“We’ll always have Paris” *

Two years without going back to Paris. How would I find the old city? The answer: chaotic, traffic-jammed, invaded by masked nitwits running on electric scooters at 20mph on the sidewalk. But Paris will always be Paris. Notre-Dame, the old “girl”, is still there, doing well. The reconstruction is progressing at good speed. (Paris, July-August 2021)

“Fleur mystique”, Mystic flower, by Gustave Moreau (1826-1898). Critics or art historians label him “Symbolic”. I would call him more a Mythology painter. Many of themes are based on Greek or Roman mythology, or oniric subjects such as this “Mystic flower”. Though a favourite painter of mine, I hadn’t visited his house/museum in a while. Taking advantage of the Health Pass, reluctantly handed to me by the French Gvt, I ran there and found the same magic.

Toulouse-Lautrec,1893, at the Petit Palais.

Joan of Arc, 1865 by Emmanuel Frémier. Petit Palais. The “Small Palace” faces the “Grand Palais” on the right bank. Both buildings were done for the Universal Exposition of 1900 in Paris, at the same time as the Eiffel tower. All were supposed to be torn down after the event. Fortunately for us, they weren’t. Strangely enough I’d never “done” the Petit Palais. Don’t ask me why, it is a gem of a museum. Very eclectic, great pieces. (More in further posts.) Le Petit Palais is standing proof that the early 1900’s were a high point in the history of France. So much ended in the bloodbath of WWI. We never fully recovered, did we?

Off the Boulevard Saint-Germain. Seen a few works of this particular – unknown- artist. S/he normally puts the works high up, which preserves them from scratchers and overtaggers.

Just around the corner, on Rue du Dragon, Dragon street. Compare the two images. And remember: I call Street Art any Art on the street.

The four seasons, by Louis Convers (1860-1915). To the left of the entrance to the Petit Palais.

Paris n’a de beauté qu’en son histoire

Mais cette histoire est belle tellement !

La Seine est encaissée absurdement

Mais son vert clair à lui seul vaut la gloire (Verlaine)

(Paris has beauty only in her History

(But her story is beautiful so!

(The Seine is enclosed so

(But her clear green alone is worth the glory)

The Louvre as seen from the left bank. My first day in Paris always implies running to the River and looking into the green waters. For a while. And go back almost every day.

“Fighting at City Hall, July 28, 1830″ by Victor Schnetz, 1833. The Revolution of 1830 overthrew King Charles the 10th, the last of Louis 16th’s brothers. One of the many successive revolutions of French history in the 18th and 19th century. (Petit Palais). Been more than a century since the last revolution. Hmmm.

Just a door. Paris, summer 2021.

Arc de triomphe. Bloody pigeon charged me a buck and a half for flying into the frame at the right moment.

Boulevard Saint-Michel at the corner of Rue Serpente. (I used to roam those streets of the Latin Quarter as a student there, centuries ago). Let’s turn left.

Poséidon, the Greek god of the sea, in the company of Niké, the goddess of Victory. (Remember the shoes? They just forgot to put the accent on the final e.) Artists are a Spanish duo called Pichiavo. Magnificent.

1910, place of the Opera. Photo by Roger-Viollet. They used to be a major French Photo agency. The founder, Hélène Roger-Viollet was one of the first female photographers to cover the Spanish civil war. (I Learnt something new here…)

Just a door knocker. Rue des Saint-pères. (Holy fathers street) (I could sneak in the streets at night and steal a bunch of those…)

Diana the huntress. Tuileries gardens and the South wing of the Louvre. We were lucky enough to find an Airbnb just across the Seine.

Place de la Concorde, an unusual view with Parliament, the Obelisk of Luqsor and the Eiffel tower. We visited the newly open Hôtel de la Marine which for a long time was the Ministry of the Navy. Closed to the public then. Not’ny more, and the view from the balcony is incomparable.

Present time”, by René Magritte, 1939. Magritte, another favourite painter of mine, painted this work in Brussels, as Hitler’s shadow loomed over Europe. The eagle with a coat represents the Weimar Republic (already reined in by Adolf H.) We visit the Magritte museum in Brussels any time we go to Belgium. This time there was an expo in Paris. Saved us the trip to Brussels.

Cour du Louvre, leaving the nonsensical pyramid outside the picture. Late afternoon is the recommended time for that pic, as the sun goes down to the west of Paris.

