Paris: With Pen and Pencil eBook

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

The students of Paris are an intellectual class, and as a body are inclined at all times to be democratic.  In England and in America learning seems always to incline to conservatism.  The great schools and colleges are opposed to radicalism.  This is generally true in America, in the old institutions of learning, and it is emphatically true of England.  Cambridge and Oxford are the strong-holds of the blindest toryism.  They are two hundred years behind the age.  But in Paris this is not the case.  The colleges are reformatory and radical.  The Academies have the same disposition, only it is modified.  Many of the members of the French academy are sincere republicans.  I cannot account for this singular fact, unless it be that the French mind is so active and so brilliant that it easily arrives at the truth.  A Frenchman, if he considers the matter of government and politics, very soon arrives at his conclusion—­that man has rights, and that a form of government which comes least in collision with them is the best.  It is entirely a matter of theory with him.  Everything tends to theory.  The practical is ignored.  Hence, while Paris abounds with theoretical democrats and republicans, there are few men in it capable of administering the affairs of a democratic republic.

[Illustration:  HOTEL DES INVALIDES]

The Hotel des Invalides is visited by a vast crowd of people, Parisians, provincials, and foreigners, for it is the final resting place of Napoleon the Great.  It is an imposing structure, and aside from the interest felt in it as the receptacle of the remains of Napoleon, it is well worth a visit.  It is situated on the south side of the Seine, not far from the chamber of deputies, its front facing the south.  It presents a magnificent appearance from the street, perhaps the finest of any like building in Europe.  It has long been a celebrated military hospital for the reception of disabled and superannuated soldiers.  Under Louis XIV. the present hospital was instituted, and building after building was added, together with a fine church, until the vast pile covers sixteen acres of ground, and encloses fifteen courts.  At the time of the revolution, the hospital was called the Temple of Humanity, under Napoleon the Temple of Mars, and now the Hotel des Invalides.  It is under the control of the minister of war, has a governor and a multiplicity of inferior officers.  It is divided into fourteen sections, over each of which an officer is appointed.  All soldiers who are disabled, or who have served thirty years in the army, are entitled to the privileges of the institution, and are boarded, clothed, and lodged.  For breakfast they have soup, beef, and vegetables, for dinner, meat, vegetables, and cheese.  They have but two meals a day.  They also receive pay at the rate of two francs a day, and the officers higher in proportion to their rank.  Before the northern face of the building there is a large open space, in which many

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