Thursday, October 11, 2012

Place du Châtelet

I can remember driving past this on another damp dark night in very early November on my very first trip to Paris, which - a moment of revelatory arithmetic - must have been 43 years ago.  That is totally scary, especially given that in many ways I don't feel that either I, or Paris, have changed all that much. That is, of course, a delusion, on both counts, in many ways.  But this still has a real air of (imperial desire and) magnificence.  This is the Fontaine du Palmier (designed 1806), which sits in its center, commemorating lots of Napoleonic victories; and those are victory wreaths of laurel that the goddess is holding.  Supporting the column?  Prudence, Temperance, Justice, and Strength.  Tomorrow, it's Democracy and the Novel.  One can see why the C19th French bourgeoisie was so keen on democracy as a fictional principle when this was what it was set against.

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