coat of
Even after the creation of the palaces of Versailles and Marly, Louis XIV.
continued to make an annual "voyage de Fontainebleau." He compelled his
whole court to follow him; if any of his family were ill, and unable to
travel by road, he made them come by water; for himself, he slept on the
way, either at the house of the Duc d'Antin (son of Mme. de Montespan) or
of the Marechal de Villeroy.
It was here that the Grand Dauphin was born, in 1661. Here, also, it was
that Mme. de Maintenon first appeared at the councils, and that the king
publicly asked her advice as to whether he should accept the throne of
Spain for the Duc d' Anjou. Here, also, in 1685, he signed the revocation
of the edict of Nantes. The great Conde died in the palace. Louis XV. was
married here to Marie Leczinska in 1725; and here the Dauphin, his son,
died in 1765. Louis XIV. delighted in Fontainebleau for its hunting
After the Revolution, Napoleon I. restored the chateau and prepared it for
Pius VII. who came to France to crown him, and was here (January 25, 1813)
induced to sign the famous Concordat de Fontainebleau, by which he abjured
his temporal sovereignty. The chateau which witnessed the abdication of
the Pope, also saw that of Napoleon I., who made his touching farewell to
the soldiers of the Vielle-Garde in the Cour du Cheval-Blanc, before
setting off for Elba.... The Cour du Cheval-Blanc, the largest of the five
courts of the palace, took its name from a plaster copy of the horse of
Marcus Aurelius at Rome, destroyed 1626. Recently it has been called the
Cour des Adieux, on account of the farewell of Napoleon I. in 1814. It was
once surrounded by buildings on all sides; one was removed in 1810, and
replaced by a grille.
The principal facade is composed of five pavilions with high roofs, united
by buildings two stories high. The beautiful twisted staircase in front of
the central pavilion was executed by Lemercier for Louis XIII., and
replaces a staircase by Philbert Delorme. Facing this pavilion, the mass
of buildings on the right is the Aile Neuve of Louis XV., built on the
site of the Galerie d'Ulysse, to the destruction of the precious works of
Primaticcio and Niccolo dell' Abbate, with which it was adorned. Below the
last pavilion, near the grille, was the Grotte du Jardin-des-pins, where
James V. of Scotland, coming over to marry Magdalen of France, daughter of
Francois I., watched her bathing with her ladies, by the aid of a
To the west of the Cour du Cheval-Blanc, and communicating with it, is the
Cour de la Fontaine, the main front of which is formed by the Galerie de
Francois I. This faces the great tank, into which Gaston d' Orleans, at
eight years old, caused one of the courtiers to be thrown, whom he
considered to have spoken to him disrespectfully. One side of the Cour de
la Fontaine, that toward the Jardin Anglais, is terminated by a pavilion
of the time of Louis XV.; the other, formerly decorated with statues is
attributed to Serlio. The fountain from which the court takes its name has
been often changed; a poor work by Petitot now replaces the grand designs
of the time of Francois I. and Henri IV. Beyond this court we find, on the
left, the Porte Doree, which faces the Chaussee de Maintenon, between the
Etang and Parterre; it was built under Francois I., and decorated by
Primaticcio with paintings, restored in 1835. It was by this entrance that
Charles V. arrived at the palace in 1539....
A staircase now leads to the first floor, and we enter the apartments of
Napoleon I., all furnished in the style of the First Empire. The cabinet
de l'Abdication is the place where he resigned his power. His bedroom
(containing the bed of Napoleon I., the cradle of the King of Rome, and a
cabinet of Marie Louise) leads to the Salle du Conseil, which was the
Salon de Famille under Louis Philippe. Its decorations are by Boucher, and
are the best of the period. It was in leaving this room that the Marechal
de Biron was arrested under Henri IV., in a cabinet which is now thrown
into the adjoining Salle du Trone, (previously the bedroom of the Bourbon
kings), dating from Charles IV., but decorated under Louis XIII. A fine
portrait by Phillipe de Champaigne represents Louis XIII. It is
accompanied by his device in allusion to his vehemence in the
extermination of heresy.
The adjoining boudoir de Marie Antoinette is a beautiful little room,
painted by Barthelemy. The metal work of the windows is said to have been
wrought by Louis XVI. himself, who had his workshop here, as at
Versailles. The richly decorated Chambre a Coucher de la Reine was
inhabited by Marie de Medici, Marie Therese, Marie Antoinette, Marie
Louise, and Marie Amelie. The silk hangings were given by the town of
Lyons to Marie Antoinette on her marriage. The Salon de Musique was the
Salon du jeu de la Reine, under Marie Antoinette. The ancient Salon de
Clorinde, or des Dames d' Honneur, is named from its paintings by Dubois
and from the "Gerusalemme Liberata."
The Galerie de Diane, built by Napoleon I. and Louis XVIII., replaces the
famous frescoed gallery of Henri IV. It is now turned into a library for
the use of the town. In the center is a picture of Henri IV. on horseback,
by Mauzaise. The Salles des Chasses contain pictures of hunting scenes
under Louis XV. We now reach the glorious Galerie d' Henri II. (or Salle
des Fetes), built by Francois I., and decorated by Henri II. The walnut-
wood ceiling and the paneling of the walls are of marvelous richness. Over
the chimney is a gigantic H, and the initials of Henri II. are constantly
seen interlaced with those of Diane de Poitiers.... The sixty paintings on
the walls, including eight large compositions, were executed by Niccolo
Dell' Abbate, and are probably the finest decorations of the kind existing
The rooms usually shown last are those formerly inhabited by Catherine de
Medici and Anne of Austria, and which, under the First Empire, were used
by Pius VII., under Louis Philippe, by the Duke and Duchess of Orleans.
The most interesting of these are the Chambre a Coucher, which bears the
oft-repeated A L (the chiffre of Louis XIII. and Anne of Austria), and in
which Pius VII. daily said mass, and the Salon, with its fine tapestry
after Giulio Romano. The Galerie des Assiettes, adorned with Sevres china,
only dates from Louis Philippe. Hence, by a gallery in the Aile Neuve,
hung with indifferent pictures, we may visit the Salle du Theatre,
retaining its arrangements for the emperor, empress, and court.
The Gardens, as seen now, are mostly as they were rearranged by Lenotre
for Louis XIV. The most frequented garden is the Parterre, entered from
the Place du Cheval-Blanc. In the center of the Jardin Anglais (entered
through the Cour de la Fontaine) was the Fontaine Bleau, which is supposed
by some to have given a name to the palace. The Etang has a pavilion in
the center, where the Czar Peter got drunk. The carp in the pool, overfed
with bread by visitors, are said to be, some of them, of immense age. John
Evelyn mentions the carp of Fontainebleau, "that come familiarly to hand."
The Jardin de l' Orangerie, on the north of the palace, called Jardin des
Buis under Francois I., contains a good renaissance portal. To the east of
the parterre and the town is the park, which has no beauty, but harmonizes
well with the chateau.
Visitors should not fail to drive in the Forest, 80 kilometers in circuit,
and, if they return late, may look out for its black huntsman--"le grand
veneur." ... The forest was a favorite hunting-ground of the kings of
France to a late period. It was here that the Marquis de Tourzel, Grand
Provost of France, husband of the governess of the royal children,
fractured his skull, his horse bolting against a tree, when hunting with
Louis XVI., in November, 1786. The forest is the especial land of French
artists, who overrun and possess it in the summer. There are innumerable
direction-posts, in which all the red marks--put up by Napoleon III.,
because so few peasants could read--point to town.
By Grant Allen
[Footnote: From "Paris."]
About six miles north of the original Paris stands the great Basilica of
St. Denis--the only church in Paris, and I think in France, called by that
ancient name, which carries us back at once to the days of the Roman
Empire, and in itself bears evidence to the antiquity of the spot as a
place of worship. Around it, a squalid modern industrial town has slowly
grown up; but the nucleus of the whole place, as the name itself shows, is
the body and shrine of the martyred bishop, St. Denis. Among the numerous
variants of his legend, the most accepted is that in which the apostle of
Paris carries his head to this spot from Montmartre. Others say he was
beheaded in Paris and walked to Montmartre, his body being afterward
translated to the Abbey; while there are some who see in this legend a
survival of the Dionysiac festival and sacrifice of the vine-growers round
However that may be, a chapel was erected in 275 above the grave of St.
Denis, on the spot now occupied by the great Basilica; and later, Ste.
Genevieve was instrumental in restoring it. Dagobert I., one of the few
Frankish kings who lived much in Paris, built a "basilica" in place of the
chapel (630), and instituted by its side a Benedictine Abbey. The church
and monastery which possest the actual body of the first bishop and great
martyr of Paris formed naturally the holiest site in the neighborhood of
the city; and even before Paris became the capital of a kingdom, the
abbots were persons of great importance in the Frankish state.
The desire to repose close to the grave of a saint was habitual in early
times, and even (with the obvious alteration of words) ante-dated
Christianity--every wealthy Egyptian desiring in the same way to "sleep
with Osiris." Dagobert himself was buried in the church he founded, beside
the holy martyr; and in later times this very sacred spot became for the
same reason the recognized burial place of the French kings. Dagobert's
fane was actually consecrated by the Redeemer Himself, who descended for
the purpose by night, with a great multitude of saints and angels.
The existing Basilica, tho of far later date, is the oldest church of any
importance in the neighborhood of Paris. It was begun by Suger, abbot of
the monastery, and sagacious minister of Louis VI. and VII., in 1121. As
yet, Paris itself had no great church, Notre-Dame having been commenced
some 50 years later. The earliest part of Suger's building is in the
Romanesque style; it still retains the round Roman arch and many other
Roman constructive features. During the course of the 50 years occupied in
building the Basilica, however, the Gothic style was developed; the
existing church therefore exhibits both Romanesque and Gothic work, with
transitional features between the two, which add to its interest.
Architecturally, then, bear in mind, it is in part Romanesque, passing
into Gothic. The interior is mostly pure Early Gothic.
