architecture

Out of questions for today

Palladium window

Not technically a Palladian (not Palladium) window, since it doesn’t have the flanking windows that make a trio, only the central arched one.

What does a Palladian window have to do with Easter? What do ham dinners have to do with Easter? What does my life have to do with Easter?

Of architecture and horticulture (briefly)

Louvre down pyr mini

I was quite flattered today when the Guru asked me for a France picture I had taken, then turned into a good desktop background. Good to me is dark, so the icons show up. The photo is an asymmetrical shot of the down-pyramid at the Louvre, heavily tweaked.

Shrub name we dont say

And this is a shrub I bought so long ago I have forgotten its name. Turns out that it thrives with spent coffee grounds dumped on its roots, and little additional horticultural attention.

Looooov(re) light

Louvre ceiling angular

Still discombobulated from the cross-Atlantic time-change. Managing to fall back asleep when I awaken at appropriate France-time, yet feeling rather listless, languid, and lethargic as evening rolls around. Like now…time for another episode of Counterpart anyway.

Louvre ceiling circular

These two images are both of light-above at the Louvre, in a gallery and in a stair? connecting? area. As we took escalators from this floor to that, I distinctly thought…this is a change? I may be wrong, but I felt that there had been a major architectural upgrade to the visitor experience since we last visited.

Memories

I’m offering two photos of each city we visited….

Marseille step lane

We might even call this Memory Lane, Marseille.

Marseille rudder view

Rudder view, dry dock boat, old harbor.

Aix side door

On to Aix…love the shadows on the wall to the right, especially in contrast to those angled ones on the door wall.

Aix shopping tease

The shop attendees do step out onto the street when no one’s inside…but not to hail passersby, usually, instead to smoke. Love the rocks holding the racks and the shoeless manikins.

Avignon narrow street

And in Avignon…narrow streets, some construction, often high crowns (suggests rain can gush here).

Avignon courtyard

And sometimes a courtyard peek…usually no longer gardens, but turned into parking. The fountain at the back was preserved…and appears lonely with only a few companion woody plants.

Paris Seine scene

Paris…Paris is always Seine-side to me.

Paris tourist impulse buys

A shopkeeper believes this assortment will entice the many tourists streaming by headed to Montmartre. Why all the hard-sided luggage? Do the vendors push some cheap knockoffs? Who buys a suitcase to trundle around while sight-seeing? Someone must…makes no sense to me. Postcards and miniature Eiffel Towers, yes, but carry-on roller bags?

Marseille marmite sides

Okay, one food picture just like during the trip. This is the marmite (say mahr-meet), or seafood stew, that I had in Marseille. Served with dry bread to soak up the juices. And, here, also with grated hard cheese and sweetened mustard. I didn’t know about this stew before the trip, and now I do.

This is one reason to travel—learning something that becomes a reason to return. I had thought I would find Marseille gritty and off-putting. Perhaps before the harbor was turned into a tourist haven, when it was still fisherman and mariners, with smells of oil and fish and dirty sea-water, I would have struggled to find the charming. No longer. Am I a pushover?

Tower tour aka tour tour

Twobirds onetour

Enjoying the sunshine from a bench with a stupendous view, the sounds were of a light wind, a mowing crew, and crows. Here’s a crow duo. Such photographic timing!

Blossom tour

Finally, we set off, keeping an eye on the tour. Tower is tour in French.

Backlit birds tour

Aha, tower, backlit, again with birds. The iPhone goes all drama with strong backlighting.

Bride tour

From this bridge, the tower is great background. We saw four bride–photographer groups here. Same time. One group had a Mercedes limo waiting for them, parked illegally.

Isle tour

There’s a narrow island down the Seine, I assume something to do with navigation and bridge engineering…engineering, anyway. Great view upstream of the tower.

Edge tour

We crossed back to “our side” of the river…one glance back at the tower before heading into the side streets back toward “our place.”

Glass bridge

The tower isn’t the only striking architecture here. Loved the tube-mesh surrounding this hobbit-trail.

1912arch

This tilework was in the arch over the main doorway of an elementary school built in 1912. I think the blue tiles (bottom) have faded and clouded with white in the intervening century.

Champs tour

Our home-bound route took us back through the Champs de Mars, so here’s one last look at THAT tower.

Beef tartare

Food pic of the day: beef tartare starter (entrée in French—yes, slightly confusing—also can be used for entrance, that is, place to enter). We had a fancy lunch out…. Total yum. Our tour helped us justify the chocolate-lava dessert, no?

