Sunday, June 29, 2008

Paris' protector


I realized today that I never showed you a very important historical character in Paris: Sainte Geneviève whose statue can be seen at the entrance of Paris - on the Seine (see this photo). Geneviève was born in... 422 and according to the legend she saved Paris from a few enemies (Attila and the Huns, Childéric...) and that is why she is now the "official protector" of Paris ;) I'm not sure that many Parisians know about her though...

47 comments:

  1. Another interesting and educational picture. Always something interesting going on at PDP.

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  2. What a lovely statue and what history!! (wouldn't you know it was a woman who saved Paris?) Just kidding, I imagine she had help.

    Thanks for sharing, Eric!

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  3. I just love the other photo of Sainte Genevieve -- this close-up is nice too for detail. However, I like the composition, lighting and texture of the other one. There have been so many magnificent and brave French people who have died protecting France throughout history. Many great men and women -- so it does not surprise me that not too many people know about Sainte Genevieve. I adore her.

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  4. Oh, Eric, how you have touched my heart today! I have been in the process of becoming a Catholic, and Genevieve is my patron saint. I chose her because of the special connection I feel with Paris, with her, and with Saint Etienne du Mont, where her shrine is located. Truly, thank you for this lovely photo.

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  5. She looks like she is in the Heavens over Paris watching over everyone! Beautiful!! Who is the little one with her?

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  6. She is truly beautiful. From this distance, she does indeed evoke an air of protection and safety. When I enlarged the photo, I found her expression to be very different than what I expected. More grim, maybe, but still calming.

    I hope she will perhaps also be the protector of young American teenagers traveling in Paris next week without their parents...

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  7. Houston, we're good to go!

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  8. I have read about Sainte Geneviève in a guidebook, but I missed it when I travelled to Paris. Thanks for the photo!

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  9. Hey, a shout out to Kelly. That was a beautiful blessing for teenagers. My family was always afraid of me traveling in Europe alone when I was a teenager. I think it was because they thought I was sexy and of course, born blonde. Now, I relate to the "adults" since I am no longer a teenager. ;) LOL

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  10. Eric I love this photo. I love satutes against beautiful cloud filled skies. Merci!

    Parisian Heart, your comment was so touching to read, quite beautiful.

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  11. Flora, What a cool photo of you. I'm feeling like we are having tea together. bisous

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  12. Funny, when I saw the thumbnail, I thought it was a giant condom over the obelisque! It happended before...

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  13. Eric, I love both the photos. This one's quite striking, as I imagine Geneviève herself must have been. I had read about her before coming to Paris, and I even saw the statue but didn't make the connection.

    Pont Girl, my guess about the little one (only a guess): the child represents Paris, as Geneviève is her "official protector."

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  14. A very familiar sight for me, since I went to school just a couple of blocks up left from where you took this picture, Eric but honestly, I never knew (or worse, never memorized) who she was.

    Here is where the statue is located, on Pont de la Tournelle in Paris:

    http://tinyurl.com/3oas6l

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  15. Saturday dinner at la Tour d'Argent maybe, Eric ?
    Since this statue is at the end of the pont de la Tournelle, right at the entrance of the restaurant.
    If it's true, what a life !
    If not, what a life anyway !

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  16. The statue is by French sculptor Paul Landowsky. Few know his name , but all know his most famous work : the Christ Redempteur overlooking the bay of Rio in Brazil.

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  17. She's beautiful and I'm happy to know the story. When I enlarged the shot I immediately felt my face relax, and I hadn't even realized I was tense. I appreciate Petrea's speculation that the little one represents the City. I appreciate, also, Alain's information about the sculptor; fascinating. Two uplifting photos, Eric.

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  18. Sainte Geneviève... I will think of her now as our protector :). Hmm, how nice it is to feel protected! It gets braver, I guess...

    And I didn't know about her until today! Lucky me to have PDP now;)For sure!

