• Lisa

Bertie's Belle Epoque

Improbable Walks, Season 2, Episode #7: Too few people are aware of these hidden interlocking courtyards close to the Opera, in the 9th arrondissement. In this episode, we stroll past the beautiful Athenée Théatre Louis-Jouvet and the Theatre Edouard VII (which has a spiffy newly renovated bar, Le Frou-Frou (I hope it can reopen soon!) We discuss why Bertie--Queen Victoria's heir, Edward VII--really preferred the city of Paris, and I maintain that Bertie's statue should show him wearing a smoking jacket, not a military uniform. Improbable Walks is grateful to the technical expertise of Bremner Fletcher (though even he couldn't fix my stumble in this episode, where I refer to an ENTIRE BUILDING as a painting. Listen for it, and forgive me. I had a cold while doing this episode, and I was stoned on cough syrup. All better now!)

As always, the Improbable Walks theme music is performed by David Symons, New Orleans accordionist extraordinaire.

Photos below: A rare shot of Queen Victoria visiting Emperor Napoleon III & Empress Eugenie in 1855 (when Bertie first visited Paris, as part of his mum's entourage); "The Love Letter" by the painter Fragonard, 1770s; Bertie, all grown up, circa 1880; the Athenée Théatre Louis-Jouvet; Sarah Bernhardt photographed by Nadar; actor & theatre manager Louis Jouvet; one of Mucha's many Bernhardt posters; the Square Edouard VII with the chevalier statue of Bertie; and the Olympia.