The Champs Elysees Region
( Originally Published 1908 )
THE Avenue of the Champs Élysées, — that magnificent thoroughfare beginning at the Place de la Concorde, and extending to the Arc de l'Étoile, — almost illustrates the poet's ideal of " a highway of glass and of gold." But it cannot be described as a " wide wayed silence ; " rather as a wide wayed and perpetual rush and flash of motor cars, a very race-course of chariots. This splendid avenue is divided into three roads ; each of the two outer ones are for vehicles going in either direction, while on the middle course there are two lines of locomotion, up and down, so that the problem of crossing the avenue on foot is a complicated one, and is almost as perilous as the attempt to cross several railroad tracks at a time when trains are passing in different directions. There is a demand, indeed, that subway crossings for foot-passengers shall be made under the Champs Élysées, as the risks and the hairbreadth escapes are fairly startling. No words could exaggerate the constant rush and the never-ending pro-cession of the motor cars. It is fairly inconceivable that in any one street these vehicles should be so in evidence. But this avenue is not only the gateway to the fashionable residential regions of Paris ; but also to the Bois de Boulogne, and to many of the suburbs and suburban towns. Like Piccadilly in London, and the Corso in Rome, the driving constitutes a ceaseless procession from morning until well after midnight.
The Champs Élysées offers a dazzling spectacle of la vie mondaine. A living stream pours by, and one vehicle has hardly flashed past before another follows, almost touching it. The very atmosphere is that of buoyant abandon and exhilaration. It is as though the entire populace had taken the wings of the morning and were flying joyously through space. The scene is the very centre of gaiety of the world's pleasure city. It is a spectacle absolutely unique. From the Place de la Concorde one gazes to the east down the long Garden of the Tuileries to the Palace of the Louvre, and to the west up the Avenue de Champs Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe, — a vista unsurpassed in any city in the world. Between the Place de la Concorde and the Rond-Point the avenue is a road through a park, where seats are numerous under the chestnut trees, and cafés abound. It is a general recreation ground.
The Garden of the Tuileries is rich in sculpture to a degree that renders it almost an al fresco museum. The air of Paris is so clear and pure, so entirely unpervaded by smoke, that it renders possible the exposure of marble statues in the open air without injury. This garden, designed by Catherine de Médicis, consists largely of a series of paths and avenues crossing each other at right angles, with splendid rows of chestnut and lime trees, and with salles de verdure alternating with the gravelled spaces. The combination of terraces and sculpture and architecture with the luxuriant foliage and scarlet verbenas and geraniums in marble urns, making vivid dashes of color, is an impressionistic picture. Among the statues are the " Quand-même " of Mercié; the group of " Agrippina with the Ashes of Germanicus " by Maillet ; the " Penelope " of Maniglier ; Lepautre's " AEneas and Anchises ; " Eude's " Omphale ; " the " Ganymede " of Barthélemy, and " The Awakening " by Mayer ; Lévêque's " Diana and the Nymph of Fontainebleau ; " the " Cassandra and Minerva " by A. Millet ; Lemaire's " Alexander," Barye's " Lion and Serpent ; " the " Aurora " of Magnier ; Debay's " Pericles," and many others. There are also groups of river-gods, and statues representing the seasons ; and a monument to Gambetta ; and the colossal Arc de Triomphe, which Napoleon commanded Fontaine and Percier to erect to commemorate the victories of his armies in 1805-1806, dominates the scene. This work imitates the Arch of Severus in Rome.
The Place de la Concorde is one of the most magnificent squares of the entire world. It is far more beautiful than is Trafalgar Square in London, and at night it sparkles with ten thousand lights as if the constellations had fallen from the skies. It is accented by the obelisk which Mohammed Ali, Viceroy of Egypt, presented to Louis-Philippe. Surrounding it are colossal fountains with figures of Nereids and Tritons and on the pavilions that mark the Place with their imposing edifices are eight gigantic stone figures, representing the principal towns of France : Lyons, Marseilles, Rouen, Brest, Bordeaux and Nantes, with Lille and Strasburg, the two latter fantastically hung with crape and mourning emblems in remembrance of Alsace and Lorraine. The Pont de la Concorde, that crosses the river here, is built of stones from the Bastille, and is ornamented with statues of famous generals. The view from this bridge includes a vast array of notable architectural monuments, gardens and vistas, for from it may be seen the Place de la Concorde, the Madeleine, and the Chamber of Deputies ; the Tuileries Garden, a pavilion of the Tuileries and one of the Louvre, the Pont Solférino and the Pont Royal ; the ruined Palais du Quai d'Orsay, in front of which is the little dome of the Palais de la Légion d'Honneur, the dome of the Institute, the towers of Notre Dame, the spire of the Sainte-Chapelle, and the dome of the Tribunal de Commerce. On one side rises the Palais de l'Industrie; then the Pont des In-valides, and, farther off, the two towers of the Trocadéro ; to the left the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the lofty pile of the Eiffel Tower. The golden dome of the Invalides can be seen from a little below the bridge, to the right of the Chamber of Deputies, and the spires of Sainte Clotilde to the left, above the houses that form a picturesque sky-line.
