A summer in Paris

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I am privileged enough to spend 6 weeks in Paris a year. Not quite a summer, but close. This July, our first visit was to the Old Lady. She looks all right from the front.

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A profile shows the damage. And the work being done. Roof is gone. But most has been saved. And is being consolidated. I doubt whether they will finish in 5 years. French delays are long. 10-15 years?

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Mona Lisa is still smiling, with a béret, a baguette and a glass of wine. Rue de la harpe.

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Porte d’Ivry. Street art by Malakkai. No idea who s/he is. Anybody wants to “Boogle”, let me know.

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“And you think that is funny?”. La Vilette. We went to see the Tutankhamen expo. Somewhat of a disappointment. More in further posts. Fact is we were lucky to go many expos, some better than others.

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Van Gogh’s eyes. Atelier des lumières. A blast. Fab. Out of the world. etc. I’d already seen their Klimt expo last year. (There is a post about it somewhere). They digitalize works of art, Van Gogh in this case, project them, blend them, on the walls, the floor. A unique performance. (More to come)

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“In the past 50 years, I’ve never seen the Saint-Michel metro station NOT in maintenance.” (Patrick Besson). I agree wholeheartedly with Besson. Allow me to go one step further: The Paris metro is a disgrace. Old, dirty, poorly maintained. I wonder what visitors from Singapore think the first time they set foot in a Paris Metro car? “Is this the Paris we dreamed of?”

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The bridge is still there in Monet’s garden at Giverny.

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Travellers 1. Saint-Germain des prés. I don’t normally take people pix. I find it an invasion of privacy. Not easy either to ask for permission, though I do from time to time. Plus, an Iphone is not exactly the ideal focal length for portraits. Regardless, this summer I decided to try an experiment. Iphones are discrete. You can take photos unaware. Most cases. 🙂 Sometimes I got made. Most times not. I will call this series “travellers”.

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Musée Maillol. For some strange reason, I’d never been able to visit. Closed. In maintenance. On strike. Whatever. Yet Aristide Maillol (1861-1944) is one of my favourite artists. Of many. He is most well know for his sculpture, as above. A great selection of his work is exposed in the gardens of the Tuileries. A perfect open air setting. Yet, he also was a great painter and sketcher. (Which comforts me in the idea that it all begins with a sketch.)

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Aristide Maillol, 1890. Mademoiselle Faraill with a hat. The delicacy and modernity of this painting is another facet of Maillol’s talent. Not to mention that if Miss Faraill was 20 in 1890, she would have been born in 1870. Much older than my late grandmother…

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Lynda Carter still graces the walls of le Marais. Rue de Fourcy, if I’m not mistaken. Her and other small portraits have been on the wall for a few years, and still not too damaged. (I have seen a lot of street art overtagging, or plain destruction this year). Vandals roam the streets.

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Travellers 2. Rue de la Convention.

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Travelers 3. Metro Convention. The world of Banksy. Banksy! You must be joking? Did I make it to the expo?

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To be continued…

Stay tuned for Dora Maar, Picasso, Cartier-Bresson, many others and… Paris.

 

 

166 thoughts on “A summer in Paris

  1. Hello Brian. I love how you take pictures everywhere you go. It is like being on a tour with you. I am sorry to hear about the vandalism of art works, that takes the joy of them from everyone. I love the Van Gogh’s eyes as the perspectives changed in different parts of the painting. Hope all is well in your world. Hugs

    • Hi Scottie. Good to be “back”. There is a time for travel and a time to “tell”. I see the world getting worse (cut off the news for 2 months. Happiest decision lately). How’s your health? Improving?

