August 31, 2007

St. Paul etc...

I visited another area of Paris, hardly visited by tourists. It has anyhow its interest.

(The top picture is with a reference to Isabella who lives at a very nice place, Naples in Florida, although with a number of “gators” around, including on her golf course.)

We are just south of the more visited area of “le Marais” and the “Place des Vosges”, between Rue de Rivoli and the Seine River.

To start with there is the St.Paul-St.Louis Church, which is beautiful and has its own interest. Completed in 1641, under Louis XIII, as a Jesuit church, it was inspired by the Gesu Church in Rome. The first mess was held by Cardinal Richelieu. It was of course pillaged and partly destroyed during the 1789 revolution and some fantastic master pieces (Dürer etc.) disappeared.

What was once the church convent is today occupied by one of the most renowned Paris schools, Lycée Charlemagne.

Behind the church, you will find the largest remaining piece and some towers of the 12th century Philippe-August wall, which surrounded the then much smaller Paris.

A later king, Charles V chose to create a residence just outside the wall (1360). This area was later occupied by simple apartment houses, which were more or less restored during the last 30 years. Here you have today a quite a nice quarter going under the name of St.Paul Village. When I visited it this week, it was extremely calm (we are still in August and Paris is to a large extent “closed”), but the place is full of high quality antique shops (obviously also a “gator” for sale – see top picture), some bars and restaurants…. You enter by a number of arched passageways and all the small streets and yards are of course open only for pedestrians. Around the St.Paul Village, you have a number of narrow streets, some nice recently restored flats, a censored version of Manneken Pis…

I wish you all a nice weekend!

You can find the original photos on my other blog - "Peter - photos".

August 30, 2007

Other Statues of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty (full name actually Liberty Enlightening the World) that we all know was a gift by France in 1886 to commemorate the centennial of the United States. Frédéric Bartholdi sculpted and Gustave Eiffel engineered the internal structure.

There are different opinions on who may have served as a model, but it could be the widowed Isabella Eugenie Boyer, wife of the sewing-machine industrial Isaac Singer.

Before making the big version, a smaller one was made already in 1870. It was offered by the sculptor and can now be found in the Jardin du Luxembourg (Luxemburg Garden). You may not know that the sculptor initially had the idea that a giant version of his statue should be used as a lighthouse at the entrance of the Suez Canal, then under construction.

The statue was constructed in the 17th arrondissement, 25 rue de Chazelles, not far from where I live. The workshop is gone and replaced by a modern apartment building. On this slide you can see that at least the building on the left side still is there.The statue was completed in Paris, but was put into pieces before the transport and reassembled. It seems that the stones on which the statue is standing on Liberty Island also were coming from France.

A smaller, but still big, copy of the statue (the photo on the top) can be found at the end of Ile de Cygnes (Swan Island) in the Seine River, slightly downstream of the Eiffel Tower. The lady looks in the direction of New York. This is a gift by the community of Americans in Paris (1889).

A full size copy of the torch can be found at the Pont (Bridge) d’Alma. As Lady Diana died accidentally in the tunnel just under the torch, it has also become her unofficial souvenir place. The reason for the great number of people around the torch, flowers etc. is of course the 10th anniversary of her death (August 31st).

August 29, 2007

Some more from “Nouvelle Athène”

I will - at least temporarily - leave the area of Paris called the New Athens (the Museum of the Romantics, the Square d’Orléans, the Gustave Moreau Museum, Place Saint Georges…) by showing some last photos.

Just south of Place Pigalle, in the crossing of the streets Victor Massé and Frochot, you will find one rather astonishing building with a large stained glass front window. It was built for the 19th century composer Victor Massé. It was taken over by the boss of Folies Bergère who donated it to a servant, later murdered here. It stood then empty for decades and still seems to be. For a short while one of our local singing stars, Sylvie Vartan, lived here, but for some reason she quickly left: it seems to be haunted place.
Correction 29/8, 2 pm: I now learnt that the stained glass window in front of the building actually is part of a small theatre (Théatre en Rond), which now is closed. Just close to this house, you can (not) enter a private street, called Avenue Frochot, where Toulouse-Lautrec and Renoir (the painting father and the film making son) lived or worked. It seems that some of our today’s celebrities have their address here, which I believe is the reason the guard at the entrance did not want to let me in. The street looks very nice from what you can see behind the entrance gate.