No one can cross the Place de la Concorde in all this stately beauty of to-day, without finding himself haunted by the tragic scenes that invested it more than a hundred years ago.
It was on the eleventh of August, 1792 (the day after the capture of the Tuileries) that the Legislative Assembly advised the removal of the statue of the king, which was melted down and coined into two-sous pieces. In this year the fatal guillotine was established here. " Louis XVI was executed in the Place on January 21, 1793. On the seventeenth of July, Charlotte Corday was beheaded ; on October 2 Brissot, chief of the Gironde, with twenty-one of his adherents; on October 16, the ill-fated queen, Marie Antoinette ; on November 14, Philippe Égalité, Duke of Orléans, father of King Louis-Philippe ; on May 12, 1794, Madame Elizabeth, sister of Louis XVI. On the fourteenth of March, through the influence of Danton and Robespierre, Hébert, the most determined opponent of all social rule, together with his partisans, also terminated his career on the scaffold. The next victims were the adherents of Marat and the Orléanists ; then on April 8, Danton himself and his party, among whom was Camille Desmoulins ; and on April 16, the atheists Chaumette and Anacharsis Cloots, and the wives of Camille Des-moulins, Hébert, and others. On July 28, 1794, Robespierre and his associates, his brother, Dumas, Saint Just, and other members of the comité du salut public ' met a retributive end here; a few days later the same fate overtook eighty-two members of the Commune, whom Robespierre had employed as his tools. La-source, one of the Girondists, said to his judges :`Je meurs dans un moment où. le peuple a perdu sa raison; vous, vous mourrez le jour où il la retrouvera.' Between January 21, 1793, and May 31, 1795, upwards of twenty-eight hundred persons perished here by the guillotine.
" In March, 1871, the Place de la Concorde and the Champs Élysées were occupied by the German army. Here in May of the same year was the scene of fierce conflicts between the Versailles troops and the Communards, who had erected a barricade at the end of the Rue Royale commanding the Place."
The stranger who enters the Avenue Champs Élysées from the Place de la Concorde between the two statues of the Horse Tamers that guard the entrance, is hardly prepared for the magnificence that greets his eye when he reaches the Rond-Point. Wide and magnificent avenues radiate from a circular space adorned with beds of flowers and with six fountains, flinging their spray into the air. The Rue Montaigne and the Rue Pierre Charron are especially noted for handsome architectural effects. The Rue d'An-tin, crossing here, extends into the old Faubourg Saint-Honoré to the Church of Saint Philippedu-Roule ; the new Avenue Nicholas II leads over the new and splendid bridge, the Pont Alexandre III, built to commemorate the Exposition of 1900, and a work of the most interesting and superb artistic decoration. At the entrance are pillars supporting allegorical figures of gilded bronze, representing art, commerce, science and manufactures, each with a hand on a Pegasus. On either side of the pillars is a lion, two by Dalou and two by Granet. The symbolic figures are from Frémiet, Steiner and Granet. The corners of the pillars are supported by Ionic columns, and an ornamental frieze enriches the entablature. At the base are the arms of Russia and France united. On pedestals there are several statues of heroic size, symbolizing various epochs of French history. France under Charlemagne is represented by Lenoir ; during the Renaissance by Coutan ; under Louis XIV by Marqueste, and the France of today by Michel. The motif of the entire scheme of decoration is the alliance between France and Russia, and the two genii, one on either side of the bridge, typify the Seine and the Neva.
Standing in the Avenue Alexandre III, looking on the magnificent bridge with its sculptures and reliefs and bronzes, the golden dome of the Invalides — under which is the tomb of Napoleon — is in the direct line of vision in the near distance.
