Yes... and no.

YES, the Chinese New Year is there, but NO, the great traditional parade in the 13th arrondissement will take place only next Sunday, February 25. Some preparations, rehearsals... took place this weekend. 

YES, the water level in the Seine is slowly going down, but NO, the traffic on the river has not yet been reestablished.


Ave César

Right now (until March 26) there is a César exhibition at Centre Pompidou. César Baldaccini (1921-98) was a French sculptor (Italian parents). His works include “compressions”, “expansions”, “human imprints”, “welded-metal sculptures”…  e.g. the top picture, a bat. 

Here are some samples of these various techniques and uses of different materials…We can for example see “The Thumb”, now exposed in- and outside the Centre Pompidou - a permanent large version is to be found at Paris La Défense (see previous post).

The exhibition also shows a model of the “Centaur” – the head of which is a César self-portrait. You can find the “real” version of the "Centaur" at Place Michel Debré in Paris (see previous post) and in a smaller version on his own grave at the Montparnasse Cemetery (see previous post).

The French “Oscars” are called “Césars”. The winners get a trophy created by César.

When visiting the Centre Pompidou (see some of my previous posts here and here), designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, I took a photo of another of Piano’s achievements, the new Paris Palace of Justice (see one of my previous posts here), soon to open.  


La Fontaine de Mars

The mascaron on the top picture is to be found on a fountain, named “Fountain of Mars” and which dates from the very beginning of the 19th century. You can find the fountain on Rue Saint Dominique, close to an old restaurant with the same name – “La Fontaine de Mars” (where the Obama couple and some friends had a private dinner in 2009). The buildings which now surround the fountain were built later during the 19th century and around the square you can find two other also quite nice restaurants with terraces. 

The mascarons did not spray any water … it was a cold and snowy day and there were no horses around like on the engraving you can see below - from when the fountain was new.
On the front of the fountain you can see Mars, god of war and Hygieia, goddess of health.

You can see a sign indicating the level that the Seine flood of 1910 reached. Considering that we are almost 600 m (650 yards) from the river, we must admit that the present flood is “nothing” in comparison - see also the map below on the left illustrating the parts of Paris which were touched by the 1910 flood. 


Snow in my garden...

I made it easy for me for this post… I didn’t have to leave my flat, just opened a window a little while. My little garden offered a wonderful winter landscape … and I was quite happy that I didn’t have to go the office this morning.

Frozen drops.

(I couldn’t choose which picture of the same flower.)



I wrote about the Saint-Germain-des-Prés Church almost ten years ago (see here) and I will not repeat the story about the church and the abbey, but… a few words: The present church, which was part of the great abbey is basically from the 11th and the 12th centuries, but a number of modifications have of course taken place during the following centuries and the building suffered seriously from the Revolution. During the 19th century, Victor Baltard (1805-74) – today especially remembered for the disappeared “Les Halles” (previous posts here) - was in charge of a restoration and he engaged Hippolyte Flandrin (1809-64), assisted by Alexandre Denuelle (1818-79) for the decoration of the walls – most of the walls were thus covered by paintings, but, lately, you could hardly see this paint work anymore under the dirt.  

Cleaning and restoration of the walls and ceilings of about half of the church have just been finished, partly thanks to sponsoring by some of today's artists. We will obviously have to wait for at least another three years, before the whole church will be neat. On some of the pictures below you can clearly see the difference between the renovated and the not cleaned and restored parts.

Also renovated, you can find the impressive tomb of John II Casimir Vasa (1609-72), a man with a surprising career. King of Poland 1648-68, he abdicated and became abbot of the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés during his last four years. (One could perhaps mention that his father was King Sigismund III, grandson of Gustav I of Sweden.) Only John Casimir’s heart remains here; he’s buried in Krakow, then the capital of Poland.


Rain, busy...

I'm a bit too busy right now, so a new post has to wait... and it's still raining.