Pontoise - Paris

At Conflans-Ste-Honorine l'Oise meets la Seine - or the other way around. It's a lot of water!

We were flabbergasted by the big boats on the Seine, like this one. Sometimes over a 150 meters (> 500 ft)!

In Conflans-Ste-H. we visited the Musee de la Batellerie (inland navigation). Very informative and highly interesting. Among a lot of other things this model of a towing tug was on display. The horses walked on a carousel, thus providing for the force to move the chain which is visible on the floor on either side of the tug. This tug was used in the Sousterrain de Riqueval, on the Canal de Saint Quentin. (See "Douai - Saint Quentin".)

In the same museum a sculpture of men, towing a boat.

To round off the impression of this museum an example of fender making skills.

Moored in Rueil-Malmaison, in the Paris suburban area. On the opposite bank Pierre-Auguste Renoir painted "Les Canotiers à Chatou" in 1881. His words: "I am in Chatou... I paint rowers which I wanted to do already for a long time". The woman on the painting is his wife-to-be, Aline Charigot. This painting, now in The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, was created in front of the Fournaise Restaurant - see the next pictures.

Here is a reproduction of the famous Renoir painting "Le déjeuner des Canotiers", 1881, part of the Phillips Collection, Washington, DC. Renoir"s comment: "I stay in Chatou... it's the most enjoyable place in the Paris vicinity...". The scene is situated on the balcony of the Fournaise Restaurant. Leaning on the balustrade is Alphonsine Fournaise, on the left her brother Alphonse (jr) and sitting on the table Aline Charigot, Renoir's future wife.

Fournaise House – Chatou. “Alphonse Fournaise, born into a family of bargemen and boatbuilders, bought a modest house on the island (La Seine forms a long island here) from one of his cousins in 1857. With the help of his daughter, Alphonsine, he also developed a boat building business, boathouse rental and the organization of river festivals which rapidly became famous. The Fournaise House and restaurant became a meeting place for writers, painters and political and financial celebrities. Among those guests.... the name of Maupassant and Renoir will always remain engraved in our memories. Renoir painted thirty masterpieces here including the famous "Le déjeuner des Canotiers". At the end of the XIXth century, the new craze for bicycling put an end to the era of boating on the Seine and to a decline in the clientele which brought about the closure of the restaurant in 1905. When Alphonsine died in 1937 the house was divided into thirteen rented appartments and detoriorated rapidly. The Chatou municipality purchased the building in 1979 so that it could be completely renovated. In 1982 the facades were listed.... The restaurant.... reopened in 1990 and since 1992 the.... building houses a memorial museum." This text is taken from an information display on the side of the building. The balcony and its cover are still/again the same as on Renoir's painting "Le déjeuner des Canotiers".

"Un cappuccino et un café crème s'il vous plaît". We enjoyed Chatou and Rueil-Malmaison hugely!

This is page one for the past week. Paris deserves its own page, so tomorrow there will be page number two - dedicated to Paris.