Just round the corner, you will find another private street, Cité Malesherbes, where the guard let me in. Here you can find some nice buildings, including the very beautifully decorated number 11 (top picture). The French Socialist Party occupied for a long time number 12. Today the building is used by a socialist foundation (Fondation Jean Jaurès). It seems that another of our local singing stars, Johnny Hallyday, for a while married to the above mentioned Sylvie Vartan, was born in this street.In another small side street (Cité Monthiers; you enter from rue de Clichy) you will find a small but beautiful theatre, Théatre de l’Oeuvre (there are many other theatres around). I took also some pictures here and there, including the statue (with a pigeon on the top) of Hector Berlioz. All the small side streets and backyards are not that fashionable, but they have often a lot of charm... and soon they will be transformed into something fashionable and expensive.

If you wish to see the original photos, please go to my other blog - "Peter - photos".

I have still serious network problems, so please excuse me if I'm not a good visitor of your blogs at the moment.

August 28, 2007

Place Saint Georges

The area of Paris where we have already visited the Museum of the Romantics, Square d’Orléans and the Gustave Moreau Museum is for some reason called Nouvelle Athène (New Athens). There are several more places to visit and I have not finished; it is in easy walking distance from where I live. As usual I present some Paris Google illustrations to make it possible for you to find your way to these places, if you have not already visited them. (Batignolles is the area where I live.)

Today I will show you Place Saint Georges. It’s a nice place created in the beginning of the 19th century. In the middle you have a statue of a painter called Gavarni. He should be surrounded by water, but there are some works ongoing. Originally this was a fountain allowing horses to get some refreshment.

Gavarni was known for painting courtesans and the most striking building on the place, which I have illustrated a bit more in detail (top picture and second slide below), was actually built for a courtesan. She obviously was successful, as she rather soon moved to something even more fashionable on the Champs Elysées, became marchioness... Today the building seems to be basically occupied by very expensive offices (and there is space to let).

The other building, today with some green public space behind, was destroyed during one of the French revolutions in 1871 (Paris Commune), but immediately rebuilt. It was previously occupied by Adolphe Thiers, who actually was elected President of the Republic the same year as his house was torn down. Today it's a library depending on the "Institute" (The French Academy).
You can find the original photos on my other blog - "Peter - photos".

(I have still network problems, but I was lucky for a moment and managed to make this post.)

August 27, 2007

Connectivity problems

I have some serious network problems. I manage to get a connection for a few minutes now and then, but I cannot promise any new post or visit to your blogs in the immediate future. The provider is working on my problem, but...

Gustave Moreau Museum

Moving around in the same area where I have already presented the Museum of the Romantics and the Square d’Orléans, I also visited the Gustave Moreau museum (14, rue de la Rochefoucauld, Paris 9). This is an amazing small museum, which was actually more ore less created by the artist himself, preparing space for his works to be presented in his home. The museum was opened to public five years after his death.

Gustave Moreau (1826-98), was a symbolist painter and a precursor to other famous symbolist painters like Gustav Klimt and Eduard Munch. He is also considered to be a forerunner for later surrealistic painters (Dali, Magritte…). Henri Matisse was one of Moreau’s pupils. Oscar Wilde, Marcel Proust, André Breton among others admired his works (and so do I).

In the museum you can find hundreds of paintings and if you look behind curtains (for light protection) you can also find thousands of drawings, pre studies, aquarelles… His paintings can be found at the Louvre (Paris), National Gallery (London), MMA (NYC)…, but the fact that he has his own museum is perhaps explaining that he may be considered to be underrepresented in many of the greatest museums.

What also is interesting to see at the Paris Moreau museum are the stairs between the two exhibition levels and, on the lower floor, his office, dining room, sleeping room… all preserved as they were.

August 24, 2007


I just realized that I have reached 200 posts (so this is 201).

Normally, I don't try to "compete" with the professional flower and bees photographers around, but I thought I should try something different for once, using my new compact camera (in auto position). The below photos (Some flowers etc.) were taken today in the new park, close to where I live and on which I made a post in July. The park is not yet really nice - too new; trees and bushes have still to grow and settle. But there are some flowers around.

So, what you find below is what I offer you for the weekend, which I trust you will enjoy, not only by blogging!

Some flowers etc.

I'm back

I’m back. Mother OK. Thanks for your kind words!

Square d'Orléans

Walking around in Paris and having a look behind the street entrances you have sometimes some good surprises. Here is one. Behind 80, rue Taitbout, you will find a calm little area under the name of Square d’Orléans. It dates from the early 19th century.

