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Filter reviews. Traveler rating. Excellent Very good Average Poor The statue in the centre represents Paris, while on either side are two figures symbolising the two rivers of the capital, the Seine and the Marne. On the pedestal is the usual florid inscrip- tion from the city of Paris to the glory of Louis XV.
We will conclude our explorations in the southern quarter by a visit to the observatory, a little south of the Luxembourg Gardens, which is conveniently reached by the handsome new Boulevard Baspail to the Place Den- fert Rochereau. This place had formerly the ill sound- ing title of Place d'Enfer, but it has been since the Franco-Prussian war named after the heroic defender of Belfort, the one French city besieged by Prussia which withstood all the efforts of die German armies and re- mained untaken throughout the war.
This place is appropriately decorated with a magnificent copper re- plica of course reduced by Bartholdi of the famous " Lion of Belfort," to commemorate the gallant defence of this city in Luxembourg Gardens, is a handsome building designed by Claude Perrault, the architect of the famous Louvre Colonnade, in It is a striking-looking building, and though it has been considerably enlarged in the present century, the original design has been retained. It is one of the largest and best equipped observatories in Europe, and well worth visiting even by those who are not students of astronomy.
The four sides of the building correspond exactly with the four cardinal points, so that the observatory, which is a conspicuous object from most parts of Paris, will enable a visitor to take his bearings easily during his wanderings in the capital. The latitude of the southern side serves in the official cartography of France for the latitude of Paris, so that the Paris meridian cuts the building into two equal parts. On this line the observations were made for determining the length of the arc of the terrestrial meridian between the equator and the north pole. The ten-millionth part of this length has been adopted for the metre, or standard linear measure in France.
Most of the work of the astronomers is done in the eastern wing, where are most of the apparatus and in- struments. In this wing is the famous revolving dome with apertures for the telescopes, so that the astronomer can follow the revolutions of the stars from the same spot all through the night. Eichens, to the cost of which M. Bischoffsheim contributed twenty-six thousand francs. It is one of the six largest telescopes in the world.
The tube is over fifty feet long, and the mirror alone which is nearly five feet in diameter cost 2, The admirable strategic position of the observatory, isolated on all sides and commanding an important boulevard, caused it to be seized and occupied by the Communards as a military position in May, When they were dislodged by the government troops they attempted to destroy the building. Fortunately the in- struments were not much damaged, though the great equatorial was riddled with bullets.
Fountains seem a favourite form of monumental street decoration in Paris, and on the Avenue de 1'Observa- toire, half-way between the observatory and the Luxem- bourg Gardens, is certainly the handsomest fountain which has been erected in the present century in the capital. The eight prancing sea-horses by Carpeaux, admirably executed in cast iron, which guard the foun- tain, are particularly fine.
The fountain is crowned by a group of genii representing the four quarters of the globe supporting the world. The poor and ineffective bronze statue of Marshal Ney, which has been erected near the fountain, on the spot where he met his death, suffers much by contrast with this beautiful monument.
The pose is stiff, and the open mouth a detail intended by the sculptor to give verisimilitude to the attitude of the marshal, who is supposed to be ordering a charge is particularly inar- tistic. Altogether this statue is one of the least satisfac- tory of any of Rude's works. Ney is famous chiefly as a leader of cavalry, an eques- trian statue would have been far more appropriate.
Besides, the advisability of having a statue at all to com- memorate one who, although a great soldier and the " bravest of the brave," was indisputably a traitor to his country, is open to question. It might be supposed, too, that if a statue must be erected to the marshal's memory, a more appropriate site would be the Invalides, rather than the spot where he suffered an ignominious, but not unmerited, death.
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Though Ney had been but a half-hearted supporter of the restored Bourbon dynasty, he had accepted a high command in the royal army. Before starting on this commission the marshal had a private interview with Louis XV1IL, when he solemnly swore to bring the rebel Napoleon to Paris in an "iron cage.
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It is possible that if he had contented himself with offering merely his sword to Napoleon, the extreme penalty of death would not have been inflicted upon him. The dynasty adopted by the French nation is about to re-ascend the throne. To the Emperor Napoleon, our sovereign, alone belongs the right of reigning for our dear country.
Let the Bour- bon nobility make up its mind to leave the country once more, or consent to live in the midst of us. What in either case does it matter? The sacred cause of liberty and independence will suffer no more from their fatal hands. They wished to tarnish our military glory, but they made a mistake. This glory is the fruit of actions too noble ever to be forgotten.
Soldiers, these are no longer the times in which nations can be governed by stifling their rights. Liberty triumphs at last, and Napoleon, our august emperor, will establish it on durable foun- dations. Henceforth this cause shall be ours and that of France. Let the brave men I have the honour to command take this truth to their hearts. I will now conduct you to that immortal phalanx which the Emperor Napoleon is leading toward Paris, and which will arrive there within a few days, when our hopes and our happiness will be for ever realised.
