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  • Lisa

Back to the Grands Boulevards

Updated: Mar 1

Improbable Walks, Season 5, Episode 1: In this episode, we continue our stroll along the Grands Boulevards, exploring some wild stories, literati, and even an assassination attempt that resulted in a brand new opera house being built. So, to follow up on people & places... First of all, a portrait of Thérèse Cabarrus (1773-1835), one of the smart, beautiful friends of Rose Beauharnais during the Directoire years. The portrait shows her in the 1790s, when she had just been arrested & was in prison. Dramatic! But she apparently looked very fashionable in prison, if we are to believe this 1796 painting by Laneuville (and she was soon released.)

The glamorous Maison Doree is only a beautiful husk; the building is now owned by the BNP. The bank created a minor scandal by gutting the historic building & keeping only the facade (you can compare the original & the current look in this double photo from Wikipedia.)

Next, a painting by Olivier Pichat of the dashing General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas (1762-1806), father of writer Alexandre Dumas. And a frontspiece from one of Dumas' best-sellers. The lovely Opéra Comique burned repeatedly. This engraving shows the tragic fire that resulted in the new 1898 building which we see today. To check out the interior, click here for a virtual visit. Finally, the gorgeous Cora Pearl, famous English courtesan of Paris, in photograph and in caricature--the drawing is by Gill, the artist who painted the famous sign for the Lapin Agile up in Montmartre. In fact, the name of the Lapin Agile cabaret was a joke on Gill's name... The Agile Rabbit, painted by A Gill!


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