Porte St-Denis

This gate too, like the Porte St-Martin, has the form of a triumphal arch, with a single vault, measuring 79 feet both in height and in width. Designed by Blondel and erected in 1672, it has a sculpture by the Anguier brothers and was intended to celebrate the victories of Louis XIV in Germany, when in less than two months the French king succeeded in conquering forty strongholds. The allegorical bas reliefs representing Holland and the Rhine are fine works.

After the Porte St-Denis, the boulevard takes the name of Boulevard de Bonne-Nouvelle. A stairway on the right leads up to the church of Notre-Dame-de-Bonne-Nouvelle, its bell tower is all that remains of the church rebuilt under Anne of Austria. Inside, apart from a fine statue of the Virgin ( 17th century ), are two original 18th-century panels, attributed to Mignard: Henrietta of England with her three children before St Francis of Sales and Anne of Austria and Henrietta of England.

After Boulevard Poissonniere, we reach Boulevard Montmartre, one of Paris’ busiest streets, running from Rue Montmartre to Boulevard des Italiens. At no. 10 is the Grevin Museum, founded in 1882 by the caricaturist Grevin, containing all sorts of magic devices and amusements, including waxworks of great figures and famous scenes in history. Near the museum, at no. 7, is the Theatre des Varieties, home of vaudeville and light opera, in which many of the works by composers such as Offenbach, Tristan Bernard, and Sacha Guitry were performed.

BOULEVARD DES ITALIENS – This boulevard’s period of maximum splendor began during the time of the Directory and continued until the end of the Second Empire. Great financiers, famous journalists, and distinguished men of letters frequented its cafes, the Cafe Anglais, the Cafe Tortoni, and the Cafe Riche ( the latter, unfortunately, has disappeared: in its place, at no. 16, is the Banque Nationale de Paris ).

OPERA-COMIQUE – Standing at the end of the boulevard in Place Boiel-Dieu, it was rebuilt after two fires by Bernier in 1898. The comic operas from the Italian repertory were performed here in the past, works by such composers as Mascagni, Rossini, and Leoncavallo.

RUE LAFAYETTE – This street begins from Boulevard Haussmann, and on the corner is the Galeries Lafayette, one of the largest department stores in the city. The crossroads where it meets Rue Le Peletier was the scene of the attempt on Napoleon III by Felice Orsini on 14 January 1858.

BOULEVARD HAUSSMANN – The boulevard is named after the man who was largely responsible for replanning the city of Paris, Baron G. E. Haussmann, prefect of the Seine from 1853 to 1870. The wide avenue, begun in 1857, was completed in 1926. At no. 26 is the house where Marcel Proust lived from 1906 to 1919.

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