29.6.09

Disneyland Paris


With son + wife, daughter + boyfriend and grandkids, we spent a day at Disneyland Paris, situated some 45 minutes shuttle service from the centre of Paris, some 32 km (20 miles). It opened in 1992 and since 2002 a Walt Disney Studios Park has been added. After a difficult start it now attracts some 15 million visitors per year (the double of the Eiffel Tower), which makes it to Europe’s leading tourist destination.


The studio park has an attraction called “Rock’n Roller Coaster” which I was persuaded to try. I learnt only afterwards that the riders experience 4,5 g in the loops, more than an astronaut does on a space shuttle launch! Fortunately the ride lasts only a minute or two.Paloma and Mattias took pleasure with some calmer attractions. After 12 hours we thought they would be exhausted, but they started a frenetic dance!So, around 10 p.m. it closed and we left. Of course a summer Saturday, a lot of time had been used for queuing. ... but it was a nice day! (... and thanks to family members who took the photos where I'm appearing!)

26.6.09

Saint-Séraphin-de-Sarov


There seems to be some 16 orthodox churches in Paris, whereof five Russian ones depending on the patriarch of Constantinople. In previous posts, we have already visited the Saint-Alexandre-Nevsky Cathedral and the Saint-Serge-de-Radonège church. Here is a third very modest and particular one, Saint-Séraphin-de-Sarov.

As with the Saint-Serge church, you will not find it spontaneously, you have to push a gate at 91, rue Lecourbe, and you will discover some old buildings, a courtyard, a bit of green space ... and a small wooden building, which sine 1933 is a church for especially the local Russian community. A lot of Russians immigrated after the 1917 revolution and many of them settled around here, in the 15th arrondissement; in the 1930’s maybe 10% of the population of this arrondissement had Russian origins. So, they needed a church. They used some old sheds on this property to build it.




The church is devoted to one of the most considered Russian saints, Seraphim-of-Sarov, who spent many years as a hermit in the woods. This is obviously the reason why it was decided to save two trees and build the church around them. You can – with good eyes – distinguish the trunk of one of the trees, inside the church, on the below photos.

I wish you a nice weekend!

24.6.09

Franciscan Missionaries of Mary

Just north of Parc Montsouris (see previous post), there is another very quiet and peaceful little space, not so easy to find (Impasse de Reille); a convent – “Franciscaines Missionaires de Marie” (Franciscan Missionaries of Mary). I understand that this movement was started by “Mary of the Passion”, Hélène Marie Philippine de Chappotin de Neuville (1839-1904), in 1877. It operates worldwide, today with some 7000 sisters, whereof some 3000 in Asia.

The chapel “Sainte Jeanne d’Arc “ (St. Joan of Arc) dates from 1913. It’s surrounded by some nice green areas, a small park and some traditional convent type of buildings.

When you go to the front side of the chapel, you will be surprised by a parking place and some large modern buildings, less attractive for the eyes (at least mine), but proofs of an important activity. It also operates as a home for students.

22.6.09

Georges Brassens



Georges Brassens is an icon in France; one of the most celebrated poets, singers-songwriters. He’s maybe not so well-known abroad; his songs are very particular and difficult to translate. He died at the age of 60 in 1981.
I already talked about him in a post about a year ago, more particularly about a park which has got his name, Parc Georges Brassens. He had his house at rue Santos-Dumont, very close to the park.
Last week I discovered his other home in Paris, a very modest one, where he spent 22 years, 1944-66. It’s situated in a small alley, Impasse Florimont. He actually moved in here to hide during permission from a German labour camp, hosted by friends of her aunt, Jeanne Planche and her husband Marcel – in a house with no modern facilities. He could easily have moved to a more comfortable place before as he was quite successful since the mid 50’s, but he was a modest nature and cared a lot about friendship. Later, when he could, he helped them and bought the neighbour house and installed the modern equipment that was missing. He actually left only when the old Jeanne, having lost her husband, remarried. There were a lot of animals in the little courtyard. He loved cats. I suppose some friends have added the cats on the wall and the chimney later - see top picture.








 
Here you can watch and listen to one of his songs (text by Aragon - I found no good recordings with his own text). As always, he is accompanied by his friend Pierre Nicolas.

19.6.09

Monuments...