The largest triumphal arch in the world is the Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile from which star-like center the twelve principal avenues of Paris radiate. The Champs Élysées leads from the Place de l'Étoile to the Place de la Concorde, and the Avenue de la Grande Armée is its continuation on the opposite side to Neuilly, while the splendid Avenue du Bois-de-Boulogne is the thoroughfare to the famous park of that name ; the Avenue Hoche leads to the Parc Monceau between the Boulevard Malesherbes and the Boulevard de Courcelles ; the Avenue Kléber leads to the Trocadéro, and in this avenue, behind a high, wrought iron fence, with gilded tops, was the Palais de Castile, which formerly belonged to Queen Isabella of Spain, but this palace has recently been torn down to make room for one of the new and luxurious hotels.
The Avenue Victor Hugo is named in honor of the illustrious man whose name is one of the modern glories of France, and who died May 22, 1885, at his home in this avenue. Previous to this, Victor Hugo had lived in the Rue de Clichy, in the Rue de la Tour d'Auvergne, in the Place des Vosges, and in the Rue du Dragon. His residence in the latter street dates back to 1821, when he was but nineteen years of age, and shared a garret of two compartments with a cousin, who was a law student. One of these rooms they made into a salon, whose chief attraction was a golden lily hung over the marble mantel. Hugo is said to have lived for one year on seven hundred francs, refusing aid from his father, who imposed on it the condition that his son should resign literary work. The elder Hugo little dreamed of the impress his son was to make on the life and literature of his century. A writer who visited the great poet and novelist in his home in Avenue Victor Hugo wrote of the house as being " quite unpretentious, but surrounded by a pretty garden." A tablet is now placed on the front to distinguish it to the passers-by. Of Victor Hugo's receptions, one visitor wrote : " An elderly man opened the door and showed me into the reception-room. A genial wood fire was burning in the fireplace, and under the ceiling and along the walls about fifty candles were burning in Venetian glass of artistic design. The room was not large, and was divided by a heavy silk portière of Pompeiian red, with here and there a dash of yellow. The window curtains and the tapestries on the walls were of the same stuff and color. A number of costly ornaments in bronze were scattered about the room. Large mirrors in bronze frames in elaborate designs ornamented the walls, and the magnificent Japanese screens challenged attention by the gorgeousness of their colors, and their exquisite embroidery."
He was the very ideal of courtesy and chivalry to his guests. He kissed the hand of every woman ; he gave the greatest attention to each and all. In conversation, when he became interested, he often lapsed into monologue, but in a manner so brilliant and enthralling that his guests found listening a privilege. His marriage to Mlle. Adèle Foucher was celebrated in October, 1822, in the Chapel of the Virgin in Saint Sulpice — the Chapel where the statue of the Virgin on Clouds is seen, lighted from above. Their early home was in the Rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs, and of this spot Mme. Hugo afterward wrote : " The avenue was continued by a garden, whose laburnums touched the windows of his rooms. A lawn extended to a rustic bridge, the branches of which grew green in summer."
The authors of " The Stones of Paris," referring to this period in Victor Hugo's life, say : —
" The rustic bridge, the lawn, and the laburnums are no longer to be found, but the house is untouched, save by time and the elements. Behind those windows of the second floor, where was their apartment, was written ` Marion Delorme,' his strongest dramatic work, in the short time between the first and the twenty-fourth of June, 1829 ; and there he read it to invited friends, among whom sat Balzac, just then finishing, in his own painstaking way, ` Les Chouans.' In October of this year ` Hernani ' was written and put on the boards of the Comédie Française, long before reluctant censors allowed ` Marion Delorme ' to be played.
" To these rooms came, of evenings, those brilliant young fellows and those who were bent on being brilliant, who made the vanguard of the Romanticists. Here was formed 'le Cénacle.' Here Sainte-Beuve dropped in, from his rooms a few doors off, at No. 19, now No. 37, Rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs ; dropped in too frequently, for the ` smiling critic ' came rather to smile on young Madame Hugo than for other companionship. Sometimes of an afternoon, such of the group as were walkers would start for a long stroll out to and over the low hills surrounding the southern suburbs, to see the sun set beyond the plains of Vanves and Montrouge. As they returned they would rest and quench their modest thirst in a suburban guinguette and listen to the shrill fiddling of ` la mère Saguet.' All this and much more is told in Hugo's verse. The town has grown around and beyond the tavern, where it stands on the southwestern corner of Rue de Vanves and Avenue du Maine. Late in 1830, or early in 1831, they went across the river to No. 9 Rue Jean-Goujon, where, in an isolated house surrounded by gardens, in the midst of the then deserted and desolate Champs Elysées, they could be as noisy as they and their friends chose. Soon after coming here they took their new daughter and their last child, Adèle, to Saint Philippe-du-Roule for her baptism, as Hugo recalled, twenty years later, at Balzac's burial service in the same church. But here, despite the fields that tempted to walks in all directions, Hugo shut himself in and shut out his friends. For he was bound, by contract with his publisher, to produce ` Notre Dame de Paris ' within a few months. With his eye for effect, he put on a coarse, gray, woollen garment, reaching from neck to ankles, locked up his coats and hats, and went to work, stopping only to eat and sleep. He began his melodramatic book to the booming of the cannon of a Parisian insurrection, and he ended it in exactly five and one-half months, just as he had got to the last drop of ink in the bottle he had bought at the beginning. He thought of calling this romance ` What there is in a Bottle of Ink,' but gave that title to Alphonse Karr, who used it later for a collection of stories. Goethe's verdict on ` Notre Dame de Paris ' must stand ; it is a dull and tiresome show of marionettes.
