Travel Guide For Life; M.A.C.

What I See From Mountain To Sea

A church in Paris. I just walked past this church while exploring the streets of Paris (Flaneur). It is Notre Dame de Lorette. The address is 18 bis Rue de Châteadun. It does look more like a Roman temple than a church and not very inviting but it is very lovely and cozy inside.

If I remember correctly,  the first historical record of Paris was written by Julius Caesar. He wrote about his battles in Gaul and the island where Paris started was significant because he met with chiefs of Gauls' tribes here in 53 BCE because he wanted to see what kind of support he can get from them.  Also, there was a complicated battle here between Julius  Caesar's general, Titius Labienus, and the rebellious Parisii tribe which lived on the island. This battle occurred approximately 1 year after the meeting in 53 BCE.  Of course, the village on the island was not yet known as Paris. It was called Lutetia by Julius Caesar, Lucotocia in Strabos' writings, and Louchetia in the description by Julian. Strabo was a Greek geographer who was working during the rule of the first Roman emperor Augustus. Julian was a Roman emperor, 14th or 15th emperor in the Constantine dynasty of emperors. Lutetia is the most common name of the village on the island where Paris began. Before Julius Caesar, it was called Leucotecia by the Celtic tribes who were nomadic but started to settle down in the area around 4,500 BCE. Eventually, they started to grow crops, trade with other communities, and build a city. They also built the first wall to be erected on L'ile de la Cité. Also,there was the Gaul village of Nemetodorum just north west of the island approximately where the business district of Paris called La Dèfense is now located. It is known as the Natarre district now. 

This sculpture can be found in the Louvre Museum. It is a metaphorical depiction of the Tiber River.

Once Julius Caesar subdued the Celtic Parisii, the Romans built a fine city that they called Lutetia. There are remains of the Roman city of Lutetia underneath the Parvis of Notre Dame Cathedral. Everyone can see them by visiting the Archeological Crypt Museum near ground zero in front of the cathedral. After  the Roman takeover of the region, they called the island "Lutetia Parisiurum". This name meant "Marsh of the Parisii People." About 400 years after these events with Julius Ceasar fighting against the Gaul tribes for control of the area, we now find Julian becoming Caesar, emperor of Rome, right here in Lutetia. So if he called the village (by now a full fledged Roman city) Louchetia, then all the above possible names are probably correct at one time or another. The sojourn and actions of Emperor Julian are actually the major part of the corroborated history with evidence that we have for the first 500 years or so concerning Lutetia. There is little else. Emperor Julian would reside in Lutetia for the winter months during the military campaigns he was conducting around France. He wrote a book or journal called the Misopogon and he called Lutetia, "the little darling city" where one will see the "old virtues" still being practiced. 

There is another important event that has been recorded from Lutetia during this time which Hilaire Belloc wrote about. He wrote; "Here he kept for a few months his quasi-pagan court, and from that circle produced the first book ever published in Paris-- a shorter edition of Galen, by one Oribasius, a doctor." Much happened in Lutetia after the reign of emperor Julian because other emperors followed him, such as Valentinan and Gratian.

The best evidence we have of these years of Roman rule on L'île de la Cité are the things they made that still exist. Around the year 20 CE, the Sailors Guild erected a limestone monument outside of a temple. On it were carvings of Gallic and Roman gods. It was discovered by construction workers underneath Notre Dame Cathedral in 1710. It can now be seen in the Musée de Cluny. This museum is very appropriate for the monument because it is in a medieval building. I imagine that this is one of the oldest buildings in Paris because it a medieval building that is still standing. Rue Saint-Jacques is even older. I do not know what the Romans called it but it was their main road leading south. By 200 CE, they had built their Forum, the Arénes de Lutèce, and their viaduct called Thermes de Cluny both of which still exist in part. The museum is in a former Abbey of the Cluny monks and the Thermes de Cluny are connected to it with a huge frigidorium that was also built by the Romans. It seems we have the first suburb of Lutetia Parisiurum being built up around these grand edifices. 

Another sculpture that is displayed in the Louvre Museum. This is a Roman copy of the original Greek sculpture that was made with bronze. This is Athena Velletri and it was discovered in 1797 at the ruins of a Roman villa near Velletri. The Romans created many copies of Athena Velletri but this Louvre Museum example is special because it stands taller than other copies at 10 feet. Athena is a war goddess but she is in her peaceful mode here.

