Monday, 20 March 2017

When Daffodils Begin to Peer

When daffodils begin to peer, 
With heigh! the doxy, over the dale,
Why, then comes in the sweet o’ the year;
For the red blood reigns in the winter’s pale. 
The white sheet bleaching on the hedge,
With heigh! the sweet birds, O, how they sing! 
Doth set my pugging tooth on edge; 
For a quart of ale is a dish for a king.
(Shakespeare: The Winter's Tale, 4.2.1-8) 

Spring is finally with us. It is probably my favourite season of the year. A season full of hope and potential. At last the days are getting longer. When I wave the kids off to school it is no longer dark. Having hunkered down all winter in their small apartments, the first milder days of the year see the café terraces over flowing with Parisians, desperate for a vitamin D fix and some light hearted socialising. A break from the daily grind of waking in the dark, catching an overcrowded metro, work, overcrowded metro, dark, home. 

 I love the unfurling of the first fresh green leaves. 

Spring lace.

The first flowers emerge from their buds. 

The first petals fall.

And for hay fever sufferers out there, here is something for you!

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Warm Winter Colours

At the moment my Instagram feed looks mostly monochrome with pale greys and off-whites if I've taken the photos during the day, or rich reds, yellows and oranges if I've taken the photos at sunrise or sunset. I thought I'd gather together the warm brightly coloured photos I've taken recently to help us through these bleak winter days.

Here we have Paris and the Eiffel Tower, viewed from the road in front of the Sacré-Coeur. What I like most in this photo is the way the lamppost glows despite not being lit up yet.

The Eiffel Tower looks so good at sunset.

And with some winter lace thrown in for good measure it looks even better.

A flock of chimneys.

A lamppost shadow is cast in the low evening sun.

No sun involved here, sometimes you just have to make your own. Tulips and a red wall. 

This glazed facade of an office building in the 15th arrondissement caught my eye. I would be interested to see what it's like being inside this building. 

The grey concrete ceiling in one of UNESCO's main auditoriums was glowing yellow in the artificial light.

And then of course there's always blue-o-clock once the sun has gone down.

I post photographs daily to my Instagram feed here if you're interested in seeing more photos of Paris.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

An Artful Washing Line

I came across the work of artists Levalet and Philippe Hérard on Rue Veron in the 18th arrondissement of Paris completely by chance. I had decided to get out at Pigalle Metro station, one stop before my usual stop, Abbesses. The walk home is a little further, but it avoids being squashed up with a gazillion other commuters in a giant Metro lift. I wasn't in the mood for that.

I walked towards home along Rue Veron. The first piece of artwork I noticed was this one.

Then this one ...

I then started to look further and realised that there was a washing line of sorts along the whole length of the street, on both sides.

It was getting dark so I wasn't able to take such good photos, so I went back a few days later on a sunny day and took some more. I love the work of these artists. I love the gentle humour, and poetic nostalgia. I love the attention to detail, the artists have even painted shadows on the wall beneath the images which have been stuck on the walls..

Some saucisson sec anybody?

I think a witch may live at No. 26.

Maybe a ghost lives here, only the shadows can be seen.

An elephant.

A flipper. Why not?

A skate board and a brassiere at No. 23.

False teeth (!!!) and some bloomers.

And a bat, of course.

There was an exhibition of Levalet and Hérard's work at the Joël Knafo Art gallery at 21 Rue Veron. I missed the exhibition which is now finished, but I think the washing line will be around for a while.


Saturday, 6 August 2016

Piazza San Marco Early in the Morning

In going to Venice in July we knew we wouldn't be alone, and 'no' it would be fair to say we weren't. Having said that, as long as we weren't within 5 minutes walk from Piazza San Marco or the Rialto bridge, we could meander along the narrow alley ways in comparative peace. We live in Montmartre in Paris so we're accustomed to crowds of tourists in our neighbourhood during the summer. Venice didn't feel much worse. The apartment we had rented was in a totally secluded spot where we only ever met one or two people during the whole week we were there. 

One morning during our stay I woke up very early and decided to seize the day and head towards Piazza San Marco to avoid the crowds. It was about 7h30 am. I wasn't the first there by any means, but it was definitely very quiet.

The cafes were certainly empty.

As were the arcades running alongside the Piazza. The previous day when we had been in the same place I hadn't realised what beautiful paving lined the arcades.

People were setting up their stalls for the day.

I was alone when I took this photo of the Bridge of Sighs.

Here are some gondole before the customers arrive.

The following day we went up the bell tower of San Giorgio Maggiore on the island opposite San Marco and got a fantastic view of the Basilica across the Grand Canal. The many tiny coloured dots you can see in this photo show that it was not taken at 7h30!