Paris FD fooling around on the Seine in front of the Conciergerie, where Louis the 16th and Marie-Antoinette spent their last months before the guillotine. (On the Place de la Concorde precisely). Breaking news: A spokesman from the Paris FD just assured me it was an exercise… (My foot)

Traveller 999. This lady spent close to an hour staring at this painting in this slightly akward position.

“Dream caused by the flight of a bee flying around a pomegranate a second before awakening”. Salvador Dalí, 1944. Atelier des lumières, Paris. I’d already seen Van Gogh and Klimt at this amazing light and sound show. The Dalí show was superb. (More to come)

“This is not a pipe.” Magritte again. One cannot mention him and not present this major surrealist work. Brilliant.

Travellers 998 (l. to r.) and 997 at the Orangerie against a backdrop of Monet’s nympheas.

Coucher de soleil sur le Pont Saint-Michel. 2021. (As you may know, I’m not a big fan of photo sunsets, but the exception makes the rule, right?)

Thank you for flying on Equinoxio Airways, the only time-space shuttle that stops flying for two months. Captain and crew were delighted to have you on board. Good to see you again. * As Ilsa said to Rick in Casablanca: “We’ll always have Paris”.

150 thoughts on ““We’ll always have Paris” *

  1. Beautiful collection this time around Mr. B.
    Every time you do a French post I have the urge to rush off and watch the Woody Allen movie, Midnight in Paris. I have it on disc.
    I’m tempted … but Football is on in a bit!

  2. You had a great and fruitful time in Paris, Brian! Cool pics! It must have been a welcome re-visit, like greeting an old friend. Does the pigeon at the Arc de Triompf now charge one and a half dollar? The crook! I only had to pay one dollar and he even flew an extra round for that. But then – times are tough, also for a Paris pigeon. 🙂

    • Dag Peter. Good to “see you”. Yes it was like going back to an old friend. Who changed. Not always for the better. So it happens.
      About the pigeon, it told him that officially there was no inflation. He said “no dice…”
      Tot ziens.

  3. I wonder where a place like that can be. On Europa ? There is an exhibition I’d like to see there : Christophe Jehan, Galerie Estades, Place des Vosges.
    Merci beaucoup, Brieuc, et une belle et souriante journée à toi.

  4. Always a pleasure flying with you! This was a delight for the senses. You sure give me le goût d’aller visiter Gay Paree.
    Why are you not a fan of photo sunsets? Just curious…

    • Salut ma grande. Ravi de nous “revoir”. Sunsets. I stopped photographing sunsets many years ago as I found the picture rarely convenes the real explosion of colours of a “good” sunsets. Mai on peut tjrs faire des exceptions. ‘spas? Tout va bien chez toi? Biz. A+

      • Salut Brieuc! Sunsets rarely do give the same feeling époustouflant as the real thing… but I keep trying 😉
        Tout va bien. Le ‘tit train-train chug de l’avant…

      • C’est bien ce qu’il me semblait. I once went to Chattanooga, Te-Ne-Seee. (Lured by the song Chattanooga choo choo) and was vastly disappointed.
        Will check your link now.
        Biz

      • back from the link. J’ai voyagé dans des trains à charbon quand j’étais petit et qu’on allait voir mon grand-père en Bretagne. Étrange comme la mémoire nous suit.

      • Oui. J’étais plus habitué aux avions (mon père ètait Air France) donc le train c’était l’aventure. On y allait tous les ans. Et puis j’aimais bien mon grand-père, un vétéran de la guerre de 14. Ancien cheminot. J’ai une histoire sur lui en préparation: “A carrot by the railroad”.

      • Mon plus jeune tripait trains alors on lui a payé la traite en prenant le train d’un bout de Montréal à l’autre.
        Je n’ai jamais eu de grand-père avec des histoires de guerre.
        Looking forward to your story!

      • “Payé la traite”? J’adore. 😀
        Bonne chose que tes grand-pères y aient échappé. Le mien n’en parlait jamais. Mais jamais. Mais on savait. J’en reparlerai dans l’histoire. A+

      • Une expression non utilisé en France?
        Les miens étaient des bûcherons du côté de ma mère et je ne sais rien de mon grand-père paternel – il était écossais, est venu au Canada faire l’élevage des “highland cattle” en Colombie-Britannique. Mon père l’a jamais connu. Oh well…

      • Ça se comprend mais on n’utilise pas.
        Bûcherons? Sympa. L’imagerie d’Epinal des Canadiens coupeurs de bois. C’était des gens courageux. Comme un grand-oncle à moi parti s’établir au Saskatchewan en 1900. Pas d’électricité. Pas de chauffage central. Juste le bois qu’on coupait. (Et il était né aux Indes, à Agra, près de Delhi je crois. Imagine le choc thermique)
        Bon, quand à “l’Écossais”, dommage. C’est lui qui y a perdu non?
        Bonne semaine.

