Sunday, January 10, 2016

Saturday 9 January - Avenue President Wilson Market and Musees

We decided to go off on our own today.  The forecast was for mild weather with no rain.

Mary went to the Palais Galliera to see an exhibit of the exquisite clothing worn by the Comtesse Greffulhe (1860-1952). Married at the age of 17 or 18 to the very wealthy Viscount Henry Greffulhe, she was the trend setter in fashion in her time, inspired Marcel Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu, Gabriel Fauré dedicated his Pavane to her, and she was a patron of both artists and scientists.

The market along President Avenue Wilson stretches from the Place d'Iena to the rue Debrosse, almost 500 metres.  It is in the centre reservation of the street and there is a narrow passageway down the centre for customers, also chatting, with stalls and traders on either side,  It is one of the largest and best I have seen.  There is a tremendous selection of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, shellfish, meats, cheese as well as prepared foods, carpets and clothes.

The Musee des Arts et Metiers has been going for a long time.  It is on three floors and one starts at the top and works down.  It is not the place for young kids as there are few buttons to push but the exhibits are very interesting indeed..  They start with a wonderful selection of old scientific instruments showing how things were measured.
Exquisite workmanship
There follows a large number of wonderful, well made models, for example of a Bessemer furnace, many of which were made for the one of the many international exhibitions that showcased French technical development.  The workmanship has to be admired.  One of the most interesting I found was a large model of a Couvrex steam locomotive excavator, circa 1870. The model was made for the manufacturer in 1878.

This ran with a third rail outside the normal running lines, presumably to distribute the weight and forces of the bucket excavators.  The outside wheel was double flanged.  An amazing model of an interesting piece of equipment.
It took some time to figure this out.  It is a set of three railway cars drawn by a horse.  However the cars run on a continuous belt of rails seen from the front here.  The rails move along and draw the cars on the rails.
The ground floor transport section is not very comprehensive as it attempts to demonstrate, trains, boats, planes and road vehicles.  The last part is contained in an enormous church, beautifully restored in itself but which contains mainly road vehicles.  To take advantage of the very high ceiling there is a construction containing road vehicles that takes a lot of climbing.

One ofthe interesting parts of the ground and first floor was a narrow gauge railway which was formerly used to move large exhibits around.  This picture shows the trqcks laid in the wooden floor.  The tracks in the church were laid in stone which was cut especially.

I had a salad at the restaurant and made my way back to Saint-Lazare  and walked to the Au Pullman model shop.  From there I walked back via the Place Dublin to check on a Wallace fountain there.

Dinner this evening was at le P'tit Canon, Pate de foir gras and confit de canard.

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