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France Architecturally 1
France Architecturally 2

France Architecturally Over the Centuries.


One of the things that appeals to me so strongly about France as a country is the pure beauty of it's cities, towns and villages. The public buildings, the houses, the churches even the shops, have such charm and beauty architecturally, a style that is so much a part of France, and a feeling of history that is so pervasive throughout the country that it is like stepping into another world when you are there. It is more than just beauty. Their simplest buildings have a well developed character, a sense of who and what they are, and whatever they are, they are done with enormous style. For me, from the very first moment I arrived in Paris, I knew that it was the home of my soul. I felt that I had been there in another life. I have wandered the streets in Paris just looking at the ordinary buildings in which people live, buildings that are hundreds of years old; one can see that they are treasured and honored and cared for with respect and veneration. They haven't turned into slums the way old buildings often do in our cities. Instead, the French people have created a living tapestry of their history architecturally by preserving their past through architecture. There are parts of England that are like that but not to the extent that it is true in France. Most marvelous of all, to me, is that this pride of country continues even today.

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A. The Glass Pyramid Box. The main entrance to the Louvre Museum was completed in 1989 and though there are some that love it and some that don't, it has become as world famous as the museum you enter through it. Designed by I.M. Pei, an American architect, it is built of glass and and permits the exterior of the museum to be viewed without obstruction. The Louvre is arguably the most famous museum in the world and, in my opinion, the most beautiful and without doubt, it houses one of the finest collections of art anywhere. It has been open to the public continuously since 1793 and the collections have been added to and enriched on a constant basis ever since. Besides an enormous collection of the works of French artists it has an incredible collection of antiquities including The Victory at Samothrace, The Venus de Milo, The Mona Lisa and more.(It even has some Limoges boxes in a few of the private collections that have been donated to the museum.) And if you find yourself fortunate enough to visit it, look at the building itself. It is fabulous. Not to be missed.! Our box is small, an inch and a quarter square. Inside, dimensional and removable, is a tiny painting of The Mona Lisa, and the clasp says Paris. A tiny and delightful remembrance of a day spent immersed in the arts. Our price: $199.90.


B. The Medieval Castle Box. Castles were used as both residences and fortifications in medieval times. Generally they housed the King or the Lord of the area in which they were constructed. Because they were also built as forts, most often they were built on hills so they were able to survey the land around them, as well they had encircling walls with land between the walls and the castle, baileys, to permit defense of the outer wall first. Often they had moats, deep ditches around the entire perimeter of the castle, which were filled with water and could only be crossed by a bridge which was raised and lowered from within the castle. The box is an example of an early castle called a "motte and bailey" castle because it was both placed on a mound and had a bailey. During this period castles were not nearly as elaborate as they later became. Inside the box a detail of the countryside. The clasp, a crown. Our price: $199.90.


C. The Cathedrale Saint Etiennè in Limoges Box. In the City of Limoges, France stands the ancient and beautiful Cathedrale Saint Etiennè. Begun in 1273 and completed in 1327 it is, by any standards, one of the older Cathedrals in France. It stands on ground that was consecrated by Pope Urban II in 1095 for a Roman Cathedral parts of which are encompassed in the present structure. The North transcept now contains the Chapel of Saint Valerie and the Roman foundation of this portion of the structure was built on the site of a Pagan temple which would probably predate even Notre Dame Cathedrale. ( Notre Dame was completed 90 years prior to Saint Etiennè.) Notice particularly the flying buttresses, the Gothic arched windows and the Bell tower that rises at one end of the edifice. Inside, The cathedral name, the city and the year the box was conceived. Our price: $274.90. This is one of only 3 French churches that have been done as boxes.


D. Chenonceau, One of the Great Chateaux of France. In the Loire Valley this exquisite castle sits on the River Cher. The Keep, the small round structure to the right of the castle, was built in medieval times and is all that remains of the original structure.The castle was started in 1512 and completed in 1521. In 1580 the new wing was added using the bridge span over the River Cher for its base. Diane de Pointier, a courtesan and Henri II's mistress, was given the splendid castle by Henri and it was she who had the bridge constructed. Want to know more about it? Read "Chateaux of The Loire". Retail: About $249.00. Our price: $225.90. This box will be in our catalog probably forever. It is the original and still, by far, the best box of it's kind.

E. L'Opera de Paris Garnier Box. Designed by Charles Garnier for Napoleon III, it was started in 1862 and completed in1875. (There were a few interruptions in the construction due to the Prussian War and an uprising of the French people in 1871. The French were known for that sort of thing then, you may recall.) An interesting sidelight to the construction of the building is there was an attempted assassination of the Emperor while it was under construction so Garnier added the Emperor's Pavillon to it enabling the Emperor's Carriage to drive up a ramp and allow him entry into his private suite of rooms and the royal box. Something else of particular interest is, beneath the building there is a small lake. It is this that inspired Leroux's choice of a hiding place for the phantom in" Phantom of The Opera". The box is an almost exact reproduction of the structure. The detail on it is extraordinary including the frieze on the front facade. Inside a white mask, relating to "The Phantom", dimensional and removable. The clasp is simply "Paris". Our price: $270.90.

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