The neighborhood to Paris, the supremacy of the great saint, and the fact
that St. Denis was especially the Royal Abbey, all combined to give it
great importance. Under Suger's influence, Louis VI. adopted the oriflamme
or standard of St. Denis as the royal banner of France. The Merovingian
and Carlovingian kings, to be sure--Germans rather than French--had
naturally been buried elsewhere, as at Aix-la-Chapelle, Rheims, and
Soissons (tho even of them a few were interred beside the great bishop
martyr). But as soon as the Parisian dynasty of the Capets came to the
throne, they were almost without exception buried at St. Denis. Hence the
abbey came to be regarded at last mainly as the mausoleum of French
royalty, and is still too often so regarded by tourists.
But tho the exquisite Renaissance tombs of the House of Valois would well
deserve a visit on their own account, they are, at St. Denis, but
accessories to the great Basilica. Besides the actual tombs, too, many
monuments were erected here, in the 13th century (by St. Louis) and
afterward, to earlier kings buried elsewhere, some relic of whom, however,
the abbey possest and thus honored. Hence several of the existing tombs
are of far later date than the kings they commemorate; those of the Valois
almost alone are truly contemporary.
At the Revolution, the Basilica suffered irreparable losses. The very
sacred reliquary containing the severed head of St. Denis was destroyed,
and the remains of the martyr and his companions desecrated. The royal
bones and bodies were also disinterred and flung into trenches
indiscriminately. The tombs of the kings were condemned to destruction,
and many (chiefly in metal) were destroyed or melted down, but not a few
were saved with difficulty by the exertions of antiquaries, and were
placed in the Museum of Monuments at Paris (now the Ecole des Beaux-Arts),
of which Alexandre Lenoir was curator. Here, they were greatly hacked
about and mutilated, in order to fit them to their new situations.
At the Restoration, however, they were sent back to St. Denis, together
with many other monuments which had no real place there; but, being housed
in the crypt, they were further clipt to suit their fresh surroundings.
Finally, when the Basilica was restored under Viollet-le-Duc, the tombs
were replaced as nearly as possible in their old positions; but several
intruders from elsewhere are still interspersed among them. Louis XVIII.
brought back the mingled bones of his ancestors from the common trench and
interred them in the crypt. As regards the tombs, again, bear in mind
these facts. All the oldest have perished; there are none here that go
back much further than the age of St. Louis, tho they often represent
personages of earlier periods or dynasties. The best are those of the
Renaissance period. These are greatly influenced by the magnificent tomb
of Giangaleazzo Visconti at the Certosa di Pavia, near Milan. Especially
is this the case with the noble monument of Louis XII., which closely
imitates the Italian work. Now, you must remember that Charles VIII. and
Louis XII. fought much in Italy, and were masters of Milan; hence this
tomb was familiar to them; and their Italian experiences had much to do
with the French Renaissance. The Cardinal d'Amboise, Louis's minister,
built the Chateau de Gaillon, and much of the artistic impulse of the time
was due to these two. Henceforth recollect that tho Francois I. is the
prince of the Renaissance, Louis XII. and his minister were no mean
The interior is most beautiful. The first portion of the church which we
enter is a vestibule or Galilee under the side towers and end of the Nave.
Compare Durham. It is of the age of Abbot Suger, but already exhibits
pointed arches in the upper part. The architecture is solid and massive,
but somewhat gloomy.
Descend a few steps into the Nave, which is surrounded by single aisles,
whose vaulting should be noticed. The architecture of this part, now pure
Early Gothic, is extremely lovely. The triforium is delicate and graceful.
The windows in the clerestory above it, representing kings and queens, are
almost all modern. Notice the great height of the Nave, and the unusual
extent to which the triforium and clerestory project above the noble
vaulting of the aisles. Note that the triforium itself opens directly to
the air, and is supplied with stained-glass windows, seen through its
arches. Sit awhile in this light and lofty Nave, in order to take in the
beautiful view up the church toward the choir and chevet. Then walk up to
the Barrier near the Transepts, where sit again, in order to observe the
Choir and Transepts with the staircase which leads to the raised
Ambulatory. Observe that the transepts are simple. The ugly stained glass
in the windows of their clerestory contains illustrations of the reign of
Louis Philippe, with extremely unpicturesque costumes of the period. The
architecture of the Nave and Choir, with its light and airy arches and
pillars, is of the later 13th century.
The reason for this is that Suger's building was thoroughly restored from
1230 onward, in the pure pointed style of that best period. The upper part
of the Choir, and the whole of the Nave and Transepts was then rebuilt--
which accounts for the gracefulness and airiness of its architecture when
contrasted with the dark and heavy vestibule of the age of Suger.
Note from this point the arrangement of the Choir, which, to those who do
not know Italy, will be quite unfamiliar. As at San Zeno in Verona, San
Miniato in Florence, and many other Romanesque churches, the Choir is
raised by some steps above the Nave and Transepts; while the Crypt is
slightly deprest beneath them. In the Crypt, in such cases, are the actual
bodies of the saints buried there; while the Altar stands directly over
their tombs in the Choir above it.
By Augustus J. C. Hare
[Footnote: From "Days Near Paris."]
The tram stops close to the Abreuvoir, a large artificial tank, surrounded
by masonry for receiving the surplus water from the fountains in the
palace gardens, of which it is now the only remnant. Ascending the avenue
on the right, we shall find a road at the top which will lead us, to the
left, through delightful woods to the site of the palace. Nothing remains
but the walls supporting the wooded terrace.
It is difficult to realize the place as it was, for the quincunces of
limes which stood between the pavilions on either side of the steep avenue
leading to the royal residence, formerly dipt and kept close, are now huge
trees, marking still the design of the grounds, but obscuring the views,
and, by their great growth, making the main avenue very narrow. St. Simon
exaggerates the extravagance of Louis XIV. at Marly, who spent there four
and a half million francs between 1679 and 1690, and probably as much or
more between 1690 and 1715, perhaps in all ten or twelve millions, which
would represent fifty million francs at the present time. Nevertheless the
expense of the amusements of Louis XIV. greatly exceeded the whole revenue
of Henri IV., and those of the early years of Louis XIII.
From the central pavilion in which the flattery of Mansart placed him as
the sun, Louis XIV. emerged every morning to visit the occupiers of the
twelve smaller pavilions, Les Pavilions des Seigneurs, the constellations,
his courtiers, who came out to meet him and swelled his train. These
pavilions, arranged on each side of the gardens, stood in double avenues
of clipt lime-trees looking upon the garden and its fountains, and leading
up to the palace.
The device of the sun was carried out in the palace itself, where all the
smaller apartments circled round the grand salon, the king and queen
having apartments to the back, the dauphin and dauphine to the front, each
apartment consisting of an anteroom, bedroom, and sitting-room, and each
set being connected with one of the four square saloons, which opened upon
the great octagonal hall, of which four faces were occupied by chimney-
pieces and four by the doors of the smaller saloons. The central hall
occupied the whole height of the edifice, and was lighted from the upper
The great ambition of every courtier was to be of the Marly circle, and
all curried favor with the king by asking to accompany him on his weekly
journey to Marly. The Court used to arrive at Marly on a Wednesday and
leave it on a Saturday; this was an invariable rule. The king always
passed his Sundays at Versailles, which was his parish. ... The leading
figure at Marly was Mme. de Maintenon, who occupied the apartments
intended for Queen Marie Therese, but who led the simplest of lives, bored
almost to extinction. She used to compare the carp languishing in the
tanks of Marly to herself--"Like me they regret their native mud." ... At
first Mme. de Maintenon dined, in the midst of the other ladies in the
square salon which separated her apartment from that of the king; but soon
she had a special table, to which a very few other ladies, her intimates,
came by invitation.
Marly was the scene of several of the most tragic events in the life of
Louis XIV. "Everything is dead here, there's no life in any thing," wrote
the Comtesse de Caylus, niece of Mme. de Maintenon, from Marly to the
Princess des Ursins, after the death of the Duchesse de Bourgogne. And, in
a few days afterward, Marly was the scene of the sudden death of the
Dauphin, Duc de Bourgogne, the beloved pupil of Fenelon. Early in the
morning after the death of his wife, he was persuaded, "ill and anguished
with the most intimate and bitterest of sorrows," to follow the king to
Marly, where he entered his own room by a window on the ground floor.
It was also at Marly--"ill-omened Marly"--that the Duc de Berry, the
younger grandson of Louis XIV., and husband of the profligate daughter of
the Duc d' Orleans--afterward Regent, died, with great suspicion of
poison, in 1714. The MS. memorials of Mary Beatrice by a sister of
Chaillot, describe how, when Louis XIV. was mourning his beloved
grandchildren, and that queen, whom he had always liked and respected, had
lost her darling daughter Louisa, she went to visit him at Marly where
"they laid aside all Court etiquette, weeping together in their common
grief, because, as the Queen said, 'We saw that the aged were left, and
that death had swept away the young.'" St. Simon depicts the last walk of
the king in the gardens at Marly on August 10, 1715. He went away that
evening to Versailles, where he died on September 1.
Marly was abandoned during the whole time of the Regency, and was only
saved from total destruction in 1717, when the Regent Philippe d'Orleans
had ordered its demolition, by the spirited remonstrance of St. Simon....
The great pavilion itself only contained, as we have seen, a very small
number of chambers. The querulous Smollett, who visited Marly in 1763,
speaks of it as "No more than a pigeon-house in respect to a palace." But
it was only intended as the residence of the king.
During the repairs necessary in the reign of Louis XV., who built Choisy
and never lived at Marly, the cascade which fell behind the great pavilion
was removed. Mme. Campan describes the later Marly of Louis XVI., under
whom the "Marly journey" had become one of the great burdens and expenses
of royal life. The Court of Louis XVI. was here for the last time on June
11, 1789, but in the latter years of Louis XVI., M. de Noailles, governor
of St. Germain, was permitted to lend the smaller pavilions furnished to
his friends for the summer months. Marly perished with the monarchy, and
was sold at the Revolution, when the statues of its gardens were removed
to the Tuileries. A cotton mill was for a time established in the royal
pavilion; then all the buildings were pulled down and the gardens sold in
Still the site is worth visiting. The Grille Royale, now a simple wooden
gate between two pillars with vases, opens on the road from St. Germain to
Versailles, at the extremity of the Aqueduct of Marly. Passing this, one
finds oneself in an immense circular enclosure, the walls of which
surround the forest on every side.