" This house has gone, that street has been rebuilt, the whole quarter has a new face and an altered aspect. After his book was finished, Hugo hurried out to see the barricades of 1832, which he has glorified in ` Les Miserables.'
At this time he permits a glimpse of his home life. It is seen by a friend who, ushered into a large room, furnished with simple but elegant taste, was struck with the womanly beauty of Mme. Hugo, who had one of her children on her knee. When he saw the poet, sitting by the fireside, close by, ` he was vividly impressed with the resemblance of the entire scene to one of Van Dyck's finest pictures.' "
At the head of the Avenue Victor Hugo is a memorial group depicting the poet, but it is one of those merely monumental sculptures that have little artistic excellence or interest. The magnificent Avenue de Bois-du-Boulogne runs to the Bois from the Place de l'Étoile and the drive leads to the lakes in the park, of which one alone, the Lac Inférieur, covers nearly thirty acres. Cascades and waterfalls have been created, and while the purely artificial character of most of the decorative features is sufficiently obvious, there is an idyllic atmosphere, as if Puck and Ariel haunted the scenes. A great mass of rocks and earth, some fifty feet high, is piled above a stone basin, and sheets of water are sent falling through the various crevices and cracks in a picturesque manner. It is a very ingenious piece of rock-work construction, and may even offer hints of value to nature herself. The visitors may further solace themselves with refreshments in the Café de la Cascade, where the height of the prices quite exceeds that of the waterfall, and the simplest déjeuner for two persons is apt to cost fifty francs or more. In the evening, when hundreds of nightingales are singing in the trees, floats with colored lanterns are provided for a row on the lake for those who incline to this poetic little festivity.
The Bois de Boulogne comprises some two thousand two hundred and fifty acres, and it is the especial happy hunting-ground of the Parisians. Every afternoon the driving is a brilliant spectacle. The finest and most elaborate motors, from the large touring car holding a dozen people, to the fairy-like electric coupé, with blue silk canopy, are seen, and the beauty and fashion of Paris are here on parade. It is one of the spectacles of the French capital, and of all is perhaps the most typical.
In the Avenue des Champs Élysées was the residence of the Duc de Malokoff ; in the Rue Bayard, Gustave Doré and Jules Ferry had their homes. Doré had also lived in the Rue Monsieur le Prince, and, about 1848, in the Rue Saint-Dominique. It was here that Mme. Doré held her famous Sunday evening receptions, preceded by an elaborate dinner-party. Doré had studios, however, almost over all Paris. His income at one time was enormous, and between 1850–1870 he is said to have received over two hundred and eighty thousand pounds (one million, four hundred thousand dollars) for his illustrations. It is recorded that he sometimes earned two thousand dollars (four hundred pounds) in a single morning. His early death, at the age of fifty-one, is not unaccountable when it is learned that he seldom slept more than three hours a night.
The Rue François I is a beautiful street, now . the seat of the American Embassy, made so attractive to all Americans by the gracious hospitalities of the Ambassador and Mrs. Henry 'White.
In the Rue Chaillot was the home of "Delphine Gay," Mme. de Girardin. Balzac, writing of a visit to her in 1846, says : " She had her two great men, Hugo and Lamartine, with her. After a political tartine of Hugo's, I let myself go to an improvisation, in which I fought and beat him with some success, I assure you. Lamartine seemed charmed, and thanked me heartily."