Long live the emperor! Amongst those peers who voted for his death a good many were of Napoleon's creation. Public opinion as to the justice of the sentence was divided. Certainly there is this to be said in favour of leniency, that the Duke of Wellington himself, who would be the last person to condone disloyalty and rebellion against constituted authority, approached Louis XVIII.
The king, however, was inexorable, and early on the morning of December 7th, Ney was taken from his prison in the Luxembourg to the spot in the Avenue de 1'Observatoire which is now marked by his statue, and shot. In his last words the marshal protested his inno- cence, and appealing to God and posterity, he died, pierced to the heart by half a dozen bullets.
Till the fatal spot was marked by a commemorative tablet let into the wall, and it was reserved for Napoleon HE. Between the Luxembourg and the Boulevard St. Most of these institutions scarcely, perhaps, come within the purview of the ordinary sightseer, and, indeed, are not open to the lay visitor unless introduced.
The Sorbonne, of course, is one of the recognised sights, but an account of this building has already been given in one of the chapters on churches. The Ecole de Medecine is a huge structure with some architectural pretensions, abutting on the Boulevard St. The older portion of the buildings for there have been considerable enlargements the last few years stands on the site of the H6tel de Bourgogne, and dates from the days of Louis XV.
The main building consists of four blocks and a central courtyard, and the style may best be described as severely classical. The principal entrance fronts the boulevard, and here a new fagade has been built by Ginain, based on the famous western fagade of the Palais de Justice.
Flanking the main entrance are two colossal caryatides by Crauk, representing Medicine and Surgery. In the principal courtyard is a rather inferior statue, by David d'Angers, of Bichat, the cele- brated anatomist and physiologist, counting the pulsations of a youth. The amphitheatre is one of the largest pos- sessed by any institution of the kind, and will seat 1, students. It contains a large painting, to tell the truth, of greater professional than artistic interest. There is a collection of casts of heads of criminals, including that of Fieschi, which shows the skull fractured by his own infernal machine.
The Ecole de Me'decine is the seat of the Paris Faculty of Medicine, and combines the functions not only of our College of Physicians and College of Surgeons but of a medical training university as well. The title of pro- fessor at the Faculty of Medicine is the highest that a French physician or surgeon can obtain, and corresponds to the English president of the Royal College of Physi- cians or president of the Royal College of Surgeons.
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There are over thirty professors of the different branches, and some 1, students, of whom about annually take the degree of D. JDocteur de MSdecine de Paris. The average cost in fees to each student amounts to little more than 50 for the whole course. The Ecole de Me'decine, with its annex, the Ecole Pratique which contains over fifty lecture halls and sixty sets of laboratories , is said to be the largest medical institution of the kind not only in France but in the world.
The College de France, which seems a comparatively small building for so celebrated a foundation, faces the Sorbonne, which is the seat of the University of Paris previous to called the University of France , and a stranger might naturally suppose it was a mere annex or succursale of the Sorbonne. It was founded by Francis I. The lectures, which are free to the public of both sexes, have been given by many famous professors, among them being Michelet, Quinet, and Ernest Renan.
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There are three great teaching foundations of France for " superior instruction," the University of Paris, the Sorbonne, and the College de France. The latter is an independent institution, where lectures by the most eminent professors in France are delivered free to all comers. The university's only function like that of the London University is the conferment of degrees. Our public schools, like our universities, are in provincial towns ; those of France are all concentrated in the capital.
Sutherland Edwards in the above passage, but it must be remembered that since this was written some important changes have been made in the educational establishments of France. But the Sorbonne still re- mains the seat of the university. Degrees are granted in five faculties, letters, science, theology, jurisprudence, and medicine, the two last having separate buildings or colleges, Ecole de Droit and Ecole de Me'decine see above. The famous Ecole Polytechnique is close to St. Etienne, and occupies the site of the College de Navarre built in by Philippe le Bel.
The new fa9ade, fronting the Rue Monge a street named after the founder , is one of the most elegant in Paris. The Polytechnique, besides being the equivalent of our Woolwich, serves also as the training college for the civil service. The fine fourteenth century chapel of the old college can, how- ever, be seen by applying to the concierge.
There are about five hundred and fifty pupils, who are admitted by competition ; and the French always mention the name with a sort of admira- tion for the talent which the admission and education are supposed to guarantee. The pupils must be under twenty on admission, and continue there two years ; at the end of the time there is an examination, and they have the choice of entering certain government services, according to the place they have attained.
The pupils are, or were, ardent politicians; in and they distinguished themselves on the insurgent side. There are, however, a few monuments which, being either beyond the foregoing itineration, or of minor importance, have not been noticed. The most unobservant travellers will probably have noticed that Paris abounds more than any other Euro- pean capital in statues, fountains, and other public monu- ments, in fact, I believe that as many as half a hundred of these memorials may be found within the walls of Paris.
The best and most important of these have been described. In the Latin Quartier excursion, when visiting the Polytechnique, there were several statues which might have been inspected with little loss of time.