    Though, when I was a student, I very often went to study in 'Bibliothèque Sainte Geneviève' (located near the Panthéon-Sorbonne University), because I felt better there. Maybe a sign already... that's true!

    Anyway, a very aerial and serene photo. I love it! Merci Eric.

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  19. Lois, I probably should confess I had a particular teenager and her friends in mind. ; )

    In fact, I just learned a couple of minutes ago she has safely landed in Amsterdam. She will be in Paris next week.

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  20. Eric, thanks for the close up of the patron saint of Paris. The statue is a remarkable work of art and a monument that most tourists never see.

    Your photo reminded me of one that that I took last spring so I posted it as today’s Paris Photo Arts weekly selection. Take a look. Paris Photo Art

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  21. I first learned of St Genevieve's importance to the city of Paris when I visited St. Etienne-du-Mont, a lovely church near the Pantheon. There is a reliquary of silver there which is said to contain (of course) St. Genevieve's relics. The history that I read said that her relics were at one time disposed of, but some brave soul retained them or a portion of them...in any case, it is a wonderful idea to have a protector and no surprise it should be a woman. After all, our first and most constant protector is usually our maman.

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  22. I didn't know that she was our protector... And I never saw this statue before! Pff, fake parisian. LOL
    J'aime bien la façon dont elle émerge dans le ciel, juste sur un fond bleu nuageux. Très simple.

    Going to bed, I'm already too old to party all night long...

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  23. Eric, coming from a Catholic family, I heard many stories about the saints. Since I'm prone to misplacing...well everything actually, Saint Anthony has become a trusted friend of mine.[Catholics will understand that one] Anyway, fascinated by these saints as a kid, I'm still intrigued by them and their devotion to helping humanity. Maybe that's why I still enjoy that New Orleans standard "When the Saints Go Marching...", although "Basin Street Blues" also yanks at my heart chords, but I digress. I think any trip to Paris (France for that matter)would only be enhanced by a little knowledge of these miracle workers. St. Genevieve's prayer must have been strong that day in 451 that Attila decided to go to Orleans instead of sacking Paris. [I wonder what those folks in Orleans think of St. Genevieve?]

    Sainte Genevieve was also well known for her charitible work and did much to care for and feed the poor. Often "bread" is a symbol you'll find associated with her. I can't see well enough to know what the child in your photo is holding in her hand (loaf of bread? a bird of peace?) BTW...for you vegans out there (Parisian Heart?), Saint Genevieve adhered to a diet of "no meat."[Probably a good idea back then anyway since they had no electricity for their refrigerators.]
    Those interested in the study of saints (hagiology) should check out "The Golden Legend" by Jacobus de Voragine (1275). William Caxton later translatd it into English from the Latin in 1483. It is definitely far from being factual since the ignorant folks in Middle Ages were more interested in a good story about their heroes than say FACT, but it presents an engaging read nonetheless and gives an understanding of why the saints have been revered through the centuries and have had statues chiseled in their honor.

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  24. Coltrane, from what I remember (or think I remember) the child is holding some kind of sailing boat.
    Certainly because of Paris motto (?) :
    "Fluctuat nec mergitur."
    I pitch but don't sink.
    There is also a sailing boat on Paris blazon.

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  25. Thanks Marlene...that helps and makes sense!

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  26. I know about her! I visited the Saint Etienne eglise on the Saint Geneviéve mount. Isn't that correct, the name of the mount?

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  27. Alain, "...Christ Redempteur overlooking the bay of Rio in Brazil." Yes, I recognize his style -- of course. merci

    Guille, "Pff, fake parisian... Going to bed, I'm already too old to party all night long..." I laughed out loud and am still smiling. You are so funny!

