Dec 25, 2009

Get off at Metro Pont-Marie (line 7), then turn left, there's Hôtel de Sens, located at 1, rue du Figuier, 4 th arrondissement. Without realizing, I stopped and admiring this medieval residence's elegant formal gardens and dramatic design.

Built between 1474-1519 as a residence for Tristan de Salazar, the archbishop of Sens. The architecture of Hotel de Sens features elements of defense. There are turrets built for surveillance; a square tower served as a dungeon; the arched entryway has chutes built into it enabling defenders to pour boiling water on invaders. The Council of Paris decided to create a library specializing in art and art techniques in 1883. The Council wished to create a place where people could draw, use models and borrow books. At that time Samuel Fornay, an industrialist, donated to the City 200,000 francs to be used for the education of young artists. It is in honor of this man that the Bibliothèque Fornay gets its name. 1961, the Bibliothèque Fornay was established in the Hôtel de Sens. The library has a collection of 200,000 books, 2,580 periodicals, 23,000 posters, 1,110,000 postcards, 325,000 reproductions, 28,000 commercial catalogues and 50,000 slides.

Station on Paris metro: Pont Marie