Summer break

Sorry, I'm not reporting on the Eiffel Tower fireworks and concert this year...Time again for a summer break. Via the south of France, I'm taking the direction of Italy, where we have again, with kids and grand-kids, rented a house, this time just behind what is called “Cinque Terre”. I hope to be able to illustrate with my own photos – these ones were stolen on the net. See you again in a few weeks! 


Marché Saint-Quentin

There are some 70-80 covered markets in Paris, rather few with the original 19th century design. Unfortunately the most famous one, “Les Halles” with its “Baltard pavilions” disappeared in the beginning of the 1970’s. (I wrote about them, last time here). Many are quite modern where the “originals” have been replaced. Some older ones remain, but are used for other purposes (see e.g. here, here and here). I have posted about a few “real” ones (see e.g. here and here). Then there is the special flower market (see here)…. Close to the area where my latest two posts were made, there is one which I would consider as “real”, Marché Saint-Quentin.

This one was created in 1866 and replaced a previous one from 1835, named Saint-Laurent. That one had to go when the new Haussmannian boulevards were created. It seems that the name of the architect of the Marché Saint-Quentin was Rabourdin, but Victor Baltard was probably there in the background, being the official city architect - Saint-Quentin was built more or less simultaneously with the “Baltard pavilions” at "Les Halles". The use of steel and glass was then something new.

I don’t know if this is the best food market in Paris, but there is the usual offer. There are also a few bars and restaurants. One special detail is perhaps the Wallace Fountain (see previous posts here and here) in the middle of the market.



I often claimed that nicest places to live, work… in Paris are to be found behind the street facades. Here are some examples from Rue du Faubourg Saint Denis, in the area between Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est.

At no. 148 you can find what is referred to as Passage Delanos, the name referring to the original owner. The building is from the middle of the 19th century and once you enter you will find three courtyards in a row. The buildings were originally occupied by apartments for “workers”, by workshops … and especially for production and sales of milk. Until around 1900 milk had to be produced locally, it did not withstand transport. There were hundreds of “vacheries” (cow-houses) in Paris. The relation to milk can be seen with the cow head at the entrance.

Here are some views from the different courtyards (see also top picture).

At no. 144 there is another 19th century building (from 1871) with a quite sophisticated architecture. It was originally created for the “Compagnie des Chemins de fer de l’Est” (Eastern Railways Co.) – this was before the different private railway companies were nationalised (1938) under the name of SNCF. The buildings have recently been refurbished and are today occupied with a mixture of apartments and offices, mainly by SNCF. 

Part of the modernisation work includes that a blind wall has been transformed into a giant vegetal wall (created by the same artist who covered the walls at the Quai Branly Museum, see previous post).

I also passed the beautiful entrance at no. 132 and discovered this lady in the courtyard. A plate on the building indicates that here stood previously a building where Victor Schoelcher (1804-93) was born. He’s especially known as an abolitionist and considered as the main spokesman in France for the abolition of slavery, achieved (a last time) in 1848 (a first time in 1794, but restored in 1802).   


A square... with a lot of history.

Today, in the 10th arrondissement, you can find a little open space, Square Alban-Satragne, named after a local town councilor.

However, so many other names and events are related to this place… With large surroundings this was previously referred to as the Clos de Saint-Lazare. (Before the creation of the arrondissements, Paris was divided in some 50 “clos” (enclosures).)

The Clos de Saint-Lazare was originally – 12th century - occupied by a leper colony (“lazar house” – Saint Lazarus being the patron of the leprous). The Leprosy had to a large extent disappeared a few centuries later and the installations were offered to Vincent de Paul (1581-1660) in 1632 and it became the site for his “Congregation of the Mission”, founded in 1624 - the members of its different branches usually referred to as Vincentians, Lazarians… and for the “Daughters of Charity”, co-founded by Vincent and Louise de Marillac, both later sanctified.

I already posted about Vincent de Paul (see here) and the chapel where he’s buried and his head and hands have been sculptured.

Below we can compare a 17th century map with what the area looks like today. Please notice the presence of a nearby church, Saint-Laurent. (I will revert to it below.)

