National Geographic : 1972 Jul
The More Paris Changes. A rascal is sneaking up behind Father Christmas to make off with his bag of toys. "Attention, Pere Noel!" the children cry. "Attention!" I cry. The hero turns and flails his assailant. Pow! Pow! Pow! Cheers ring out. Artists and Stargazers Fight for Stables Another scrap, this one on a somewhat higher political if not artistic plane, is going on just beyond the end of the gardens, where an artists' colony is struggling against bu reaucracy to survive. A five-acre estate of lawns and trees and stables spreads there, adjoining the Observatory that Louis XIV began in 1668. The Observatory wants more room for stargazing, and the artists want to stay in their stables. Tall, slender Andre Tondu invited me into his studio, one of 16 converted from the for mer stables. In 1926 Tondu's "Bathers" joined the Chester Dale Collection. He still paints people to look like people. "What will you do if the Observatory ex pansion forces you out?" I asked. He hunched his thin shoulders and turned his palms up in the French way of saying "Who knows?" "We have every intention of fighting to stay," he said. "We opened our doors so that the public might see what a tragedy it would be to sacrifice this green oasis." They had hoped to collect 10,000 signatures in their book of grievances to lay before the Minister of Cultural Affairs. Actually, they got nearly 13,000, including mine. The artists of the Observatory stand in the Acquiring equine poise, a young mount at the Republican Guard riding school (above) learns four-footed ballet under the control of his trainer's lunge line. Restraining rein attached to the animal's girth teaches posture befitting the ceremonial pomp of the mounted police. Horseflesh and high fashion run side by side. At the Grand Prix de Paris (left), gala event of the racing season, socialites exchange greet ings. They gather at Longchamp, one of two race courses in the 2,200 acre park called Bois de Boulogne. Owners from around the world bring their Thoroughbreds to Paris, attracted by rich French purses.