29.4.09

Trocadero - Palais de Chaillot


Often when you visit or wish to have a nice view of the Eiffel Tower, you would go to Trocadero. I have already posted about the Eiffel Tower a number of times and also about the immediate neighbour, the quite interesting Passy Cemetery.


Actually we are on a hill with the name Chaillot. On this place you found during some preceding centuries a castle, then a nunnery, destroyed during the Revolution. For a while Napoleon wanted to build a palace here.

The place later got the name of Trocadero referring to another battle won (what else?), close to Cadiz in 1823 - once more the French tried to interfere in Spain. (To find a place commemorating Waterloo you must go to London.)

Finally another type of palace, also under the name of Trocadero, was built for the 1878 World Exhibition. (The Eiffel Tower was not yet there; it was built for the 1889 Exhibition.) It burnt in 1935 and was replaced by the present “Palais de Chaillot” in 1937 for another World Exhibition and at the same time the surrounding park was restructured with its water basins etc...

Here you can see what the place used to look like before, a famous photo from 1940 taken by Eva Braun and another one of Eleanor Roosevelt, co writer of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted at the “Palais de Chaillot” in 1948 by the General Assembly of the newly established United Nations. Today, it’s a place frequently used for demonstrations; here you can see an ongoing one, organised by Sri Lankan Tamils.
The present “Palais de Chaillot” contains naval and ethnological museums in one of its wings, architectural and monumental museums in the other wing and, in the middle (below the esplanade), an important theatre (“Théatre National de Chaillot”).
It’s a place for some important events, outdoor concerts etc., but also on a daily basis you will find a number of more spontaneous performances.
The park is very nice with plenty of green areas for a little rest, there is an aquarium and some rests from the destroyed Tuileries Palace (see previous post)...
Around “Place de Trocadéro”, there are a number of places to take care of your thirst and hunger.

27.4.09

Jardin des Plantes - menagerie


As I mentioned in the previous post about the “Jardin des Plantes”, you can within the botanical garden also find a zoo, certainly not the biggest in the world, but one of the first (beaten by Schönbrunn, Vienna). A great advantage is that it’s in the middle of the city. It dates from 1794-95 (revolutionary years) and has been open to public since. At the start it was to a great part inhabited by animals transferred from the Royal Menagerie at Versailles.

Due to limited space and the impossibility to offer the conditions we today wish to allow animals in captivity, this is not where you any more will find a large number of bigger wild beasts, but was it offers is quite interesting. More than a thousand types of animals can be seen. The reptiles are well represented, including some giant, more than hundred years old, tortoises.

Anyhow, granddaughter Paloma was impressed and preceded most of the time her aunt, my daughter Stéphanie, by a few steps.

... and we were all impressed by mother orang-outang who rose from her siesta to be photographed and even offered a modest smile.

(Several of these photos were taken by my daughter and her boyfriend.)

24.4.09

Jardin des Plantes



The “Jardin des Plantes” is Paris’ major botanical garden. You can actually also find a size wise modest but interesting zoo here (installed in 1795), but I will refer to that another time.

The botanical garden is old, founded in 1626 as a medicinal herb garden. It was originally called “Le Jardin du Roi” (The King’s Garden) and was opened to public already in 1640.



For most of us, it’s of course a place for walking around, resting.... and watch all the beautiful trees, plants, flowers...
There are a lot of kids around, for playing, but also to learn.
It’s a bit early to visit the part called the Rose Garden, but I discovered a few buds and a first rose!

On the way up a hill to the “labyrinth”, I discovered a cedar tree planted in 1739!
I didn’t count the number of statues. (It must have been more encouraging to be a sculptor during previous centuries than today.)

For obvious reasons there are also some green houses.
The Garden maintains also a botanical school. A large part is dedicated to alpine vegetation and there is now of course also an ecological corner.
This is also where you can find some museum buildings under the cover of the National Museum of Natural History (like the Garden itself): “Evolution”, “Paleontology”, “Entomology” and “Mineralogy”. They would also need a specific post – each!


I wish you a nice weekend!

23.4.09

Extra post - collage ... and more

I’m doing collages all the time, but yesterday, a very dear friend, also a blogger friend, HPY, tagged me and some others for a special collage challenge, so I decided to make a small extra post with just one collage.

This is my granddaughter Paloma (six now); photos from last week when we shared something to drink at a café. She was obviously amused!
This could also serve as a special tribute to Paloma’s dad, who is celebrating his birthday today!


I had another very nice surprise yesterday! "SparklingMirror", actually David, a ceramicist, living in Rochester NY, made a post referring to my blog. It's so flattering that I almost blushed! I will revert further to "SparklingMirror" in the near future, as I expect a contribution to next month's mid-month theme, Subways.


(I posted “normally” yesterday and will do so again tomorrow.)

22.4.09

Saint Ouen Flea Market


There are different flea markets, or “Marché aux Puces”, in or around Paris. The most famous, said to be world’s biggest, is the Saint Ouen one. It’s situated just on the Paris border in the suburb Saint Ouen, as the name indicates.

There were traditions to find this kind of activity just outside the city walls since centuries. The present Paris border was established in 1860 when some of the surrounding villages (like Montmartre, Belleville, Charonne, Batignolles...) were incorporated. The limit was marked by a defence wall since the mid of the 19th century, finally destroyed in the 1920’s (a few traces still left). I guess this explains why the market was more seriously created here at the end of the 19th century. It is thus claimed that it’s about 125 years old (official start 1885), but it seems that it really started in a more organised way and on a larger scale around 1920.

The market is open Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays and during these three days some 150.000 people visit. There are actually 13 different markets with names like Vernaison, Biron, Paul Bert, Serpette, Dauphine... and some 1300 stands. What is offered may vary quite a bit from one market to another, from one stand to the other, going from the simplest junk to the most exclusive antiques. You have to find your way and try to bargain. Don’t forget you credit card, but it’s easier to deal with some cash.

Around the actual flea market, you will also find a large and wilder market, mostly specialising in second hand – or new - cheap clothes, shoes, records...

... and if you are thirsty or hungry, there are solutions. “Chez Luisette” is perhaps the most well known with possibly not the best eating but with “typical Paris” entertainment. There is also the old “Brasserie A.Picolo” and a number of others.

Here follow a few patchworks, with photos, in complete disorder, corresponding to the feeling you may get when going there - part of the charm!

20.4.09

A Hindu Temple



Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans... in France; there may be more than 100 thousand of them, the majority in Paris. Their activities are mostly to be found in the 10th arrondissement: one often refers to "Little India". There is a small concentration of restaurants, barbershops and Bollywood DVD sellers at Passage Brady, which I already posted about, obviously dominated by Pakistanis. Further north, especially along Rue due Faubourg St. Denis, you will find an even higher number of establishments, obviously more dominated by Indians and Sri Lankans. This is also the area where you can find what seems to be the only Hindu Temple in France, the "Temple Ganesha", or "Sri Manika Vinayakar Alayam". You can find it 72, rue Philippe de Girard.

Hinduism is of course the dominating Indian religion, followed by Islam. Ganesha (or Ganesh, Ganapati, Vinayaka, Pillayar) is one of the major Hindu Gods, the Elephant God, revered as the Remover of Obstacles, patron of art and sciences and the "Deva" (the Sanskrit word for a god or deity) of intellect and wisdom.

The Paris temple is very modest, occupying what obviously previously was a restaurant kitchen, created on the personal initiative by a Mr. Sanderasekaram in 1985. You are welcome to visit (if you take off your shoes). You may even kindly be offered some vegetarian food!


Nothing to do with the above, but I wanted today also to give you another proof that the spring is here.