Tennis weeks

Previously, for the less lucky ones who have not managed (or could not afford) to watch, on the spot, the Roland Garros tennis tournament, there was a possibility to watch it in front of the Town Hall (see previous post). This year, you can do it instead on the Champs de Mars, in front of the Eiffel Tower. (The final is played June 7.)

There are also some chances to check your tennis ability, including on a real court - where actually some pre-tournament qualifying matches were played.

You can of course do some shopping, picnic…  

A special feature, which unfortunately would be in operation only the day after my passage, gives you a chance to consume a bottle of Perrier, way up in the air. 



Well away from where the tourist coaches will bring you... this is however also Paris. We are in the 18th arrondissement, in an area somehow squeezed in between the rail tracks leading to the Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est.  I did cover it only partly during a recent walk, but hopefully enough to give an impression of how this and similar areas in Paris are slowly transformed, basically for the better, but somehow contributing to make the previously less expensive parts become invaded by “bobos”. “Bobo” is a term which is short for “bourgeois” and “bohemian”. “Bourgeois” would refer to people who possibly are fairly wealthy, at least wealthy enough to afford a flat here – once the “cleaning” has taken place - , but maybe not willing or able to afford the traditionally more fashionable, even more expensive arrondissements. “Bohemian” could mean that they mostly would not be conservative right-wing, politically speaking, but ready to live together in a more (although less and less) mixed population. This is an ongoing process in large parts of Paris where it becomes more and more difficult for low-income people to stay, despite obligations and efforts by the City to offer “social housing”. 
Anyhow, obviously some rehabilitation of this area was – is – needed. There are many evacuated buildings, preparing for new ones.

Already the closeness to the shuntyards is a problem.  

On one side old warehouses have been replaced by a park, “Jardins d’Eole”, created in 2007 and partly remodeled since. This is obviously not one of the most fashionable Paris parks, but green space is always a good initiative.

On the other side, an old warehouse, “Halle Pajol”, has recently been refashioned and offers today shops, cafés, a library, a youth hostel…

… and under it  you find a little park landscape.

Here are a few examples of what the area looks like today, with a mixture of older and newer buildings, including some high ones, constructed some decades ago and hardly fitting into the height restrictions which today are valid inside the Paris borders.

There are also some other small parks and gardens.

During the walk I also passed Rue, and Square, de la Madone – yes, there is a Madonna on a street corner, with a bakery named “Angelus” facing it and also, perhaps more surprising, an Asiatic supermarket with the name “Supermarché de la Madone”. You find a number of Asiatic shops and restaurants in this area. Here is also where you find one of three remaining deep spring water wells in Paris. This one offers water from a depth of 719 m (2350 ft). (I wrote about this and the other ones here and here.)  

Before taking the metro, I passed also the “Marché de la Chapelle”, also referred to as the “Marché de l’Olive” after the name of the passing street. Different markets have been situated here since several centuries, but the present building in Baltard-type architecture dates from 1885 and has recently been renovated. 



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.