La romance de Paris*

Jupiter and Séléné. (Though he claims to be Jupiter, it is not a portrait of Macron). Gustave Moreau. Late 19th century.

Alexandre III bridge. One the most beautiful bridges in Paris. Alexandre III was Emperor of Russia then. The bridge was named after him. If you take the “pont”, you will find the Grand Palais to your left, the Petit Palais to your right. (Summer 2021)

Sous les toits de Paris. Under the paris roofs. Rue des Saint-pères.

Alexandre III bridge, late afternoon. As I have said many times before, time of day is very important for some pictures in Paris.

Uderzo exposition at the Maillol museum. Albert Uderzo, who died recently, had created with his friend René Goscinny, the characters of Astérix and Obélix. Universally recognized as THE representation of the French spirit. L. to r. on the wall: Assurancetourix the crazy bard, Obélix, and Astérix. In the front, a classic Maillol statue.

Medical school, Rue des Saint-pères. Nouit and Thot, the ibis god. Nouit (had to look her up), or Nout (Nut in English) is the Egyptian Goddess of the sky and the mother of all stars.

Doorknob number umpteen. Rue de Lille. Maybe. Lost track.

Rodin by Auguste Legros, 1882. Musée Rodin.

“Fetch! Fetch!”, By Charles Delcourt. A strange photo expo in a strange garden west of Paris. The isle of Eigg is part of the Scottish Hebrides. Can’t imagine the water temperature. Doesn’t seem to bother the dog though.

Fontaine des lices, Saint-Tropez”, 1895, by Paul Signac. I’ve featured Signac before. One of the fathers of Pointillisme with Seurat. What struck me there was the date. I’d always thought Saint-Tropez was a “creation” of the 50’s and 60’s. (I personally dislike the place. But then I’m such a snob, right?). Well, as early as 1895, artists already went to Saint-Trop’.

Wallace fountain, providing clean water to Parisians and visitors since 1872. I had heard that the mayor of Paris wanted to replace them by modern contraptions. Nope. Fake news. Good. I don’t like the Mayor, but facts are facts.

Roman legionnaire above: “So, Gaul. Are you coming to surrender?”. Astérix’s answer below is – typically French – and understandable, right? Uderzo, at the Musée Maillol.

Hector Vth, the hedgehog, in Marie’s hands, Taverny. Our friends adopted an entire family of hedgehogs who now live and thrive in their garden, outside Paris.

“A sunday on the banks of the Seine, Juvisy-sur-Orge.” By Henri Cartier-Bresson, in the 50’s. Wine, cheese, saucissson. The river banks. All the perfect ingredients. My brother, while he was on the barricades of May 1968, saw Cartier-Bresson walking around, taking pictures, . “A little old man, with an old-fashioned coat and a Leica”, my brother says.

“The Orient.” René Magritte, 1941. All of Europe was occupied then. And still artists managed to create, as an answer to the arbitrary.

Traveller 990, Musée Rodin.

Traveller 989. Jean d’Aire, one of the burghers of Calais. By Rodin, bien sûr.

Amélie Poulain’s grocery store in Montmartre is closed. (See her picture to the left). Many businesses have folded during the pandemic.

Faces of Paris. The lady with the lion hat. 1912. Peace still. A million were drafted two years later. (Not entirely sure about the figure. During the course of the war, millions more were drafted. Are we now ready to go to war with China? Gimme a break.

Lion sans Lady. Or is it a ram? Hmmm. Any biologist in our midst?

Saint-Germain des prés. Where “Bébel”, Jean-Paul Belmondo’s funeral office was recently held.

Same. (Angle and light…) Taken from the Boulevard Saint-Germain.

“Just one last drink before the road. Goldilocks’ already gone. Hips!” Near the gardens of the Luxembourg.

A green door for the colour-blind, a sadly neglected minority.

The oldest houses in Paris, François Miron street. Middle Ages, around 1400’s. Houses then relied heavily on wood for structure. Obvious candidates for fires. (Think the London fire in the 1600’s) Imagine all the houses in Paris built so in the Middle Ages?

Sphinx at the Musée de la Légion d’honneur. Just around the corner from Orsay.

Albert Camus (1913-1960), by Cartier-Bresson in 1944. He died young in a car crash. One the greatest French writers of the 20th century and beyond. Who knows what other major reflections he would shared with us? (Instead we were stuck with Sartre…)

L. to r. the Louvre, le pont Royal, and Orsay.

Charles Trenet (1913-2001) by Patrick Pullman. He started his career in the 30’s, revolutionizing French songs. They called him “le fou chantant”, the singing madman – or fool -. His songs capture an almost gone essence of France. Captain and crew thank you for flying with us to Paris, and invite you to listen to Trenet’s “Romance de Paris.”

95 thoughts on “La romance de Paris*

    • J’avais déjà vu ce dessin, très bon… Au 36 (pas Quai des orfèvres?) Vous avez un goût très sûr cher ami. Je l’ai toujours su. (J’ai acheté une page d’heures du 15e Rue de Lille… J’ai craqué… Une enluminure superbe de Sainte Catherine de Sienne…) De quoi étaient tes gravures?

  1. I like the song, the style …
    The Scots at the west coast would not mind the water temperature either. I remember that summer 1974, when I was wearing a thick polo-neck jumper and the Scots were on the beach and in the water in their bathing suits.
    Your brother was on the barricades, wow! My brother was also in protests in the seventies (I was too young then). But since then we don’t really trust the police …
    The lion without lady has horns, but to me it looks more like dragon head. Some dragons have horns.
    Thanks for all the wonderful Paris posts!

