Monday, September 22, 2008

Safe way to the Safes...


Every year since 1984, on the 3rd weekend of September the Journées du Patrimoine (heritage days) take place. During 2 days, a lot of buildings that are usually closed to the public open their doors to the average citizen. About 15,000 architectural masterpieces (public and private) can then be visited throughout France. Needless to say that some (like L'Elysée, the home of the President of the Republic) are more visited than others... I had the opportunity to visit the headquarters of one of the largest French bank: La Société Générale (yes, the one where famous trader Jérôme Kerviel used to work!), located on Boulevard Haussmann. What you see here is the entrance to the safes. The door that protects them can be seen on the making of together with other details. PS: since 1991 other countries in Europe take part in the Heritage days; more info here.

48 comments:

  1. That is something to behold. That door would make a pretty brooch, on a black dress. Add a few diamonds to give it some sparkle. And dance the night away...

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  2. Shoot I almost got GF on Paris time! Congrats Gramma Ann! For the Patrimoine day I went to l'Institut de France across the Pont des Arts from the Louvre. Having a fun trip so far; the weather is fantastic!

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  3. Gramma ann you grabbed it! Woohoo! Too bad, Katie -- but, I'm glad you're having a good time. I've always wanted to be there when these buildings are open. I don't know how I'd choose which one to see.

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  4. I forgot to say, I love the other photos, too, Eric. The door with the snakes is wonderful,but, I wonder what message they were trying to send - not too inviting!
    Are the snakes a symbol of something - like "don't touch my savings"!

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  5. Carrie...how are you feeling today? You are the one who had the root canal? Right? I have had 4 or 5 over my many years. They aren't any fun;(

    Katie...Glad to hear you landed safely and are having a blast or is that a flask ;) Enjoy your vacation. I didn't mean to be first. I read everything and fooled around, by then I thought some one would have been 1st...by now...so I was as surprised as every one else...

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  6. I love this photo. Since I am a life-long banker, I appreciate the beauty of these elaborate vaults. Thanks for the peek inside.

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  7. Thanks, Gramma ann, for thinking of me. : )

    I have 800mg of ibuprofen going in every 8 hrs and its working pretty well (just a dull ache).

    But, I think I should be "having a flask", as you put it. I picture it in a demure size in etched silver with a tiny velvet cord of the very best quality wrapped around the neck and the initials of the handsome man who couldn't stop himself from gifting it to me(and who died tragically just afterwards, of course)in a heart on the bottom.

    Much more ladylike, don't you think?! ;}

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  8. (Carrie, I think those are initials
    "G" and "S", not snakes.)

    Very interesting choice for your heritage days, Eric. I wonder what I would choose to see. I can see why you would like to see this, it is fascinating to see what they can come up with for security. Leave it to France to make security pretty!

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  9. Carrie...I think the ibuprofen is working your imagination over time;)

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  10. Christie -- sorry if I wasn't clear - you get to the other photos by clicking the making of link in the blurb below the GS photo. You'll see a door handle made of what looks like brass and its in the shape of intertwined snakes. Check it out-they're beautiful, but pretty aggressive looking!!


    Gramma ann -- moi??

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  11. Whoa!!!I have a snake phobia, I won't be touching that door handle. But I agree it is beautiful as beauty goes...

    Coltrane...where are you??

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  12. Your shots make it look all look gold-plated! Beautiful.

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  13. Eric, another informative post. This will be grand information next time I'm planning a bank heist. Do like the S G metal scrollwork...of "La Suckered Generale"! But hey, it's not like we in the USA know how to manage our money. ;-(

    Hello Gramma...I'm in the middle of a football game (watching, not playing...as if)--Packers vs Cowboys.

    Hey Katie! So happy to read that you arrived, are on the move, and the weather is smiling upon you. Can't wait to read about your adventures in Eric's backyard...so to speak. I'm sure if you hang around the eventful Parisian action long enough, you'll run into our PDP camerasmith. It would be cool for you to capture him IN ACTION...of course you'd have to PIXEL out his facial features. Wouldn't want others to know about Mr Famous! Enjoy and make us more jealous each day with all the fun you will have.

    Gotta get back to the game. Ciao!

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  14. I love sneak-peeking into this magnificent building! Thank you, Eric. Needless to say, my next trip will be planned during the Journées du Patrimoine if I can swing it. What a great idea.

    Katie, have a blast for me! For all of us!

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  15. Carrie, "I don't know how I'd choose which one to see." Yes, it's a tough one. I got very dizzy when I was in Paris during this Heritage weekend. Paris was packed with French people. It was impossible to get a hotel room as the French come to Paris during this weekend from all over France. It's a really big event for the country. There's a big build up; so it's a good thing Katie booked her hotel room way in advance.

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  16. Coltrane, Katie has been writing about her "adventures" on her blog. She even spent a day with dreamy Eric. I think she is on cloud 9. If you don't know about her blog just say the word and I will give you her address.

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  17. Eric, These are great photos -- everything has a golden hue. I know better than to accuse you of photo enhancement, so I won't, and will take your word that this is how it really looks. Finance has really been on the front page these past couple of months. Hmmm, so this is where that "Day Broker" worked. Nice place!

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  18. What a beautifully ornate gate into the vault. Nice capture Eric.

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  19. I think Katie won't mind if I clarify that the "dreamy Eric" she spent the day with was not our M. Tenin, but another Eric who is her good friend. I have no doubt, though, that she's probably trying to book some time with our Eric as well.

