June 15 2011 4 15 /06 /June /2011 05:00
La gare de Tours was built between 1896 and 1898 under the direction of the Touraine architect Victor Laloux. Four statues dominate the façade—two were created by Jean-Antoine Injalbert (allegories of Bordeaux and Toulouse), while the other two were created by Jean-Baptiste Hugues (allegories of Limoges and Nantes). The green space located at the front of the train station has a strange fountain resembling the hull of an overturned ship. This park, belonging to the Centre international de congrès or Le Vinci, was constructed two years after the death of its designer in 1991, landscape artist Yves Brunier. Not far from the train station, along Boulevard Heurteloup is La Place Jean Jaurès. The two large buildings here are the Palais de Justice and the Hôtel de Ville which was also designed by Victor Laloux between 1896 and 1904. The monumental building was intended to reflect the virtues of republican and municipal authorities and is evocative of Parisian design. The interior and exterior designs accounted for more than a quarter of its building costs. On the front of the façade are the four Atlanteans sculpted by François Sicard and to the left and right of the clock are two Caryatids representing day and night sculpted by Joseph-Émile Carlier. The tow reclining figures on the left represent the rivers La Loire and Le Cher and were sculpted by Jean-Antoine Injalbert. The two wings of the building are decorated. The western wing represents Courage and Strength designed by Jean-Baptiste Hugues and the eastern wing, Education and Vigilance designed by Alphonse Shoemaker. The remaining décor is credited to Henri Varenne who alone cost the city 334,000 francs. Opposite the Hotel de Ville is the Neoclassical Palais de Justice done in white stone and built between 1840 and 1843 by Charles and his son Jean Jacquemin. Walking toward the Loire one passes the Place des Halles where local residents and merchants wanted this modern sculpture Le Monstre. With this piece, the artist Xavier Veilhan wished to renew the old tradition of erecting monumental statuary. Personally, I think it seems a bit out of place in this beautiful old town known for its timber-framed houses, old churches, cobblestone streets and Renaissance architecture. Walking along the Loire one eventually comes to the American SOS Fountain. This fountain was constructed by the United States government in grateful recognition of the achievements during World War I of more than 640,000 members of the Services of Supply, whose work behind the battle lines made possible the brilliant accomplishments of the armies in the field. During the Great War, the American Services of Supply were responsible for providing a constant supply of men, equipment and ammunition for the two-million-man American Expeditionary Force (AEF) fighting in Europe. The four figures on the monument represent the four principal divisions of the SOS organization: Administration, Procurement, Construction and Distribution.
Published by The Baguette - in Indre-et-Loire