      • C’est ce que je me disais.
        Ma mère a vécu ça. Suivre le bûcheron dans le grand nord veut dire qu’ils vivaient dans un “shack” où l’on voyait le clair de jour à travers des planches, où l’eau était gelée dans le “canard” (bouilloire) le matin. Où ils dormaient les trois filles dans un lit, les trois gars dans l’autre pour se garder au chaud. Ils cuisinaient sur le poêle à bois, qui chauffait aussi le shack. Demande pas à ma mère d’aller faire du camping 😉
        Ouf pour le grand-oncle! Pas évident pardir du Delhi et se ramasser au Saskatchewan – of all places!!
        L’Écossais… too bad, so sad. For everyone.
        Bonne semaine à toi aussi!

      • Quelle histoire extraordinaire. Jack London en vrai. Tu as des enfants, je crois? J’espère qu’ils connaissent les histoires de ta mère. C’est toujours important de savoir d’où l’on vient… (Et je comprends ta mère: le camping c’est très surfait. J’en ai fait pendant un an, à l’armée. Biuvouacs en hiver dans des tentes de m… Fini pour moi. 😉)
        Je maitiens: des gens courageux. Wuand au tonton, il parlait l’Hindoustani couramment ce qui ne lui a pas servi à grand chose. un de ses frères a fini chef du “Special Branch” de la police à Singapour…
        Too bad, too sad. Yes, I understand…
        Bises.
        Quand

      • Oh que oui! Parfois, j’ai l’impression que mes enfants écoutent…
        Je n’étais pas en amour avec le camping au début mais mon mari adorait ça et il le rendait tellement le fun. Depuis son décès, c’est fini.
        Buahahaha! Tonto Hindoustani… You kill me…
        Bises.

      • Ah. Ton mari est mort? Je suis navré. On pense toujours que ça n’arrive qu’aux autres. Et puis le temps passe.
        (My family est vraiment quelque chose… Un jour bientôt, je publierai les morceaux choisis de l’histoire de ma famille. Au-delà de ce que j’ai déjà pu raconter.)

      • Oui, mon cher. Ça va faire 6 ans en décembre. 50 ans. Well, techniquement 51. Il a fait une crise cardiaque, a été 10 jours dans le coma et dans ce temps, a eu 51… Life does love to throw us curveballs.
        J’ai hâte de lire les morceaux 🙂

  5. I loved reading about your excursion around Paris. It brought me back there and I can’t wait to return. Beautiful photos and I loved that statue to Joan of Arc. Gustave Moreau’s paintings are uncanny and unforgettable, I want to explore more of his art too. René Magritte is also one of my favourite painters and Present Time is powerful indeed.

    • Thank you. Glad it rang a few bells. Don’t miss Gustave Moreau next time. Museum is a bit of a mess right now because of bureaucracy. Some of the lower paintings are half hidden by a low gallery but there still is plenty of accessible art. And he is quite unique.
      Glad we agree on Magritte. He is unique. All well I hope?

  6. Fantastic showcase of street art, Brian. One blogger just moved to Paris and saw a dead body floating in the river. More shocking thought was that no one except her seemed surprised!
    I won’t be visiting anytime soon!

  7. Merci, mon ami! A fabulous tour of Paris, beautiful art and lovely landmarks, I have an irresistible desire to hop a plane and spend a bit of time in the City of Lights. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the sights with you!

  8. Great to see your post. Lovely sunset. And Nike? I did not know the origin of that name:-) Is it typical for Paris to be crowded in the summers? Or was because of the sudden surge in travel due to the pent-up desire to simply get out?

    • Glad we agree. Why? Two reasons basically (I was in Paris when they built it) 1) The entrance to the Louvre saw saturated, opening access in the centre was a very efficient solution. Amen to that 2) The pyramid was a project designed by a Chines architect whose name I forgot. He won. Basically because Mitterrand who was president then wanted to “put his mark”, despite the obvious clash between the modernity of the pyramid and the centuries of history that the Louvre represented. He did the same with the Arch at la Défense. I call a “Presidential pissing contest.” (Pardon my French)😉

      • There was. As there was for the colums of Buren in the nearby Palais-Royal. But, but… there is a saying in France: “Le fait du Prince” What the Prince decides… Power plays and arbitrary are still running loose everywhere. (Remember the 4 years with the Tramp?)

