Friday, November 21, 2008

La Grande Singerie

Not a cheminee, 5.5" x 7.5
As an American staying in a Paris apartment, you must adjust to different ways of doing things, like keeping warm.
This exquisite nonworking fireplace/cheminee in the Musée national de céramique Sèvres.
And there are plenty of faux cheminees to be had along rue de St.Peres.

 Micha found her 19th century furnace in the celler and installed it as a decorative object. You have to search for the chauffage or heater in a French apartment. They are usually situated below the window. So they can warm up the drafts coming in through the leaky French windows.

I only found the portable radiateur in the bedroom, the last day whilst I was cleaning...ahem
You do have to wonder how anyone kept warm.
in these grand, elegant rooms at Musee de Nissim Camondo?
No wonder so many of Ingres portraits of women show them wrapped securely in warm shawls... And no wonder the cashmere shawl was held in such high regard by the Victorians.
At Chateau Chantilly, the painting on the firescreen in La Grande Singerie is particularly lovely.

My guidebook says it was painted by Christopher Huet and was bought by the Duke of Aumale to go with the other monkey decorations in the room.

It shows a monkey schoolmaster whipping a bad cat student, as a naked monkey sits perched on a stool learning his lessons....Hmmm

Back to the subject of French heating in French apartments.
Here are a few phrases I should have learned before my trip:
Où est le radiateur?

Where is the heater?
Comment fonctionne le chauffage? How does the heater work?
L'appareil de chauffage ne fonctionne pas.

The heater is not working.Or better yet simply point and say,
"Ne marche pas."
It's not working.
Working or not, you can depend on a luscious cup of rich chocolat chaud in Paris to keep you toasty.
Have a toasty week-end!


  1. The cold in Paris has a way of going right through you, n'est-ce pas

  2. Is it the damp coming off the Seine..?
    Long johns and thermal underwear are essentail IMO.

  3. Great images.

    I love antiques. For myself I actually reproduced some of those Chinoiserie paintings, they turned ut fantastic.

    I hope you have time for many more museums!

  4. Of course it's always better to have a cup of chocolate to get warmer!

  5. Great post, Carol!! I smiled all the way through it--wonderful. You know--I toured a house even in South Carolina once that was an old plantation home, and they said one of the reasons they had "screens" in front of the fireplace was so women would not get too close sitting there--even if it was very cold...If they did, they would melt the WAX on their faces. Many of the women evidently had had smallpox and as a result were quite disfigured, so they put wax over their faces to make it look smoother! Your post made me remember that.

    Beautiful watercolor!

  6. Lovely photographs and I am chilled just thinking about it. I have to be warm--can't stand the cold. I would very much like some of the chocolat chaud right now. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  7. Those Frenchies really know how to warm up a room.

  8. I will have to keep toasty as the UK is freezing and snow coming tomorrow and temp is - 5


  9. I don't know if it is the damp off of the Seine, all I know is it can get freezing in Paris!

    Oh BTW, nice painting Carol. I like these different subjects recently....

  10. I love these different subjects, too, Carol--excellent!!
    I'll bet the Seine does contribute to the chill--I remember it often seemed gray in the mornings, but then the sun would burn off that fogginess. But winter can be cold, I remember.

  11. I love these different subjects, too, Carol--excellent!!
    I'll bet the Seine does contribute to the chill--I remember it often seemed gray in the mornings, but then the sun would burn off that fogginess. But winter can be cold, I remember.

  12. As Rick says, you seem to be finding new paths in your art... once we were used to your delicious close-up still lifes. I find it very interesting and I'm sure we'll see great things (like this one).

  13. leeza9:24 PM

    Just reading your blog-- great pix and paintings!
    I just wanted to mention one thing...
    The sentence you wrote-- Comment fonctionne le chauffe--
    It should be- Comment fonctionne le chauffage?
    You have the word "heater" correct in French in the following

  14. And here I thought the firescreens simply protected Madame from flying sparks igniting her copious skirts, must less melting her waxen maquillage?!

  15. I shivered as I read your post. I grew up in post war Belgium and I don't think I was ever really warm enough from fall till spring. Now I live in the NW. Same climate but I keep my house warm and comfy, plus I indulge in hot chocolate!
    Your posts are delightful. Françoise

  16. Oh we are so tough over this side of the Atlantic :)

  17. Could it be that there is a relationship between the rate of hot chocolate consumption and leaky apartments?

  18. How I would love a cup of that rich Chocolat Chaud and macarons right now... sigh

  19. It is customary to put the heat sources by the windows in this country, too. My engineers claim it's done that way for the reason you suspected: to temper the cold air from the windows. However, they are obviously not gardeners: the best place to overwinter plants is in a sunny window- but not with a heating vent there treating the plants to a nice desert wind!

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