Paris: With Pen and Pencil eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 286 pages of information about Paris.

In 1450 a man by the name of Jean Gobelin acquired considerable property in the region of Rue Mouffetard by dyeing and making carpets.  His sons carried on the business in his name, and the manufactory was celebrated; hence the name, Gobelins.  Louis XIV. erected it into a royal manufactory, and it has continued such ever since.  Between one and two hundred men are constantly in the employ of the government, in the manufactory, and as men of great skill and refined tastes are required, a good rate of wages is paid.  The workmen seemed to be very intelligent, and were dressed, many of them, at least, like gentlemen.  The tapestries, carpets, &c. &c., which are manufactured at this place, are intended for the emperor, the palaces, and for other monarchs to whom they may be presented in the name of the French emperors.  They are the finest specimens of their kind in the world.  There is another manufactory connected with the Gobelins, for dyeing wools, and they are dyed better than in any other place, or at least none can be purchased elsewhere so fitted for the wants of the tapestry workers.  There is also a school of design connected with it, and a course of lectures is delivered by able and accomplished men.

The carpet manufactory is one of the best, and perhaps the best, in the world.  The Parisian carpets are not equal to those manufactured here.  It often takes five and ten years to make a carpet, and the cost is as high sometimes as thirty thousand dollars.  None are ever sold.  One was one made for the Louvre gallery, consisting of seventy-two pieces, and being over thirteen hundred feet in length.

I have never been more astonished with any exhibition of the fruits of industry and art, than with the carpets and tapestries in the Rue Mouffetard.  Some of the latter excel in beauty the best pictures in Europe, and when one reflects that each tint is of wool, worked into the web by the careful fingers of the workman, that every line, every muscle, is wrought as distinctly and beautifully as upon canvas, it excites admiration and wonder.  The rooms are open for four Hours two days in the week, and they were crowded when I was there, and principally by foreigners.

On my way back, I stopped in the Garden of Plants, and seated myself upon the benches beneath the shade of the trees.  After resting awhile, I entered a restaurant and ordered dinner, as I could scarcely wait to return to the hotel, and in Paris, where a bargain is made at so much per day for hotel charges, including meals, if one is absent at dinner the proper sum is deducted from the daily charges.

I did not succeed in getting a good dinner for a fair price, which I always could do at the hotel.  It was so poor that a little while after, I tried a cup of coffee and a roll upon the Champs Elysees, which were delicious enough to make up for the poor dinner.

In front of me there was an orchestra, and some singers, who discoursed very good music for the benefit of all persons who patronized the restaurant.  A multitude of ladies and gentlemen were ranged under the trees before them, sipping coffee, wine, or brandy.  The sight was a very gay one, but not uncommon in Paris.

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Paris: With Pen and Pencil from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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