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.
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.
Do you want to tour France with us? Visit our sister site, Addicted to France, to look at our upcoming tours.
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.
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.