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November 29, 2014

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Rue du Bac – A Soundwalk

by soundlandscapes

AFTER COMPLETING A RECORDING assignment in the 7th arrondissement I found myself in rue du Bac heading for the Métro and home.

Stretching for some 1150 metres from the junction of the Quai Voltaire and the Quai Anatole-France alongside the Seine, rue du Bac crosses the busy boulevard Saint-Germain and ends at rue de Sèvres.

Rue du Bac

I was at the rue de Sèvres end of the street and so I set off to walk to the Métro station Rue du Bac at the junction of the rue du Bac and the boulevard Raspail, a little over half way along the street, recording the sounds around me as I went.

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The green arrow shows my soundwalk and the red arrow shows the continuation of rue du Bac to la Seine

Rue du Bac

Rue du Bac looking north-east towards la Seine

Rue du Bac takes its name from a ferry (a bac in French) established around 1550 on what is now the quai Voltaire to transport stone blocks for the construction of the Palais des Tuileries. The ferry crossed the Seine at the site of today’s Pont Royal, a bridge constructed under the reign of Louis XIV to replace the Pont Rouge built in 1632.

The street was created between 1600 and 1610 and originally named grand chemin du Bac, then ruelle du Bac, grande rue du Bac and finally simply, rue du Bac.

I began my walk along rue du Bac at one of Paris’ largest department stores, Le Bon Marché.

Rue du Bac

Le Bon Marché department store

Now owned by the luxury goods group, LVMH, Le Bon Marché was founded in 1838 by the entrepreneur, Aristide Boucicault. By 1869, it had developed into one of the first department stores in the world heralding a retail revolution that lives with us to the present day.

Rue du Bac – A Soundwalk:

A little further on from Le Bon Marché I came upon the Chapel of the Société des Missions étrangères de Paris, a Roman Catholic missionary organisation. It is not a religious institute, but an organisation of secular priests and lay people dedicated to missionary work overseas.

Rue du Bac

Chapel of the Société des Missions Étrangers

And then, across the street, the Square des Missions Étrangers.

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Rue du Bac is in a rather chic part of Paris and that is reflected in the boutiques lining this part of the street.

Rue du Bac

This shop, Pierre Farman at N°122 for example, sells vintage aircraft parts – heaven for an aircraft enthusiast like me!

Rue du Bac

Founded in 1903 by the Austrian confectioner Antoine Rumpelmayer and named after his stepdaughter, Angelina’s has a world-wide reputation for its elegant Salons de Thé and its classiques de la pâtisserie française including its signature Le Mont Blanc comprising meringue, Chantilly légère and vermicelles de crème de marrons.

This pâtisserie in rue du Bac is one of several Angelina’s in Paris and around the world.

Rue du Bac

A little further on is the Sotheby’s estate agency. I always think that estate agents who display elegant pictures of properties for sale but no prices are best avoided!

And then I came upon …

Rue du Bac

Rue du Bac

Rue du Bac

Rue du Bac

And finally …

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The Métro Station Rue du Bac.

In the earlier part of the day I’d been concentrating on my sound recording assignment so I hadn’t set out to record a soundwalk in this part of rue du Bac but, as it turned out, I’m rather pleased I did. And I think the sounds of a dog barking, a boutique security guard chasing a shoplifter and a church clock striking the hour, all of which I came upon completely by chance, added to the local colour.

Rue du Bac

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