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to the Grand Galerie des Graces, one of the finest rooms in the world, being 242 feet in length, 35 in width, and 43 in height. It is lighted by 17 large arched windows, which correspond with opposite arcades, filled with looking-glasses. The ceilings glow with a profusion of gold, and paintings of the richest and most beautiful description, and it was here that the French court used to display itself in all its magnificence.
After passing through a variety of “Salons, such as the billiard-room, the clock-room, the stag-court, the saloon of peace, the royal bedrooms, and several private apartments, we come to a spacious gallery, formerly called La Salle des cent Suesses, now the Salle de 1792. This contains portraits of all the great military characters of the Revolution, down to the present time, and includes Louis Napoleon. From these, we soon come upon the grand gallery of the battle pieces, which is an immense apartment, nearly 400 feet in length, and nearly 50 in breadth, and the same in height. On the walls are pictures of large dimensions, representing great military triumphs, commencing with the battle of Tolbac, gained by Cloris in 496, and ending with that of Wagram, and carried on through the Algerine exploits up to the present time. Behind this gallery runs another, filled with statues and busts of celebrated personages, from 1500 and 1752. Descending to the ground-floor, a small staircase leads to the gallery of monuments, a collection of medals in plaster, of monumental statuary, from the tombs of celebrated personages. Then comes another collection of portraits, and then, in a long suite of rooms, facing the gardens, three hundred pictures are to be seen, illustrative of the military history of Napoleon from 1796 to 1810. Midway, is the hall of Napoleon, containing the various statues and busts of that great troubler of the world.
The gardens, orange groves, fountains, and other wonders of this palace are surprising, and it would take as many volumes as Peter Parley ever wrote, which is now something near a hundred, to detail particulars. However, I happened to be at the gardens on the fete of St. Louis, and there I saw the play of the grand fountain, which is a sight I shall never forget. All at once, at a given signal, many dozen fountains opened their play, and I saw spouts of water ascending in every direction, noble cascades falling, and such a sparkle of the crystal fluid all around me as to make me think I was in fairy land.
The whole, however, was dissipated in the course of an hour; the sun went down, and all was then a gloom.
The streets of Paris are of all sorts and sizes. The principal one is called the Boulevards, which is erected, as I before told you, on the site of the old walls of Paris. Here we have ranges of fine buildings, equal, if not superior to any in our Regent-street, interspersed with churches, cafés, hotels, and other public buildings. Trees were planted before the houses, at regular distances, which threw a most agreeable shade in summer, but these have, from time to time, been cut down by the various revolutionists, and at the present all in the
tree way” is incipient. The next principal street is the Rue St. Honoré, which is something like our Cheapside, only narrower and longer, and full of shops of every kind—the houses being very lofty. All the principal streets aregenerally crowded with people, and their various lively cries and grotesque manners give infinite variety to the scene. The cafés, or coffee-houses, are of the most splendid description, some of them having the appearance of palaces withinside, from the profusion of gold and mirrors with which they are ornamented.
The river-side is very different from the river-side of London; and the quays, as they are called, are full of noble buildings. On one side is an immense line of colonnades, formed by the gallery of the Louvre, which connects that palace with the Tuileries. On the opposite side of the river is the Hotel des Monnais (the mint). Opposite the south side of the Louvre is the royal bridge, and the new bridge a little lower down crosses the two arms of the Seine, where they form an island. Although this is called the new bridge, it is the most ancient in Paris. It is generally thronged by people of every description, rich and poor, carriages, horses, carts, fruiterers, pedlars, people with high tins on their backs selling lemonade-others sitting in smoke, surrounded by hot sausages and fried fish. Upon the centre of the bridge is a fine statue of Henry IV., which is worthy of all admiration.
Not far from the bridge, on the southern shore, is a low stone building, called the Morgue. Inside of this is a stone chamber, having an iron grating before it. The building is what in England would be called a dead-house, and it is here that all bodies found dead are brought. When I looked through the grating there were six dead bodies in it, of
persons who had been drowned or otherwise disposed of.
Nor far from the Morgue is the church of Nôtre Dame, which assumed its present form as a Christian church about the year 1010. Its architecture is very extraordinary. The western face presents a venerable portico, containing three grand portals; the centre one is of modern architecture, the other two are ancient. Two towers surmount the building, each of which is 20 feet in height. The choir is superb; in the centre is a brazen eagle, seven feet high. Two pilasters of wood support two angels in bronze; on the outside of the choir the events of the New Testament History are represented.
Another of the principal buildings of Paris is the Palais Royal, a splendid edifice, built in 1629 by Cardinal Richelieu, which in 1692 became the property of Philip, Duke of Orleans. It consists of a palace divided into several compartments, and a capacious oblong enclosure surrounded by piazzas or arcades, which make a covered walk along three of its sides, while above the ground floor runs a gallery, from which entrance is obtained to the magnificent houses that surround the space which encloses six acres. The shops of the Palais Royal are brilliant, and all, or nearly all, devoted to articles of fashion or luxury, jewellery, clocks and watches, silks, carpets, and ribbons, &c., and abounding in the most sumptuous cafés and restaurants, whose cordials are the choicest—their bills of fare often enumerating a hundred dishes, above twenty kinds of dessert, and as many of liqueurs. Some of these places rival the finest of our English palaces.
On the banks of the river opposite the new bridge, is the Town Hall of Paris, called the Hôtel de Ville, and here we have a most superb structure. The Grand Hall or Salle de Trone occupies the whole length of the centre of the building. The refreshment room is also very grand, and full of gold ornaments and pictures. The side of the building next the river contains the dwelling of the Prefect of the Seine or Lord Mayor of Paris, which is very elegantly fitted up. Opposite the principal entrance of the Hôtel de Ville is a square enclosure, called the Place de Grêve, so famous in French history for deeds of blood, over which I would gladly draw a veil. Not a great way from the Hôtel de Ville is the Bibliotheque