November 30, 2007

Still painting - day 10

I trust and sincerely hope that this is the last “painting post” – only some fine tuning still needed.

I took the same photo as “day 7”, when I left my son’s flat – this time when I arrived yesterday morning. The tower (or what you could see of it) looked this time less attractive, the sky was grey… and it was without any real regrets that I went to my painting session.

Next week, I hope to be able to make a few real posts again, but December 5 I will leave for about a week in Sweden. My old mother “requires” my presence.

I wish you a very nice weekend! I will grab my camera and will hopefully find something to tell you on Monday!

November 29, 2007

Still painting - day 9

Still another day of painting. Some of you believe that we are redecorating a huge apartment; quite logical if you consider the time we are spending. Well, it’s not that huge - a three bedroom flat, but a lot of frustrating preparation jobs to be done before we could start with the more colourful phase, involving several layers of paint…. Sorry, but all this takes time. Kitchen, bathroom etc. are also completely transformed, fortunately by professionals.

On the way to my painting session, I could not resist against taking another tree photo; the morning sun on the golden leaves attracted my eyes. There are still a few trees where the leaves have not yet decided to fall.

November 28, 2007

Still painting - day 8

Yesterday morning, on the way to the metro, walking through « my » park, I thought for a second (or maybe two) that I should find an excuse for not painting; the sky was so blue, the birds were singing… , but of course my sense of duty took over!

I hope that by the end of the week it will all be ready. Everything is going slowly, but according to schedule.

November 27, 2007

Still painting - day 7

This is what I saw last evening when I left the flat I’m just helping to repaint.

I’m happy we are not repainting the Eiffel Tower: 60 tons of paint are needed = 0,6% of its total weight. It’s done on average every seven years and it takes more than a year for 25 painters. Next campaign starts in 2008. I’m not applying for the job!

November 26, 2007

Still painting - day 6

Yes, still painting. We have for a couple of days more. It’s surprising the number of paint layers you need before you feel happy with the result. I really start to feel that I would prefer to leave the paint brushes and have some time to work with my blog again and to visit yours, but…

November 23, 2007

Still painting

Yes, the painting goes on. Far from finished. In the meantime, thanks for all your encouraging comments!

... and, sorry, I forgot to wish you all a nice weekend in the previous message!

Along Rue Réaumur (2)

Here comes the second part of our strolling along Rue Réaumur, leaving the 3rd arrondissement for the 2nd.

The buildings here mostly date from the very last years of the 19th century. The architects seem to have been allowed some more freedom than what you usually find with the pure Haussmannian style. Several of the buildings have partly a metallic structure. You can sometimes find a touch of Art Nouveau.

Several newspapers used to have their headquarters in this area, some on this street. Most newspapers are now in the suburbs.

No. 100 previously housed “France Soir”, which used to have an important circulation of some 2 million, but today has left the premises (now “just offices”) and has become a very insignificant newspaper. Originally, the building was occupied by an other newspaper called ”L’Intransigeant” (still visible on the entrance hall mosaic) and for a few years after WW II by the during the war clandestine “Combat” (with names as JP Sartre, Albert Camus, André Malraux..).

Another important newspaper, Le Parisien (Liberé) occupied no. 124 as from the end of WW II until the 70’s. (This newspaper belongs to the same group which organises Tour de France and also owns the sports newspaper “L’Equipe”.)

Along the street you will also find a different type of metro entrance, Le Sentier, which you access via a building. Even the metro sign is here different from the today used one, which is the one you see here. In the surrounding streets you will find a concentration of textile and clothing manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers.

You also cross the charming Rue Montorgeuil, a pedestrian market street.

Rue Réaumur ends (changes name) when we reach the Paris Stock Exchange (la Bourse), which also goes under the name of Palais Brogniart. It dates from the beginning of the 18th century.

Some small details:

- When I took these photos last week, it was quite cold. You can see how even the pigeons were freezing and searched warm air from the underneath metro.

- There is an obvious lack of decent apartments for the less fortunate Paris population. Just opposite to the Stock Exchange, there was an occupation / demonstration ongoing. … in the meantime I continue painting. Sorry, for still being rather absent as blogger.

You can find most of these photos on my photo blog.

November 22, 2007

Aujourd'hui... rien!

Aujourd’hui… rien, Today… nothing !

This is what Louis XVI wrote in his journal for the 14th of July 1789, the day of the Bastille.

Actually, what he meant is that nothing had happened during the daily hunt. He learnt about the Bastille only later in the night and then asked “Is this a revolt?”. Rather phlegmatic about it all.

Actually, what I mean is that there will not be any real post today. Still painting… for another week or more.