It was Mme. Girardin, it will be recalled, who, under the pseudonym of the Vicomte de Launay, wrote the " Lettres Parisiennes " in the Courier de Paris," of which her husband, Emile Girardin, was the editor, — letters that were considered as contributing signally to the elevation of French society. Somewhere, Théophile Gautier writes of this brilliant French woman of letters, and thus pictures her : —
" Mme. de Girardin was then in all the pride of her beauty. The face which, as a jeune fille, too much resembled a carving in marble, suited admirably the woman, with her fine figure and statuesque pose. Her neck and shoulders, relieved by her favorite black velvet costume, were of a perfection which time did not diminish. Her rooms were hung with sea-green damask, and to her evenings came Victor Hugo, Balzac, Eugène Sue, Alphonse Karr and Alfred de Musset. No fête could yield her the enjoyment she found in seeing the chairs in her salon filled. Just after her death, in 1855, Charles Dickens dined with M. Girardin, and described in a letter the three gorgeous drawing-rooms with the thousand wax candles in golden sconces, terminating in a dining-room of unprecedented magnificence."
The Rue de la Pompe — now one of the most fashionable residential streets and the present home of the American Consulate, where the Consul-General and Mrs. Mason dispense their courteous and beautiful hospitality — was the home of Jules Janin, the " prince of critics," of whom Thackeray wrote, after visiting him in 1849: " Janin has the most wonderful verve, oddity, honesty and bonhomie; a magnificent, jolly, intelligent face, such as would suit Pan, I should think ; and a flood of humorous, rich, jovial talk.
" In his beautiful châlet in the Rue de la Pompe the study occupies the entire length of the house. His library was one of the most extensive and complete private libraries in Paris, and the salons abounded in rich bronzes, marbles and pictures."
Quite near Janin lived the great French historian, Henri Martin, who died in 1883, in his house in the Rue Vital. His first great work, the " Histoire de France," appeared in part between 1836 and 1853 and the subsequent volumes between 1878-1879. He was conceded to hold the supreme place in the Thierry school of historians.
One of the many homes of Balzac was in this vicinity, in the Rue Basse. In the Avenue de Trocadéro lived Lamartine, and in the Rue de Longchamps Théophile Gautier had his home and offered his generous and open hospitalities.
In the cemetery at Passy is the mausoleum temple containing the tomb of Marie Bashkirtseff, the temple constructed by Émile Bastien-Lepage. In the interior is a bust of the ill-starred young artist, with a volume of her diary in manuscript, and her palette, writing-desk, and other relics,— the entire mausoleum being most bizarre, and in startlingly bad taste.
In this vicinity are several museums : the Musée de Galliéra, containing the statues of " The Sorceress " by Béguine, and " The Future " by Moreau ; and the Musée Guimet, largely devoted to a collection of Oriental pottery, antiquities and a library of Oriental literature, with statues of Mondshu and Fughen, the two chief disciples of Buddha ; with relics from temples, and carvings from the chariots of Brahma, and many paintings illustrating the religions of Japan. There is a large model of an Indian temple; bronze statues of Vishnu, Siva, and Brahma ; the Indian Venus of the sixteenth century ; paintings depicting Brahma in the states of birth, penitence and transfiguration; a numerous array of idols ; many glass cases containing beautiful examples of jade and of other gems of India ; many rich vestments of the priests ; wonderful examples of cloisonné and of enamels ; and colossal bronze groups illustrating religious legends.
One small, but beautiful object of interest in Paris is the memorial chapel near the Place d' Iéna commemorating the site where many visitors to a Bazaar were burned ; and in this chapel is the recumbent figure of Christ, an exquisite work in sculpture — the work of Moses Ezekiel of Rome — generously donated by Mrs. Jackson, a prominent American lady of Paris.
The Palais du Trocadéro was the permanent legacy of the Paris Exposition of 1878, as are the splendid Grand Palais des Beaux-Arts and the Petit Palais of the Exposition of 1900. " The site of the Trocadéro is incomparable," says Philip Gilbert iamerton ; " it stands upon a stately height from which a beautiful garden slopes down to the river, crossed there by one of the finest of its bridges; and when the sky is full of stars, and the scene covered with lights like an illumination, it is enough to inspire a poet, and it would be in the highest degree poetic if not so modern and so easily accessible. Only forget that it is in familiar Paris, a day's journey from London; forget that these stately domes and lofty towers are not the dwelling of some mysterious Oriental potentate."
Various statues and monumental groups adorn the spacious grounds. The Palais du Trocadéro also contains a museum of casts, illustrating the progress of monumental sculpture from mediæval to modern times. Many curious and interesting things are seen : casts from the cathedrals of Amiens, Strasburg, Autun, and Bourges ; reliefs from the cathedral of Siena; a " Visitation " from Saint Jean of Troyes ; the Holy Sepulchre from the abbey-church of Solesmes ; a cross from Auvergne ; a twelfth century portal from Sainte Marie-des-Dames at Saintes ; sepulchral statues from Saint Denis, and a multitude of similar objects, including the tomb of the children of Charles VIII at Tours.
