Page images
PDF
EPUB

PARIS. —- HOTEL DE ROUEN.

elegant palace of the Garde-meuble; where we entered the streets of Paris, and soon afterwards alighted at the bureau of the diligences; from which place, I took a fiacre (a hackneycoach) and-about six o'clock in. the evening presented myself to the mistress of the h6tcl de Rouen, for the women of France generally transact all the masculine duties of the house. To this hotel I wa& recommended by Messrs. G- , upon mentioning whose name, I was very politely shown up to a suite or> pleasant apartments, consisting of an antiroom, bed-room, and dressingTroom, the two latter were charmingly situated, the windows of which, looked out upon an agreeable garden belonging to the palace of the Louvre. For these rooms t> paid the moderate price of three livres a clay. Here, after enjoying those' comforts which travellers after long journies, require, and a good dinner into the bargain, about nine o'clock at night I sallied out to the Palais Royal, a superb palace built by the late duke d'Orteans, who when he was erecting it, publickly boasted, that he would make it one of the greatest brothels in Europe, in which prediction he succeeded, to the full consummation of his abominable wishes. This palace is now the property of the nation. The grand entrance is from the Rue St. Honor£, a long street, something resembling the Piccadilly of London, but destitute, like all the other streets of Paris, of that ample breadth, and paved footway, for the accommodation of pedestrian passengers, which give such a decided superiority to the streets of the capital of England. After passing through two noble courts, I entered the piazza, of this amazing pile; which is built of stone, upon arches, supported PALAIS ROYAL.

ported by corinthian pilasters. Its form is an oblong square, with gardens, and walks in the centre. The whole is considered to be, about one thousand four hundred feet long, and three hundred feet broad. The finest shops of Paris for jewellery, watches, clocks, mantuamakers, restaurateurs*, china magazines, &c, form. the back of the piazza, which on all the sides, of this immense fabric, affords a very fine promenade. These shops once made a part of the speculation, of their mercenary, and abandoned master, to whom they each paid a rent after the rate of two or three hundred pounds sterling per annum. This place presents a scene of profligate voluptuousness, not to be equalled upon any spot in Europe. Women of character are almost afraid to appear here .at noon day; and a stranger would conceive, that at night, he saw before him, one third of the beauty ot* Paris.

Under the roof of this palace are two theatres, museums of curiosities, the tribunate, gaming houses, billiard rooms, buillotte clubs, ball rooms, &c, all opening into the gardens, the windows of which threw, from their numerous lamps, and lustres, a stream of gay and gaudy light upon the walks below, and afforded the appearance of a perpetual illumination. At the bottom was a large pavilion, finely illuminated, in which were groups of people regaling themselves with lemonade, and ices. Upon this spot, in the early part of the revolution, the celebrated Camille Desmoulins used to declaim against the abuses of the old government, to all the

* Restaurateur is now universally used instead of traiteur.

idle 78 PALAIS ROYAL.

Chap. idle and disaffected of Paris. It is said that the liveries of the

VIII

t due d'Orleans gave birth to the republican colours, which used

to be displayed in the hats of his auditors, who in point of respectability resembled the motley reformers of Chalk Farm. From the carousing rooms under ground, the ear was filled with the sounds of music, and the buzzing of crowds; in short, such a scene of midnight revelry and dissipation I never before beheld.

Upon my return to my hotel, I was a little surprised to find the streets of-this gay city so meanly lighted. Lamps placed at gloomy distances from each other, suspended by cords, from lofty poles, furnish the only means of directing the footsteps of the nocturnal wanderer.

CHAP. CHAPTER IX.

French Reception. Voltaire. Restaurateur. Consular Guard.
Music. Venetian Horses. —Gates of the Palace. Gardens of the
Tltuilleries.— Statues. Thefaithful Vase.— The Sabine Picture.
Monsieur Perregaux.Marquis de Ckatelet.Madame Perre-
gaux.Beaux and Belles of Paris.

I FORGOT, in my last chapter, to mention that I paid for Chap.
my place, and luggage in the diligence, from Rouen to Paris,'
a distance of ninety. miles, twenty-three livres and eighteen
sols. The next morning after my arrival, and a good night's
repose in a sopha bed, constructed after the french fashion,
which was very lofty, and handsome, and very comfortable,

I waited upon my accomplished friend, Madame H , in

the Rue Florentine. I had the honour of knowing her when in England, from very early years; I found her with her elegant and accomplished daughter, in a suite of large rooms, very handsomely furnished after the antique, which gives to the present fashionable furniture of France, its form and character. These rooms composed a floor of a noble stone built house, which contained several other families; such is the customary mode of being lodged in the capital. She received me in the most charming manner, and had expected me for some days, previous to my arrival, and was that evening going to her country house at Passi, a few miles from Paris, whither she pressed me to accompany her, but I declined it, on

account

80 VOLTAIRE. — RESTAURATEUR.

Chap. account of the short time which I had before me to spend

T "V

* in Paris. Madame H was not only a beauty, but a woman

of wit and learning, and had accordingly admitted Voltaire amongst the number of her household gods; the arch old cynic, with his deathlike sarcastic face, admirably represented, by a small whole length porcelain statue, occupied the centre of her chimney piece. Upon finding that I was disposed to remain in town, she recommended me to a restaurateur, in the gardens of the Thuilleries, one of the first eating houses in Paris, for society, and entertainment, to the master of which she sent her servant, with my name, to inform him, that she had recommended an english -gentleman of her acquaintance to his house, and requested that an english servant in his service might attend to me, when I dined there. This was a little valuable civility, truly french. This house has been lately built under the auspices of the first consul, from a design, approved of by his own exquisite taste; he has permitted the entrance to open into the gardens of the consular palace. The whole is from a model of one of the little palaces of the Herculaneum, it is upon a small scale, built of a fine white stone, it contains a centre, with a portico, supported by doric pillars, and two long wings. The front is upon the terrace of the gardens, and commands an enchanting view of all its beautiful walks and statues. On the ground floor the house is divided into three long and spacious apartments, opening into each other through centre arches, and which are redoubled upon the view by immense pier glasses at each end. The first room is for dinner parties, the next for ices,

and

« PreviousContinue »