Friday, 22 February 2013

The Invisible Dossiers: A Room with a View

What links a vintage postcard, a forgotten novel and a lost film? The answer - a small room in a Paris left-bank hotel.

Since I began posting on Invisible Paris it has always been clear to me that there are certain subjects for which the blog format is not suitable. These slippery topics have stretched out over months, lead me on tangents in and out of Paris, and have never yet been published - until now.

Friday, 15 February 2013

The Densest Building in Paris

In what is already Europe's most crowded capital city, it is perhaps an unenviable honour to be labelled the densest building in Paris. Though undoubtedly hefty and imposing, the building that claims this crown is not without a certain grace and charm - and one or two surprises!

Designed by the architect Léon Nafilyan* in the 1930s, the construction takes up a long strip of the Rue Raynouard - a residential artery that lies parallel to the Rue de Passy in the 16th arrondissement. The design, sometimes labelled 'American style', has a density that is more often associated with city-centre office blocks, but it also shows how the modern style of architecture had been completely adopted by the middle-classes in this period.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The Salle Cortot: a wardrobe that sounds like a violin!

Auguste Perret's Salle Cortot offers a blank exterior to passers by, but its interesting interior can be experienced for free during lunchtime concerts on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays!

The Salle Cortot on the Rue Cardinet in the 17th arrondissement is the concert hall of the École normale de musique de Paris, an institution that was created in 1919 by the pianist Alfred Cortot.

This particular date is not insignificant. Coming just after the end of the First World War, Cortot's declared intention was that his school would teach French music to international students, with the hope that this would limit the spread of Germanic influences.
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