The Village of Auteuil
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
[Footnote: From "Outre-Mer." Published by Houghton, Mifflin Co.]
The sultry heat of summer always brings with it, to the idler and the man
of leisure, a longing for the leafy shade and the green luxuriance of the
country. It is pleasant to interchange the din of the city, the movement
of the crowd, and the gossip of society, with the silence of the hamlet,
the quiet seclusion of the grove, and the gossip of a woodland brook.
It was a feeling of this kind that prompted me, during my residence in the
North of France, to pass one of the summer months at Auteuil, the
pleasantest of the many little villages that lie in the immediate vicinity
of the metropolis. It is situated on the outskirts of the Bois de
Boulogne, a wood of some extent, in whose green alleys the dusty city
enjoys the luxury of an evening drive, and gentlemen meet in the morning
to give each other satisfaction in the usual way. A cross-road, skirted
with green hedge-rows, and overshadowed by tall poplars, leads you from
the noisy highway of St. Cloud and Versailles to the still retirement of
this suburban hamlet. On either side the eye discovers old chateaux amid
the trees, and green parks, whose pleasant shades recall a thousand images
of La Fontaine, Racine, and Moliere; and on an eminence, overlooking the
windings of the Seine, and giving a beautiful tho distant view of the
domes and gardens of Paris, rises the village of Passy, long the residence
of our countrymen Franklin and Count Rumford....
It was to the Bois de Boulogne that I looked for my principal recreation.
There I took my solitary walk, morning and evening; or, mounted on a
little mouse-colored donkey, paced demurely along the woodland pathway. I
had a favorite seat beneath the shadow of a venerable oak, one of the few
hoary patriarchs of the wood which had survived the bivouacs of the allied
armies. It stood upon the brink of a little glassy pool, whose tranquil
bosom was the image of a quiet and secluded life, and stretched its
parental arms over a rustic bench, that had been constructed beneath it
for the accommodation of the foot-traveler, or, perchance, some idle
dreamer like myself. It seemed to look round with a lordly air upon its
old hereditary domain, whose stillness was no longer broken by the tap of
the martial drum, nor the discordant clang of arms; and, as the breeze
whispered among its branches, it seemed to be holding friendly colloquies
with a few of its venerable contemporaries, who stooped from the opposite
bank of the pool, nodding gravely now and then, and gazing at themselves
with a sigh in the mirror below....
I entered, too, with some enthusiasm, into all the rural sports and
merrimakes of the village. The holidays were so many little eras of mirth
and good feeling; for the French have that happy and sunshine temperament
--that merry-go-mad character--which renders all their social meetings
scenes of enjoyment and hilarity. I made it a point never to miss any of
the fetes champetres, or rural dances, at the wood of Boulogne; tho I
confess it sometimes gave me a momentary uneasiness to see my rustic
throne beneath the oak usurped by a noisy group of girls, the silence and
decorum of my imaginary realm broken by music and laughter, and, in a
word, my whole kingdom turned topsy-turvy with romping, fiddling, and
dancing. But I am naturally, and from principle, too, a lover of all those
innocent amusements which cheer the laborer's toil, and, as it were, put
their shoulders to the wheel of life, and help the poor man along with his
load of cares. Hence I saw with no small delight the rustic swain astride
the wooden horse of the carrousel, and the village maiden whirling round
and round in its dizzy car; or took my stand on the rising ground that
overlooked the dance, an idle spectator in a busy throng. It was just
where the village touched the outward border of the wood. There a little
area had been leveled beneath the trees, surrounded by a painted rail,
with a row of benches inside. The music was placed in a slight balcony,
built around the trunk of a large tree in the center; and the lamps,
hanging from the branches above, gave a gay, fantastic, and fairy look to
the scene. How often in such moments did I recall the lines of Goldsmith,
describing those "kinder skies" beneath which "France displays her bright
domain," and feel how true and masterly the sketch--
"Alike all ages; dames of ancient days
Have led their children through the mirthful maze,
And the gray grandsire, skilled in gestic lore,
Has frisked beneath the burden of threescore."
Nor must I forget to mention the fete patronale--a kind of annual fair,
which is held at midsummer, in honor of the patron saint of Auteuil. Then
the principal street of the village is filled with booths of every
description; strolling players, and rope-dancers, and jugglers, and
giants, and dwarfs, and wild beasts, and all kinds of wonderful shows,
excite the gaping curiosity of the throng; and in dust, crowds, and
confusion, the village rivals the capital itself. Then the goodly dames of
Passy descend into the village of Auteuil; then the brewers of Billancourt
and the tanners of Sevres dance lustily under the greenwood tree; and
then, too, the sturdy fishmongers of Bretigny and Saint-Yon regale their
fat wives with an airing in a swing, and their customers with eels and
I found another source of amusement in observing the various personages
that daily passed and repassed beneath my window. The character which most
of all arrested my attention was a poor blind fiddler, whom I first saw
chanting a doleful ballad at the door of a small tavern near the gate of
the village. He wore a brown coat, out at elbows, the fragment of a velvet
waistcoat, and a pair of tight nankeens, so short as hardly to reach below
his calves. A little foraging cap, that had long since seen its best days,
set off an open, good-humored countenance, bronzed by sun and wind. He was
led about by a brisk, middle-aged woman, in straw hat and wooden shoes;
and a little barefooted boy, with clear, blue eyes and flaxen hair, held a
tattered hat in his hand, in which he collected eleemosynary sous. The old
fellow had a favorite song, which he used to sing with great glee to a
merry, joyous air, the burden of which ran "Chantons l'amour et le
plaisir!" I often thought it would have been a good lesson for the crabbed
and discontented rich man to have heard this remnant of humanity--poor,
blind, and in rags, and dependent upon casual charity for his daily bread,
singing in so cheerful a voice the charms of existence, and, as it were,
fiddling life away to a merry tune.
I was one morning called to my window by the sound of rustic music. I
looked out and beheld a procession of villagers advancing along the road,
attired in gay dresses, and marching merrily on in the direction of the
church. I soon perceived that it was a marriage-festival. The procession
was led by a long orang-outang of a man, in a straw hat and white dimity
bobcoat, playing on an asthmatic clarionet, from which he contrived to
blow unearthly sounds, ever and anon squeaking off at right angles from
his tune, and winding up with a grand flourish on the guttural notes.
Behind him, led by his little boy, came the blind fiddler, his honest
features glowing with all the hilarity of a rustic bridal, and, as he
stumbled along, sawing away upon his fiddle till he made all crack again.
Then came the happy bridegroom, drest in his Sunday suit of blue, with a
large nosegay in his button-hole; and close beside him his blushing bride,
with downcast eyes, clad in a white robe and slippers, and wearing a
wreath of white roses in her hair. The friends and relatives brought up
the procession; and a troop of village urchins came shouting along in the
rear, scrambling among themselves for the largess of sous and sugar-plums
that now and then issued in large handfuls from the pockets of a lean man
in black, who seemed to officiate as master of ceremonies on the occasion.
I gazed on the procession till it was out of sight; and when the last
wheeze of the clarionet died upon my ear, I could not help thinking how
happy were they who were thus to dwell together in the peaceful bosom of
their native village, far from the gilded misery and the pestilential
vices of the town.
On the evening of the same day, I was sitting by the window, enjoying the
freshness of the air and the beauty and stillness of the hour, when I
heard the distant and solemn hymn of the Catholic burial-service, at first
so faint and indistinct that it seemed an illusion. It rose mournfully on
the hush of evening--died gradually away--then ceased. Then, it rose
again, nearer and more distinct, and soon after a funeral procession
appeared, and passed directly beneath my window. It was led by a priest,
bearing the banner of the church, and followed by two boys, holding long
flambeaux in their hands. Next came a double file of priests in their
surplices, with a missal in one hand and a lighted wax taper in the other,
chanting the funeral dirge at intervals--now pausing, and then again
taking up the mournful burden of their lamentation, accompanied by others,
who played upon a rude kind of bassoon, with a dismal and wailing sound.
Then followed various symbols of the church, and the bier borne on the
shoulders of four men. The coffin was covered with a velvet pall, and a
chaplet of white flowers lay upon it, indicating that the deceased was
unmarried. A few of the villagers came behind, clad in mourning robes, and
bearing lighted tapers. The procession passed slowly along the same street
that in the morning had been thronged by the gay bridal company. A
melancholy train of thought forced itself home upon my mind. The joys and
sorrows of this world are so strikingly mingled! Our mirth and grief are
brought so mournfully in contact! We laugh while others weep--and others
rejoice when we are sad! The light heart and the heavy walk side by side
and go about together! Beneath the same roof are spread the wedding-feast
and the funeral-pall! The bridal-song mingles with the burial-hymn! One
goes to the marriage-bed, another to the grave; and all is mutable,
uncertain, and transitory.
It is with sensations of pure delight that I recur to the brief period of
my existence which was passed in the peaceful shades of Auteuil. There is
one kind of wisdom which we learn from the world, and another kind which
can be acquired in solitude only. In cities we study those around us; but
in the retirement of the country we learn to know ourselves.
[Illustration: Paris: Interior of the Grand Opera House]
[Illustration: Paris Front of the Grand Opera House]
[Illustration: Arc de Triomphe]
[Illustration: Arch Erected by Napoleon, Near the Louvre]
[Illustration: Paris: Church of St. Vincent de Paul]
[Illustration: Paris: Church of St. Sulpice]
[Illustration: Picture Gallery at Versailles]
[Illustration: Versailles: Bed-Room of Louis XIV]
[Illustration: The Grand Trianon at Versailles]
[Illustration: The Little Trianon at Versailles]
[Illustration: Bed-Room of Catherine de Medici at Chaumont]
[Illustration: Marie Antoinette's Dairy at Versailles]
[Illustration: Tours From Turner's "Rivers of France"]
[Illustration: Saint Denis From Turner's "Rivers of France"]
[Illustration: Havre From Turner's "Rivers of France"]
[Illustration: The Bridge of St. Cloud From Turner's "Rivers of France"]
The Two Trianons
By Augustus J. C. Hare
[Footnote: From "Days Near Paris."]