Through the beautiful rotunda of the Salle des Fêtes, one may pass to the Ethnographical Museum, of special interest to students of ethnography.
The Parc Monceau is a pretty region, and the centre of a fashionable and artistic residential quarter. In this vicinity Paderewski, Rostand, Mme. Sarah Bernhardt and other celebrities are domiciled, and in the Avenue Wagram is the magnificent private hôtel of the late Countess of Caithness, the celebrated and eccentric Theosophical adept. Lady Caithness (later the Duchesse de Pommes) believed herself the reincarnation of Mary, Queen of Scots, and in a little book she describes her sensations in passing a night in Holyrood Palace. Lady Caithness had a number of the salons in her house decorated in cryptic and occult designs ; and the ceiling of her boudoir was painted with the signs of the zodiac. She was the acknowledged leader of the Theosophical cult in Paris, until her death, in the last years of the nineteenth century. She opened her salons for lectures and entertained as her private guests many of the well-known speakers, — Dr. Anna Kingsford, the remarkable woman who wrote " The Perfect Way " and " Clothed with the Sun ; " Annie Besant, Mr. Colville, the spiritualist lecturer so well known in London, Boston, and on the Pacific coast, the Countess Wachmeister and many others. She was a woman of very remarkable power.
The Parc itself is like a private garden, exquisitely kept, and in it are several groups of sculpture, - Verlet's memorial group to Alfred de Musset, the Burial of Abel " by Barrias ; a bronze statue of Hylas ; Chapu's " The Sower," and others by Lenoir, Mabille, Gumery and Gaudez, with portrait statues of Gounod, Chopin and Bizet. The Avenue de Villiers, the Boulevard Malesherbes, the Place Wagram, the Rue Fortuny, the Place Malesherbes, and the Avenue Wagram are of this region, and contain some of the most beautiful architecture in private houses in all Paris. But the Parc Monceau quartier is a veritable haunt of the muses and the gods. It is beloved of authors and artists. At the end of the Avenue Hoche, one of those beautiful vistas of which Paris holds the secret, is the Russian church with its gilded domes and rich interiors.
Near the miniature lake in the Parc Monceau is a memorial group of sculpture to Ambroise Thomas, consisting of a statue of Ophelia, half reclining, pulling flowers apart, while near it, on a great rock, is the sculptured figure of the composer gazing upon his heroine.
In this region, in various streets and avenues, are statues representing the " Genius of Music ;" the " Grief of Orpheus ; " portrait statues of Alexandre Dumas, of de Neuville, the celebrated painter of battle scenes, and many others.
It is somewhere in this vicinity, too, that Mr. A. Henry Savage Landor, the brilliant and versatile genius, has his studio and laboratories and shops, where he is constructing a new and curious invention.
Mr. Landor, who is entitled to write F. R. I., F. R. S. C., and several other learned appellations after his name in recognition of his varied achievements, is one of the most remarkable young men of the day. He is an artist, a traveller, an explorer, an author and an inventor ; and he has " made good " in all these directions already, except that in the last he is still in the experimental stage, although he has achieved some minor inventions. But the great invention on which he is now engaged and of which his working model is eminently successful, is a fairly revolutionary one in transit, in case it fulfills its promise. For in this Mr. Landor has taken three kingdoms for his own, — earth, air and water. His aeroplane is intended to be a car of progress that will adapt itself to each of these, and will run on the ground, skim the surface of water and fly in the air. While this may sound like an Arabian Nights' tale, it must be remembered that we are living in an Arabian Nights' age. Mr. Landor has left one breathless by so many other of his achievements that no idea of his would be rejected as inconceivable. He holds the world record as a mountaineer, having ascended twenty-three thousand, four hundred and ninety feet on Mount Lumpa, Nepal (Himalayas), in 1899 ; he was the first white man to explore Central Mindanao Island, where he discovered the white tribe (Mansakas) the first white man to settle the problem that no range higher than the Himalayas existed north of the Brahmaputra, and the first white man to reach both sources of the Brahmaputra river and establish their exact geographical position — a feat he achieved in 1897. In 1900 he accompanied the allied troops on the march to Pekin, and was the first Anglo-Saxon to enter the Forbidden City, riding side by side with the doyen General Linievitch on the day of the entry of the allies. His travels have extended over Japan, China, Corea, Mongolia, Tibet, India, Nepal ; across Persia, Beluchistan, the Philippines, and the Sulu archipelago ; over North America, Australia, the Azores and Africa ; among the Ainu of Yezo and the Kurile Islands. January 6, 1906. he set out to cross Africa in the widest part, which is over eight thousand miles, arriving January 5, 1907, at the opposite coast. He made this exploration entirely alone save for his black men and his mules and camels. During these three hundred and sixty-four days Mr. Landor had not one human being with whom to exchange a word in the sense of companionship. In reply to some exclamation regarding the inconceivable loneliness of this journey, Mr. Landor said that solitude was his best condition for the working out of any of his problems of research and life, whether of literary work, exploration, ethnological study, or invention. " I believe it is the law," he remarked, " that one's work must be developed and matured in silence. The moment one announces his projects, a thousand counter influences set in ; discussions, adverse vibrations, the myriad subtle, but in-tensely potent things that make for failure. I never tell what I am going to do. I do it first — if I can. If I fail, I say nothing about it," he added laughingly ; " if I succeed, I announce it."