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  20. Congrats on GF, Gramma Ann!
    Young M. Kerviel was undoubtedly seduced by the golden hue that surrounded him day after day (perfectly captured by Eric).
    Katie -- sounds like you're having a fantastic time! I'm so glad. Thanks to Lois, for letting us know you're writing about it on your blog.

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  21. Eric, you've captured one of the greatest pieces of 1900 architecture not normally photographical(?). I absolutely LOVE this bank and it's design. You can go inside any time during banking hours, but normally photography is forbidden.

    You can just imagine what the setting must have been like in the early 1900's without computers and much more noise. The floor tiles are still original, only maintained once or twice a year I believe, and the coupole is amazing, designed to be the most efficient for heating control.

    Thanks for documenting this in photos.

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  22. Katie...am certainly looking forward to hearing of your adventures when we meet on Thursday. Should be great weather too!

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  23. Now after reading your blog, it looks like you won't be in Paris anymore on Thursday. Or am I even more confused?

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  24. Eric I forgot to mention how much I like this photo! Did they have a tour of Monsieur Kerviel's desk? (Just kidding.) Gramma Ann I figured I'd never be up past midnight, or be near a computer, but I was chez ma cousine last night and suddenly remembered PDP! You won fair and square.

    Petrea thanks for clarifying that the friend I'm staying with is also an Eric. Something tells me that PDP Eric doesn't have 2 hours to lolly-gag in the Luxembourg gardens eating Pierre Hermé macarons like my Eric did on Saturday.

    Coltrane I really hope to spy Eric in action!

    Michael I most certainly will be in Paris on Thursday for the PHX-CDG sponsored get-together! You must be confused by the postcards on my blog - anything in italics is what's on the back of the card, and a lot of my postcards are ones I sent home on from my year abroad in 1984. I pre-posted lots of poscards in case I'm having too much fun to bother posting anything new. See you and everyone else who is planning on being at Deux Magots on Thursday!

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  25. Eric, the doors remind me of the vault at Fort Knox, the US gold depository in Kentucky. I was stationed there briefly during my tour of duty with the Army. I would love to visit the L'Elysée.

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  26. Wow! It looks like the jail of people who were born with silver spoon...

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  27. ART NOUVEAU!
    ART NOUVEAU!!
    ART NOUVEAU!!!

    I love these patterns and the gold everywhere, and the other pictures are gorgeous. I would have loved to go there if I had known...

    The Europe and even the whole world like to do the things the France does: first la fête de la musique (music festival), now, les journées du patrimoine. Bande de copieurs! ;)

    Katie, how is Paris?! You're lucky, the weather is perfect. Hope you'll tell us more on Thursday!

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  28. Gosh this is so interesting, Eric. Thank you for the insight. Now - what are the combinations? :)

    Katie how wonderful. Can't wait to see the pics, but how shall we? Your blog is of lovely postcards, and Michael no longer blogs. Something has to give - we need the pics! Here perhaps?

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  29. Guille - the weather is NOT perfect! It's COLD!!!!! :-( Ok, sunny, but COLD!

    Look forward to meeting you Katie. I hope I'll make it on time.

    I bank with SG but now I want to change to this branch. It is so grandiose and architecturally beautiful. I understand that they have vaults in the safe big enough to hold statues and paintings and such. Maybe a heist is worth considering. Bonnie and Clyde move over...here comes Eric and Camera.

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  30. Beautiful and pure gold, just like my favorite blogger!

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  31. Guille, "the whole world like to do the things the France does." It's true, but it's not possible. That's why we all want to visit and why we love Paris so much.

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  32. Michael, it WAS perfect this morning. Now it's cold, okay...don't be too demanding, it's late September! :p

    Petrea, France likes to do the things the US does, too. That's why I want to visit the US, to understand your huge and complicated country. US are a mystery to me!

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  33. Come see us, Guille! Although I'm not sure we can explain it either.

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  34. Petrea, Merci! I thought Katie really did spend all day with the PDP Eric. LOL I didn't know that there was another Eric in Paris! What a GOOF!

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  35. Wish my sudden ear infection wasn't messing with my ability to concentrate and type, so sorry if none of this makes any sense.

    *guh* I think I've found inspiration for my future steampunk home. Of course my place will have to bit a bit more dingy, but there's definitely some design pieces I'll be "stealing" from this bank!

    Obviously (forgive my Harry Potter dorkiness), the snakes are a tribute to "Slytherin Grandpa," also known as Salazar Slytherin, who is well known for his ability to communicate with snakes! Never knew he spent time building banks in France!!

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  36. You've done it again! Beautiful shot.

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  37. My valuables would become more valuable in those surroundings. Impressive!

    Guille: I hope you are able to visit the US.

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  38. My valuables would look out of place and scrawny in those surroundings!

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  39. I really should have written those surroundings would make my valuables more valuable. They aren't worth much on their own. :-(

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  40. Great! So when are you arriving, Guille? You will LOVE the redwood trees. And the rodeos. And the beach! Man, this is gonna be great!

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  41. Oh, now I see, Katie!! Sometimes I just don't see things. I do have to say though, I don't know if I could use those handles on a regular basis. I HATE snakes. I don't really care for frogs, but I can tolerate them. Snakes are another matter all together. Glad someone else has to use them and not me!!

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  42. gorgeous, in the truest sense of the word! consitantly beautiful photos! i must try harder ; )

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