      • Hello Brian. I am doing well. I am lucky, in my country many do not have the money , insurance, or access to doctors, but I have insurance and access to great doctors. So really I can not complain. We are facing a hurricane that sort of snuck up on us, but we are implementing a plan tomorrow based on what new information they have.
        I am glad you are posting your pictures. I will not be able to travel the world but I can through your pictures and descriptions. It is so grand. How have you been? How is your family? I hope you are doing well. Hugs

  2. Thank you for this unique look at my favorite city. I missed Paris this year. For the first time in 16 years, we spent our vacation traveling to new cities abroad. I will therefore live vicariously through your posts!!

  3. The shadows in Travelers Two are perfection. Thank you for taking me along your Paris streets. An enjoyable visit indeed. And the trip to Monet’s Giverney was the iciing on the cake.

    • A pleasure always Lisa. Let’s have a virtual glass of red wine. 🙂 Now the shadows on Travellers 2? I had to look back. 🙂 You are right. I had noticed the hand, but I tend not see shadows. Unless I make an effort. Will do more. How’s Medellín? You guys still there?

  4. What a treat: a post of yours again! 🤗 Happy to hear about Paris! And yes, you were lucky to visit so many expos. I remember your older post about Klimt and it left an impression on me. I actually just visited something similar in Tallinn but MUCH smaller and less impressive than the one ine Paris, I suspect – I’ll write a post about it at some point. (How’s the Notre Dame’s lead issue, is it all cleaned up from the surrounding areas by now?)

    • Hi Lumi. Good to take you back to Paris. And yes, Van Gogh was almost as good as Klimt. This is a technology that should developed everywhere. No need to go to the Met in NY if you can have the show at home… 🙂
      Now the lead issue… There’s bound to be some contamination. There were 250 tons of lead on the roof if I recall. But it seems to me a typical French issue. Argue argue and argue and don’t act. Move the lead away and do periodic checks on the workers and neighbours.

    • There are times in Paris or in France when I get desperate, the French attitude (not all of them), the slow degradation of the country. But then I think: “Hey, who else can spend 6 weeks here on holiday?” And I smile and move to the next magical spot. Cheers Gigi.

  5. Love your recap of Paris! Also like your documentation if the travellers a lot 😉 people can be so interesting. I feel almost inspired to draw them. looking forward to your next post ☺️

    • Hi Mélanie. Good to “see you”. 🙂 Taking people pictures was a great step for me this summer. Still not entirely comfortable with the process, but some results are good. Feel free to draw any. How are you adjusting back to Iceland? (Careful, Trump might decide to buy Iceland now that the Danes have said no about Greenland) 😉 Tschüss.

      • Ah yes, I also always feel like a stalker when I secretly try taking photos of people.
        I’ll keep your photos in mind as inspiration 😉 Having the first autumn storms here…. really makes me miss Greece!
        A bientot!

      • I do feel uncomfortable. Always have when I take people photos. Stealthily. 🙂 Unless I ask for permission. Which has given some good pix but is not always feasible. Loose spontaneity.
        Sorry ’bout the storms. You can always look at your Greece photos, then close your eyes and dream you’re having a glass of their “résiné” wine.
        A bientôt indeeed meine liebe freundin.” 🙂

  6. So delightful to see a post from you come across my email–and it did not disappoint in its infinite variety. (For some reason, I was particularly drawn to the cat with a banana peel on its head. I might need a vacation.)

  7. Mais c’est vrai : St Michel est tout le temps en travaux ! J’y suis passée en juin dernier et je me suis dit “encore ! “. Bon, on peut râler (puisque râler serait une spécialité française, mais pas que…), mais Paris reste une ville superbe, quand même.

    • Tout le temps. Ils ont mis plus de deux ans à refaire la station Volontaires. Le seul escalier roulant à Convention a été mis en maintenance pour deux mois fin Juillet… Tsss.
      Et oui, Paris reste superbe. Tout va bien chez toi?

    • The main reason I now take so many pictures is to share with you guys. 🙂
      And as I still sort my pix I have found the Shropshire cheese which will figure prominently in one post or the other.
      And yes, they are doing serious work on ND. They’re actually consolidating the mainstays. I believe that’s the English for arc-boutants which are major elements of the structure. I think we were about 5 or 10 minutes close to collapse.

