... and one extra post more.

I felt pushed by myself and some blogger friends to make another extra post today.

We have had some cold days and nights (and a blue sky). Yesterday, I – and some others – saw some nice images on TV of the ice-covered fountains on Place de la Concorde. When I went today, the ice was unfortunately gone (the water had been cut off), but I took some other “frozen pictures” from the nearby Tuileries Gardens.
We had -6°C (21°F) this night. Now in the afternoon, it has gone up to +2°C (36°F).

... and after the first seven comments, I added also: Probably due to the chilly weather, there was a nice queue to get into Ladurée for a hot chocolate, a tea or a coffee, of course accompanied by their famous macaroons.

Unless something special happens, I plan to be back with a new post on Friday.

For the third time, I wish you all a Happy New Year!

Another extra post

I had planned to make a break until after New Year, but I decided to make this small "extra post".

December 25, after a long and nice Christmas meal at my son’s place, I decided that it would make me good to walk home.

It was clear night and on the sky I could clearly see Venus as an evening star. I zoomed as much as I could with my compact camera (Canon G7). This is what I got. Anyhow it allowed me to see more than with my eyes only.

Also, I could not avoid taking what probably will be my last shots of the blue Eiffel Tower (already present in several posts) as the French presidency of the European Union will cease December 31 and the Tower then will regain its normal looks. I have already wished you Happy New Year (see previous post), but it's a pleasure to repeat my wishes.

Normally, I should be back to normal blogging next Friday (January 2).


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

It’s time for me to make a break again - just during the Christmas and New Year celebrations. (I guess I’m not the only one.)

I will thus wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sincere thanks for all your support during this 2008 blogging year! Hope to meet you all again soonest in the beginning of 2009!

The top picture shows you the glass cupola of the department store Galeries Lafayette, decorated for Christmas (already seen on other blogs, but I just couldn't resist).

The below is a patchwork of photos taken at Place de la Concorde (some of which were already on Virginia's Paris blog). The Champs-Elysées are decorated for Christmas; the Ferris wheel is temporary there for Christmas; the National Assembly buidling, illuminated by a slideshow relating the European history, and the Eiffel Tower in blue, celebrate the (soon expiring) six months' French presidency of EU... The obelisk and the fountain are permanently there for our pleasure!

I wanted to show some more Christmas inspired photos. Without a tripod, it's not always easy to avoid the pictures to be blurred. This is actually the same thing, but obviously more or less blurred. I wonder if I don't prefer the one where I failed.

Here are a few more shots from some illuminated places and some department store shop windows. At last, once more....

See you soon again!


Before closing for Christmas and New Year, just some photos from Paloma’s (my granddaughter) last dancing lesson of the year. Parents (and grandfathers) were invited to see what the group had learnt during the autumn.


Extra post

Virginia, who produced the photo on my post last Monday, kindly offered to open her very nice special Paris blog (Paris through my Lens) for a few of my photos, some night shots taken during one of our common walks through Paris during her recent visit here.

(Today, I’m walking round Paris with another visitor, Karen from Florida, so I will hardly have the possibility to make my normal tour of your blogs until later.)

I had however the time to prepare also my own post for today, here below.

Gare de Lyon

I have already posted about Gare Saint Lazare and Gare de l’Est. Gare de Lyon is another of the six remaining major Paris railway stations. This is where you leave for Lyon, Marseille, Nice... and also some Italian and Swiss destinations. (I showed this map in a previous presentation, indicating Genève as an example for Switzerland, but got a remark about Lausanne from Delphinium, so I have of course corrected it.) It’s also largely used for local traffic. Totally, some 83 million people pass here every year.

The present station was built for the World Exhibition of 1900 (as e.g. the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais, the Alexandre III bridge). It then replaced a previous building from 1849 (destroyed in 1871 by fire, but rebuilt identically). It was the first Paris station to be reached by the just inaugurated metro line no. 1, also in 1900.

According to the fashion of those days, the station is largely decorated outside, including some tens of blazons of the destination cities. Especially remarkable is the Big Ben like 67 m (220 ft) high clock tower. The four dials have a diameter of 6,4 m (21 ft) and the roman numbers have the size of 1 m (40 inches).
Inside, you can find the usual imposing steel and glass ceilings. There are also some large fresco paintings, again illustrating the major destinations. You can also find the famous restaurant, Le Train Bleu, a nice place for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner... before your departure – see also top picture. This is also what Mr. Bean did on his way to Cannes (Mr. Bean’s Holiday). It’s today rather under the station that you wait for the departure, especially of the TGV (high-speed) trains (320 km = 200 miles/hour), offering some 24 departures per day to Lyon, 16 to Marseille... This was the first station to offer this service, in 1981. On this level you also find a commercial centre.

Further down, you will find the metro lines, including the garden-decorated station for the newest (driverless) line no. 14.

It's again time to wish you a nice weekend!