November 21, 2007

Along Rue Réaumur (1)

Still painting, but here is something which I more or less prepared end last week:

Rue Réaumur (3rd arrdt.) stretches from the Temple to our Stock Exchange (la Bourse). It was opened in different steps during the 19th century – Haussmann again. Réaumur was an 18th century scientist, today perhaps best known for the temperature scale which was widely used around Europe before being replaced by the centigrades (Celsius).

The street starts thus at the Temple, today just a square, but this is where an old fortress from 1240, later prison, used to stay. It’s particularly known for having hosted the royal family during the Revolution and Louis XVI was taken directly from here to be guillotined at the Place de la Révolution, today Place de la Concorde.

There are some interesting buildings to be seen along the street, most of them from the period 1850-1900. There are actually so many that I prefer to make only half of the street today.

Some specific words about a few of these buildings:

No. 51 used to be the first big Felix Potin shop, opened in 1860 (rebuilt in 1910). Felix Potin may not say very much to a foreigner, but it became an important chain with 1200 grocery shops all over Paris. The last one closed in 1996.

No. 82 hosted a big department store, “A Réaumur”, until 1961. The founder, J-P Gaubert-Martin somehow invented the “prêt-à-porter”, catalogues and post orders.Walking this first half way of Rue Réaumur, you cross some interesting streets, worth a small deviation. To the left you can find Rue Beaubourg and you can distinguish the modern art museum, Centre Pompidou. When you cross Rue St.Martin you can find the 15th century St.Nicolas-in-the-Fields (St.Nicolas-des-Champs) church to the left and the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts (with museum), previously the 12th century abbey and priory of St.Martin-in-the-Fields (St.Martin-des-Champs), to the right with the St.Martin Arch of Triumph in the background. In between you can find the Jean-Paul Gaultier fashion house and a musical theatre, La Gaité Lyrique. Later you will cross Rue St.Denis, also with its Arch of Triumph – to the right - and a number of sex shops to the left.

Some of these photos can be seen on my photo blog.

(A said, I continue painting, so I don’t know when I will post next time. Excuse me also for not visiting your sites regularly.)

November 20, 2007

No post today...

There will not be any post today, not necessarily by solidarity with the Writers Guild, but my blogging activity has been disturbed by the fact that together with my son, we are just now painting walls and ceilings in his (+ family) new flat.

Maybe tomorrow!

Added later:

To avoid any misunderstanding: I wanted to show the maybe best examples of wall and ceiling paintings. However, what we are doing will probably be better represented by this picture!

November 19, 2007

Weekend occupations

The weekend was busy, so the post today will be a short and easy one.

One item on the agenda was the baptizing of my grandson Mattias (one year old). You can see the happy parents - my son Patrick and his wife -, Mattias’ sister Paloma and my daughter Stephanie (Patrick’s sister) plus a few friends…

Patrick (+ family) just bought a new flat and for some reason they expect me to help them with the decoration before they move in beginning December. That will give me limited time for preparing new posts, look at your blogs and to comment, but I will do my best. Let’s see!

November 16, 2007

The last leaves...

The last leaves… There have many pictures of autumn leaves lately – and by qualified photographers, but I could not resist.

So yesterday I took some pictures in what I use to call “my park” (Square des Batignolles, Paris 17th arrdt.), some two minutes walk from my flat. It has been quite cold in Paris the last days, some +5°C (or about 40°F) during the afternoon. Even the birds must have felt a need to warm up. They had all gathered at the same sunny end of the small lake for a nice common siesta.Some of you may remember that I have now and then reported on the growth of what may be a banana tree. The first leaves were visible in the beginning of April. The leaves had grown considerably until they were cut at the beginning of this week … and I never saw any bananas. What remains of the tree has now got some winter clothes.A few of these photos can be seen on my photo blog.

Now, I wish you all a nice weekend! The weekend will be busy, but I plan to be back on Monday!

November 15, 2007

Mid-month-theme: subway day

I was kindly invited to join a common “mid-month-theme” about subways (or underground, metro, tunnelbana…), previously shared between New York and Stockholm. This month’s subject is "the exterior of a metro (subway…) station by night".

One photo should be chosen to illustrate the subject. I had to fight with myself not to include a few more according to my habits. (As a compromise, you can find a few more photos on my photo blog.)

This one was taken a few days (nights) ago at the metro station Place de Clichy, one of the stations decorated by Hector Guimard around 1900.

You can find today’s posts and some others linked to the metro theme by using the below links.

November 14, 2007

A bank succurcal

I refer to my post on Rue Fortuny last week. When leaving this place you arrive at a square, called Place du Général-Catroux (17th arrdt.), once called the place of the Three Dumas.