In an amateur way, this post with many photos of the same subject honors Claude Monet’s Rouen Cathedral series….

Tourism with Sunday crowds

Cops busy at arc

Our first stop of the day (other than the shower haha)…. This is a massive structure. It dwarfs the arches we saw in/by the Roman forum. Cops are earning their salary today…?!

Perpetual flame Arc

Beneath the arch is a perpetual flame honoring war dead (WWI). There’s a large brass plaque set in the pavement with the dates for each war. Oddly moving, even with the crowds burbling by, mostly inattentive to the flame, instead focused on where to line up to ascend to the top of the monument (€12; it’s free to do what we did, although it isn’t clear that you don’t have to pay the big €€€€ merely to walk around).

Duck salad lunch

Stopped for lunch at a bistro most of the way down the Champs-Élysées, and it is downhill toward the river…. I had the salade de magret de canard, with green beans, onions, tomato slices, and roasted potatoes. Tasty but not exceptional…what I hoped for.

DeGaulle statue

Didn’t expect this statue of Général Charles De Gaulle. A general-sculpture with no horse.

Concorde wheel

We’d been seeing this wheel since the Triomphe. It’s next to the huge oval traffic “circle,” at the Place de la Concorde. During the Revolution, many royals/nobles were executed here, when it was surrounded by an octagonal moat. The dead included Queen Marie Antoinette and Madame Du Barry, and over a thousand more.

Tuilleries crowds

A few more steps, and we entered the Jardin des Tuileries. I love that the park has many unmoored chairs, which people move around to suit themselves. Look at the crowds!

Throwing bowling game

We found three sets of people playing this game. We didn’t watch terribly long, but it seems that the player throws the baton in such a way that it knocks down one of the pegs and tosses it forward. The player then walks out and stands up the peg in its new, more distant location. In our short period of voyeurism, we could not tell anything else about the game and its strategy.

Tree statue

This is a dead-tree statue by Giuseppe Penone (b. 1947), and is called “L’Arbres des Voyelles” (1999), or the tree of the vowels. Apparently, the “vowels” are five oak trees planted among the upper branches. Can you see a delicate bunch of purple crocuses off the right-most root?

Other arc

We saw another arch as we approached the Louvre. This one has fancier decorative elements (more gilding) than the Triomphe, and is much smaller. Can you see the glass pyramid through the right arch?

Toutes Moto front

Our bus stop was off to the right. We got into position to wait for a bus, and started watching the oncoming traffic. Most of the buses were for sight-seeing, often with an open upper seating level. Then, we heard motorcycle cops with sirens whooping…several of them…wha? Quickly, we realized that they were the vanguard of a procession.

We were witness to the Toutes en Moto parade—mostly (all?) women on motorcycles and scooters. The lead van stopped right in front of us, and the DJ played a song, then two women ascended and one made a speech. Rousing, I thought, even though I only caught a few nouns…. Then, the riders put out their cigs, put away their selfie-phones, and climbed back on their two-wheelers. Rrrrr-rrrr, and away they went.

Toutes Moto back

This was the final vehicle, and traffic began flowing again. And we noticed that no buses would be stopping at our stop…due to the parade, we assume, so we walked on across the river to where we assumed the detoured route would be.

Bus along Seine

Found the bus! Saving the feet!

Camembert snack

A quick stop at the bakery at the south end of our street (there’s one at each end! Lucky us!), and we ascended to the apartment…and a Camembert snack! Yum.

And wine! Salud!

Water-centric exploring

Ecole militaire

Kinda drippy, so we drank coffee and pondered the universe, leaving just before the drippiness was predicted to end at noon. The large building on the left is the main building of the École Militaire complex, a military school for training officers, founded in 1750. Thought it appropriate that two Jeeps awaited a green for their left turns….

M ecole militaire

École Militaire is also a Metro station, one of those close to our habitation.

Bastille monument

We took a train (no changes!) to the Bastille station, about a half-hour ride. When we emerged from the earth, the weather slowly clearing. This is the monument in the Place de la Bastille. Of course, the famous prison is long gone. It initially was built mostly in the late 1300s as a fort to reinforce the east side of Paris and to protect the adjacent city gate, Porte Saint-Antoine, with its drawbridges; the building was modified over subsequent centuries. Within decades, the fortress was sometimes used to hold prisoners; by the mid-1400s, it was the state prison used by the king, who also hosted dignitaries there—a multifunction complex…. Anyway, that’s an older version of the prison that became the symbol for the revolution in July 1789. By November of that year, the prison was mostly destroyed. By 1792, the area was a square honoring liberty, with a central fountain added in 1793.