In a previous post I talked about a small house, transformed into a “Museum of the Romantics” (also not obvious to find), where the painter Ary Scheffer received, among many others, his neighbours and good friends George Sand and Frédéric Chopin. This is where they lived in the 1840’s, more or less together, George at number 5 and Frédéric at number 9.

Some other famous people have lived or worked here, including Alexandre Dumas (père). Georges Bizet came here for his piano lessons. When George Sand left her apartment, Charles Beaudelaire moved in…

You can find the original pictures on my photo blog.

August 23, 2007


While in Sweden I went to a few concerts, including one where two young Chinese women played “qin” (a seven-stringed zither, this particular one some 700 years old), “xiao” (end-blown flute) and “xun” (ocarina).

I would be pleased to know if some of you reading this may have any good knowledge, especially, of the “qin”, a very traditional instrument played since some two (or more) thousand years. For me, this was definitely the first time I went to a concert of this kind of music, but it was quite fascinating as the music and the instrument(s) were explained by a Swedish professor, specialised in Chinese language and culture. I could not avoid going shopping for a CD with “qin” music.

August 11, 2007

A bientôt!

My 90 year old mother has a small health problem (just back from hospital) and I will join her for a while, so I’m off to Sweden for a week or two – most probably disconnected from the blogging world!

I guess you are curious to see my old mother? You can see her on these two photos. On this first one, she is number two from the right, singing (or rather smiling), with her father on the violin and the oldest sister (100 years in November) at the piano. Below, you can see her on the left, listening to the radio, with her mother, two sisters and a brother. (They were 10 kids.)She has today more or less the same haircut (it was different in between); only the hairs are a bit greyer.

The photos must be from the early 20’s.

See you soon – and keep on blogging!

Being absent for some time, I thought I should give you some reading so I made six posts today, maybe one for each two days’ absence? So, if and when you have the time, please go downwards.

Cité Véron

A few meters from Moulin Rouge, there is a small side street tat I discovered by chance. It’s called Cité Véron.

Different from the street in front, here you can suddenly find a complete calm. I met an old gentleman who wondered what I was doing there; not used to “tourists” with a camera. Consider that that we are so close to Moulin Rouge, Pigalle and all the rest…

Actually I managed to slightly climb a wall and then you can see the roof and the backside of Moulin Rouge. Less captivating than the front!

The very kind gentleman told me that some personalities used to live here, names which say a lot to a Frenchman and maybe some others: Jacques Prévert and Boris Vian were neighbours and shared the same balcony.

Somebody seems to have discovered that under some old painting, there was an old manifest and then left it there without repainting on it (sincere thanks). I have difficulties to read it in complete, but it’s obviously a quite revolutionary text. The man portrayed below seems to have some kind of Marx beard, but it’s not him. ??

This is what I could read. Someone ready to fill in?

“NOUS VOUL…révolution universelle… culturelle…politique…. fondé sur…nation et sur le…d’autorité…pour les travailleurs, liberté pour tous les oppr… inateurs et exploiteurs de toute sorte… tous les états…apelles politiques ou re…Il s’agit de détruire… stitutions et les lois…policières…ersitaires, économ…les hommes délivrés du trav…leur liberté. »
You can find the original pictures on my photoblog.

New camera

I mentioned yesterday that I had to buy a new (still compact digital) camera; my previous one starting to give me some serious problems. Yesterday, once I had charged the battery correctly, I wanted to test it. I have no ambition to be become a professional bird and flower photographer as some of you, but anyhow… I will certainly continue to use just the “automatic” functions, as on these ones.

Then the old one wanted to work again, which allowed me to make a comparative study. Obviously, the new one can get a bit closer and show things in a bit more sharp way. I will not throw away my old camera; it has rendered me a lot service and pleasure, but I must admit that right now I have a preference for the new one; the technical development is fast.

I also tried to picture some moss on a stone.

Paloma - again!

Paloma. Not my granddaughter this time; the bird in “my” park which I discovered some two months ago. I think she starts to like being pictured. She followed me yesterday until I took her portrait with my new camera. Then she left. See you again soon Paloma!

Stone paved streets

Walking home from Cité Véron (see above), I thought I must look for other small cosy streets. I managed to make about half of the way on streets like this. It’s very calm at this moment; few people around – Paris is “closed” in August.