Demolishing Buildings on Pont Notre Dame in 1786, painted by Hubert Robert, French 1733-1808
The oldest hospital in Paris called "Hotel Dieu" founded in 651 used to be on the southern side of Notre Dame Cathedral, on the island of the Cite (cathedral built in 1160 finished in 1345.) The backside of the hospital faced the left bank of the river Seine- see early 19th century engraving below and 1860 photo.
When Baron Haussmann renovated Paris between 1866 and 1878 the hospital was remodeled, away from the main "parvis" (courtyard in front of the cathedral) - this gave a better view of Notre Dame from the Seine, as can be seen in the painting below. The Paris of Les Miserables is not the Paris we know in 2013.
Notre Dame de Paris 1888, painted by Frederick Childe Hassam, American 1859-1935
I found some fun old photos taken by Charles Marville (1813-1879.) The City of Paris commissioned him to take pictures of Paris in the 1860s to document the old streets, avenues, buildings, etc., that were being demolished by Baron Haussmann, the Paris Prefect, to modernize the city. Below is the Place du Carousel in Paris, before and now
and the Place de l'Opera then and now (old photos courtesy Ministere de la Culture.)
Actually many people do not know that there was another river in Paris. It is called "La Bievre." It still exists but now it runs under Paris, in the sewers. It runs in several French departments and used to run in the 13th and 5th quarters of Paris, but it was totally covered in 1912. Below are some vintage postcards showing this river when it could be seen in Paris.
I am getting away from Venice when I talk now about Paris (about 700 miles/1127 kms away) but this was to show how other cities have changed, but not Venice. We kept walking in the little alleys, as shown below.
We walked along the canals and over the bridges.
It was a lovely, sunny day but not too warm. Sometimes, we could walk no further as we were facing a larger canal, so we would stop and look at the waterbus going by.
It was more a "stroll" than a real walk as I stopped constantly to take pictures. At every corner was another canal with a picturesque view.
Stepping down a small bridge we saw the entrance to a university called "Universita Ca' Foscari." It is housed in a Gothic palace built in the 15th century by Francesco Foscari. It offers an international program to the PhD level. We walked inside the entrance courtyard as I could see a bench - and we sat a few minutes.
It was getting warmer and we stopped when we passed by fountains.
As you walk you have to watch where you step as the old stones are uneven. I also like to look up to see all the diverse windows.
We had a good breakfast at our inn that morning but after all that walking we were tempted by some luscious looking gelato. So we stopped and bought some. More to come after this little stop...