    • Wow! Re-wow! Thanks for the links. Malakkai is my eldest daughter’s age… 🙂 Let me fly back to Paris with a screwdriver, unscrew the metal plate where he he painted and take it back home. 🙂

      • Insane is the word. For the world. never thought it would come to that, so suddenly.
        Ridi, pagliaccio? Ris (donc) Paillasse. (As clowns were called in ancient French)

      • Insanity must be the curse of mankind. Or there’s a bug in our programming. Either way, our programmer was an imbecil – there’s no way perfection would have created such a lousy species.

        That short quote (“Ridi, pagliaccio”) comes from Leoncavallo’s opera”Pagliacci”, and it most struck me in Mario Lanza’s movie ‘For the first time’ (which is quite hard to find in a good quality).

      • Yeah the programmer was an imbecil and just reincarnated at the White House. My God, you know Opera? Along with Thai movies and Latin telenovelas? That is eclectic

      • Heh, I know a little bit of everything, and nothing in depth. 🙂 Maybe it was curiosity, maybe some were pure accidents… What I never was interested in were politics and economy. But I can still perceive the depths of deception and greed when I see or hear those pompous speeches. Fortunately I did away with radio and TV years ago so I’m free of all that buzz. 😉

      • You are one of the last generalists, like me. That’s the reason why I never really specialized in anything. I too did away with radio and TV years ago. Local newspapers a few years ago. And I stopped reading French/international news on-line since late June. Bliss.

      • True. Or we try to mind our own business. Unfortunately I have a few neighbours who don’t. Mind their own business, and it’s becoming aggravating. I dislike passive/aggressive attitudes very much. No patience for that. 🙂

      • True, most of the times.
        Maybe they were paid to bother you, or they’re stupid by design.
        Such is the world we’re living in. And we go back to what I said about Le Grand Ordinateur.

      • I have another one, called “The prisoner”, but it’s in Spanish and I’m kinda lazy to translate it into English. Computer translation is still so bad one has to practically re-write the damn thing.

      • I could probably understand 50% of it. Dunno about others.
        Thing is I can’t focus enough these days in order to really appreciate a good story. It’s complicated. On top of everything two of my youngest kittens died a few days ago, I’m quite sad and upset.

      • Focus can be difficult when too much piles up. And I’m sorry about your kittens. They are indeed fragile little things. I can’t remember how many kittens died on us when I was a child. Many. Always very sad.

      • Yeah, too much is too much. And a month-long cold on top of it all.

        I’m trying hard to take care of my “children” but for some strange reason all the bad things happen either at night, on weekends or legal holidays, when there’s no vet open, so there’s not much I can do myself if the situation is serious. It’s frustrating as hell.

      • Have you tried your Romanian liquor the name of which I forgot?
        I can understand your frustration. Also if I recall, kittens can’t be vaccinated until the age of 2-3 months right? Which makes them prey to all kinds of disease. Sad.

      • The answer to first question is in my previous comment of a minute ago: not the good stuff but a replacement.

        The vet told me the minimum age for vaccination would be nine weeks, so yeah, you’re about right. They are now 9 1/2 weeks (strange how it matches that old Kim Basinger movie’s title) but the problems started earlier so it would’ve been risky either way.
        However, vaccination for so many kittens is quite expensive and uncertain (if they get sick between the two sessions and require antibiotics the vaccine is invalidated), and I just had to pay that amount on Monday for another emergency surgery on another, older boy: broken leg and hernia. Got my back against the wall – money doesn’t grow on trees. 😦

      • Hm, as far as I know human medicine can be toxic to animals, even deadly. Not all kinds of medicine, but some. At least that’s what I’ve been told by vets. Similarities exist – such as Amoxicilin, for example, found in several feline and canine antibiotics – but dosage is kinda critical, according to animal’s weight.