The name bastille is probably rooted in bastide, a medieval term for a fortress. I don’t know if the term was attached to this fortress from the beginning, or the name came later….

Ypie

Part of the ditch that fortified the Bastille is now the Bassin de l’Arsenal, mostly used by houseboats—some quite commodious. It was a commercial port until 1983. That boat on the left is named Ypie, I’m thinking the pronunciation is yippee.

Fleurs jaunes

We followed the lock (écluse) to the Seine and turned downstream toward the famous islands. This was in the upstream park on Île Saint-Louis. Pretty!

Omelette pork shank

At the other end of the island, we lunched at a brasserie we’ve visited several times before. We discovered it was unusually jammed by many tables of rugby fans, in Paris for the national playoff (I think). Rah!

The Guru had a ham and cheese omelette with fries; I had a pork shank, roasted with homemade applesauce. I took a gamble on my dish, not even looking up jarret de port grillé before ordering. Sometimes you have to live on the wild side (even if it’s a limited wild side).

Our lady back

After escaping the sweat-inducing heat of the dining room, we headed on to the Île de la Cité, arriving on the “back side” of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris. The building was once painted, and not the stained browns it is now; I have no idea what colors/patterns. I wonder if it’d be safe to assume that most of the exterior was in the cheapest colors; some paint pigments (pigments de peinture) were quite dear in older times.

Ladys stubby towers

We crossed a bridge and began to work our way along the south bank, periodically looking back at the stubby towers of the cathedral. Even stubby, they’re pretty darned tall! By the way, the cathedral’s bells (cloches) are named—mostly with male names, but not exclusively.

Car in motion

Many boats (bateaux) passing by, many large and packed with tourists either on a tour or using them as a taxi between places of interest. This one was an unusual cargo vessel, even transporting a car.

Bridge photog

This is the third gal we’ve seen in bridal gear being photographed (bride is mariée). She looks quite happy. Behind the photo crew were several women in jewel colored gowns—emerald, royal blue—and one in black. I assume they were the bride’s attendants.

Moss moment

I got out the macro lens and looked at mosses that have taken up residence on the railing above the river next to the sidewalk. They are slowly breaking down the stone/concrete. Moss is mousse, which is also the word for foam on top of a latte (latté).

Pain bio

We made quick groc-shopping stops just before heading in for the night (tired feet! happy tourists!). This was in the window of the bakery…pain bio means organic bread.

Express train back

Wall exit

We made our way south to the wall, noticing these red and white plastic…things. Turns out they are a cross between a traffic cone and a barrier wall—see far left. Just outside the wall: train station (gare).

Train symbols

We took the required short shuttle—6 minutes, if I recall correctly—down to the TGV station where we could catch the fast train to Paris. Loved this very helpful graphic of the train engine-and-cars lineup. We were in 02. Note the central location of the bar (bar). (Did not check it out.)

River crossing

We had a non-stop to Paris, zoom zoom. Cannot figure out where this river crossing is; had an incorrect setting on phone, so no geolocation, ooops. No matter. Castle, navigation buoys, boat…that’s enough.

Black wings headdress

Climbing off at Gare du Lyon, this guy presented an arresting view—a LOT of luggage, two huge black bags, each topped with a large smaller bag (one black, one yellow-green), a big blue backpack…and, wha?, black feathered heart-shaped headgear (chapellerie)? I think so.

Pineapple lemon

Making our way from the train station to our street, we went up the Rue Cler, with assorted food shops, including this eye-catching lemon-pineapple (citron-ananas) pairing.

Our neighborhood

Closing in on our street (rue), a tall blocky fountain (fontaine).

Film shoot

All checked in, apartment (appartement) is small, yet good for us and bigger than a hotel room in this price range. The kitchen window faces the center of the block, and there’s a tree and no window right opposite (yay). The bedroom (chambre à coucher or simply chambre) is on the street side; however, it’s a one-way street without much traffic (I think).

First view TE

Ah, our first view of the Tour Eiffel (Eiffel Tower). No doubt about it! Nous sommes à Paris! (We are in Paris!)

River levels high

The river (rivière or fleuve) remains a bit high, but nothing like the flood stages it has reached earlier this winter.

Cherries by Seine

We found these cherries (cerisier) in bloom by the restaurant boat moorings…this one rented to large parties. The accumulating crowd looked like successful business types…more men than women. However, it was trying to start raining, so we returned to our domicile. En route, we stopped at a market and got milk for tomorrow’s coffee (brought ground coffee with us from Avignon), and assorted yummies for a simple, snacky dinner. Certainly, Paris snacky is far superior to snacks at home.