The Trianons may be reached in half an hour from the railway station, but
the distance is considerable, and a carriage very desirable, considering
all the walking inside of the palaces to be accomplished. Carriages take
the straight avenue from Bassin de Neptune. The pleasantest way for foot-
passengers is to follow the gardens of Versailles as far as the Bassin
d'Apollon, and then turn to the right. At the end of the right branch of
the grand canal, staircases lead to the park of the Grand Trianon; but
these staircases are railed in, and it is necessary to make a detour to
the Grille de la Grande Entree, whence an avenue leads directly to the
Grand Trianon, while the Petit Trianon lies immediately to the right,
behind the buildings of the Concierge and Corps de Garde.
The original palace of the Grand Trianon was a little chateau built by
Louis XIV., in 1670, as a refuge from the fatigues of the Court, on land
bought from the monks of St. Genevieve, and belonging to the parish of
Trianon. But in 1687 the humble chateau was pulled down, and the present
palace erected by Mansart in its place.
Louis XIV. constantly visited the Grand Trianon, with which for many years
he was much delighted. But, after 1700, he never slept at Trianon, and,
weary of his plaything here, turned all his attention to Marly. Under
Louis XV., however, the palace was again frequently inhabited.
Being entirely on one floor, the Grand Trianon continued to be a most
uncomfortable residence, till subterranean passages for service were added
under Louis Philippe, who made great use of the palace. The buildings are
without character or distinction. Visitors have to wait in the vestibule
till a large party is formed, and are then hurried full speed round the
rooms, without being allowed to linger for an instant.
The Petit Trianon was built by Gabriel for Louis XV. in the botanical
garden which Louis XIV. had formed at the instigation of the Duc d'Ayen.
It was intended as a miniature of the Grand Trianon, as that palace had
been a miniature of Versailles. The palace was often used by Louis XV.,
who was here first attacked by the smallpox, of which he died. Louis XVI.
gave it to Marie Antoinette, who made its gardens, and whose happiest days
were spent here.
The Petit Trianon is a very small and very unassuming country house. Mme.
de Maintenon describes it in June as "a palace enchanted and perfumed."
Its pretty simple rooms are only interesting from their associations. The
furniture is mostly of the times of Louis XVI. The stone stair has a
handsome iron balustrade; the salons are paneled in white.
Here Marie Antoinette st to Mme. Lebrun for the picture in which she is
represented with her children. In the dining-room is a secretaire given to
Louis XVI. by the States of Burgundy, and portraits of the King and Marie
Antoinette. The Cabinet de Travail of the queen was a cabinet given to her
on her marriage by the town of Paris; in the Salle de Reception are four
pictures by Watteau; the Boudoir has a Sevres bust of the queen; in the
Chambre-a-coucher is the queen's bed, and a portrait of the Dauphin by
Lebrun. These simple rooms are a standing defense of the queen from the
false accusations brought against her at the Revolution as to her
extravagance in the furnishing of the Petit Trianon. Speaking of her happy
domestic life, Mme. Lebrun says: "I do not believe Queen Marie Antoinette
ever allowed an occasion to pass by without saying an agreeable thing to
those who had the honor of being near her."
By Augustus J. C. Hare
[Footnote: From "Days Near Paris."]
The station is opposite a short avenue, at the end of which on the right,
is the principal entrance to Malmaison. A little higher up the road at the
right is a gate leading to the park and gardens, freely open to the
public, and being sold (1887) in lots by the Stat. There is a melancholy
charm in the old house of many recollections--grim, empty, and desolate;
approached on this side by a bridge over the dry moat. A short distance
off, rather to the left, as you look from the house, is a very pretty
little temple--the Temple of Love--with a front of columns of red Givet
marble brought from the chateau of Richelieu, and a clear stream bursting
from the rocks beneath it.
Malmaison is supposed to derive its name from having been inhabited in the
XI century by the Norman brigand Odon, and afterward by evil spirits,
exorcised by the monks of St. Denis. Josephine bought the villa with its
gardens, which had been much praised by Delille, from M. Lecouteulx de
Canteleu for 160,000 francs.... Josephine retired to Malmaison at the time
of her divorce, and seldom left it afterward.... In 1814, the unhappy
Josephine, whose heart was always with Napoleon, was forced to receive a
visit from the allied sovereigns at Malmaison, and died of a chill which
she caught in doing the honors of her grounds to the Emperor Alexander on
May 26, by a water excursion on the pool of Cucufa. After his return from
Elba, Napoleon revisited the place....
After the loss of the battle of Waterloo, Napoleon once more retired to
Malmaison, then the property of the children of Josephine, Eugene and
Hortense. There he passed June 25, 1815, a day of terrible agitation. That
evening at five o'clock he put on a brown suit of civilian clothes,
tenderly embraced Queen Hortense and the other persons present, gave a
long lingering look at the house and gardens connected with his happiest
hours, and left them for ever.
After the second Restoration Prince Eugene sold Malmaison, removing its
gallery of pictures to Munich. There is now nothing remarkable in the
desolate rooms, tho the Salle des Marechaux, the bedroom of Josephine, and
the grand salon, with a chimney-piece given by the Pope are pointed out.
In later years the house was for some time inhabited by Queen Christina of
Spain. It will be a source of European regret if at least the building
connected with so many historic souvenirs, and the immediate grounds are
By Leitch Ritchie
[Footnote: From "The Rivers of France." Pictures by J. M.
W. Turner, R.A. Text by Leitch Ritchie.]
The view from the terrace of Saint Germain is one of the finest in France.
This view, and a shady walk in the forest behind, are the only attractions
of Saint Germain; for the old palace of the kings of France presents the
appearance of nothing more than a huge, irregular, unsightly brick
building. It is true, a great portion of the walls is of cut stone; but
this is the idea which the whole conveys to the spectator. The edifice
stands on the site of a chateau built by Louis-le-Gros, which, having been
burned down by the English, was thus raised anew from its ruins. Charles
V., Francois II., Henry IV., Louis XIII., and Louis XIV., all exercised
their taste upon it, and all added to its general deformity.
Near this Henri Quatre built another chateau, which fell into ruins forty
or fifty years ago. These ruins were altogether effaced by Charles X., who
had formed the project of raising another structure upon the spot,
entirely his own. The project, however, failed, like that of the coup
d'etat, but this is of no consequence. The new chateau exists in various
books of travel, written by eye-witnesses, quite as palpably as the
enormous bulk of the ancient chateau. It is a true "castle in Spain."
Among the sights to be seen in the palace is the chamber of Mademoiselle
de la Valliere, and the trap-door by which she was visited by Louis
Quatorze. There are also the chamber and oratory of our James II., who
died at Saint Germain, on the 16th September, 1701.
The forest of Saint Germain is seven leagues in circumference, pierced in
every direction by roads and paths, and containing various edifices that
were used as hunting-lodges. This vast wood affords no view, except along
the seemingly interminable path in which the spectator stands, the vista
of which, carried on with mathematical regularity, terminates in a point.
This is the case with all the great forests of France except that of
Fontainebleau, where nature is sometimes seen in her most picturesque
form. In the more remote and unfrequented parts of Saint Germain, the wild
boar still makes his savage lair; and still the loiterer, in these
lengthened alleys, is startled by a roebuck or a deer springing across the
Independently of the noble satellites attached to the court, the infinite
number of official persons made its removal to Saint Germain, or the other
royal seats, seem like the emigration of a whole people. Forty-nine
physicians, thirty-eight surgeons, six apothecaries, thirteen preachers,
one hundred and forty maitres d'hotel, ninety ladies of honor to the
queen, in the sixteenth century! There were also an usher of the kitchen,
a courier de vin (who took the charge of carrying provisions for the king
when he went to the chase), a sutler of court, a conductor of the sumpter-
horse, a lackey of the chariot, a captain of the mules, an overseer of
roasts, a chair-bearer, a palmer (to provide ananches for Easter), a valet
of the firewood, a paillassier of the Scotch guard, a yeoman of the mouth,
and a hundred more for whose offices we have no names in English.
The grand maitre d'hotel was the chief officer of the court. The royal
orders came through him; he regulated the expenses; and was, in short, to
the rest of the functionaries, what the general is to the army. The maitre
des requetes was at the head of civil justice; the prevot de l'hotel at
the head of criminal justice....
When the courtiers presented themselves at the chateau, some in chariots,
some on horseback, with their wives mounted behind them (the ladies all
masked), they were subjected to the scrutiny of the captain of the gate.
The greater number he compelled to dismount; but the princes and
princesses, and a select few who had brevets of entrance, were permitted
to ride within the walls.
At court the men wore sword and dagger; but to be found with a gun or
pistol in the palace, or even in the town, subjected them to a sentence of
death. To wear a casque or cuirass was punished with imprisonment. The
laws of politeness were equally strict. If one man used insulting words to
another, the offense was construed as being given to the king; and the
offender was obliged to solicit pardon of his majesty. If one threatened
another by clapping his hand to the hilt of his sword, he was to be
assomme according to the ordinance; which may either mean knocked down, or
soundly mauled--or the two together. If two men came to blows, they were
both assomme. A still more serious breach of politeness, however, was the
importunity of petitioners.
When the king hunted he was accompanied by a hundred pages, two hundred
esquires, and often four or five hundred gentlemen; sometimes by the queen
and princesses, with their hundreds of ladies and maids of honor, mounted
on palfreys saddled with black velvet.
By Augustus J. C. Hare
[Footnote: From "Days Near Paris."]
