I have now moved to my new address… and should be out on the Paris streets, preparing some posts for my blog. However, all the funny movements and too heavy lifting (?) resulted in sciatica. I’m afraid a further pause will be needed.  I will be back soonest! 



My kids persuaded me to change address. This means that I will make a little break again in blogging – painting, cleaning, sorting, packing, unpacking… Please give me a week or two! 


Andalusian holidays (4)

To finish with the reporting on our Andalusian holidays…. We went south, first to Jerez de la Frontera. Jerez, Xeres… the name has some Arabic origins, شريش , Sherrish … which in English has become Sherry. The city is full of bodegas, with famous names. I really enjoy a glass of “fino”, which is the driest and palest of the sherries. Of course, sherry wine may be more known in its darker, heavier, sweeter versions.
Jerez is also known for its horses and is the home of the "Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art". The origins are related to the Domecq family - sherry wine, horses, bulls…. I’m not a bullfight fan, but I once watched bullfighting on horses, where two brothers of the Domecq family performed. It’s amazing in its art. You are not allowed to take photos during the horse show, “How the Andalusian horses dance”, but here are some pictures from the school surroundings.   
Jerez also claims to be the capital of the flamenco. I was once taken to a shady looking place in the suburbs of Jerez by a local friend. At 3 in the morning, the place was full of the locals, dancing,  playing, singing… my best flamenco experience so far - tears of joy!
Here are some pictures of the cathedral, the alcazar…

We then continued to Cadiz. Passing by Trocadero we entered the city via the two year old Pepa Bridge (see top picture), a bit longer and higher than the Golden Gate Bridge. There is hardly anything left of the Trocadero fortress which used to provide defense for Cadiz and where the French won a battle in 1823, which gave the name to the Paris Trocadéro.  

Cadiz was founded already some 1100 years BC and is considered to be the most ancient city still standing in western Europe. Cadiz has of course been an important port during centuries – Columbus used the port for his second and fourth voyages - and the city and its port became, especially for its trade with the Americas, a target for Spain’s enemies, particularly the British. 



Andalusian holidays (3)

So, for the third time, we went to see Granada and Alhambra. It’s worth it and we thought especially of the kids – something to remember. Once more, I ask you to revert to a previous post. By the way, if you wish to visit Alhambra, don’t forget to book in advance or line up at six in the morning! 


Andalusian holidays (2)

The house which we had rented (see preceding post) was quite close to Sevilla, but even closer to Carmona, another ancient city, but much less touristy – referred to as Carmo during the times of Julius Caesar. We went quite often for shopping, for tapas…

It was also time to once more visit Cordoba, actually our third family visit - here is a proof, Stéphanie, my daughter, in 2000, 2011 and 2017.

The place, especially known for its Great Mosque, transformed into a Catholic Cathedral, is definitely worth several visits. (See also my previous post here and the top photo.)  


Andalusian holidays (1)

With the kids and the grand-kids, we once more rented a house for our summer holidays, this year again quite close to Sevilla. I already posted about Sevilla in 2011 (see here and here), so I’m not going to write any long stories, just show some pictures of the wonderful Andalusia and – to start with - of Sevilla. There is a little bit more to come about other places we visited.

The house we rented was just fabulous!

Here some pictures from Sevilla, the town hall, the cathedral …

… the Alcazar, the Plaza de Toros…

… the Plaza d’Espana (also top picture) and the famous flamenco bar, Casa Anselma (even a little “selfie” with Anselma herself) an institution in the Triana district on the other side of the Guadalquivir river.   


A break again...

Will be away for some three weeks or so... to be spent with kids and grand-kids. I'm quite sure we will not suffer from the cold climate. 


The Holy-Trinity Cathedral

Since last year we have a second Orthodox Cathedral in Paris, the Holy-Trinity Cathedral. It should have been inaugurated in the presence of Vladimir Putin, but some political disagreement led to Mr. Putin’s visit being cancelled. Anyhow, the Cathedral is there and also a Russian Orthodox Spiritual and Cultural Centre. (Mr. Putin recently made a more unofficial visit after his meeting with Emmanuel Macron at Versailles in May.)

The other Paris Orthodox Cathedral is the Alexandre-Nevsky on which I already posted (here). You may ask yourself why there are two Orthodox Cathedrals in Paris. Well, if I understand things correctly, the Orthodox Church has some kind of highest leadership by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, in Paris thus represented by the Alexandre-Nevsky Cathedral, but there are altogether some 14 patriarchates (Alexandria, Antioch…) and Russia is one of them (with some subdivisions). This obviously gives the right also to this new church to be a “Cathedral”. It seems also that the Alexandre-Nevsky Cathedral may be more linked to the “White Russians”, once opposed to the Russian Revolution.