I got another reward, from Rhi / “Peanut Butter Bound” – a young lady from Tennessee who recently started a blog where she shows photos from other bloggers. An interesting idea. The award contains the word “scrap”, but I take it anyhow as an honour . ! :-)


Saint Serge de Radonège

It’s by pure chance that I discovered this charming little church, in a little oasis, hidden behind a normal street gate (93, rue de Crimée, Paris 19), normally impossible to find if you just pass by in the street; maybe thanks to the blogger instinct? The church, hidden by some (now naked) trees, is named after Saint Serge de Radonège (Sergius of Radonezh, Сергий Радонежский), a major Russian saint from the 14th century.

It was built in 1861 as a German Lutheran church, abandoned in the beginning of WW I. It was acquired by Parisian Russians in 1924 and became an orthodox church. The painted stairs were then added and was, as the interior, decorated in an orthodox style, imitating 16th century art.

The surrounding buildings obviously house the priests and other personnel and also an Institute of Orthodox Theology. There is also a small library. All is totally peaceful.
You can visit the interior of the church, but when I passed last week, there was some kind of symposium ongoing and I did not want to disturb by taking photos, so I “stole” a photo from the official website.


Mid-month theme - subways

I have done such large posts recently that I believe I have the right to make an easy one. It’s time for the mid-month theme “subways” which I share with bloggers from NYC, Budapest and Stockholm.

This time, I didn’t even have to take a photo – Virginia, who together with her friend Karen recently made the trip from Alabama to Paris, volunteered to replace me! Sincere thanks!! Virginia has now also a specific blog for her amazing pictures from Paris - "Paris through my lens"!

This photo, thus by Virginia, was taken at the Concorde metro station (line 12), where almost each tile has a letter. If you start reading, you will be able to read the Declarations of Rights of Man and Citizen - the French Revolution documented version of Human Rights, Bill of Rights.... This may remind us that December 10 was the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

You can find today’s and some related posts by using the following links:

New York City Daily Blog - Stockholm by pixels - Budapest by Andrea GerakPeter’s Paris

(You can also find some other related posts on my previous blog via this link: PHO.)


Venice (3)

Time to finish with Venice - for this time.

First some photos from the Grand Canal and the Rialto Bridge. The low building is where Peggy Guggenheim lived, now a fabulous museum.
Venice has some very famous hotels, including the Gritti on the Grand Canal and the Danieli close to the Doge’s Palace.

The great pleasure when you stay a bit longer in Venice, this time ten days, is to be able to walk around “everywhere”, without time pressure. The city has such a charm wherever you go. This time of the year is relatively free of tourists, but the nicest experiences are when you leave the major tracks around the Saint Mark Square and the Rialto Bridge, the San Marco district (“sestiere”); you will mostly find a pure local life.

These photos were taken in the Cannaregio, San Polo, Dorsoduro (incl. Giudecca), Santa Croce and Castillo (including the Arsenal) “sestieri”. One small particularity: These pictures are from the Venetian Ghetto in the Cannaregio “sestiere”, an area where the Jews were confined to live during the 16th – 19th centuries. Due to lack of space, the buildings here became higher than elsewhere in Venice. The word ghetto has its origins here. This used previously to be an area of iron foundries and the Venetian word “gheta” stands for slag. During Napoleon’s occupation the gates were demolished and the Venetian Jews later got full citizenship in 1818.
This was my third visit to Venice. Maybe one day a fourth?

You can find these photos in full and as a slide show on Ipernity.

It's again time to wish you a nice weekend!


Venice (2)

Yes, the “aqua alta” (or "acqua alta", I see two different spellings) reached the highest level since 1986 during our stay. All of Venice was flooded. In the middle of the day, December 1, normal boots were not sufficient to keep you dry. (As you can see, boots were for sale.)

Looking out from the window in the morning (below, photo top left) gave already an impression of what was to come. Later, the warning sirens sounded. One way to avoid the “worst” was to visit some churches, most of which were dry, and to have a long lunch during the peak hours.
The gondolas and other boats had some problems to pass under the bridges ... and the vaporettos were on strike. This brings me to show you some photos of the canal traffic, a normal day, not only linked to gondolas. Some of the wooden Rivera type taxis are wonderful. You can find some small yards for the maintenance of your fleet.
As said, the about 100 Venice churches offered in general dry floors. This was the day to visit some of them. The churches are full of paintings by Titian, Bellini, Veronese, Tiepolo... although many of the master pieces have been transferred to the Accademia Museum.But the dominating artist is Tintoretto, represented in most churches. You can still find the house where he lived, close to the Campo dei Mori and the Madonna dell’Orto church, full of his paintings.
In order to be able to complete my Venice posts this week (the rest on Friday), some words about the Venetian Lagoon with several other islands. First some general views. Lido is a long sandbar with beaches and hotels, more or less abandoned during the winter months (some 20 000 people live here permanently). It’s the place for the Venice Film Festival in September. Murano is another island (or several, linked by bridges). It’s of course famous for its glass making. All over Murano and Venice you are offered Murano glass, and of course Venetian masks.

The top picture shows Murano to the left and the San Michele island, the Venetian cemetery, to the right.

You can find these photos in full and as a slide show on Ipernity.