In French…

Pompiers cathedral

As we headed out this morning, a fire truck and fire car consulted in front of the cathedral complex. Pompier means fire department.

Flower delivery

And, around the corner, we came across two people walking flowers to…a shop(?), and two workers changing a lightbulb (no joke), using a high ladder…and another worker passing by. Ampoule means light bulb.

Outdoor flea market

In the plaza around the market, many people had tables and displays on the ground of…just about everything but food…bird cages, western decorative items, bad art, record albums, books, household items, antique children’s bicycles, cross-stitched tablecloths…a wide assortment. Tablecloths are nappes.

Leshalles seafood

Pass through the flower vendors under an awning and enter Les Halles, the market, and find enticing foodstuffs. This is about one-quarter of the seafood at this stall. The next stall was serving oysters on the half shell—at 11am, mind you!—and all but one of the tables was full. We kept strolling.

Leshalles ladies

The locals meet up at Les Halles, wisely bringing their wheeled carriers…paniers?—oh, wait, the one on the right is a voiture d’enfant.

Service station

Heading south toward the wall, we found a service station…diesel is gazole, meaning gas-oil mix…and sans plomb, you can figure it out.

Wall inside out

Ah, there’s the city wall, looking inside out. Wall is le mur (duh, like mural).

Flying buttresses

Found these flying buttress on a church…église.

Tartelette

This was called a tartelette, and wow was it tasty. How can it not be? Cheese, sliced potatoes and bacon (more like smoky ham), hot and gooey (and more than I expected—that was a large ramekin!). With a salade verte.

Back hoteldville

This was the back of the hôtel d’ville, or city hall.

Propped foot stature

Me, I want one of those foot props! Foot is pied (like piedmont!).

Snow capped

Hey, way in the background, center, see the snow? That’s la neige here.

Night shadows

Nice shadows in this courtyard after dark…shadows are ombres.

And, with that, bonsoir.

Upward views, but not only upward

Peeking garden

We set off for the southeast quadrant of the city—inside the walls, of course. Somewhere central to the old city, I found this gnarly garden peeking over the second-story wall. Wonder how mossy it is inside.

Looming belltower

A bit farther, we found this looming belltower, with the “teeth” detail on the spire. If I were a better historic preservationist, I would know the real name for those zipper-teeth features.

Penitents gris

We finally reached the street of the dyers, which has a creek running alongside it. This chapel has its own footbridge for worshippers to cross into it.

Dyers waterwheel

They have left a few waterwheels intact in the creek, and they slowly turn turn turn. In the walls, we could see the sockets for the axles of missing ones. Not sure what the waterwheel power was used for; the adjacent buildings are mostly residences, with a few converted(?) into offices. Nothing looks like the workplace of dyers.

Dyers street restaurant

We lunched at the restaurant under the curved awning around the curve in the rear-ground.

Vege lunch

I had the veg lunch: hot leek puree soup, a quiche of onion with sweet potato chunks on top, and a salad with assorted veg, including raw bicolor beets.

Silver tree

From there, we went to the south city wall, crossed outside briefly, then made our way north, toward the river, staying east of the ex-pope-complex.

Outside wall river edge

We crossed outside the wall, and managed to dash across several lanes of traffic (when the traffic wasn’t there), to walk along the river. I wondered how close the water was to the city walls in medieval times.

Bridge to nowhere

We wandered west along the water, saw a free pedestrian ferry that crosses to the island, back and forth. It doesn’t look like an island because it’s a big one. We watched the ferry get caught in the swift current, and maneuver against the river’s force.

One of the tourist spots of Avignon is this bridge stub, originally built between 1177 and 1185. It was the downstream-most bridge of the river, and I imagine toll collection was a fierce business. The bridge was destroyed and rebuilt in the 1200s, and these arches are often dated to the 1340s. The bridge was abandoned in the mid-1600s. The bridge went across the island and a second branch of the Rhône, so it was much longer than it looks here. [Note dandelions flourishing in the lawn.]

Wallport up

We crossed back through the wall, re-entering the old city. As near as I can tell, nowhere along the wall can tourists access the top. The walls seem narrow, but high. Now, anyway.

Seabass dinner

We took a break, then went out for a hot meal. This is my plate, sea bream with assorted veg, including yellow potatoes, purple potatoes, roasted tomatoes orange and red, roasted sweet orange pepper, fresh pea shoots and alfalfa sprouts, with a bit of tasty gravy and fresh bread.

I’ve been craving veg, and I got them today!