The danger of falling rocks - and other things I don't understand in Paris!


After my tour of the 4th arrondissement yesterday, I may start carrying an umbrella around with me in Paris. Not because there has been a lot of rain recently but because there seems to be a high risk of falling rocks. The first indication came when someone asked our guide if Notre-Dame was having structural problems because she had noticed a pile of debris (fallen rocks!) on the floor the previous week.

The second occurred while our guide was explaining the historical significance of Hôtel de Sens, the oldest civilian monument in Paris built between 1475 and 1507. Even though I'm sure that I'll regret not paying closer attention to the architectural features of the only example of the transitional period between the Gothic and the Renaissance, I couldn't help being distracted by the ominous sign on the gate leading to the garden:


To ensure your safety the garden of the Hôtel de Sens is closed due to a risk of rockfall.

The sign on the gate.

Feeling like Chicken Little, I glanced up to see if the sky was falling - for where else would these deadly rocks come from? Certainly not from the buildings bordering the garden. I don't understand. If you think that you can solve the mystery, please click here to see a 360 degree view of the garden.

When the risk of falling rocks subsides, I promise to return and take more photos of this medieval building that has alternately served as a jam factory, a laundry, a glassworks, a warehouse and is the current location of the Fornay Library. The reading room is open to the public and well worth a visit, especially on a rainy day.

Hôtel de Sens/Fornay Library
1 Rue du Figuier
75004 Paris

Other things I don't understand:


Why was this pair of men's shoes sitting on a window ledge this morning? I noticed them on my way to yoga and they were still there on my way home.

Edit: Shoes on ledges seems to be a fairly common event in Paris. Take a look at this post by Anne.

And why were the women on the left taking a cigarette break while exercising at a gym called Health City? 


Comments

  1. wush i could solve the mystery... andrea

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    1. Me, too! I don't see how falling rocks could possibly hurt anyone in the garden. Perhaps there's something sinister to be uncovered! Why else would the city want to keep people out of it? Hmmm...I bet that it has something to do with when the Hotel de Sens was a jam factory!

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  2. Looking forward to visiting the 4th for the first time in December. There's a great jewelry designer I discovered while shopping at Printemps last year. She now has website up and running and opened a store front in the 4th. Stop by if you are in the area again! She's very nice... we've emailed directly as I just ordered matching boucles d'oreilles to match the pendant I bought last year!
    Amy
    http://elodiecohen.fr/

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    1. You'll have a great time exploring the 4th! Just don't go on a Saturday because some of the places in the Marais are closed, like l'As de Fallafel.

      Thanks for the information about Elodie Cohen's website. I'll try to visit her boutique one of these days. I'm in that part of Paris on a frequent basis.

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  3. Glad to hear you're staying out of harm's way. And here's another instance of great minds thinking alike: http://justanotheramericaninparis.blogspot.com/2010/09/abandoned.html

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    1. Ha! I hope that you're referring to our minds and not the minds of the mysterious people who leave their shoes on window ledges! If they're going to leave their shoes for someone to take, you would think that they would put a note on them saying "Help yourself".

      Thanks for sharing it with me.

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  4. Scary information but good information about the building. Sounds really interesting. Please stay safe. We have lunch tomorrow!

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    1. I don't know - it seemed more silly than scary. Kind of like a false alarm. I think that there's another reason that they don't want people in the garden, like when the grass is "resting" in the parks.

      You should really visit the Library Fornay after your dance class sometime. It's a great "insider's" place to know about and it's free! They also have interesting exhibitions but you have to pay to see those and they're only in French. I went to the last one that was about the history of gas in Paris. I think that the current one has something to do with textiles.

      I'm looking forward to lunch tomorrow and the treasure hunt at the Louvre. We should come up with a name for our team!

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  5. I'm so jealous of all the tours and adventures you get to enjoy in Paris. Sounds like the city of lights is definitely keeping you on your toes with falling rocks and random shoes all around!

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    1. Falling rocks and random shoes aside - it's sounds as if you have quite a few adventures of your own in Brittany! Plus, it's a beautiful region of France. And the regional specialities...don't let me get started on all of the food that's way cheaper than it is in Paris. We couldn't believe the price of oysters in Cancale.

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  6. My internet is back!

    Good one to return on. Recently in my building there was a horrible scraping sound in the elevator chute which I could hear from the 7th floor, in an 8 floor building. The manager never heard the noise as she lives on the fourth floor, or so she says. Anyway, I brought it to her attention and she called the elevator company to come inspect. They found that bricks from the interior chute had jutted out into the passage chute and would rub against the lines as the elevator ascended and descended. The fluctuations in temperatures causing the movements. I expect something along the same line is going on at the Hotel de Sens, yes? Surely Stephane would have an opinion.

    Also, I think of the boulders which would pop up out of the earth in Montauk--they weren't there the summer before but suddenly they were, and it would just be the top of the rock, you never knew how large they were until you went to remove it. Again, the movement upward was caused by the temperature fluctuations.

    A cigarette break at the gym is no great mysteries--all the best athletes smoke. Or dancers at least. I was friends with many of the Russians in the Pennsylvania Ballet and they were smoke stacks of smokers. It's pretty surprising actually. Also reminds me of an old New Yorker article (by Adam Gopnik maybe) about the opening of a new gym in Paris where how you looked mattered more than what you did there. Oh the French.

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    1. I'm glad to hear that your internet is working again! I missed you - and I'm sure that my daughter missed you as well. When you were on vacation in Mexico, she told me that the only reason she looks at my blog is to read your comments!

      Good thing that you called the strange scraping noise to your manager's attention. That could have been problematic. Stephane was also baffled by the falling rocks sign, although I suspect that you're right that the changing temperature has something to do with it.

      The New Yorker article was spot on about looks mattering more than what you do in a gym. I don't want to be guilty of "too much information", but there's no way that I would exercise in the lacy underwear and bras that some of the women wear. But then again, they probably wouldn't be caught dead in my exercise appropriate undergarments!

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  7. The shoes made me think of a weary, jet lagged traveler, staying in an apartment rather than a hotel for the first time, who put his shoes out to be shined as he always had done...oops!

    Now if they had been pumps, I would have thought "one blister too many, I'm done!"...time to barefoot it :)

    Still no ideas on the falling rocks...the mystery continues. Hmmm...
    dekage

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    1. Having just recovered from jet lag, I had to laugh at your explanation for the shoes on the ledge! It sounds like something that I would do when I'm in a stupor. I even got on the metro going in the wrong direction when I was trying to adjust to the time difference last week.

      I hope to go to the Marais in the near future to see if the risk of falling rocks has passed or if it's a permanent threat. ;) There's never a dull moment in Paris.

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