Very near the station is the Chateau de St. Cloud, set on fire by the
bombs of Mont-Valerien, in the night of October 13, 1870, and now the most
melancholy of ruins. Sufficient, however, remains to indicate the noble
character of a building partly due to Jules Hardouin and Mansart. The
chateau is more reddened than blackened by the fire, and the beautiful
reliefs of its gables, its statues, and the wrought-iron grilles of its
balconies are still perfect. Grass, and even trees, grow in its roofless
halls, in one of which the marble pillars and sculptured decorations are
seen through the gaps where windows once were. The view from the terrace
is most beautiful.
The name of St. Cloud comes from a royal saint, who was buried in the
collegiate church, pulled down by Marie Antoinette (which stood opposite
the modern church), and to whose shrine there is an annual pilgrimage.
Clodomir, King of Orleans, son of Clovis, dying in 524, had bequeathed his
three sons to the guardianship of his mother Clotilde. Their barbarous
uncles, Childebert and Clotaire, coveting their heritage, sent their
mother a sword and a pair of scissors, asking her whether she would prefer
that they should perish by the one, or that their royal locks should be
shorn with the other, and that they should be shut up in a convent.
"I would rather see them dead than shaven," replied Clotilde proudly. Two
of the princes were then murdered by their uncles, the third, Clodowald,
was hidden by some faithful servants, but fright made him cut off his hair
with his own hands, and he entered a monastery at a village then called
Nogent, but which derived from him the name of St. Clodowald, corrupted
into St. Cloud.
Clodowald bequeathed the lands of St. Cloud to the bishops of Paris, who
had a summer palace here, in which the body of Francois I. lay in state
after his death at Rambouillet. His son, Henri II., built a villa here in
the Italian style; and Henri III. came to live here in a villa belonging
to the Gondi family, while, with the King of Navarre, he was besieging
Paris in 1589. The city was never taken, for at St. Cloud Henri was
murdered by Jacques Clement, a monk of the Jacobin convent in Paris, who
fancied that an angel had urged him to the deed in a vision....
From this time the house of the banker Jerome Gondi, one of the Italian
adventurers who had followed the fortunes of Catherine de Medici, was an
habitual residence of the Court. It became the property of Hervard,
Controller of Finances, from whom Louis XIV. bought it for his brother
Philippe d'Orleans, enlarged the palace, and employed Lenotre to lay out
the park. Monsieur married the beautiful Henriette d'Angleterre, youngest
daughter of Charles I., who died here, June 30, 1670, with strong
suspicion of poison. St. Simon affirms the person employed to have confest
to Louis XIV., having used it at the instigation of the Chevalier de
Lorraine (a favorite of Monsieur), whom Madame had caused to be exiled.
One of the finest sermons of Bossuet describes the "disastrous night on
which there came as a clap of thunder the astonishing news! 'Madame is
dying! Madame is dead!' At the sound of so strange a wo people hurried to
St. Cloud from all sides to find panic over all except the heart of the
In the following year Monsieur was married again, to the Princess
Palatine, when it was believed that his late wife appeared near a fountain
in the park, where a servant, sent to fetch water, died of terror. The
vision turned out to be a reality--a hideous old woman, who amused herself
in this way. "The cowards," she said, "made such grimaces that I nearly
died laughing. This evening pleasure paid me for the toil of my hard day."
Monsieur gave magnificent fetes to the Court at St. Cloud, added to the
palace with great splendor, and caused the great cascade, which Jerome
Gondi had made, to be enlarged and embellished by Mansart. It was at St.
Cloud that Monsieur died of an attack of apoplexy, brought on by
overeating after his return from a visit to the king at Marly.... The
chateau continued to be occupied by Madame, daughter of the Elector, the
rude, the original, and satirical Princess Palatine, in whom the modern
House of Orleans has its origin, and here she died during the regency of
The Regent d'Orleans, nephew of Louis XIV., received Peter the Great at
St. Cloud in 1717. In 1752 his grandson, Louis Philippe d'Orleans, gave at
St. Cloud one of the most magnificent fetes ever seen in France.
In 1785 the Due d'Orleans sold St. Cloud for six million francs to Queen
Marie Antoinette, who made great alterations in the internal arrangements
of the building, where she resided during the early days of the
It was at St. Cloud that the coup d'etat occurred which made Napoleon
first-consul. This led him to choose the palace of St. Cloud, which had
been the cradle of his power, as his principal residence, and, under the
first empire, it was customary to speak of "le cabinet de Saint-Cloud," as
previously of "le cabinet de Versailles," and afterward of "le cabinet des
Tuileries." Here, in 1805, Napoleon and Josephine assisted at the baptism
of the future Napoleon III....
It was also in the palace of St. Cloud that Napoleon I. was married to
Marie Louise, April 1, 1810. In this palace of many changes the allied
sovereigns met after the fall of the First Empire. Blucher, after his
fashion, slept booted and spurred in the bed of Napoleon; and the
capitulation of Paris was signed here July 3, 1815.
Louis XVIII. and Charles X. both lived much at St. Cloud, and added to it
considerably; but here, where Henry IV. had been recognized as King of
France and Navarre, Charles X. was forced by the will of the people to
abdicate, July 30, 1830. Two years after, Louis Philippe established
himself with his family at St. Cloud, and his daughter Clementine was
married to Duke Augustus of Saxe-Coburg in its chapel, April 28, 1843.
Like his uncle, Napoleon III. was devoted to St. Cloud, where--"with a
light heart"--the declaration of war with Prussia was signed in the
library, July, 17, 1870, a ceremony followed by a banquet, during which
the "Marseillaise" was played. The doom of St. Cloud was then sealed. On
the 13th of the following October the besieged Parisians beheld the
volumes of flame rising behind the Bois de Boulogne, which told that St.
Cloud, recently occupied by the Prussians, and frequently bombarded in
consequence from Mont-Valerien, had been fired by French bombs.
The steamer for St. Cloud descends the Seine, passing under the Pont de
Solferino, Pont de la Concorde, Pont des Invalides, and Pont d'Alma. Then
the Champ de Mars is seen on the left, the Palais du Trocadero on the
right. After the Pont du d'Iena, Passy is passed on the right, and the Ile
des Cygnes on the left. Then comes the Pont de Grenelle, after which
Auteuil is passed on the right and Javel on the left. After leaving the
Pont-viaduc du Point-du-Jour, the Ile de Billancourt is seen on the left.
After the Pont de Billancourt, the steamer passes between the Iles de
Billancourt and Seguin to Bas Meudon.
The Papal Palace at Avignon
By Charles Dickens
[Footnote: From "Pictures From Italy."]
There lay before us, that same afternoon, the broken bridge of Avignon,
and all the city baking in the sun; yet with an underdone-piecrust,
battlemented wall, that never will be brown, tho it bake for centuries.
The grapes were hanging in clusters in the streets, and the brilliant
oleander was in full bloom everywhere. The streets are old and very
narrow, but tolerably clean, and shaded by awnings stretched from house to
house. Bright stuffs and handkerchiefs, curiosities, ancient frames of
carved wood, old chairs, ghostly tables, saints, virgins, angels, and
staring daubs of portraits, being exposed for sale beneath, it was very
quaint and lovely. All this was much set off, too, by the glimpses one
caught, through a rusty gate standing ajar, of quiet sleepy court-yards,
having stately old houses within, as silent as tombs. It was all very like
one of the descriptions in the Arabian Nights. The three one-eyed
Calenders might have knocked at any one of those doors till the street
rang again, and the porter who persisted in asking questions--the man who
had the delicious purchases put into his basket in the morning--might have
opened it quite naturally.
After breakfast next morning, we sallied forth to see the lions. Such a
delicious breeze was blowing in, from the north, as made the walk
delightful, tho the pavement-stones, and stones of the walls and houses,
were far too hot to have a hand laid on them comfortably.
We went, first of all, up a rocky height, to the cathedral, where Mass was
performing to an auditory very like that of Lyons, namely, several old
women, a baby, and a very self-possest dog, who had marked out for himself
a little course or platform for exercise, beginning at the altar-rails and
ending at the door, up and down which constitutional walk he trotted,
during the service, as methodically and calmly, as any old gentleman out
of doors. It is a bare old church, and the paintings in the roof are sadly
defaced by time and damp weather; but the sun was shining in, splendidly,
through the red curtains of the windows, and glittering on the altar
furniture; and it looked as bright and cheerful as need be.
Hard by the cathedral stands the ancient Palace of the Popes, of which one
portion is now a common jail, and another a noisy barrack; while gloomy
suites of state apartments, shut up and deserted, mock their own old state
and glory, like the embalmed bodies of kings. But we neither went there to
see state rooms, nor soldiers' quarters, nor a common jail, tho we dropt
some money into a prisoners' box outside, while the prisoners, themselves,
looked through the iron bars, high, up, and watched us eagerly. We went to
see the ruins of the dreadful rooms in which the Inquisition used to sit.
A little, old, swarthy woman, with a pair of flashing black eyes--proof
that the world hadn't conjured down the devil within her, tho it had had
between sixty and seventy years to do it in--came out of the Barrack
Cabaret, of which she was the keeper, with some large keys in her hands,
and marshaled us the way that we should go. How she told us, on the way,
that she was a Government Officer (concierge du palais apostolique), and
had been, for I don't know how many years; and how she had shown these
dungeons to princes; and how she was the best of dungeon demonstrators;
and how she had resided in the palace from an infant--had been born there,
if I recollect right--I needn't relate.
But such a fierce, little, rapid, sparkling, energetic she-devil I never
beheld. She was alight and flaming, all the time. Her action was violent
in the extreme. She never spoke, without stopping expressly for the
purpose. She stamped her feet, clutched us by the arms, flung herself into
attitudes, hammered against walls with her keys, for mere emphasis: now
whispered as if the Inquisition were there still; now shrieked as if she
were on the rack herself; and had a mysterious, hag-like way with her
forefinger, when approaching the remains of some new horror--looking back
and walking stealthily and making horrible grimaces--that might alone have
qualified her to walk up and down a sick man's counterpane, to the
exclusion of all other figures, through a whole fever.
