End of the year 2013...

Before making a holiday break, I wish to take the opportunity to wish you...

... with at the same time a reminder of the some 80 posts I made this year! 


Alphabet, flowers...

There is a school in the 9th arrondissement, named after Paul Gauguin. One of its walls is covered by tiles, illustrating the alphabet and obviously each letter is referring to a flower. I’m definitely no flower expert, but I’m sure there are some among my blog visitors. Maybe you could help to give the names of the flowers? Of course the letters here refer to the French names of the flowers, but if you recognize some of them in English, German, Chinese, Swedish…, I’m sure we can find the translation.

Well, I believe I may (after serious research) have recognized a few, but I may be wrong:

B for “bégonia”, D for “digitale” (digitalis - fox-glove), E for “églantier” (eglantine), G for “geranium”, J for “jacinthe” (hyacinth), L for “lis” (lily), M for “marguerite” (daisy), N for “narcisse” (narcissus), O for “orchidée” (orchid), R for “rose”, T for “tulipe”… What also confused me was e.g. that the S to me looks like a sunflower which would be fine in English, but it’s called “tournesol” in French and also that the Y seems to be a “muguet” (lily-of-the-valley)… 


The Philippe-Auguste Wall again ... and again

I have already several times talked about the wall that surrounded Paris, built between 1190 and 1210, and named after the King Philippe-Auguste (1165-1223). See all my Philippe-Auguste posts here.

I found another trace, well hidden – but also well saved and protected – in a modern building, close to where many other remains can be found, if you manage to open doors and gates. You can find this one in a little alley, named after the photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue (1894-1986). 


I could not resist...

I alreday took photos of the autumn leaves. Most of them have left their branches...

... but when I took these photos last week there were still a few left.


Banksy ?

There is a discussion ongoing right now whether the famous street artist Banksy is the person who recently created this in a small alley, close to rue Mouffetard, Le Passage des Postes. It has been stated as fake, reconfirmed as a real one, reconfirmed as a fake…

Banksy, who remains more or less anonymous, with origins in Bristol U.K., has also published books, made films and is certainly the best known street artist today, active all over the world, more recently in New York. Some of his works are sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars, pounds or euros. Happenings around him include the sales in a pop-up boutique on the 5th Avenue in New York this year, when spray-art canvasses were put up for sale at 60$. Very few were sold, but are today estimated to more than 30,000 $.

It was indicated that a second Banksy graffiti had appeared in Montmartre, rue Piémontési. I checked. If it was there, it’s already painted over.
Here are some examples of Banksy’s artwork elsewhere.

His technique is of course very similar to the one often used by the French artist Jef Aerosol, active well before Bansky and whose works are largely present in Paris – and elsewhere – and on whom I have posted e.g. here and here.


The fox and the crow

The fabulist Jean de la Fontaine (1621-95) has his statue in the Ranelagh Gardens (see previous post). The present statue from 1984 replaces a statue from 1891 which among many others disappeared during WWII - the metal was required by the occupants for other use. (The stand is the original one.)

The present statue refers more particularly to the fable “The Fox and the Crow” and we can see that the fox and the crow were represented already on the previous statue.

The fable which of course serves as a warning against listening to flattery was published in 1668 in an illustrated version in the first of 12 volumes of fables.  Jean de la Fontaine made no secret of the fact that he often based his fables on existing ones. This fable is already attributed to the Greek fabulist Aesop (620-564 BC) and exists also in other cultures, e.g. in India.

Here you can read La Fontaine’s fable in its French and a translated English version. 

La Fontaine is buried, close to his friend Molière, at the Père Lachaise cemetery (see previous post). (Their remains were brought there in 1817 in order to attract interest for the cemetery, then newly opened and by people considered to be too far from the city centre.)



Last Sunday was a great horse-day in Paris. Actually there were two horse parades in the city. One was to protest aganinst increased (from 7 to 20%) Value Added Taxes (VAT) which will hit equestrian centres / riding schools. There are thousands of them in France. I missed the hundreds of horses and poneys that « demonstrated » in the eastern parts of Paris, but I saw another horse parade… 

The one I saw was meant  to draw the attention to the 42nd « Salon de Cheval » which takes place November 30 – December 8. You can read more about it here. This is – part of – what I could see.

I happened to be close to another horse, mounted by George Washington. The police taking care of the traffic issues, was of course also mounted, which was however not the case with the cleaning service.  



The leaves seem to stay longer than usual, but after all, they fall... A few examples from the last two weeks.


Saint Catherine

Today we are celebrating Saint Catherine.

There are many Saint Catherines, but the most celebrated one is probably the early 4th century Saint Catherine of Alexandria, also known as ”Saint Catherine of the Wheel” or the “Great Martyr Saint Catherine”. (You can read more about her here.) After different methods of torture, she was finally beheaded by the Roman Emperor Maxentius. 

Saint Catherine is or was the patroness of many, including young maidens.This makes the link to the French tradition to ”celebrate” girls, still unmarried at the age of 25, on the Saint Catherine’s day.  The unmarried – referred to as “Catherinettes”, are supposed to wear fantasy hats with coloured bands (green for wisdom, yellow for faith), to go out dining with friends and perhaps go dancing, maybe in the hope to find a future husband before the end of the day. (Originally you were also supposed to make a prayer to Saint Catherine.)

On the Square Montholon, along rue Lafayette…

… you can find a statue of some “Catherinettes”. It was made in 1908. Things have changed since then. Maybe those days, more than 90 percent of the girls had found a husband before the age of 25, today the percentage may be around 10 or 15. Less and less people get married and if they marry, the average age for the female partner has during the last 50 years increased from 23 to 30.

I took these photos about a week ago in the sun and the autumn colours…