On this square you will find the statues of Alexandre Dumas, father/père (The Count of Monte Christo, The Three Musketeers…) and son/fils (The Lady of the Camelias…)*. There used also to be a statue of the grandfather, also called Alexandre, bastard son of a Tahitian slave and a noble Frenchman, who became a General in the French Army in 1793. This statue was destroyed by the Nazi occupants in 1942.

There is a remarkable building here, built as a private home (hôtel particulier / mansion) for Emile Gaillard in 1884, who was governor of the French National Bank (Banque de France) and a great art collector. Some years after his death, the building was bought by the French National Bank. Despite its size and prestigious style, this is however not the Bank’s official site and major building in Paris, just a succurcal.

The building is normally hidden by the trees, but as some of them had now lost their leaves; it was possible to get a more general view.

One small detail that you can find above some windows; a “G” for Gaillard. Some of these photos can be seen “in full” on my photo blog.
*/ I have previously posted on the graves of Alexandre Dumas fils and of “The Lady of the Camelias” (Marie Duplessis), both at the Montmartre cemetery.

November 13, 2007

Other statues - Luxembourg Gardens

We don’t all have the same taste – fortunately! Some of you did not really like the sculptures I showed yesterday. I prefer to keep everybody happy, so here are a few other ones!

When you start to really walk around the Luxembourg Gardens, you will discover hundreds of sculptures. Here are a few examples. If you want more, I can go back!

Pigeons always seem to like to sit on the top of statues. What seems more surprising is that here you can also find seagulls in the same position. I believe this is the only park in Paris where you can regularly find seagulls. Why are they here?

One of these statues is the Statue of Liberty. I already had this statue in one of my posts. This one is not a copy; it’s rather one of the originals, preceding the making of the “real one” and about 15 years older. It was given to the city of Paris by its creator, Bartholdi.
I put only a small selection of these pictures on my photo blog – there were too many of them. If you feel that I made a bad choice, please tell me and I will add one or two more!

November 12, 2007


Just behind the Luxembourg Gardens there is a small, museum dedicated to Ossip Zadkine. This was also the house, surrounded by a garden, where he lived and worked most of his life. It would be better to know the address to this place if you wish to find it, as it’s more or less hidden behind tall buildings, so here it is: 101 bis, Rue d’Assas, 6th arrdt (Montparnasse).

Zadkine was born in Russia (today Belarus) in 1890, moved to Paris around 1910 (and to this house, in 1928) where he lived until his death in 1967. Of Jewish (and Scottish) extraction, he spent the years of World War II in the U.S..

Zadkine, who also painted (like his wife), wrote poems…, is of course known for his sculpturing, with influence basically from cubism and also from primitive art. The most famous may be the “Destroyed City” in Rotterdam (photo Google). He is represented in museums, parks… all around the world.

I took photos not only at the museum, but also of a statue in the Luxembourg Gardens.

Zadkine made several sculptures linked to van Gogh, which you now can find e.g. at Zundert where van Gogh was born, but also at Auvers-sur-Oise where Vincent ended his life and also is buried. Cergie kindly offered me this photo, taken at Auvers.

Although the museum may seem small, the collection is big, maybe some 100 sculptures, including in the garden. It’s clearly worth the visit.

JoAnn kindly offered me a THANK YOU award. “This award I designed (c-jw) to nominate friendly blog-people. Why? Because I am very pleased by your BLOG-friendship and therefore I want to NOMINATE you with My own designed "THANK YOU" Award. Your friendship makes me smile, I am so happy to know you! Thank you, for your kind and sweet friendship! » So, a big THANK YOU to JoAnn !

November 09, 2007

Medicis Fountain

When visiting the Luxembourg Gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg) everybody may not necessarily pay attention to the Medicis Fountain (La Fontaine de Médicis) which you can find in one of the corners of the Gardens.

The fountain is named after Marie de Médicis (Maria de’Medici) who was married to Henry IV, widow in 1610, mother and regent to Louis XIII (and grandmother to Louis XIV) and also mother to a Spanish and an English Queen. Involved in different intrigues she was exiled in 1630 and died in Cologne in 1642.

Marie decided to create her own “Medici Palace”, which thus is the today’s Luxembourg Palace, slightly modified since. She could move in around 1625, but for a rather short period as she had to leave France five years later. The palace was of course magnificent and included e.g. 24 Rubens paintings (now at the Louvre). After different uses (prison during the Revolution, Luftwaffe headquarters during World War II…), it’s today the house of the French Senate, but the gardens, the biggest in Paris, are open for public and there is much to see and do. I may revert to this another day.

The Fountain was obviously just ready when Marie had to leave. It was modeled on what she had known during her childhood in Florence. It had to be slightly moved when the adjacent street was widened by Haussmann. At the same time, in 1862, the statue group you can see in the centre was added.
You can find some of these photos on my photo blog.

Time to again wish you a nice weekend! Back with a new post on Monday!