The 11 forgotten treasures of Paris
Posted in Culture le 25 September 2020
The 11 forgotten treasures of Paris
You think you know Paris by heart, but shouldn't be so sure, every parisian knows it there is always something to discover when walk around the streets and that is one of the reason why we are so in love with Paris.
1 - Sand boxes
It is quite rare to find in the capital these curious metal boxes, of rather imposing size, which bear the coat of arms of the City. No wonder, since only three remains of what was used in the last century as sand reservoirs, very useful in the event of ice or snow to clear the road, would have been identified. What ?! A D system was needed at the time before our friends, the muckers and their super trucks came to clear Paris!
48, avenue Gabriel, 75008
2, place de la Reine Astrid, 75008
39, avenue Trudaine, 75009
2 - The cannon of the Palais-Royal
If you open your eyes, in the middle of the sumptuous gardens of the Palais-Royal, you can see a small cannon fixed on a stone plinth. Thanks to an ingenious process developed by a watchmaker, the barrel was programmed to thunder every day at 12 o'clock sharp, until the 1990s. Today, you can still read the engraved quote: “I only count happy hours. ” : a sacred gourmand, this watchmaker!
Jardin du Palais-Royal, 75001
3 - The benchmarks
It's not easy to cross in your path - without the risk of catching scoliosis - these rectangular-shaped cast iron plates hidden at our feet, at the bottom of buildings or quays. These altimetric benchmarks, dating for the oldest from the 19th century, allowed the City of Paris, when the water and sewer distribution network began to be built, to know the leveling and then calculate the slopes. necessary for the flow of water. Clever!
Rue des Grands-Augustins, 75006
4 - The last urinal in Paris
At the end of the 19th century, the town hall decided to install a number of public urinals for these gentlemen, in order to make the streets a little cleaner. Gradually, these circular urinals with one or two places have disappeared in favor of mixed public toilets ... for the sake of fairness perhaps ?! The fact remains that the happiness of "some" has been the misfortune of others and that only one and only vestige of these open-air vespasians has survived. A final opportunity for men to relieve themselves in the open air!
Boulevard Arago, 75014
5 - The Ranelagh Square Armory
The privilege of living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world is to have completely new things at your fingertips, like this last carousel of wooden horses without a motor, which you turn to the crank by the force of the arms. Children, with a small wooden stick straddling the little horses, must try to catch the rings hanging above their heads to get a free spin (the famous string game!). At the mere sight of this merry-go-round, which has not stopped turning since 1870, you will immediately fall back into childhood!
Jardin du Ranelagh – 1, avenue Prudhon, 75016
6 - The fire alarm on rue Sévigné
To prevent fires, bright red public call points were scattered around Paris from the end of the 19th century, allowing residents to come into direct contact with the nearest fire station in case of emergency. It was enough to break the glass of a small window to open the case and immediately see our seasoned fire soldiers disembark. Today, only one of these terminals remains, placed at the entrance to the Sévigné barracks, out of memory.
07, rue de Sévigné, 75004
7 - The last bathroom scales
In the middle of the 19th century, encouraged by the prescriptions of the doctors, the Parisians - not to say the Parisiennes - began to closely monitor their line. However, it is still too early in mentalities to make it a private matter: the weighing is therefore carried out in the eyes of all on public automatic scales at the bend of the metro platforms and Parisian parks. For those who are not afraid of scales, one of these old scales can still be found in the Jardin du Luxembourg.
Jardin du Luxembourg, 75006
8 - The last stallion meters
At the time of the French Revolution, towards the end of the 18th century, an attempt was made in France to gradually standardize our system of weights and measures by establishing the metric system which is now widespread throughout the world. To familiarize the population with these new units of measurement, 16 meter standards were installed throughout the city. Only two of these marble rulers are still visible today in the capital, for those who might want to take their references!
On the facade of the Ministry of Justice - Place Vendôme, 75001
Under arches near the entrance to the Senate - 36, rue de Vaugirard, 75006
9 - The sundials
The City of Light is home to many traces of ancient sundials allowing residents to have a better sense of time: there are still more than a hundred in the capital. Not very useful in our time with all the means at our disposal, but these dials carved into the stone are quite picturesque. A real treasure hunt in the city if you have fun collecting the different maxims written there!
Rue de l’Abreuvoir, 75018
10 - The last firefighter red street lights
Around the city’s fire stations, you can still see long black candelabras with bright red tinted windows. The inscription "firefighters" which appears there transparently lets us guess their primary use: these lampposts made it possible to make the barracks visible at night. Today, it is rare to see barracks that are still equipped with them: too bad, with this little touch of color, it almost felt like Amsterdam!
Square Violet, 75015
11 - The Wallace fountains
There is nothing particularly Parisian or even French about these small public drinking water fountains - most of them cast iron painted green - and yet they are often characteristic of the city's charm in the eyes of foreign tourists. In fact, they were spread all over the world towards the end of the 19th century under the initiative of a British philanthropist to prevent the poorest from falling into drunkenness. But, the City of Lights can boast of having been the first to obtain them!
Only five fountains were painted in vivid colors:
Rue Jean-Anouil, 75013 (in pink)
66, avenue d´Ivry, 75013 and at the Parc des Expositions, 75015 (in red)
Esplanade Pierre-Vidal-Naquet, 75013 (in yellow)
Place Pierre-Riboulet, 75013 (in blue)
We are pretty sure that you have also great treasures and secrets to share with us. We are looking forward to welcoming you soon and don't forget if you book directly on our website you can benefit from a 12 % discount with the code NICO75.
At your service,