Before Paris became Christian,  there were several saints and emperors (besides Julius Ceaser) who stayed there. There were; Bishop Saint Denis,  Sainte Genevieve, Julien the Apostate who later became Roman Emperor, Roman Emperor Valentinian I, and Saint Martin of Tours that I know about. Then around 250 CE, Lutetia Parisiurum began to become Christian. There are a few important people and events from the next century or 2 but there is much legend and hagiography mixed with the history. Saint Denis, Saint Genevieve, and Clovis are a few of the main characters of this period.

Saint Denis was in  Lutetia Parisiurum by 225 CE (I surmise) although the year of his birth is not known. He was martyred in the year 250. He sought to bring Christianity to the region and hagiography states that he was decapitated (for his faith and preaching) on the hill that became known as martyrs' hill (Montmartre) and he then picked up his head and walked with it in his arms for about 6 miles while his head continued to preach about repentance. There are many depictions of this throughout Paris, even on Notre Dame Cathedrals' facade. 

Saint Genevieve was born in Nanterre which is about 9 miles to the north west of the island about where La Défense business district now stands. She was born in 419 and died in 512. She is greatly revered by the French and she was actually made the Patron Saint of Paris. Her gravesite is in another of the very first buildings (that still exist more or less intact) that had been constructed in that first suburb of L'îl de Cité, Saint Etienne du Mont. The bridges of the main Roman road that crossed the island had fortifications on the banks on either side of the Seine River which were an integral part of Lutetia Parisiurum but the homes that were being built around Saint Etienne du Mont and Thermes de Cluny were like a village. With the rise of Christianity, there arose other such villages around the island; Saint Germain des Prés (originally called Saint-Vincent until after  the first bishop of Paris, Saint-Germain was interred there), Saint-Germain L'Auxerrois, Saint Paul, and Saint Marcel. Around these churches rose communities that were like satellite communities to L'île de la Cité. The most ancient would have been the Basilique des Apôtres and St. Etienne du Mont. Basilique des Apôtres would become Basilica of Saint Genevieve. This became the Pantheon after the French Revolution of 1789.

Germanic tribes started invading the Roman communities along the Seine River and the population decided to retreat back onto L'île de la Cité. They decided to build a wall around a good part of the island and the Roman amphitheater suffered greatly from it because a large portion of the amphitheater was taken apart so its stones could be used for the wall. Moving back onto L'île de la Cité, the people destroyed the bridges and built the wall mostly enclosing the eastern side of the island. 

Besides the Germanic tribes attacking Lutetia Parisiurum, there were also the Vikings and the Franks. It was the Franks who eventually subdued all of what is now France. Clovis I was the first to become king of this new kingdom.  He was born in Belgium and his father was Childeric I (the king who founded Saint-Vincent church in 453). In 486 CE  he defeated all of Roman Gaul. In 511, he makes Lutetia Parisiurum his capital city and renamed it simply "Paris ".  His dynasty is known as the Merovingian Dynasty. Clovis I died shortly after he made Lutetia Parisiurum his capital city and renamed it Paris. After his death, his 4 sons divided his kingdom into Austrasia, Neustria, Burgandy, and Aquitaine. Paris, along with Orléans and Tours, were major cities of Neustria. Their Merovingian dynasty lasted until 751 when Pepin the Short deposed Childeric III. The new dynasty of Pepin the Short is known as the Carolingian Dynasty. 

The most famous king of the Carolingian dynasty is well known even to me 😄, Charlemagne which is the French version of Charles the Great. He was the son of Pepin the Younger. He united a good portion of Europe and even became Holy Roman Emperor. He ruled France from 768 until 771 as co-ruler with his younger brother until his younger brother (Carloman) died. Pope Leo III crowned him as Holy Roman Emperor on Christmas day in the year 800. Did they already celebrate Christmas by the year 800? I guess that would be interesting to research. Anyway, Charlemagne is also called the Father of Europe and he became devoted to the Catholic church, helping to spread Christianity throughout Europe forcing tribes to convert to Christianity. Louis the Pious became Holy Roman Emperor after his father, Charlemagne, died of old age. The Vikings started rising up and attacking his territory in great numbers because of how Charlemagne had subdivided their Saxon territory that made up what is now called Scandinavia. During this time, the Parisians built another wall on the north bank of the Seine River around what is now Rue de Rivoli and Rue de l'Arbre-Sec. Rue de Rivoli passes along the north side of where the Louvre Museum is now. Rue de l'Arbre-Sec (dry tree street😄) runs along the east side of the ancient Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois church which is just east of the Louvre Museum. Finally, Charles the Simple (Charles III who ruled from 893-923) made a treaty with the Viking chieftain Rollo who later became Rollo of Normandy after becoming Christian, marrying into a noble French family, and showing loyalty to the defense of Paris. These events are actually depicted in the not 100% accurate TV series "Vikings ". Another interesting event in Paris at this time was the creation of a Fun Fair that still exists. It was created in 957 by King Lothair ( or Lothaire) and is now called Foire du Trône.