There can be no question but that in this method Mr. Landor obeys an occult law that is of the utmost importance and with which no one can trifle with impunity. One's plan, or project, or idea is as a seed which must lie in the ground, in darkness and untouched, to germinate ; and which, if it were taken out and looked at every day, would never germinate and grow.
Henry Savage Landor is a grandson of Walter Savage Landor, the great English writer, the author of those unsurpassed " Imaginary Conversations," of great poetry, and of great criticism. He left England for Italy when a young man, and lived in Florence from 1821 until his death, in 1864. In a book entitled " The Florence of Landor," 1 there is pictured something of his wonderful life in the " Flower City."
The present year of 1908 is most remarkable in Paris for the advance in removing the aeroplane from the flights of imagination to flights in the air. M. Santos-Dumont, M. Blériot, M. Delagrange and others have made a series of important experimental flights, which are regarded with profound interest by the populace. Mr. Landor's invention is the most remarkable of any heretofore attempted, and if its success should be demonstrated, such a vehicle of transit would do much to modify and advance existing phases of civilization.
No more brilliant thoroughfare exists in Paris than that of the Avenue de l'Opéra, a magnificent modern street leading from the Place du Théâtre `Français to the Place de l'Opéra, the space in front of the superb Grand Opera House, — one of the richest structures in the world, which bears the inscription of the " Académie Nationale de Musique," and which covers an area of three acres. The Théâtre Français, the " House of Molière," at the foot of the avenue, contains, in its vestibule and corridors, statues of Talma, Houdon's Voltaire, a group representing comedians crowning Molière, a statue of George Sand, and symbolic figures of Tragedy and Comedy. The decorations of the ceiling of the auditorium typify the laurels of France bestowed on her three greatest dramatists, Molière, Corneille and Racine.
On the Place du Théâtre Français is a statue of Alfred de Musset. The vista looking up the Avenue de l'Opéra to the Grand Opera House almost rivals the one seen up the Avenue des Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe.
The Avenue de l'Opéra is most attractive as a residential region. The fine hotels and shops, and especially the Brentano establishment, with its wealth of books and all that delights the book-lover and the writer, is a special attraction. It is no exaggeration to say it is the largest bookstore on the continent, and even in London there is no one house at all equal to it in space and convenient arrangement of books. The Brentano house is a signal landmark for Americans in Paris.
The superb Opera House designed by Charles Garnier is approached by a series of broad steps, and the seven arches of the portico are embellished with groups of sculpture, typical of " Lyric Poetry," "Music," " Song," " Declamation," " Idyllic Poetry," " Drama," " Dance," and " Lyric Drama." There are medallions of Bach, Pergolesi, Haydn and Cimarosa. There are sculptured groups, representing Music and Poetry attended by muses and goddesses. There are statues of Handel, Glück, Lully, Rameau and many others. The " Escalier d'Honneur " is a most beautiful creation of white marble, Algerian onyx, and rosso antico, and thirty monolithic columns of colored marbles rise to the third floor. The ceilings are richly decorated with paintings of mythological scenes. There are four tiers of boxes in the auditorium.
The grand foyer, lined with mirrors and sumptuously decorated with paintings, statues, and groups of sculpture, is a hundred and seventy-five feet in length and some fifty in width, with a height of fifty feet. It is one of the most stately and splendid interiors. The opera house contains a fine musical library, a museum of manuscript scores, busts and portraits of composers and artists, and various relics and objects of more or less interest.