Passing through the courtyard, among groups of idle soldiers, we turned
off by a gate, which this She-Goblin unlocked for our admission, and
locked again behind us; and entered a narrow court, rendered narrower by
fallen stones and heaps of rubbish; part of it choking up the mouth of a
ruined subterranean passage, that once communicated (or is said to have
done so) with another castle on the opposite bank of the river. Close to
this courtyard is a dungeon--we stood within it, in another minute--in the
dismal tower of oubliettes, where Rienzi was imprisoned, fastened by an
iron chain to the very wall that stands there now, but shut out from the
sky which now looks down into it.
A few steps brought us to the Cachots, in which the prisoners of the
Inquisition were confined for forty-eight hours after their capture,
without food or drink, that their constancy might be shaken, even before
they were confronted with their gloomy judges. The day has not got in
there yet. They are still small cells, shut in by four unyielding, close,
hard walls; still profoundly dark; still massively doored and fastened, as
Goblin, looking back as I have described, went softly on, into a vaulted
chamber, now used as a store-room; once the Chapel of the Holy Office. The
place where the tribunal sat, was plain. The platform might have been
removed but yesterday. Conceive the parable of the Good Samaritan having
been painted on the wall of one of these Inquisition chambers! But it was,
and may be traced there yet.
High up in the wall, are niches where the faltering replies of the accused
were heard and noted down. Many of them had been brought out of the very
cell we had just looked into, so awfully; along the same stone passage. We
had trodden in their very footsteps.
I am gazing round me, with the horror that the place inspires, when Goblin
clutches me by the wrist, and lays, not her skinny finger, but the handle
of a key, upon her lip. She invites me, with a jerk, to follow her. I do
so. She leads me out into a room adjoining--a rugged room, with a funnel-
shaped, contracting roof, open at the top, to the bright day, I ask her
what it is. She folds her arms,, leers hideously, and stares. I ask again.
She glances round, to see that all the little company are there; sits down
upon a mound of stones; throws up her arms, and yells out, like a fiend,
"La Salle de la Question!"
The Chamber of Torture! And the roof was made of that shape to stifle the
victim's cries! Oh Goblin, Goblin, let us think of this awhile, in
silence. Peace, Goblin! Sit with your short arms crossed on your short
legs, upon that heap of stones, for only five minutes, and then flame out
again.... A cold air, with an earthy smell, falls upon the face of
Monsieur; for she has opened, while speaking, a trap-door in the wall.
Monsieur looks in. Downward to the bottom, upward to the top, of a steep,
dark lofty tower; very dismal, very dark, very cold. The Executioner of
the Inquisition, says Goblin, edging in her head to look down also, flung
those who were past all further torturing, down here. "But look! does
Monsieur see the black stains on the wall?" A glance, over his shoulder,
at Goblin's keen eye, shows Monsieur--and would without the aid of the
directing-key--where they are. "What are they?" "Blood!"
In October, 1791, when Revolution was at its height here, sixty persons;
men and women ("and priests," says Goblin, "priests"); were murdered, and
hurled, the dying and the dead, into this dreadful pit, where a quantity
of quicklime was tumbled down upon their bodies. Those ghastly tokens of
the massacre were soon no more; but while one stone of the strong building
in which the deed was done, remains upon another, there they will lie in
the memories of men, as plain to see as the splashing of their blood upon
the wall is now.... Goblin's finger is lifted; and she steals out again,
into the Chapel of the Holy Office. She stops at a certain part of the
flooring. Her great effect is at hand. She waits for the rest. She darts
at the brave courier, who is explaining something; hits him a sounding rap
on the hat with the largest key; and bids him be silent. She assembles us
all, round a little trap-door in the floor, as round as grave.
"Voila!" she darts down at the ring, and flings the door open with a
crash, in her goblin energy, tho it is no light weight. "Voila les
oubliettes! Voila les oubliettes! Subterranean! Frightful! Black!
Terrible! Deadly! Les oubliettes de l'Inquisition!"
My blood ran cold, as I looked from Goblin, down into the vaults, where
these forgotten creatures, with recollections of the world outside--of
wives, friends, children, brothers--starved to death, and made the stones
ring with their unavailing groans. But, the thrill I felt on seeing the
accurst wall below, decayed and broken through, and the sun shining in
through its gaping wounds, was like a sense of victory and triumph.
I felt exalted with the proud delight of living, in these degenerate
times, to see it. As if I were the hero of some high achievement! The
light in the doleful vaults was typical of the light that has streamed in,
on all persecution in God's name, but which is not yet at its noon! It can
not look more lovely to a blind man newly restored to sight, than to a
traveler who sees it, calmly and majestically, treading down the darkness
of that Infernal Well.
Goblin, having shown les oubliettes, felt that her great coup was struck.
She let the door fall with a crash, and stood upon it with her arms
a-kimbo, sniffing prodigiously.
When we left the place, I accompanied her into her house, under the outer
gateway of the fortress, to buy a little history of the building. Her
cabaret, a dark low room, lighted by small windows, sunk in the thick
wall--in the softened light, and with its forge-like chimney; its little
counter by the door, with bottles, jars, and glasses on it; its household
implements are scraps of dress against the wall; and a sober looking woman
(she must have a congenial life of it, with Goblin) knitting at the door--
looked exactly like a picture by Ostade.
I walked round the building on the outside, in a sort of dream, and yet
with the delightful sense of having awakened from it, of which the light,
down in the vaults, had given, me the assurance. The immense thickness and
giddy height of the walls, the enormous strength of the massive towers,
the great extent of the building, its gigantic proportions, frowning
aspect, and barbarous irregularity, awaken awe and wonder.
The recollection of its opposite old uses; an impregnable fortress, a
luxurious palace, a horrible prison, a place of torture, the court of the
Inquisition; at one and the same time, a house of feasting, fighting,
religion, and blood, gives to every stone in its huge form a fearful
interest, and imparts new meaning to its incongruities. I could think of
little, however, then, or long afterward, but the sun in the dungeons.
The palace coming down to be the lounging-place of noisy soldiers, and
being forced to echo their rough talk and common oaths, and to have their
garments fluttering from its dirty windows, was some reduction of its
state, and something to rejoice at; but the day in its cells, and the sky
for the roof of its chambers of cruelty--that was its desolation and
defeat! If I had seen it in a blaze from ditch to rampart, I should have
felt that not that light, nor all the light in all the fire that burns,
could waste it, like the sunbeams in its secret council-chamber and its
The Building of the Great Palace
By Thomas Oakey
[Footnote: From "The Story of Avignon." Published by E.P. Dutton & Co.]
It will now be convenient briefly to trace the growth of that remarkable
edifice, at once a castle and a cloister, a palace and a prison, which
constitutes the chief attraction of Avignon to-day, and which, altho
defaced by time and by modern restorers, remains in its massive grandeur a
fitting memorial of the great line of pontiffs who have made that little
city famous in the annals of Christendom.
We have seen that Pope John XXII., having allotted a piece of land to his
nephew, Arnaud de Via, for the erection of a new episcopal palace, was
content to modify and enlarge the old one for pontifical uses, and that
Benedict XII., with characteristic straightforwardness, purchased the new
fabric from Arnaud's heirs and, having handed it over to the diocesan
authorities, proceeded to transform the old building into a stately and
spacious apostolic palace for the head of Christendom.
He was moved to this purchase after mature reflection, for it was a matter
of urgent importance that the pontiff of the church of Rome should possess
a palace of his own at Avignon as long as it might be necessary for him to
remain there. The relation between Curia and Episcopate being thus clearly
defined, Benedict appointed a compatriot, Pierre Poisson de Mirepoix,
master of the works, and, since about two-thirds of the existing palace
dates from Benedict's reign, Pierre Poisson may be regarded as its first
More, probably, is known of the construction of the papal palace of
Avignon than of any other relic of medieval architecture. Thanks to the
researches of Father Ehrle, Prefect of the Vatican Library, and other
scholars, the sums paid to the contractors, their names, the estimates of
quantities, the wages of the chief workmen, and the price of materials,
are before us, and we can trace day by day and month by month the progress
of the great pile. The whole of the craftsmen, with the exception of the
later master painters from Italy and some northern sculptors, were either
Avignonais, Gascons or Provencals.
The first work undertaken by Pierre was the enlargement of the papal
chapel of John XXII. This was doubled in length, and the lavish
decorations executed by John's master painter, Friar Pierre Dupuy, were
continued on the walls of the added portion; payments for white, green,
indigo, vermilion, carmine and other pigments, and for colored tiles,
testify to the brilliancy of its interior.
Meanwhile work was proceeding on the massy new tower, the Turris Magna,
now known as the Tour des Anges, the best preserved of all the old towers.
The foundations were laid on April 3, 1335, and it was roofed with lead on
March 18, 1337. The basement formed the papal wine-cellar; the ground
floor was the treasury, or strong room, where the specie, the jewels, the
precious vessels of gold and silver and other valuables were stored; many
payments are recorded for locks and bars and bolts for their safe-keeping
within the ten-feet-thick walls of the tower.
The next great work put in hand was the east wing, which was raised on a
space left by John's demolished, or partially demolished, structure. On
November 20, 1337, two masons (lapiscidarios), Pierre Folcaud and Jean
Chapelier, and a carpenter, Jacques Beyran, all of Avignon, contracted to
carry out the plans of a new architect, Bernard Canello, for the
completion of Benedict's private apartments, and on the same day Lambert
Fabre and Martin Guinaud, housewreckers, were paid eighty-three gold
florins on account, for the demolition of the old buildings. This wing,
since wholly remodeled by the legates and the modern corps of engineers,
comprised the papal Garde Robe, the Garde Meuble, the private kitchen and
offices and, on the floor above, the papal dining-room, study and private
oratory. The walls were, of course, embattlemented, and in 1337 the most
exposed portions of the new buildings were defended by a stout rampart....