    • Yeah, I remember your trip there. the English and other Brits can stand near freezing temperatures… My brother was on the barricades for the green eyes of a philosophy major who went with the Mao crowds. Not for his own political reasons. LOL. he did catch a grenade flare in the eye. Then they were caught and sent to jail. Subversive activities. Then they were released. I still have a copy of the judgement. Fun.
      Will keep on with the Paris posts… Tschüß

    • Camus? yes. That is one of his best pictures. And yes, the “hérisson” is adorable. (I’d found one in our garden in East Africa a long while ago. They’re very sweet.)
      More? On the way!

    • I didn’t know that they were in danger, I think they’re not classified so, and apparently England is the only country with stats. Many become roadkill as they are slow to cross roads. At least our friends have given them shelter and breeding space…
      The “Green door” is a personal joke since I am slightly colour blind. The least serious variety. I can’t tell some browns from some dark greens. 😉

  2. Great post, Mister B. Enjoyed the Asterix shots. Took me back!
    When I was younger and a smoker I went through an extended phase of alternating between B&H and Gauloise. Feeling très continental and stinking up the place at the same time!
    Gitanes were no better!

    That particular vice is no longer, thank the gods!

    My old home town of Chester has some very old buildings and is considered famous for The Rows
    (Google if you want more info)
    They go back to the 13th century, apparently.

    • You do know a lot about France. First hand experience. Did you ever try the Boyards? Thicker than the Gitanes and stronger… Cough cough! When I was in the Army we had our weekly ration of fags. Gauloises which I used to undo and stuff into a pipe. A corporal smoking a pipe was frowned upon by the officers and non-commissioned. (Both pipe and Gauloises are gone too.) (But there is still the wine)
      Will look up Chester.

      • I spent only two summers there as a youngster but the time spent has left an indelible memory.
        I think I’ve mentioned my sister lives there now.

      • Those summers at that age are quite formative. yeah I remember your sister lives in Frogland. (Where exactly?) You should do a family reunion, in SA. You’re almost centrical. So they have to come and see you. 😉

      • She lives in Montaudin, in the Noth West.
        She ‘s been a couple of times, when she was working (Nursing) in Malawai .
        We may be going top Portugal sometime next year – and perhaps we’ll pop up to France and then hop to the UK.
        We’ll see …

      • Montaudin. I knew it rang a bell. Very close to Fougères and Brittany. Nice.
        Nursing in malawi? Sounds like NGO and humanitarian.
        Portugal sounds very nice. I’ve heard only good things. But indeed once you’re there, hop to the UK at least. Get a feel of the old country…
        Yes. We’ll see.

      • Almost 30 years? Wow. Despite all my compatriot’s… weaknesses, I need to go every year. (Though after this last trip, I wonder whether I don’t want to spend more time somewhere else. Italy maybe) And you’ve never gone to the Land of Oz to see your brother, right? That is wayyy too far.

  3. My goodness that Gustave Moreau is magnificent. I have some pretty photos of the Alexandre III bridge. It is lovely. I love the black and white Sous les toits de Paris photo. So amazing to me, from young America, to see a house from the Middle ages just hanging out in the middle of more modern buildings. Love the photo of Camus. Portraits can be so wonderful, the moodiness of it and the smirk on his face. Thanks for the lovely collection as usual.

    • De rien mon amie. Those roofs were our daily sight from the flat we’d rented. Nice view. (But a very noisy street below. A lot of traffic is diverted there now. Oh well.
      And yes, Moreau is “grandiose”.
      Another blogger from South Africa (British originally9 mentioned a series of 13th century houses called the rows in his home town of Chester in England. Impressive.
      Good night.

  4. Hope this finds you well! A delightful tour of art in Paris. I love Signac’s Saint-Tropez works: they’re so full of sailboats and golden-auburn light and tall shadowy trees…back in a time when the town was less of a jet-setters hotspot and more an artist’s getaway.

  5. Fascinating finds, with the door for the “sadly neglected minority” a clear favourite. 😀 I didn’t realised Belmondo died so recently. And this post almost blew by me for some reason. But I caught it!

  6. That was fabolous! The Charles Delcourt piece was a bit kitsch though 🙂 Lovely to take in the headgehogs and what is the story about those bears? No door knockers? Keeping me hooked for the next tour!

  7. What wonderful pictures, B! And what is it about the “old” French singers? You know immediately they are French from the first note. That bridge is beautiful indeed. And I just love Cartier-Bresson….

  8. You show the wonderful diversity of your life, Brian ~ from the countryside horses of Mexico to the magnificence romance of Paris. One piece of information I loved was not photo of Nout, the Egyptian Goddess of the sky and the mother of all stars, something very special in this art – to the great shot the banks of the Seine by Henri Cartier-Bresson. The great minds and creativity of Paris will live boldly in an era 🙂 A great post to enjoy on this Saturday morning. Cheers to you my friends ~ may happiness and health continue to remain your great friends.

    • Diversity? Yes, I guess so. (Though you could too). I’m used to crossing into so many parallel universes!)
      Those medallions on the Medical school, I’d seen often. Never had the chance to take a picture of all and study them. Fascinating.
      Cartier-Bresson was a master indeed.
      Thanks for your visit, and likewise, stay safe and happy. Cheers.

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