    Coltrane and Marlene, merci -- that does give us a lot of insight. And it is also good to know about those books. I love the Great Books of Hours (for the pictures). hahahaha

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  28. This is beautiful;the pale grey obelisk shaped sculpture against the mixed blue/white/grey sky.
    Saint Geneviève seems both very fragile and very strong.
    I like the other photo with the Notre Dame as well, but I'm glad you chose this one as todays photo,Eric.
    I know I have passed this sculpture several times, but I have never payed attention to it, but I sure will in the future.
    I love the story about Saint Geneviève. Thanks to all of you for sharing, you really know a lot.

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  29. Very clever Mr Eric to get two beautiful photos from one shot. I have to say I prefer the other one.

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  30. You all have Michael's "bonjour"!
    I think PDP really misses him... Who wants to scream his name to see him come back?! ;)

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  31. OK Guille to scream his name and to say that PDP does miss him (mais pas sûre qu'il entende de là où il est!! Business, holidays? Both???).
    Michaël!!! Michaël!!! Michaël, please come back here to say a quick coucou to all of us, and not only to Guille ... ;)

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  32. Thanks for the info on the artist, Alain. I like her in this maternal stance instead of in winged victory stance - the child Paris is sweetly vulnerable and monolithic Genevieve is softened by that vulnerability. The info on the artist's connection to Brazil was a nice tie into Monica in Brazil and Parisian Heart who both reminded me of St. Etienne du Mont. I learned about Ste. Genevieve in the Pantheon and then went next door to St.(e)(?)Etienne du Mont for part deux of my lesson. (Now I'll have to wiki Etienne to get the story straight!

    Eric -- perhaps, if you're passing by that church someday.... I'd love to see what your eye comes away with from that confectionary interior. (I don't think I've seen any photos of it in PDP so far,but forgive me if I've forgotten.)

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  33. Lily, merci for the lovely comment.

    Coltrane, I am not vegan, but your question about what the child is holding sent me searching ... While I have not found an answer to that, perhaps the clues from Marylene's memory may prove helpful. I shall search more later. Do you think St. Anthony might help me find it? ;)

    Alain, it THRILLED me to learn that statue on the Pont de la Tournelle was created by Paul Landowski, who collaborated on the famous Christ the Redeemer statue -- one of the New 7 Wonders of the World -- in Rio de Janiero! Wow!

    Carrie, your description of the interior of Saint Etienne du Mont as "confectionary" is ideal! I hope you won't mind if I borrow that from now on. :) And I, too, would so enjoy seeing what Eric would capture from a visit there.

    Bless your heart, Eric ... Did you ever envision the whole world sending you on photo missions all over Paris? You'll run your legs off! I must say, though, that even without my having made a personal request, you have managed to touch and inspire me over and over with your magnificent views of Paris.

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  34. I never came across this statue!... Will need to check where it is located exactly. Regading the photo itslef, you just got it perfect, superb POV ! Loic http://brohardphotography.blogspot.com

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  35. EIFFEL TOWER !!!
    EIFFEL TOWER !!!
    EIFFEL TOWER !!!

    I did it for you Suzy. ;)

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  36. Qu'est-ce qui se passe a PDP? A new photo today for yesterday? Eric, were you just longing to hear "Eiffel Tower! Eiffel Tower! Eiffel Tower!"? :)

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  37. Ah! I love this statue and your artistic shot with rooftops and la tour Eiffel. I teach my American students of French in Detroit about sweet Geneviève. You made me smile today. Merci mille fois.

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  38. Oh, this is a lovely angle for Suzy!

    Parisian Heart...LOL...I think Marylene may be right as you look at Eric's new photo; what the child is holding from this angle does bear resemblance to a sailboat...or the Guinness harp. Definitely not a baguette.

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  39. oooooooooohh, I like this one! I piece of Eiffel Tower sticking out, uh? now, that wasn't there before, was it? ;)

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  40. (thank you, Guille-I haven't been in the mood lately)

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  41. Great picture.
    Thanks for sharing. (:

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  42. Great picture.
    Thanks for sharing. (:

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