A couple of weeks ago I made a post about Trocadero and the Palais de Chaillot. The monumental building, the Palais de Chaillot, from 1937, contains naval and ethnological museums in one wing and architectural and monumental museums in the other wing (Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine with Musée National des Monuments Français and Institut Français de L'Architecture). I made a visit last week together with Virginia and one of her friends. From the windows, you have an excellent view of one monument.This is somehow a follow up of what I referred to in my recent post about the Ecole des Beaux-Arts where the old Petits-Augustins convent was used for a museum of monuments for a short period (1795-1816). A few monuments still remain there, but most of them were spread out (to former owners, to the Louvre, to Versailles...). Other tries were made to concentrate a collection, but the present the Cité de l’Architecure et du Patrimoine with the Musée Nationale des Monuments Français finally opened here at Palais de Chaillot in 2007.

The monuments one can see are basically casts of sculptures, frescoes, stained glass windows and different other elements from a number of castles but especially from cathedrals and churches (Strasbourg, Chartres, Bourges, Reims, Cluny, Arles...). If basically copies, they are more true than nature.
It was a pleasure to se number of younger and older students.There are also some copied interiors of some medieval buildings... and one large gallery with models and plans of more contemporary buildings.
Some of you have noted that my profile photo has changed. I like it a lot. Virginia took it during one of our recent common walks. So, here it is in "original" and slightly larger.

Time to wish you a nice weekend!


17.6.09

"Buddhist Pantheon"

In a rather recent post about Avenue d’Iéna, I mentioned the Guimet Museum with one of the largest collections of Asian art outside Asia. I also referred to a subsidiary to the museum, a “Buddhist Pantheon”, slightly higher up on the avenue. It’s installed in a former private mansion from 1913 and is thus now partly used by the museum for Japanese and Chinese art, linked to Buddhism.

The entry is free.

Behind the building is a small garden with a Tea Pavilion. Here you can participate in different tea ceremonies, but it’s opening only Thursday afternoons. I was there on a Friday and haven’t been back yet! (Maybe I’m more of a coffee drinker.)

15.6.09

Mid-month theme - subways. Urban art again!


In some of my recent posts I have talked about “urban art”, “street art”, “graffiti”) ... (see post 1, post 2). I referred to a special event taking place past weekend including visits to artist studios, organised by the “Lézarts de Bièvre” and that each year an “urban artist” is in particular honour. This year they are actually two, working together, “JanaundJS” (see their site here). I met them last Saturday at the bar “Chez Fernando”, Rue Arbalète, which I revisited – with pleasure! I really got the confirmation that this bar is a central meeting point for the “street art” artists in Paris!
Jana and JS (the young couple top left on the collage) had some of their works for sales, including the above metro picture, which (I bought and which) gave me the link to the mid-month theme - subways.
The night before I walked by the bar late evening, when the shutters were closed, and I could take a picture of the total outdoors decoration, obviously shared by “Artiste-Ouvrier”, but also by “JanaundJS” and several other famous “urban artists”.
I cannot avoid showing you some additional samples of what you find around Rue Arbalète and the crossing more famous Rue Mouffetard. Under the label “graffiti” you can find even more examples, also by other artists.
The subway theme is shared by bloggers from New York, Stockholm, London, Budapest and Sydney. You can find today’s and related posts by using the following links:
(You can also find some other related older posts on my previous blog via this link: PHO.)

12.6.09

Ecole des Beaux-Arts


The most famous of the French art schools is the “Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts”, which you can find just across the Seine from the Louvre (Rue Bonaparte), created in 1648. Among the students here you can find names like Gericault, Degas, Delacroix, Fragonard, Ingres, Monet, Moreau, Renoir, Seurat, Sisley.... Previously architecture was also taught here, but is now separated.










The school covers today a large area with several buildings, the most ancient ones being some remainders of an old convent (“Petits-Augustins”), which was also after the Revolution and until 1816 used as a museum for monuments, old castle and church decorations and also statues, several of which you can still find in the old Chapel and all around the place (the statues are in general copies).

There are a number of buildings, including some more recent ones and also a previous private mansion (“hotel particulier”), Hôtel de Chimay from the 17th century with Mansart as architect.

The most remarkable building is perhaps the “Palais des Etudes” (the “Study Palace”) from 1839, recently restored. You can visit it; there are some remarkable libraries. Some empty pedestals will soon receive statues (back from temporary “storage” at Versailles). On the middle of the floor is at the moment exposed a tree, cut in two by one of the school’s present teachers, Giuseppe Penone. (Another tree by him can be found in the Tuileries Gardens – see previous post.)



Walking around in the backyards, you will of course also find some tagging.

Special thanks to Alice, who recommended me to make this visit!

I wish you a nice weekend!