Between 870 and 990, under the leadership of Charles the Bald, Bishop Gozlin, and Hugh Capet, the bridges Grand Pont and Petit Pont were built and rebuilt and reinforced, defenses strengthened, sieges by the Vikings were repelled, and a siege by Roman Emperor Otto II was also repelled. By the year 1000, the city of Paris was stronger and had hope for the future again.


Around 970, there was the dynasty of Hugh the Great and Hugh Capet. Hugh the Great was the son of Robert  the  Strong who dominated over a weak and eroding Paris after many years of attacks and sieges. Hilaire Belloc wrote of Paris at this time; "The Norman invasions left behind them confusion and wreckage. Men wondered in the worst of the siege whether the order of things had not changed forever; they doubted whether the empire and the Christian name would stand. As the tide of the sea-men ebbed northward again, the city looked around at desolation only. The mark of the flood was on the ruin of burnt abbeys and on the broken walls; dead men were still unburied in the fields, but the town still stood." It was a Paris in this condition that a military leader of unknown origin like Robert the Strong could create a new dynasty of rulers over Paris. 

Reconstruction of several churches like Saint Germain des Prés and Saint Martin des Champs Priory began. In 1014, they began building a new nave for Saint-Germain des Prés and King Henry I commissioned the reconstruction of Saint-Martin des Champs in 1060. The 2 buildings of this complex that still exist  today were the nave and  the priory refectory. This is where the last trial by combat was held. I wrote about this trial by combat in more detail earlier. It was between Jean de Carrouges and Jacques Le Gris. These 2 buildings that still exist are now the Musée des Arts et Métiers and they are  very Gothic and very impressive.

Work also begins on some of the most well known buildings of Paris.  And the new architectural style that originated in northern France, the Gothic, is in vouge. We have the Basilica Royal de Saint Denis, which was completed around 1144, the Cathedral of Notre Dame, (replacing  Èglise Etienne which stood in its location previously), begun in 1163 and completed in 1345, and the Louvre which was begun in 1190 and  completed many times 😃😃😃.

Students began to arrive into Paris to study at the Episcopal school of Notre Dame church around 1010.

Around 1120, many teachers and their students moved from the cloister of the first Notre Dame Cathedral, which was becoming too crowded, to the area around Saint Etienne du Mont church on Montagne Saint Genevieve. Their gathering there for academics began what would eventually become known as the Latin Quarter of Paris where many colleges and universities,  some non existing and others still going strong today, were created. 

In 1137, Champeaux (little fields) is created as a market place to replace the market area of Place de Grève which surrounded Hôtel de Ville area. This area was the location of Maison aux Piliers before Hôtel de Ville. In 1183, 2 market buildings were built at Champeaux and this market place would latter become the famous Les Halles.

In 1180, The first official college of Paris was founded by an English expatriate named Messire Josse de Londre for 18 impoverished clerical students located in the Hôtel Dieu. The college was called Dix Huit (the College of the 18).


The next major defensive wall that was built for Paris was that of King Philip Augustus. Many remnants of this wall can still be seen throughout Paris. It took approximately 20 years to build it. Paris was one of the last northern European cities to build such a major wall like this one. Hilaire Belloc wrote that "If Paris had never since the Romans given herself a new defense, it was because a kind of doubt hung over the nature of the city." He also wrote that " its building a certain kind of seal and termination was put upon the first stage in the development of the city." The commission to build this wall was made around 1190 and Philip Augustus did not stay in Paris to oversee the construction of it. He had departed Paris for a crusade. He also commissioned the building of the Louvre Fortress. So a good portion of Philip Augustus' plans were being executed while he was out fighting during the third crusade. The right bank portion of the wall was completed in 1208. The left bank portion of the wall was completed in 1213.

Former Saint-Martin des Champs Priory and now the Museum of Arts and Meters.

After leaving the Louvre Museum, walking a straight course toward Place de Concorde, we first passed the lovely Arch de Carrousel and then entered the Jardine Tuileries.

A painting that depicts the original Les Halles market place (many years after the area was dedicated as a market place because Paris was not built up then as it is in this painting), before it was turned into a modern shopping mall. Les Halles was created just north of the Seine River to provide L'île de la Cité with everything the island population needed. It was an ancient market place but now there is a huge, very modern building with typical shops that are national and international. .

