Historic Preservation in Paris

Blog #8: Garden Girlies and Architecture Wins

So, this blog post is going to be a little more all over the place thematically because I really want to talk about the gardens at Chateau de Loire and Giverny, plus what we saw at Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine and in Montmarte. I’ll be going chronologically as I usually do! Also, we will pretend this was posted while still in Paris and not after the fact. 😉

Frolicking in Flowers

During our second to last weekend in France, we had our MICEFA excursion to Chateau de Loire and it was so beautiful and a thousand times better than Versailles (I hope you heard that Louis XIV). It was nowhere near as grand, but I think that’s what gave it a humble charm. Also, I love that the trend continued of rich people playing poor at their chateaus by having small farm villages constructed. It was a lovely visit, but I wanted to talk about the gardens in particular.

Get to roleplay playing poor in the chateau farm village

I think it was awesome getting to see examples within the same weekend of a very French garden and an English garden. At the end of the day, I’ll be biased toward English gardens, but I wanted to take a moment to appreciate the French gardens at Chateau de Loire.

I do love the way the gardens are designed to show patterns and different designs that can be made with the vegetation and plants. However, I feel that French gardens almost have a nakedness to them because of this. Everything is very flat and well-maintained to stay that way, not allowing for much dimension.

Whereas the gardens at Giverny were absolutely perfect to me. That Sunday (July 23rd), Ellie, Michela, Emma, Katelyn, and I made the hour trek to Giverny. It was such an amazing visit. I know some of them have also mentioned it in their blogs, but I also need to gush over it a bit. Photos do not do it justice, the vibrancy of the flowers, the way everything looks wild and free really appeals to me. It makes the gardens feel so much fuller since the plants can just go crazy and do their thing without having to be heavily maintained.

Plus, there was still some organization to the gardens in the form of colors, plants of the same colors seemed to be grouped together which created a beautiful rainbow aesthetic to the grounds. Just a total 10/10, Monet was onto something. I think that while I can appreciate French gardens in their disciplined design, I will always be more in awe of English gardens.

Architecture Wins

Now to discuss the architecture side of this post. After the weekend of gardens, our class visited the Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine. It was really amazing to see a museum whose collections are essentially all replicas or molds of significant architectural structures. I personally loved seeing the Notre Dame replicas and molds since it was the closest thing to getting to see the interior in person.

This just made me think of the Starbucks mermaid and I thought I should share.

The replication of L’appartement de type E2 was insane though! I wish I got pictures of the inside, but I did take one of the miniature model. I wish I had known about it while I was in Marseille because I totally would have tried to visit it if it was near the area I was staying in (Vieux Port). This apartment complex design was definitely an architectural win though, I love the way the space was designed to be compact but still roomy enough to not feel claustrophobic, and the large windows were just *chef’s kiss*.

Montmarte also has architectural wins with the Sacré-CÅ“ur Basilica at the head of it all. Although, I have to admit that my favorite church this entire trip was Notre-Dame de la Garde in Marseille, so I’ve been a bit hard to impress with churches since then. Sacré-CÅ“ur Basilica was still stunning though, and I am always a sucker for a great view which I especially saw on Thursday when I climbed the 300 steps to the top of the dome! It was such an amazing experience. Also, I loved the design of Maurice Neumont’s house. The small, spooky details of the front facade were so fun to see, from the eye windows to the owl door handles.


While the main focus of this post was our class on Monday and Tuesday, I want to briefly mention the architectural wins during our day trip to Rouen since my final blog post will be about other topics.

First, the half-timber work? Stunning, spectacular, 10/10, loved it. Second, the use of legos as an artistic form of “repairing” damage to an exterior? Literally on my knees in love. Église Sainte-Jeanne d’Arc was also so archeturally different in the best way. I absolutely adored the intimacy of the baptism space. Also, maybe this was just me, but it looks like it may have been designed to appear as though someone is wearing a helmet.

Looking at this picture I took, the windows at the bottom look like eyes, and with the curvature of the roof it looks like a Morion helmet or, more likely, a bascinet which Joan of Arc would have worn.

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