The whole ground floor, 110 feet by 33, was occupied by a great reception
hall (Camera Paramenti), where distinguished visitors were accorded a
first welcome before being admitted to a private audience, or accorded a
solemn state reception in consistory, as the import of their embassy
demanded. The popes were also used to receive the cardinals there, and two
doorkeepers were appointed who must be faithful, virtuous and honest men
and sleep in the hall; their office being one of great trust, was highly
paid, and they were generally laymen. It was probably in this hall that
St. Catherine was received by Clement VI. The Avignon conclaves were held
there, for on December 31, 1352, four hundred and fifteen days' and
nights' labor were employed in breaking down the walls between the dining-
hall and the Camera Paramenti, clearing away the stones and making secret
chambers for the lord cardinals, in which chambers were twenty-eight
On September 5, 1339, John's old belfry was pulled down and Jean Mauser de
Carnot, who asserted he had excavated 11,300 basketfuls of rubbish, was
paid at the rate of twelve deniers the hundred for the work. Evidently
these were good times for the basket makers as well as builders. December
22, 1340, three contractors, Isnard and Raymond Durand and Jacques
Gasquet, received 1,273 florins for the completed new tower, with its
barbicans, battlements and machicoulis, which was on the site and which
retained the appellation of the Tour de la Campane, or Bell Tower. The
embattlemented and machicolated summit, but not the chastelet, of this
mighty tower has recently been restored; its walls are nearly twelve feet
Benedict's last undertaking was the erection of the Tour de Trouillas,
next the Tour des Latrines, and on April 20, 1341, sixteen rubbish baskets
were bought for the "Saracens that excavated the foundations of the turris
nova." The Tour de Trouillas, tallest and stoutest of the keeps of the
mighty fortress, is 175 feet high as compared with the 150 feet of the
Tour de la Campane, and its walls fifteen feet thick as compared with
twelve feet. It should be noted, however, that the latter tower appears
the taller owing to the elevated ground whereon, it stands....
Having bought, by private agreement or by arbitration, all the houses
adjacent to the palace on the south side, Clement next proceeded to
demolish them and on the site to raise the noblest and most beautiful wing
of the great palace. This edifice, known to contemporaries as the great
new palace, comprised a spacious Chapel and Hall of Justice; and in August
9, 1344, contracts were made for cutting away and leveling the rock above
the present Rue Peyrolerie, whereon, by October 21, 1351, the masons had
raised their beautiful building.
On that day, by order of our lord the pope, one hundred florins were
handed over by the papal chamber to Master John of Loubieres to distribute
among the masters to celebrate the placing of the keystone in the vaulting
of the new chapel of the palace and the completion of the said chapel. On
All Saints' Day of that same year Clement recited (a month before his
death) the first solemn mass in his great new chapel and preached a most
eloquent sermon, praising God for the completion of his life's work. The
lower hall, most famous of judicial chambers in Christendom and final
Court of Appeal in all questions of international and ecclesiastical law,
was later in opening.
Among the amenities of the old palace were the spacious and lovely gardens
on the east, with their clipt hedges, avenues of trees, flower-beds and
covered and frescoed walls, all kept fresh and green by channels of water.
John maintained a menagerie of lions and other wild and strange beasts;
stately peacocks swept proudly along the green swards, for the inventory
of 1369 specifies seventeen peacocks, some old and some young, whereof six
* * * * *
But we have as yet dealt chiefly with the external shell of this mass of
architecture which, tall and mighty, raises its once impregnable walls and
towers against the sky. The beauty of its interior remains briefly to be
touched upon, for the fortress palace had, as Clement left it, some
analogy with the great Moorish palace of the Alhambra in that it stood
outwardly grim and strong, while within it was a shrine of exquisite and
The austere Benedict, who, his biographer tells us, left the walls of the
consistory naked, appears to have expended little on the pictorial
decorations of the halls and chambers erected during his pontificate; but
with the elevation of the luxurious and art-loving Clement VI., a new
spirit breathes over the fabric. The stern simplicity and noble strength
of his predecessor's work assume an internal vesture of richness and
beauty; the walls glow with azure and gold; a legion of Gallic sculptors
and Italian painters lavish their art on the embellishment of the
Such, in brief outline, was the progress of the mighty fabric and its
internal decoration which the great popes of Avignon raised to be their
dwelling-place, their fortress, and the ecclesiastical center of
Christendom. Tho shorn of all its pristine beauty and robbed of much of
its symmetry, it stands to-day in bulk and majesty, much as it stood at
the end of Clement VI.'s reign, when a contemporary writer describes it as
a quadrangular edifice, enclosed within high walls and towers and
constructed in most noble style, and tho it was all most beautiful to look
upon, there were three parts of transcendent beauty: the Audientia, the
Capella major, and the terraces: and these were so admirably planned and
contrived that peradventure no palace comparable to it was to be found in
the whole world. The terraces referred to were those raised over the great
chapel, and were formed of stone, bedded in asphalt and laid on a staging
of stout oak joists; the view from the terraces was unparalleled for range
The glowing splendor of frescoed walls was enhanced by gorgeous hangings
and tapestries and by the magnificent robes and jewels of popes and
cardinals. Crowds of goldsmiths--forty were employed at the papal court--
embroiderers and silk mercers, made Avignon famous thoughout Europe. In
1337, 318 florins were paid for eight Paris carpets; in 1343 Clement VI.
paid 213 florins for green silk hangings, and 254 florins for carpets
adorned with roses; in 1348, 400 gold and silver vessels turned the scales
at 862 marks, 5 ounces; in the inventory of 1369, despite the fact that
the most precious had been sent to Rome, the gold vessels were weighed out
at 1,434 marks, 1 ounce; the silver at 5,525 marks 7 ounces.
A cardinal's hat cost from 15 to 40 florins, and in 1348, 150 florins were
paid for one piece of scarlet for the pope, and 75 to 100 florins for the
garniture of a riding cloak. Clement VI. spent 1,278 florins in the
purchase of cloth of gold, woven by the Saracens of Damascus; one payment
to Jacopo Malabayla of Arti for summer and winter clothing for the papal
household amounted to 6,510 florins, and the same obviously Hebrew
merchant received 10,652 florins in 1341 for cloth and ermine and beaver;
in 1347 Clement's furrier received 1,080 ermine skins, whereof 430 were
used in one cloak, 310 for a mantle, 150 for two hoods, and 88 for nine
birettas; in 1351, 2,258 florins went to Tuscany for silk, and 385 for
brocade to Venice.
The richness of the papal utensils beggars description; jeweled cups,
flagons of gold, knife handles of jasper and ivory, forks of mother-of-
pearl and gold. A goldsmith in 1382 was paid 14 florins for repairing two
of the last-named implements. The flabelli, or processional feather fans,
cost 14 florins; Benedict XIII., paid 300 florins for an enameled silver
bit; the Golden Roses cost from 100 to 300 florins. Presents of jewels
were costly and frequent. Gregory XI. gave 168 pearls, value 179 francs,
to the citizens of Avellino; Clement VII. presented the Duke of Burgundy
with a ring of gold, worth 335 florins; an aguiere of gold and pearls,
valued at 1,000 florins, and two tables each over 200 florins. Richer
gifts were lavished on sovereign princes. Reliquaries were of prodigious
value; the gold cross containing a piece of the true cross at the
Celestins weighed fifteen pounds. In 1375 a silver arm for the image of
St. Andrew cost over 2,566 florins.
The cardinals were equally munificent. The most striking example of lavish
splendor is afforded by the State banquet given to Clement V., by the
Cardinals Arnaud de Palegrue and Pierre Taillefer in May, 1308. Clement,
as he descended from his litter, was received by his hosts and twenty
chaplains, who conducted him to a chamber hung with richest tapestries
from floor to ceiling; he trod on velvet carpet of triple pile; his state-
bed was draped with fine crimson velvet, lined with white ermine; the
sheets of silk were embroidered with silver and gold.
The table was served by four papal knights and twelve squires, who each
received silver girdles and purses filled with gold from the hosts. Fifty
cardinals' squires assisted them in serving the banquet, which consisted
of nine courses of three plates each--twenty-seven dishes in all. The
meats were built up in fantastic form: castles, gigantic stags, boars,
horses, etc. After the fourth service, the cardinal offered his holiness a
milk-white steed worth 400 florins; two gold rings, jeweled with an
enormous sapphire and a no less enormous topaz; and a bowl, worth 100
florins; sixteen cardinal guests and twenty prelates were given rings and
jewels, and twelve young clerks of the papal house and twenty-four
sergeants-at-arms received purses filled with florins.
After the fifth service, a great tower with a font whence gushed forth
five sorts of choicest wines was carried in; and a tourney was run during
the interval between the seventh and eighth courses. Then followed a
concert of sweetest music, and dessert was furnished by two trees--one of
silver, bearing rarest fruits of all kinds, and the other loaded with
sugared fruits of many colors. Various wines were then served, whereupon
the master cooks, with thirty assistants, executed dances before the
guests. Clement, by this time, having had enough, retired to his chamber,
where, lest he might faint for lack of refreshment during the night, wine
and spices were brought to him; the entertainment ended with dances and
distractions of many kinds.
There is no reason to believe that the Avignon popes, either in their
household expenditure or in their personal luxury, were more extravagant
than their Roman predecessors or successors. Yet amid all this luxury,
strange defects of comfort appear to the modern sense. Windows, as we have
seen, were generally covered with wax cloth or linen, carpets were rare,
and rushes were strewn on the floors of most of the rooms. From May to
November, 1349, more than 300 loads of rushes were supplied for use in the
dining-rooms and chambers of the apostolic palace. Subsequently mats were
introduced, and in 1352 Pierre de Glotos, mat-maker to the palace of our
lord and pope, was paid for 275 cannae of matting for the palace of
Avignon and for the palace beyond the Rhone and the new chapel.
The Walls of Avignon
By Thomas Oakey
[Footnote: From "The Story of Avignon." Published by E.P. Dutton & Co.]
Intimately associated with the history of the palace of the Popes of
Avignon is that of the unparalleled circuit of walls and towers which
defended the city from the scourge of organized robber bands during the
fourteenth century. The earliest quadrilateral fortifications embraced a
relatively small area consisting of the Rocher des Doms and the parishes
of St. Agricol, St. Didier, and St. Pierre; these walls, demolished and
rebuilt on a more extensive scale in the twelfth century, embraced an area
easily traceable on the modern map, from the Porte du Rhone, round the
Rues du Limas, Joseph Vernet, des Lices, Philonarde, Campane, Trois
Colombes, to the Rocher.