Saint Germain des Prés. This is one of the oldest churches built in what was a field out side the walls of Paris but eventually became center of one of the earliest suburbs of Paris. In this modern era with motor vehicles, it is located within what is now considered central Paris.

Interior shot of Saint Germain des Prés.

Another interior shot of Saint Germain des Prés.

Arch de Triomphe Carousel. It is located just west of the Louvre Museum where the Palais Tuileries used to be located before it was destroyed during the French revolution of 1871, during the Commune. It stands in line with the Jardine Tuileries, Place de Concorde, Blvd. Champs Elysée, and the Arch de Triomphe ( the big one 😃).

Liberty Leading The People is in the Louvre Museum. It was painted by Eugene Delacroix in 1830. He was a leader of the Romantic School of painting and he lived from 1798-1863. The subject of the painting is Lady Liberty leading the people past the fallen fighters who were uprising in July 1830 to depose King Charles X who was the last Boubon King of France. He was replaced by Louis Philippe who was the very last king of France. I guess the French got tired of making revolutions to get rid of bad kings. 😄😄

The Sun King Louis XIV. This painting is in the Louvre Museum. On the other hand, this king was NOT deposed by revolution. He died of old age. In this painting, he is wearing the robe that he wore for his coronation. He was king of France from 14 May 1643 until 5 September 1715. 5th of September is the day he passed away because of gangrene. He died at Versailles Palace because that is where he lived and held court. He was probably a good king for France. He did take his reign very seriously. His monarchy was absolute throughout France. His foreign policy was very aggressive and his France was a truly great France. During his reign, France was the dominant power in Europe. Art and other cultural aspects of French life became very important and much cultivated at this time. Thus, his long 72 year reign (one of the longest in the history of monarchies) can be considered as a golden age for France. He kept his court at Versailles which was like a den of opulence (a very large den to be sure). The nobility from around France would have to travel there to take care of business and spend a few days or weeks in a rather decadent life style. Any resolve that any nobles had to complain about or plot against the king would have been diminished this way. The sun King was also able to distance himself and his court some ways from the population of Paris. Holding his court in Versailles, the center of government was in France, not just Paris. I do not believe Versailles could have been considered a suburb of Paris as I think it is today. Thus, his court represented the power of a strong France rather than a strong Paris. He said;" It is legal because I wish it." He also said; " Has God forgotten all I have done for him?" . This painting, created by Hyacinthe Riqaud in 1701, was commissioned as a gift for King Philip of Spain but they liked the painting too much at Versailles so they never sent it to Spain. 🙄...

I know that this is not from Paris. It is actually from Egypt. But NOW it IS in Paris. If you want to see it, Go to the Ancient Egyptian antiquities section of the Louvre Museum.

I know that this elaborate column is not from Paris. It is actually from the Palace of Darius the Great which was in Susa which was on the south west side of the Persian empire. But NOW it IS in Paris. If you want to see it, go to the Near Eastern antiquities section of the Louvre Museum.

Cyrus the Great conquered the area of Susa around 540 BCE. and created a metropolis there that was made the capital of the Persian empire by Cambyses II around 520 BCE. and Darius the Great created his monumental palace there because he favored Susa over Persepolis. His palace had 36 columns like the one pictured here.

This fountain will be found in the center of Place Vosges. This is a very nice place to relax with a gourmet ice cream. That is what I did. There is also a beautiful museum where Victor Hugo lived. It was free entrance when I arrived. I just signed a guest book or something like that.

As displayed in the Victor Hugo Museum.

Victor Hugo's home did not have a wide, expansive floor plan but it was quite tall. I went all the way to the top floor because there is a bathroom up there. This photo shows the view from the floor just below the highest level. Victor Hugo had his living quarters on the second floor of 6 Place Vosges from 1832-1848. The architecture is a Louis XIII style. The museum opens at 1000 and I believe the permanent exhibits at the museum are always free.

Here are a couple of books Victor Hugo had in his library (I think). He was quite a famous author and many people will already know that he wrote Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

I am climbing up to the second floor of Victor Hugo's home (well, the museum that they made of his home), and thought that this frieze on the wall between 2 flights of stairs should be photographed. I think it is rather lovely

I also thought that I should photograph this painting in the Victor Hugo Museum because of how dramatic this painting is.

A very interesting display that covers one of the walls on an upper floor of Victor Hugo's home. I believe this is on the 3rd floor.

Unfortunately, this is the last photo I took inside Victor Hugo Museum. This is a portrait of him in his later years. He seems to have been a very regal man at this time.

Finally, one last photo I took at Place Vosges. This sculpture is located near the fountain that is posted at the beginning of this section.