Friday, 30 September 2011

La Grande Dame at dusk

I last went up the Eiffel Tower in 1989. Our kids, aged 6 and 10, who have lived in Paris all their lives have never been up.

Definitely time to ascend La Grande Dame.

We decided to go early evening. The sun was low in the sky. Not a cloud.

When we started queuing, we were looking at this.

45 minutes later as we got to the ticket counter, we were looking at this.

When we got out of the lift at the second level, the sun was setting.

Here's a photo of the Musée de Quai Branly gardens (taken by the 6 year old, I think it's lovely).

Looking up.

We decided to walk down. This was just brilliant (less so if you're in any way vertiginous!). You descend the 674 steps from the second level surrounded by golden girders, trusses, wheels, rivets and bolts. It's spectacular.

You lose a sense of what on earth is going on.

You get to peek out at Paris landmarks. Here is Les Invalides.

And then we were down.


Details on rates and visiting conditions of the Eiffel Tower can be found here.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

GAZ"ART, confetti and a pink skeleton

There is a series of graffiti in our neighbourhood (Montmartre) which always bring a smile to my face - GAZ"ART. The artist, whoever they are, uses gas pavement manholes to create humorous works of art. Here is one of the simplest oeuvre I've seen, in black...

...and white.

Here's are some more complex ones (and in my view less effective), in yellow...

...and red.


I have a small collection of non GAZ"ART manhole cover photos as well. This combination of manhole and confetti I saw last summer was lovely. 

Our daughter spotted this one the other day by her school. A pink skeleton. It's my personal favourite. 

Has anybody seen any GAZ"ART graffiti in other Paris arrondissements?

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Obscure snippets up on La Butte

So la rentrée, the return to school, has come to pass. After nine, yes NINE weeks of school holidays the kids are safely back in the hands of l'Éducation Nationale. The first week back was pretty hectic but four days in I was able to go for a stroll up la Butte to admire the Sacré Coeur and the Place de Tertre in the early morning, pre-tourist, calm. I love doing this, especially after dropping the kids off at school. It makes me feel so lucky to live where I do.

After climbing the 118 stairs connecting Rue Lamarck and Rue Caulaincourt (I guess when I say 'stroll' that doesn't really include these stairs), I joined Avenue Junot.

I went to look at the wisteria on Avenue Junot, which is no longer in flower, but looks as sumptuous as ever (I took some photos of it when it was in I would say it had a fairly good grip on it's surroundings.

Rue Norvins at the top of the hill, leading to the Place de Tertre was deserted. I did spot a few bin men, and a jogger, but that was all.

They were setting tables on the Place de Tertre. Under the awnings the light were on. Bleu, blanc, rouge.

I've written about delectable decay before, this building is on the Place de Tertre. A square visited by more than 8 million tourists a year.

I noticed a rose wedged into the 'fencing' surrounding the outdoor restaurant terraces. A souvenir from the night before.

Here is a rather attractively patinated pipe peeking through the render.

Roses in a side alley.

And, would you believe it, a cow. Cabaret de la Vache!

Other Place de Tertre posts:
An Early Morning Stroll (September 2010)

Saturday, 3 September 2011

St Albans Cathedral

One afternoon while we were in the UK visiting family we went to visit St Albans, a town about 30km north of central London. We were sans enfants so decided to go and visit St Albans Cathedral. It was a luxury to be able to stroll around at our own pace.

St Albans Cathedral is quite something I discovered.

Many parts of the current structure were built in Norman times. In 1250 an earthquake damaged parts of the structure. The collapsed walls were later rebuilt in the Gothic style. In these two photo you can see the round Norman arches on the left and Gothic pointed arches on the right.

The church became a Cathedral in 1877. It apparently has the longest nave of any cathedral in England. The ceiling is beautifully decorated... different ways along the length of the nave.

I love the Norman arches with their delicately painted vaults.

In the 1950's the cement used to lay the bricks of the main tower became so cracked and unstable that the tower had to be rebuilt. Under the supervision of an architect called Cecil Brown the bricks in the tower was relaid using proper mortar...literally brick by brick!

The ceiling under the tower was also restored at this time.

In the late 19C this rose window was built. It was fully restored in the 1980s.

The day we visited the Cathedral the sun was shining through the windows in the nave creating some beautiful light patterns on the stone.
After enjoying the cathedral we went for a walk in the park close by. I think that drought everybody worried about in the spring never materialised.

Quite a few swans were swimming on the lake.

And dozens and dozens of rabbits were grazing on the plush green grass.