Category Archives: French Architecture

Le Corbusier Architecture, Episode 139

Le Corbusier Architecture in France

Le Corbusier Architecture
Le Corbusier, photo JBonet

On today’s show, Elyse and Annie bring you musings on Le Corbusier Architecture, how he became one of the pillars of French architecture, and some of the criticisms levied against him. Was he a genius or a tyrant? Hint: it doesn’t have to  be one or the other, he could be like you and me: a complicated person.

If you like this episode you should also check out episode 103 about Le Corbusier and the Plan Voisin and how Le Corbusier planned to raze the Marais neighborhood to make room for something out of a authoritarian nightmare. And if you want to see what came after Le Corbusier Architecture, check out Episode 42 Centre Georges Pompidou.

« Là où naît l’ordre, naît le bien-être. » Le Corbusier

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 Episode Highlights
  • Le Corbusier Is a Nom de Plume
  • Le Cobrusier, a Father of Modernism
  • Le Corbusier’s Family Origins
  • Le Corbusier and Reinforced Concrete
  • Le Corbusier Architecture and the “Cité Jardin”
  • Towards a New Architecture
  • The Future Is Cities
  • Plan Cities Out or Let Them Grow Organically?
  • You can visit the Cité Internationale for University Students
  • Le Corbusier and Connections to the Vichy Regime
  • Le Corbusier Post WWII
  • La Cité Radieuse in Marseille
  • Chandigarh, India, an Example of Le Corbusier Architecture Outside of France
  • Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut
  • Le Corbusier National Funeral in the Courtyard of the Louvre
  • Differences and similarities between Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright
  • The Desire to Live in a  Modern Affordable Home Is Universal

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Opéra Garnier in Paris, Episode 127

Opéra Garnier

Opéra Garnier
Opera Garnier, Paris 9th arrondissement, photo Annie Sargent

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The Opéra Garnier, aka Palais Garnier, made such an impression on me as a first-time visitor that I cannot say what I liked best about it: the grand facade? The grand staircase? The Chagall ceiling?  The grand foyer? I admit, I can’t decide, it was all overwhelming and so beautiful! We probably barely scratch the surface all of the things that can be said about the Opera Garnier this episode, but I hope we convince you to go in next time and enjoy its grandeur. The interview starts at 5’44”.

Related Episode: From Ballet to Cabaret, Episode 53

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Paris Sewer, Episode 125

The Paris Sewer


Paris Sewer sign at the entranceToday Brenda and Annie discuss our visit he Paris sewer or “Égouts de Paris”. Oh, my, what a place! You have to know that when you visit the Paris sewer, you are actually in the sewer, this is not a reproduction or a show-room. Once inside, you are walking over actual sewer lines and you get the full effect, smell and sight and all. How much does the Paris sewer really stink? Should you go or should you pass? Find out in today’s episode.

Click here to support the show on Patreon and get access to Lunch-Break French, designed to help you sharpen your French skills before your visit to France.

Places Mentioned in this Episode: the Paris sewer or Égouts de Paris

To Prepare for your visit of the sewer: Paris Sewers and Sewermen: Realities and Representations


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How the Marais Neighborhood Was Almost Razed, Episode 103

Place des Vosges in the Marais, photo John Mason
Place des Vosges in the Marais, photo John Mason

How the Marais Neighborhood Was Almost Razed

The city of Paris considered razing the Marais in order to build this the monstrosity pictured below. It was supposed to be a brilliant idea by Le Corbusier, but it would have been one of the greatest sins perpetrated against the City of Light.

Everyone loves the Marais neighborhood today, so it is hard to believe that at one point it was on the chopping block. This episode is the story of the circumstances that made such a near miss come about.

If you love our approach to travel and want to tour France with us, visit Addicted to France to look at upcoming tours.

You may also want to listen to Episode 27 where Elyse told us about the history of the Marais Neighborhood, and Episode 37 about Marseilles and its famous Cité Radieuse.

Marais Plan Voisin Le Corbusier
The Plan Voisin by Le Corbusier

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Art Nouveau in France, Episode 97

Art Nouveau in FranceArt Nouveau in France

Today Elyse explains the Art Nouveau movement in France, in particular, Hector Guimard and the specifics of how this art movement manifested itself in France.

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Art Nouveau happened in many countries, but under different names and with different stylistic choices. In England for instance it was called “The Modern Style”. This movement began in Scotland but soon took off in many countries. It only lasted officially for 20 years, from 1890 until 1910. In France, Belgium and Catalonia gave shape to the idea that nature needed to be represented in all its organic forms, with curvy lines and pleasant shapes.

Episode Highlights

  • Art Nouveau in France
  • Daum, Gallé and Lalique in the city of Nancy
  • The Difference Between Art Nouveau and Art Déco
  • Where to See Art Nouveau in Paris
  • French Tip of the Week [1:05]

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Pont du Gard in Provence, Episode 65

Pont du Gard

Pont du Gard photo Gilbert Bochenek
Pont du Gard photo Gilbert Bochenek

The Pont du Gard is almost 2000 years old and the biggest Roman edifice in France. It has been on the World Heritage Site for decades and, as I explain on the show, it is “almost” on the 5€ bill. It is not as much of an icon as the Eiffel Tower, but it’s way up there! There are so many things to do there that you need to plan on spending at least three hours, and I recommend most of a day if you are going to enjoy some of the outdoors activities that I discuss on the show.

Yes, it is very “touristy” (tourists by the bus-loads!) but it is not a “tourist trap”. There are no street vendors selling the same old plastic trinkets, food and drinks are reasonably priced, your ticket gives you access to most activities on the site for free.

I love the fact that it’s accessible for strollers and wheelchairs alike yet it’s a great place for active visitors. You can kayak (from the nearby town of Collias), enjoy the river beach, take a swim, or go on a hike on the GR6 between Ners and Aureille (which goes right through the bridge as you can see on the map after the fold).

To me this all spells out perfect vacation day. And, bonus, you may even learn a thing or two about the Roman Civilization and better understand this engineering feat they pulled off 2000 years ago!

Enjoy the show and have a lovely week-end wherever in the world you may be. Where are you by the way? I’d love to know in the comments!

Places mentioned in this episode: Uzès, Remoulins, Collias, Fontaine d’Eure, Nîmes, Gardon River, Mémoires de Garrigue.

Prepare your trip: DK Travel Guide France

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