    • Helloooo. Glad to be back too. Missed you guys. I hope your summer was good.
      That is a first quick selection of photos. I do have material for a good many posts. 2nd story? Ah! The unknown artist. Love it too. Found a few more which I will share. A bientôt mon amie.

  9. Wonderful post! I’m planning to go to Paris in November, just two years after my last visit. I have had severe withdrawal symptoms as I usually visit several times a year from the south of France. So looking forward to the trip.

  10. So much to say here. First I am so glad you were able to go and able to get out and see something.

    It is so interesting to see the parallels and the passion and frustration and anger present in revolutionary times and present times.

    Seeing Monet’s large paintings pictured their with the punk couple looking on is ne of the highlights of my art viewing anywhere.

    I love the juxtaposition of the street art and the traditional art.

    I LOVE the photo of the woman who stood and watched the painting for an hour. One wonders if she is sane or not? Doesn’t matter.

    I have a good number of doorknob photos from Paris. Some are my screen savers on my work computer and I still love them!

    Great to see Notre Dame coming together. I wonder are they still on schedule? 😉 Gosh it was still heartbreaking for the world to watch her burn. Still hard to believe.

    So great to see you traveling and posting again.

    • Thank you so much. Such a thorough comment. Yes, it was very nice to be “Back” despite the red tape.
      We do need to re-think in terms of anger and frustrations. Before the kettle boils over.
      Maybe one of the answers is the punk (young) couple. No matter how they chose to dress they wanted to see Monet.
      Doorknobs now? You’re my soul sister!
      Apparently ND is on schedule. They put a general in charge. 🤣 Seems to be getting the work done. I remember vividly I was in Cuernavaca with my daughters when you sent me the news. She’ll be all right.
      And it’s good to be back in blogging touch. 😉
      🙏🏻

      • I also recall you and I having extensive conversations about how long it would take to repair her. (ND).

        So many of my blog friends haven’t been traveling so it’s particularly special to see some of them starting again. It helps make me think things are going to be more and more normal soon. “Soon”

      • Yes we did. Fingers crossed. The french are notoriously bad about delays. 😉
        True. Most our “traveller” friends have not moved yet. I do hope “normality” is on its way.

  11. Wonderful Paris post!
    I adore the high up art from the unknown artist. It’s just stunning!
    LOL! Masked nitwits!
    Ah, so they call it a Health Pass.
    We are getting them in Canada. In Ontario they are called Health Certificates.
    Anyway, you need one to travel, go to all events, museums, galleries…etc.
    No Certificate, you can by food, go to a pharmacy or the doctor!
    Be well!

    • It is very good. I have others. I will try to research the artist. Got me curious.
      Almost impossible to walk safely on sidewalks in some parts. Bicycles and scooters just run over you.
      The Health certificate was a twisted way to get antivax to get their shot. They just hadn’t thought of French expats with correct approved shots. Took them a fortnight to open a platform. Bureaucrats!
      U 2.

  12. You make me discover more Paris . I often went to Paris for my job . My hotel was Boulevard St Michel . And on the evening I loved walked down the boulevand to gaze the Ilse de la cité and Notre Dame . I was never tired of this.
    Thanks to House of the heart to have reblogged this moving post
    In friendship
    Michel

  13. Such a wonderful collection of fantastic photos, Brian. I miss visiting Paris and walking along the streets that overflow with culture, art, beauty, and history. Thanks for sharing and have a lovely day 🙂 Aiva xx

  14. Ha, Toulouse-Lautrec ! Je ne peux l’imaginer qu’à Montmartre (Au Moulin rouge, avec la Goulue 😀 ).

    Tu as raison : “Paris n’a de beauté qu’en son histoire, mais cette histoire est tellement belle ! “

    • Je fais chaque fois un “pélerinage” à Montmartre. Ma soeur y habitait.
      Quand à Verlaine, c’est un poème que j’avais lu et gardé il y a longtemps. Cherchant le moment de le glisser dans un post.
      A+

  15. Marvelous article with glorious photography. You have truly brought Paris to life for me. I love Paris, but looking at your photos, I have a lot more to see. So glad you enjoyed your trip. You have so much to show for it. Many thanks for all the work you’ve put into this. Totally wonderful!!