It was these fortifications that the Cardinal St. Angelo forced the
citizens to raze in 1227. Until the acquisition of Avignon by Clement VI.,
the city was an open one and only defended by a double fosse. The origin
of the papal walls has already been traced, and their subsequent fate may
now be briefly given. The assaults of the Rhone proved more destructive
than human artillery. The walls and towers having been hastily raised,
towers fell by reason of bad foundation, and the upkeep of the
fortifications was a continual drain on papal and communal finances.
In 1362 an irresistible flood of waters overthrew the Fortes St. Michel
and Limbert, and large breaches were often made by these recurring
inundations. Moreover, the expansion of the city of old and the need of
access to the suburbs involved frequent displacement and opening of new
gates. In 1482 the whole system of the defensive works was modified to
meet the new situation caused by the introduction of gunpowder. The gates
most exposed to attack were further defended by outworks, that of St.
Lazare having been fortified during the rule of Giuliano della Rovere by
the addition of a powerful bastide, with three round towers, a drawbridge,
a new fosse which communicated with the great fosse before the main walls.
Other modifications took place during the Huguenot wars.
Notwithstanding many repairs during the intervening centuries, the
fortifications had, under the second Empire, suffered sad degradation, and
at length Viollet-le-Duc was entrusted with their restoration. The famous
architect set to work on their southern side and had completed about one-
third of the restoration when the disastrous issue of the Franco-Prussian
war arrested all further progress until the Third Republic feebly resumed
the task. The walls along the Rhone, especially useful in time of flood,
were backed with stone, their battlements and machicoulis renewed. The
visitor, however, will need no reminder that the present passive aspect of
the ramparts conveys but a faint impression of their former state, when a
broad and deep fosse, seven feet by twelve, washed their bases, above
which they raised their once impregnable curtains full thirty feet.
Two of the old gates have been demolished--the Porte de Limbert in 1896,
and the Porte de l'Oulle in 1900--the former, many times repaired, was the
only existing example of the external aspect of a medieval gate, the
latter had been rebuilt in 1786 in the Doric style. A new gate, the Porte
Petrarque, now the Porte de la Republique, was erected by Viollet-le-Duc
when the walls were pierced for the new street; the Porte St. Dominique is
also new. These noble mural defenses, three miles in circuit, twice
narrowly escaped demolition--at the construction of the railway, when they
were saved by a vigorous protest of Prosper Merimee, and in 1902, when, on
the pretext that they blocked the development of the city, the
municipality decided to demolish the unrestored portions. Luckily the
intervention of a public-spirited Prefect of Vaucluse proved successful,
and they were again rescued from the housewrecker's pick. No visitor to
Avignon should omit to walk or drive round the famous ramparts.
Their stones have been subjected to careful scrutiny by antiquarians and
the masons' marks (tacherons)--about 4,500--carefully examined and reduced
to about four hundred and fifty types. Opinions differ as to the meaning
of these curious signs, but there is little doubt that M. Maire's
suggestion is the correct one--the workmen were paid by the piece, and
each had his own private mark which he cut on the stones he laid and thus
enabled the foreman to check his work.
We begin at the Porte du Rhone, and skirt the older part of the walls on
the northwest with their different style of corbels and machicoulis. M.
Maire has no hesitation in assigning this portion to the time of Clement
VI., by reason of the coarser nature of the masons' marks. Turning
southwards, we pass the Porte St. Dominique, and reach the Porte St. Roch
(formerly the Porte du Chamfleury, and only opened at plague times) and
the Porte de la Republique. We soon note the unrestored portions, the site
of the old Porte Limbert, and turn northward to the Porte St. Lazare.
Before we reach this gate we may fitly make a digression, and in pious
memory of a great Englishman, fare along the Avenue du Cimetiere to the
grave of John Stuart Mill, who with his wife lies buried within the
cemetery under an elder-tree on the right and toward the end of Avenue 2.
A plain stone slab bears the well-known inscription to Mrs. Mill's memory
--the noblest and most eloquent epitaph ever composed by man for woman. It
is pleasant to remember that Mill has left golden opinions of his
gentleness and generosity behind him at Avignon. His house, a charming
little hermitage approached by an avenue of plane trees not far from the
cemetery, was sold in 1905, and a few relics were bought and still are
cherished by the rare friends the somewhat self-centered philosopher made
in the city. The present owner has preserved the library and study, where
the "Essay on Liberty" was written, much as it was in Mill's days.
To the peasants who met the tall, bent, spare figure, musing and
botanizing along the country lanes and fields, he was known as "Monsieur
Emile." Before he left the city on his periodical visits to England, Mill
was wont to leave 300 francs with M. Rey, pastor of the Protestant Church
in Avignon: two hundred for expenses of public worship; one hundred for
the poor, always charging M. Rey to write to England if any further need
Mill, a great Englishman of European fame, to the amazement of his French
friends, was followed to his last resting-place by no more than five
mourners. As we write news comes that the civic authorities have decided
to recall to posterity the association of the great thinker with Avignon
by giving the name of Stuart Mill to a new boulevard, and that a bust has
been unveiled to his memory near the pleasant city he loved so well. Mill
was much gratified that his pamphlet on "The Subjection of Women"
converted Mistral to the movement for their enfranchisement, and their
legal equality with men.
Villeneuve and the Broken Bridge
By Thomas Oakey
[Footnote: From "The Story of Avignon." Published by E.P.
Dutton & Co.]
The royal city of Villeneuve, altho geographically and politically
sundered from Avignon and the County Venaissin, was socially and
economically bound up with the papal city. The same reason that to-day
impels the rich citizens of Avignon to dot the hills of Languedoc with
their summer villas was operative in papal times, and popes and cardinals
and prelates loved to build their summer places on the opposite bank of
How silent and neglected are the streets of this once wealthy and
important city! How degraded its monuments, how faded its glory! In the
hot, dusty afternoon, as the cranky old omnibus rattles along the narrow
High Street, it appears to awaken echoes in a city of the dead.
Making our way northward, we pass the restored seventeenth-century portal
of the palace of the sainted Cardinal of Luxembourg; the weather-worn,
neglected, late Renaissance portal of the so-called Hotel de Conti; the
ruined Gothic portal of the palace of Cardinal Pierre de Thury, through
which we pass to the old court-yard and a chapel subsequently restored and
now used as the chapel of the Grey Penitents.
We pass many another relic of departed grandeur, and beyond the Place
Neuve on our right come upon a great portal which opens on a vaulted
passage leading to one of the most bewildering and extraordinary congeries
of ruined monastic buildings in France, now inhabited by a population of
poor folk--two hundred families, it is said--who, since the Revolution,
have settled in the vast buildings of the once famous and opulent
Charterhouse of Villeneuve. Founded by Innocent VI., three years after his
elevation to the papal chair, and enriched by subsequent endownments, the
Charterhouse of the Val de Benediction, the second in importance of the
Order, grew in wealth and importance during the centuries until it was
sacked and sold in small lots during the Revolution to the ancestors of
the present occupants.
The circuit of its walls was a mile in extent; its artistic treasures were
prodigious. The Coronation of the Virgin came thence; the Pieta of
Villeneuve, now in the Louvre; the founder's tomb; the high altar of Notre
Dame at Villeneuve, and a few other relics, alone survive of its vast
possessions. The scene resembles nothing so much as a city ruined by
bombardment or earthquake, but how long the wreck will remain in its
present picturesque and melancholy condition is difficult to forecast. The
state is slowly buying out the owners, and doubtless ere many years are
passed the more valuable artistic remains will have been swept and
garnished and restored.
As we return from the Chartreuse we turn left along the Place Neuve, and
climb to the mighty fort of St. Andre, which occupies the most venerable
site in the royal new city, for on the hill where it stands tradition
relates that St. Cesarie, Bishop of Arles, was buried, and that there, in
the sixth century, the first Benedictines settled. The primitive
settlement, destroyed in the ninth century, was extensively rebuilt in
980, and within its walls, churches were dedicated to St. Andrew, St.
Michael, and St. Martin. In the twelfth century the rich and powerful
monastery, a strongly fortified, self-sufficing community, was held under
the counts of Toulouse, and from their overlordship it was subsequently
admitted by the counts to be within the territory of the republic of
Avignon, whose consuls in 1210 compelled the abbot to demolish his walls
and promise never to rebuild them.
In 1292 Philip the Fair was permitted to settle a small community there,
to whom he accorded in 1293 valuable privileges and the same protection he
granted to his good city of Paris. Philip, to whom the position was
valuable as a frontier post, erected a castle there, maintained a royal
garrison, and the new settlement became known as the New Town
(Villeneuve). The walls and towers then raised were rebuilt in 1352 by
John the Good, who exacted a toll, known as St. Andrew's penny, for
maintenance on all merchandise that passes through the Senechaussee of
Of these majestic ruins, restored in the sixteenth century and again in
recent times, the Tour des Masques at the west angle with its simple
battlements is the oldest portion, the massive machicolated towers that
frown over the main entrance having been raised by John the Good. The
ruined ravelin dates back to the seventeenth century. We enter and stroll
about the desolate interior, crowned by a tiny Romanesque chapel of the
twelfth century, that well deserves its name of Our Lady of the Fair View
(Notre Dame de Belvezet), with a graceful apse (restored). From its
summit, or from the tall old watch-tower of the monastery, a marvelous
view is obtained of the gaping ruins of the Charterhouse of Avignon, the
County Venaissin, the Cevennes, Mount Ventoux, and the distant Alps.
In the later years of the monarchy a post of artillery was stationed in
the fort, and it was from the fire of a battery planted there that a young
captain of artillery, one Napoleon Bonaparte, in 1793, overawed the city
of Avignon, which was occupied by the Marseillais federalists who had
declared against the Convention; and it was with the cannon seized at St.
Andre that Bonaparte marched to Toulon and expelled the English from its