        Unfortunately I got a bad bad problem: panleukopenia. A boy died yesterday and today I went with three of the kids to the vet, performed the test and came out positive. So all of them, young and old altogether, are susceptible to be infected. It’s a disaster and I’m at my wits’ end. 😦

      • Dosage is critical.
        Panleukopenia? Checking. Oh. It’s what my father used to call “Typhus”. We lost a lot of cats, kittens in particular to that. It is a disaster. I don’t know even if you can disinfect the house. The virus is very resistant. Unless the Vet has new solutions… I am very sorry.

      • No known solutions as of yet. The virus can survive up to a year in the wild and there’s no antibiotics to kill it when a host is infected, nor anything that could completely disinfect the house. Survival is at the flip of a coin, with kittens indeed being the most vulnerable although their mother’s milk can provide a certain degree of temporary immunity.

        This morning I found another girl dead, rising the death toll to four. Three more in the house in quarantine – allegedly – and four others outside, together with their mother and other nine (almost) adults. And in the house there’s also the recently operated boy and a girl with a former ear infection that caused her a probably permanent loss of balance. It’s either a curse or the unluckiest place on the Earth.

        Thank you kindly for your sympathy, cher ami. I’m also sorry for all your losses in time; I know how hard it can be, more so as a child when one gets attached to these dear creatures.

      • Thank you. That was a very loooong time ago. 🙂
        Just throwing ideas in the air: You might want to consider neutering them (regardless of cost), so that breeding is contained while some survive…?

      • Dunno about you but my so bad memory still retains certain very unpleasant experiences from the childhood (worst of all being about an unfortunate kitten), so I had to offer my sincere sympathy for your loss, regardless of how much time had passed by.

        Neutering is just playing god with other beings that cannot consent. This is one crime I do not want on my conscience.

  8. What an epic tour!
    I admire the dignity and self control of the cat. Whoever wanted to make fun of him, failed miserably 🙂
    I like your traveler series. Would love to see more.

  9. Good to see Paris back on your blog, I always find plenty of reasons to plan another visit while reading. Can’t wait to see the Atelier des lumières, loved the photos you shared last time. Notre Dame looks pretty good, all things considered. Hope all well Brian.

    • All well Paul, thank you. Likewise?
      Check the Atelier des lumières’ dates before you set a visit. I liked Klimt-Schiele better, but that’s only because of how their work adapted to the Atelier’s technology. The Van Gogh thing is very good.
      And yes, ND looks all right all things considered. I really think it was a matter of minutes. 🙂
      Cheers.

    • I know, I know, I hope they won’t take away my Frog passport. 😉
      Metro? Ever since I’ve been to Asia in ’17, my perspective has changed. Even the Bangkok Metro is great. So my question is: where has all the money gone? (In France). A + ma grande. 🙂

      • I’ve made a living asking questions (Market research) 🙂
        It is THE question. Public spending in France hasn’t stopped growing in the past 40 years. Up to more than half the country’s GDP. Infrastructure is worn out. Paris metro is “vile”. 😉 Trains are being eliminated on most “small” destinations. Montparnasse station has 2 or 3 major breakdowns a year. We’ve never spent so much public money. Where. Is. It. Going?
        😦

  10. Il est de retour! Looks like you had a fabulous stay in Paris. Sorry I’m just catching up now. I was so busy and exhausted this summer. Too much so to even post anything myself. Looking forward to catching up with your posts now. Bises.

  11. I am trying to do catch-up here and this is a fun post as any to start with. Paris and a Monalisa who seems sorted…I could not have started better. I do confess that I love people photos. Oodles of character in them, especially when people are caught unawares (the devil lives in me).

  12. I’m glad you had a beautiful summer, the photos are wonderful, actually being a great people photographer often starts with being a good people person. Delightful!

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