  16. What a wonderful Paris series Brian! Particularly love the street art on the building off Boulevard Saint-Germain. Merci beaucoup for taking us along. Few people, not even my daughter, understand my love for Paris. This reminds me to resurrect my draft on the four solo days I spent there on my way back from Iceland in March 2019.

  17. Very nice post, I enjoyed, maybe you should post later about the House museum of Gustave Moreau, I am intrigued to visit since I read a comment the painter Edgar Degas made when visiting the House museum of Gustave Moreau when a friend pull out a cigarette to smoke meanwhile he walked through the house, Degas, said something of the sort: “No smoking allowed here, after all we are in the house of a very sick man.”

    Also I will be interested if you post something about the Sainte Genevieve Library.

    • Glad you liked it. I have a lot of material on Moreau, I will post regularly. Don’t know what Moreau was sick/died of, tuberculosis maybe?
      Sainte Geneviève library? Hmmm. I went there a couple of times when I was a student. It was just around the corner from my school… Half a century ago. But I don’t have material. Why the interest?

      • Well, Degas obviously was jealous, or sarcastic on his appreciation of Moreau’s art, and said those words as a criticism.

        Why interested in Sainte Genevieve? I love libraries, and two old teachers dear to me, used to talk about their old mentor, telling me anecdotes as how he used to hang around Sainte Genevieve reading, where he lived as a vagabond in Paris.

        They even show to me an old article about their teacher, he was a total eccentric, no one seems to know his real name, he had a Chinese nickname, but he was not Chinese, he was a friend of bohemian characters, he ended leaving France and died on May 1966 in Reykjavik Iceland. A wanderer considering one of my teachers was French no surprise there, he met him in Paris, after WWII, but the other a few years older Venezuelan, and met him in during his youth in Caracas! They suspect he was Russian by birth, a refugee after the Russian revolution, he spoke several languages.

      • Fascinaitng story about Ste Geneviève. I have only vague recollecions to be honest. I do remember the New York poublic library vividly though. I used as my “office” when I was looking for a job in NY in 1979. Good, comfortable telephone booths. Could sit at one of the tables making plans and strategies. Like I said: my personal office.

      • One of the first things I did when I moved to Los Angeles on late January in 1986, was to go visit the main Library in downtown, and hang around there doing exactly as you did in New York, until I got a job, unfortunately someone set on fire the Library on April 29 the same year, and it took them for ever to reopen until October 3, 1993, many valuable books were lost. luckily they had small branches all over the place, and I just happen to move to a place where one branch was half a block from me, I even made a friend of the local chief librarian, and he used to get for me books that people were not allowed to withdraw from the library, and even ordered from other branches, or the main library for me, I enjoyed that privilege for almost twenty years before moving away from LA, now five years ago.

  18. Je reconnais la première photo. 😉 So delighted to hear that you had a marvelous time in your beloved Paris. Moreau is a favorite of mine. So mesmerizing. Merci pour la balade, mon ami! 🍷🥐🥖 🇫🇷

  19. Hi
    Really enjoyed this Paris sharing

    Good idea for that street artist to do the work higher up

    And have you ever heard of the “Paris syndrome”? It is the
    “sense of disappointment exhibited by some individuals when visiting Paris, who feel that the city was not what they had expected.The condition is commonly related to culture shock”

    • I can understand the culture shock. I suffered it when I arrived in Paris for College. (Is this my country?) Parisians have a very, very dry sense of humour. Not easily understood. Plus the city us dirty. Courtesy the Mayor now running for President… 🙄 The Metro is very under maintained. Many of the trains I saw inaugurated in the early 70’s. A visitor from Singapore must be shocked indeed. (The New York metro in the late 70’s gives an idea…) So, yes there can be a shock.

  20. Nice to be back in Paris, Brian. If it’s any consolation, those ridiculous electric scooters are now being misused everywhere. I thought Berlin was bad, but at least they have wide streets there, in Brussels they are a menace. I don’t think I’ve heard of, let alone been to, the Petit Palais, but something for our next visit. Thanks for sharing.

    • Ridiculous is the perfect word. They’re a nuisance. Not regulated. There’s not a cop in the street to fine them… It was scary.
      Do put Petit Palais (and Carnavalet) on you list next time you go. An hour and something by train… All well?

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