I must confess that I always had a soft spot for geeks. Jules Verne created fictional universes with a very scientific edge, very credible but also innovative, with a tasty side of adventure! That sounds perfect doesn’t it? The intent of this intervention at Lou Lou & Oscar is to share a little piece of “my Paris” with you. So, for this first mission, I decided to go for a tour of Paris the Jules Verne way: scientific, a tad adventurous and, all in all, different! I picked some of Jules Verne’s most famous novels and paired them with places, events or other kinds of activities taking place in Paris.
De la Terre à la Lune (From the Earth to the Moon)
*Les Nuits de l’Observatoire de Paris (Nights at the Paris Observatory)*
Every Friday night the Paris Observatory welcomes you for a free conference in its premises followed by an astronomical observation of the Stars in the gardens of the Observatory. The stars, black-holes, the Milky-way. These words sound like magic to my ears! These nights take place from Friday April 3rd to Friday 30th of October 2009. I can’t wait!!!
>> Observatoire de Paris: entrance at 77, Avenue Denfert-Rochereau, 75014 Paris
Un Capitaine De Quinze Ans (A Captain At Fifteen)
*Les Marins Font la Mode (Sailor Chic in Paris exhibition)*
When a Sailor uniform goes catwalk. From the practical uniform to Fashion Week: Designers’ creations inspired by the Sailor uniform (this one is especially for you, Lisa!) This exhibition started Wednesday 25th of February and will last until Sunday 26th of July 2009.
This exhibition takes place in the Musée de la Marine (Marine Museum). This museum used to be one of my brother’s favourites. It’s filled with boats, ships and other sailing treasures. The whole museum seems linked to my Jules Verne theme. But since I’ve never been there myself, I can’t talk about it!
>> Musée de la Marine: Palais de Chaillot, 17 place du Trocadéro, 75116 Paris
Vingt-Mille Lieues Sous les Mers (Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under The Sea)
*Institut Océanographique (Oceanographic Institute)*
The Centre de la Mer (Sea Center) offers free conferences and guided tours, but, the main interest of the place remains in the spectacular building itself, really. The first time I saw it I almost fell off my bike in astonishment!
>> Institut Océanographique (Oceanographic Institute) : 195, rue Saint-Jacques, 75005 Paris www.oceano.org/io/
*Station de Métro Arts & Métiers (Arts & Métiers Metro Station)*
The Arts & Métiers metro station used to be one of my favourites, but since I don’t take the metro anymore I kind of forgot about it (thanks for the reminder, Sofian!). This station takes you to the inside of the Nautilus. If Jules Verne’s submarine were a station it would be this one! A tunnel covered in riveted copper boards with round-shaped doors and portholes, showing scenes inspired by the Arts & Métiers Museum collection. A whole new experience for the price a single fare. The Arts & Métiers Museum is themed around great discoveries, inventions, techniques, machines. It sounds very Jules Vernesque itself!
>> Station de Métro Arts & Métiers (Arts & Métiers Metro Station)
Le Tour du Monde en Quatre-Vingts Jours (Around the World in Eighty Days)
* Carousel Jules Verne (Jules Verne Carousel)*
The other day, my friend Anaïs and I planned a pic-nic. We went to the Parc de la Villette. And there, we couldn’t help but notice a very pretty vintage-looking merry-go-round. I loved it because instead of the classical horses, it featured all kinds of transportation & locomotion engines and more: a hot-air balloon, a submarine (called Nautilus, of course!), a red and white checkered Rocket (very Tintin-esque), a lion, a tiger and a giraffe. The Nautilus is my favourite! It also features a number of wall paintings illustrating Jules Verne’s novels. As well as a caricature of the writer. I love the aqua, gold and vermilion red colours, the 19th Century look of it. I must confess that it might be one of the (if not the main!) reasons that made me pick a Jules Verne inspired theme for my first article. I think I might add that the whole Parc de la Villette is very Jules Verne-ish, with the Cité des Sciences and the Geode. But I didn’t want to talk about it as you can find everything you want to know about it in any Paris guide. That and the fact that I’ve never been there either! Ha!
>> Carousel Jules Verne ( Jules Verne Merry-go-Round): In the Parc de la Villette, between the Porte de Pantin & the Porte de la Villette métro stations, 75019 Paris
If you check this map, I’d say that the merry-go-round can be found somewhere around the N5 zone, just by the Canal de l’Ourq.
Le Sphynx des Glaces (An Antarctic Mystery)
* Jacques Tardi’s Démon des Glaces*
Oh, and, as a former librarian, too, hello Lisa! I can’t finish this article without sharing some book advice! So, if there is a book I think you should read while in Paris (or anywhere else), it has to be Jacques Tardi’s Démon des Glaces. Jacques Tardi is one of the few comic artists I admire. He is French and is famous for his Adèle Blanc-Sec adventures. I adore Adèle’s first four adventures! But, le Démon des Glaces is an absolutely unique comic. It is deeply inspired by Jules Verne’s Sphynx des Glaces (Antarctic Mystery). It also contains most of the things that delight me: 19th Century inspired black and white illustrations (Gustave Doré style), ice & snow, adventure, old-fashioned Science-Fiction, mystery, mad scientists and humour!
The only problem; it is very hard to find. This amazing graphic novel was first edited in a larger-than-usual and very precious format. But that edition is now out of print. It’s been reprinted in a pocket-size format, which was utterly frustrating (considering that the illustrations are genuinely detailed and initially printed in a very large format). But hey, look on the bright side, easier to bring along. Also the Librio editions are so affordable at just 2 euros! Yay! I just checked and it seems that the Librio edition has also run out of stock! Still, you can find some of each edition here:
And anyway, you could read any of Tardi’s Adèle Blanc-Sec. I would advise you to stick to the first four books because they take place in a very realistic and well documented 1900 Paris. A real treat!
* The novels I selected for my titles are part of the brilliant collection of 54 books that Jules Verne intitled, Voyages Extraordinaires (Extraordinary Journeys)*
x x x