The golden bulbs have all the typical tree-bar cross on top.  

The interior is beautiful, but fairly modest, compared to other major Orthodox churches, but it seems that the decoration is not yet complete.

I previously posted also about two other more modest orthodox churches, the Saint-Serge-de-Radonège (here), obviously also sorting under Constantinople, and the Saint- Seraphin-de-Sarov (here).    

The geographic situation of the new Cathedral is very central, on the Seine River, and the Eiffel Tower is quite close.

Originally, the winner of the design competition for the Cathedral was won by Manuel Nunez Yanowsky (see previous post about the “Michelangelo building”), but some local authorities were against it and the chosen architect was Jean-Michel Willemotte.  


The Saint-Laurent Church.

Maybe I cannot “leave” the Rue de Faubourg Saint Martin (see my two preceding posts) without making a few words about and show a few pictures of the Saint-Laurent Church. Well, I actually talked about it already some two years ago (see here), about its 15th century origins, with a number of modifications during the centuries, with its links to Vincent de Paul and to Louise de Marillac...

One curiosity to be added is that during the revolutionary years, the church became the “Temple of Hymen and of Fidelity”. There were obviously some other “Hymen Temples” created those days also in other countries. Well… it didn’t last and we should perhaps also remember that Hymen obviously was the name of the God of Marriage in Greek mythology.

The present facade from the 1860’s, in a Neo-Gothic style, replaced the previous 17th century one. On the top picture we can see how one has tried to make the facade look like a really Gothic one. 


More from Rue du Faubourg Saint Martin.

Referring to my latest post about the disappeared department stores and Rue du Faubourg Saint Martin, here are some more views from the street, walking down from Gare de l’Est towards the Arch of Triumph, Porte Saint Martin, passing in front of the 10th arrondissement’s town hall, from 1896, and the “Splendid” theatre.... We can see a number of “passages”, small side streets… Actually many of them are connecting with the parallel street Rue de Faubourg Saint Denis, via Boulevard de Strasbourg. I posted about some of them already here. Most of these “passages” or galleries are not among the most fashionable in Paris and in some cases some more or less official street artists have made some more or less official decorations, see an example on the top picture. 

The Arch of Triumph, Porte Saint Martin, dates from 1674, and was made at the order – and to the glory - of Louis XIV – the inscriptions on the top of the monument starts by “LUDOVICO MAGNO…”.  The four “illustrations” were made by different artists and refer to victories during the “Dutch War” (1672-78). The one we can see in detail here is about the capture of Limbourg (in today’s Belgium). The battle actually took place in 1675, one year after the erection of the Arch. The arch was consequently erected before the war was over and before the peace was reached in 1678 (for a short while).


Department stores gone...

During the warmer part of the year, there is a possibility to visit a bar on the roof of the Gare de l’Est. From there you have a nice view of the southern part of Rue du Faubourg Saint Martin … a long street with a number of things to see, doors to push… The street  follows the trace from Roman times, leading to the north.

You will learn that one of the world’s first department stores was situated here, on this street. It was there already before the Revolution, as from 1784 (!!), well before the later famous “Bon Marché” (see previous post), Printemps, Galeries Lafayette, BHV… This one was called “Tapis Rouge” (Red Carpet). Seen from outside, there are hardly any traces left. It occupied an enormous space during its glorious days, especially during the latter part of the 19th century and until 1910, when it closed. The buildings were later occupied by furniture shops, some hotel activities and more … until around 1990, when part of the space was again opened under the original name “Tapis Rouge”, and where you can now rent space for special events. I didn’t manage to get in to see some of the remaining stairs (just a view through the front door), but one of my friends, with the blog “Paris-Bise-Art”, obviously managed (see here).  

There is another trace of a department store on the street. What we can see is actually what once was the back entrance to “Aux Classes Laborieuses”, a shop which sold at low prices to “working classes”. You can still read the original name on top of the facade. (The architect of this 1900 building, Jacques Hermant (1855-1930) has left a number of other remarkable buildings, including the “Salle Gaveau”, see previous post.) After WWI, the place was taken over by “Lévitan”, some kind of those days' “Ikea” but, the owners being Jewish, during the WWII years the place was occupied by the Nazis. It was made into a place where all kinds of things, confiscated from the Jews, were sorted, shipped… and the job was done by Jewish prisoners – before most of them were sent to other even worse destinations. "Lévitan" could open again in 1946, but the furniture market changed.... After having been empty for a few years, the building is today occupied by a publicity agency.