I feel that the gardeners in “my” park should be congratulated for the very nice - and I would even say artistic - job they perform!

I would also like to congratulate the new parents in the park and wish a warm welcome to the new-born babies! I often wondered why you never see any pigeon babies. Now, I found one, perhaps already adolescent, but anyhow!


Cinema history

This is the third time I talk about the “104” (see here and here for previous posts), since 2008 a City of Paris artistic center, after renovation of the buildings which for more than a century had been the place of the municipal undertaker services. I return now and then for different expositions and cultural events. This time it was for a ”Gaumont” exhibition.

“Gaumont” celebrates its 120 years of existence. It’s actually the world’s oldest film company, created in 1895 (Universal and Paramount were not, for example, not founded until 1912).  It got its name from its creator, Léon Gaumont (1864-1946). I’m not going to tell the whole story of the company here, just mention that it of course often has suffered from different economic crises (wars, depression…) … But, today it’s still there after merging with “Pathé”, previously a competitor, created one year later than “Gaumont” by the brothers Pathé. 

Starting by dealing in photographic equipment and soon in films, they also own(ed) and manage(d) a number of cinema theaters in France and abroad, including what once was the world’s biggest one and on which I posted here.

The exposition allows you to watch extracts of some of the hundreds of films that the company has produced, partly in their own studios.  (For a small fee you can also watch complete movies.) 

There are panels where you can study the history of the company, illustrated by posters. I will not list all the movies they have produced, maybe just mention “Les tontons flingueurs” (Crooks in Clover) from 1963 (see top picture), a French “classic”, and “Intouchables” from 2012, obviously the world’s highest-grossing non English-speaking movie.  

You can watch the portraits of all the “stars” in light and sound. 

One room exhibits a large number of costumes and extracts of films are projected.

There is a demonstration of the “diorama” (invented by Daguerre), a popular predecessor to the cinema during the 19th century, a photo of Léon Gaumont in company with one of the Lumière brothers (in their older days) …

… and a lot of old equipment…

… including a beautiful combined lamp and loudspeaker, produced by Gaumont.

Before closing this post, a few pictures of other ongoing activities at the “104”, shops, a yellow container where you can exchange books … and a bar.

And last: At the moment you can also admire “La Cabeza” de Niki de Saint-Phalle, one of her last works. Inspired by Mexican folklore. It’s giant and you are allowed to touch it, go inside… 


This is also Paris....

Yes, this is also Paris…I was a bit early for an appointment, which gave me a moment to walk around - just a little corner of - the Bois de Boulogne (see previous posts), which may be quite busy during weekends, but on a Monday…

I was happy to see that the trees are growing.

I met some of the inhabitants, including a squirrel which observed me from far…

… and a few visitors, exercising or just taking a break… and could admire an uncut lawn.

Then it was time for my appointment. I could already see the place, the building through the trees.

Yes, the appointment was at the “Fondation Louis Vuitton”, the remarkable new museum on which I already have posted (see here). The purpose was to visit the temporary exhibition (until July 6) “Les clefs d’une passion” (The keys of a passion), with works by…- see the list of names and examples of the exhibited items below (no photos allowed, but you can find them all on the net). Among the works (coming from some of the world’s leading art museums) maybe a special mention for one of the versions of Munch’s “The Scream”.  



A place to relax.

So close to the thousands of people admiring the Eiffel Tower, lining up to climb to the top..., there is a possibility to find an absolute calm.  I talked about the Trocadero gardens in a previous post, but did not concentrate on this park side, actually just behind a little walking alley, named after the Swedish King Gustave (Gustaf) V (1858-1950). 

I don’t know how many species of trees – different kinds of oaks, hornbeams, (false) acacias, maples, pines, elms…

… and plants you can find here.

There is also a little current and some ponds – with a few ducks.

This is also where you can find the Paris Aquarium - at the moment with a temporary exposition about pirates, based on the Japanese manga series, “One Piece” - well advertised on the outside.  



Pavillon de l'Arsenal

When you compare the mid-18th century Turgot (west-east looking) map with today’s Paris, you can see a number of important changes: The island, “Île Louviers” (in the 15th century it belonged to Nicolas de Louviers and kept its name) was attached to the bank in the 19th century, the “Bastille” prison disappeared in 1789, the “Place Royal” was renamed to “Place des Vosges” in 1799 and of the “Arsenal” - which was a place where weapons and munitions were stored – remains today only the “Bibilothèque” (library)…

… and the “Couvent des Célestines”  – where many French royalties were buried - was replaced by barracks for the “Republican Guard” at the end of the 19th century…

Today we can here find the “Pavillon de l’Arsenal”, built by a rich merchant in 1879 for his collection of paintings, later a warehouse, then bought by the City and since 1988 the Paris Centre for Architecture and Urbanism, often open for temporary exhibitions – which was the case the day I went.

On the little square in front of the Pavilion, you can thus still see the old Arsenal Library, now a subsidiary of the National Library, and where you can find some one million documents including all Parliament records from 1789 and onwards, from the Bastille…

… and  also a statue from 1984 representing the poet Arthur Rimbaud (1854-91) by Jean-Robert Ipoustéguy. It represents Rimbaud as “L’homme aux semelles devant” (the man with the soles in front), transfigured by the attribute Paul Verlaine gave Rimbaud, “L’homme aux semelles de vent” (the man with flying soles), which pronounced in French sounds similar.  You can find more about Rimbaud and Verlaine here. I think that the sculptor managed a nice simplified portrait of Rimbaud –interpreted by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie “Total Eclipse”.