Already in the days before the 14th of July, 1789, the revolutionary forces plundered almost all of the buildings and in 1794, Saint Lazare became a prison, later combined with a hospital for prisoners and for “filles publiques” (prostitutes), in operation until 1927. Most of the buildings were demolished during the 1930’s. Here we can see what it once looked like during the 17th century and later, when it was a prison. One building from the prison time remains, the chapel in red bricks, constructed in 1824. The architect was Louis-Pierre Baltard (the father of Victor Baltard, known for the Les Halles pavilions)…

… who also created some hospital buildings behind the chapel, rather recently restored and now housing a multimedia library and some local services. 

There are some other traces of the previous history, like the walls surrounding the prison.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, until the Revolution, the successors of Vincent and Louise continued the activities and several installations were made in the neighbourhood, including some buildings from the beginning of the 18th century, which are still there – 99-105 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis. 

Again checking a map with a closer view…

… we can see the Saint-Laurent Church, with 15th century origins, but of course modified later. The immediate vicinity with Vincent de Paul’s and Louise de Marillac’s activites are obvious, illustrated. Louise de Marillac was initially buried here. 

Quite close we can also find the Saint Vincent de Paul Church, more recent - from the 19th century. We are still within the previous Saint-Lazare enclosure (see map above).  The references to Vincent de Paul and to Louise de Marillac are numerous.  



Ireland is a rather small island. In some two or three hours you can reach the opposite coast. So, I took the bus from Dublin to Galway, where another bus took me around Connemara. Connemara derives from the Irish “Conmacne Mara”, “conmacne” being an old tribe and “mara”, the genitive of the word for sea.  There are different definitions of the Connemara borders – what is sure is that it’s limited by the Atlantic to the north, west and south. Anyhow, it’s more or less this area and I have pointed out some of the landmarks I had the pleasure to visit during a day trip.

The driver of the bus, Ken, took us on some surprisingly narrow roads and he was also a perfect guide with an unlimited knowledge of the region, the places, the people, the horses, the sheep, the cows…. One little problem with the narrow roads is that a bus cannot always make a stop on the most spectacular sites and some of my photos were taken through the bus windows.

Our first stop was at the Ross Errily Friary, founded in 1351 by Franciscan monks. They were expelled several times, returned… until 1753 when the place was abandoned.   

A next stop was made in the charming little village (some 50 inhabitants) of Cong, surrounded by streams on all sides (please note also the duck pedestrian crossing).

As you can see, we experienced some rain approaching the village.

There is a surprising statue in the village…

Cong was the filming location for John Ford’s 1952 Oscar-winning film, The Quiet Man, starring John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara… (also filmed at the nearby Ashford Castle, now a luxury hotel which we did not visit).

Here are some pictures from the movie…

… to be compared with photos I took. (Obviously the Ross Errily Friary also served as background.)

We then passed by the Lough (lake) Mask area...  

… and continued our way among horses (“Connemara ponies” – a famous breed with a mixture of Scandinavian – the Vikings - and Andalusian – the Armada -  origins) and (mostly “blackface”) sheep…

… in the direction of the Killary Fjord, 16 km (10 miles) long. Spectacular. This is a place for a large production of mussels in crystal clear waters.

We then arrived at the Kylemore Castle, originally built around 1870 as a private home for the family of Mitchell Henry, a medical doctor, MP, who inherited an important textile manufacturing business and could “offer” this to his wife Margaret. She was already dead in 1874 at the age of 45, Mitchell lived until 1910, but was forced to sell the place a year earlier to the Duke and Duchess of Manchester, who again were forced to sell because of gambling debts.  In 1920 it was bought by Benedictine nuns who had fled from Belgium during WWI. They still own the place, but they have recently given up the fashionable boarding school they had been running.

Today you can (only partly) visit the Castle…

… the neo-gothic (notice the nice female faces of the gargoyles) church…

… and the mausoleum where Margaret and Mitchell are buried.

They also created a Victorian garden… with a charming house for the chief gardener.

On the way back to Galway, we had a look on a peat / turf exploitation, quite common here and turf is partly even used in power stations. There are different opinions about this. Ecologically correct to use this as burning material? Rather leave these peat-lands / mires in peace?