The Rue Royale offers another lovely vista, affording a splendid view of the classic design of the Madeleine, at its head. The interior of the church is lighted only from the top, like the Pantheon in Rome. The Madeleine is celebrated in Paris for its music, and it is here that Chopin's funeral march was first given at the funeral of the composer himself. The midnight mass on Christmas Eve is rendered by great artists chosen from the Grand Opera, and the kneeling crowds completely fill the vast temple on this occasion. The Madeleine has been noted, indeed, for producing the music of the great masters, and the noblest masses of the world are sung there.
The Church of Saint Philippe-du-Roule, in the Rue Saint-Honoré, near the Élysée Palace, divides with Saint Augustin the title of being the modern fashionable church. The Church of Saint Augustin is richly decorated, but has nothing of the interest attached to the ancient churches of Paris.
In the Boulevard Haussmann is an interesting monument, in the Chapel Expiatoire de Louis XVI, which was erected in 1820—1826 to the memory of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, on the site of the old cemetery of the Madeleine, where they were interred from 1793 to 1815, when their remains were removed to the royal vault at Saint Denis. In front of the chapel is a court flanked with galleries in imitation of ancient tombs, and intended as a monument to other victims of the Revolution. The chapel is in the form of a Greek cross, with a portico, and is covered with a dome. There are portrait statues of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. On the pedestal of the former is inscribed the king's last will, while on that of the queen is inscribed extracts from her last letter to Madame Elizabeth, who, in the group, is symbolized as Religion.
La Trinité is another of the more prominent modern churches, and it was here that the funeral of Rossini was held in 1868. The music on that occasion is said to have been " the finest ever heard outside Saint Peter's." Mme. Alboni and Mme. Patti sang the duet from the " Stabat Mater," — the Quis est Homo, in a manner that deeply affected all present, and Mme. Christine Nilsson sang the aria " I know that my Redeemer liveth " from the great oratorio, " The Messiah." The casket was covered with Parma violets, the favorite flower of the great composer. While the body of Rossini was first committed to Père-Lachaise, it was removed afterward to Florence, where his tomb is now seen in Santa Croce, near that of Alfieri.
The Jardin des Plantes, though not within the region geographically of the Champs Élysées and its adjacent streets and boulevards, is an object of special interest to many visitors. It is not only a popular resort as a botanical gar-den, but it is an important government enter-prise, in that it is a scientific museum, endowed by the state, and maintaining a large staff of specialists, who are its professors and lecturers. The Garden dates back to Louis XIII, by whom it was founded, and the Comte de Buffon was appointed director. Under his administration, the scope was so enlarged as to attract world-wide attention, and besides the very large assort-ment of varied and rare plants, shrubs, trees and flowers, it includes a large number of animals and minerals. Buffon founded chemical laboratories, galleries of natural history, and a large amphitheatre for lectures. Bernardin de Saint Pierre (the author of " Paul et Virginie ") succeeded Buffon as director, and in 1805 the botanical department was enriched with generous donations of plants from Baron von Humboldt. The celebrated Cuvier — the naturalist of whom it is said that from one bone of an extinct species he could construct the entire animal — succeeded Saint Pierre as director, and before his death, in 1832, his enthusiasm had won for the Garden large donations and great scientific interest. Besides the superb zoological museum, there are now museums of geology and mineralogy that attract special students from all over the world. The new anatomical and anthropological museum is near the entrance of the Jardin des Plantes, the façade being decorated with sculptures by Barrias and Marqueste.
Scientific Paris is a universe in itself. The Observatoire ; the Institut Pasteur ; the Sorbonne ; the great laboratories and clinics ; the research work in all directions that is being carried on, contribute signally to the progress of the entire world.
The Champs Élysées, as a private residential quarter, is most attractive in its broad avenues, its constant spaces devoted to small parks and the Places filled with trees and flowers, offering masses of color everywhere to the eye. Each avenue commands the vista of the magnificent Arc de l'Étoile, and the long lines of architectural beauty, all in white stone, are peculiarly attractive to the eye. It is a white city. The air is transparent ; there is no dust or smoke ; the streets, paved with white asphalt, are spotlessly clean ; the government superintendence of architecture ensures taste and a due sense of relative values, and the eye is constantly gratified with the beauty all around and about, as a constant environment. To live in such an atmosphere of beauty is a most significant factor in development, and in all the noble advancement of human progress. It is a feature of incalculable importance, and in no city in the world is the gospel of beauty such a factor in municipal life as in Paris, the Beautiful.