Berthe Weill... again

Berthe Weill, honoured again, and once more thanks to my friend Marianne Le Morvan, and of course also thanks to the initiative to create a new little garden, adjacent to the Picasso Museum. People were asked to choose which name to give to this garden… and the choice was Berthe Weill. I don’t think anybody would have thought of her if it wasn’t for Marianne Le Morvan, who has made it a task to honour this lady, the gallerist who was the first to sell a Picasso in Paris, the first to sell a Matisse, who was the friend of tens and tens of artists, who was the only one to organise a Modigliani solo exhibition during his lifetime… and who never got rich. On the top picture we can see the portrait Picasso made of Berthe, a cartoon where she is in the centre of a group of painters - Chagall, Derain, Léger, Braque, Picasso… and the front page of Marianne’s book, which you can still buy here. You can also get an idea of who Berthe was by looking at my post from 2015, here.  
The inauguration of the little garden took place March 18, in the presence of the Paris Mayor, Anne Hidalgo. We can see Mme Hidalgo here accompanied by the Mayor of the 3rd arrondissement, Pierre Aidenbaum.

… and here we can see Marianne in discussion…

… and at last some views of the newly created little Berthe Weill Garden.


Rotating showers?

There are six fountains around the « Rond-Point des Champs-Elysées ». They have been “under renovation” for years. … and now!?!? I tried to take some nice photos, but…

Maybe we should first have a look of what has been. The fountains were created in 1863, by Adolphe Alphand, who together with Baron Haussmann was involved in the creation of the majority of the Paris parks and gardens. In the 1930’s the fountains were beautifully decorated by the famous glass designer René Lalique. Too fragile, these decorations disappeared in 1958 and were replaced by some simpler glass structures, later replaced by plastic… and finally the fountains have been “dry” for about 20 years.

These new “fountains” (or showers? - sorry) will be officially inaugurated in a couple of days, March 21, but they are already “in operation”. I use this expression because they are rotating (why?), illuminated…

You can certainly have different opinions about the aesthetic impression of these new fountains … and you may guess mine. They have been created by two brothers, Bouroullec, more specialized in furniture design? They have cost some 6 or 7 million euros (to a large part financed by sponsors) and will, as long as the mechanism still works, probably also cost a fortune in energy.  Why do our present responsible parties for culture at the Mayor’s office always want to choose something technically complicated which we have all reasons to believe – based on experience – will not last?

(At least, another controversial choice by the City... the Tulips by Jeff Koons (see previous post), will obviously - and fortunately - not be placed in front of the Paris Modern Art Museum, but probably - more or less hidden - somewhere in the gardens behind the Petit Palais, if anywhere…)

In the meantime, at the “Rond-Point” you can still admire some of the older installations.


A heart

When you approach "Porte de Clignancourt", where you can find “La Recyclerie” – see my preceding post – you will see a great rotating red heart. It’s actually a rotating sculpture by Joana Vasconcelos, a Portuguese artist, born in Paris... 

... who has won a great reputation for spectacular works – she has exhibited at the Venice Biennale, the Versailles castle and gardens, the Bilbao Guggenheim… - see some pictures stolen on the net.

This is part of the City of Paris’ commendable wish to decorate along the tram line (see previous posts, here, here and here). Unfortunately, as this heart, when mechanics are involved, artwork seems to be very temporary. Very few of the installations – most of them mechanical – along the first part of the tram line, from 2007, are still working and many have just disappeared.  


Ecological eating ... and drinking

“La Recyclerie” has been there for four or five years, but I visited for the first time last week – shame on me. We are at the “Porte de Clignancourt”, actually quite close to the famous Saint Ouen flea market (see my post here).

Well, actually, the building has been there since 1869, it was one of the stations along the “Petite Ceinture”, the circular railroad on which I have written several times (see here) and which was in operation until 1934. The station building was later used for different commercial activities, but the real event is when “La Recyclerie” opened. It has become a place you must visit … 

“La Recyclerie” is managed by a team, an association, of “recycling friends”, but they have some partners and one of them is actually “Veolia”, a French company with some 320.000 people employed in some 50 countries, busy in water and waste management, energy services…

So, the place has really a very ecological touch and the local motto is linked to four times the letter “R” – “Repenser”, “Réduire”, “Réparer” and “Recycler”  (rethink, reduce, repair, recycle).  

Not only the station building is concerned by the ecological concept…

… but along the rail tracks, you can find a lot of space to sit down, once the spring is really there, but, especially, you can also find hens, fish, bee hives, vegetable gardens, composting installations…

I decided to have my lunch, actually 100% vegetarian and of course prepared according to the latest ecological rules. It was good! See top picture.

(On the opposite side of the rail tracks, locals have occupied the space - with official permissions.)


... and the cleaning progresses...

About a year ago I posted about the cleaning and restoration of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés Church (see here). Then about half was done. Now the other “half” has just been finished. The colours are splendid, some may think almost “too much”… but soon time, dust, dirt, pollution… will do its “work” !

However, the aisles are still to be taken care of. The remarkable paintings which you normally find on the walls here are also taken away for restoration.



There is a pedestrian street, a passageway, close to the Madeleine Church, referred to as «Le Village Royal» (probably because that on one side it opens toward the Rue Royale), but the official name is actually “Cité Berryer”.

A lot of efforts are often deployed to have this place decorated in a spectacular way, especially around Christmas… Right now there is some kind of umbrella show. This umbrella idea seems to have started in the little town Agueda in Portugal, where during the summer months you can hide from the sometimes too strong sunshine… The idea has spread to many places around the world … and now it’s the turn of “Le Village Royal”.  

There have been some commercial traditions here since the middle of the 18th century, first under the name “Marché Aguesseau”, later “Cité Berryer”, but today this is not the place to buy your meat, cheese or vegetables anymore, it’s more of a place for fashion … and maybe a drink.  

Right now you can also find some sculptures by the Belgian artist Dirk De Keyser.



In November last year I wrote about the bad shape of the pavements on the lower part of the Champs-Elysées (see here). When I passed by a week or two later, I noticed that some repairs had taken place. Can this experience be renewed? I would like to report to the mayor of Paris that the pavements of “Cours-la-Reine” also are in a very bad shape!!

“Cours-la-Reine” was originally a garden promenade along the Seine River, created by Marie de Medicis during the early 17th century. Today you can walk between lines of chestnut trees and since some decades also admire a number of statues representing Simon Bolivar, Adam Mickiewicz, Lafayette… and also King Albert I of Belgium, who after WWI gave his name to part of the “Cours-la-Reine”, it became “Cours-Albert-Premier”.

We can compare between 1780 (when one had learnt to distinguish north and south on maps…) and today.

There is a paved lane close to the river. This is where more courageous people would walk if they decided to join “Place de la Concorde” and the “Eiffel Tower” on foot. I would say that this is one of the more prestigious Paris walks you could do… but shame on Paris again – have a look!

… and when were the benches last painted? Slats are even missing!   

I have, March 4, received this message from the Mayor's office:
Votre message relatif à l'état des cours la Reine et Albert dans le 8ème arrondissement a été transmis à la Direction de la voirie et des déplacements.
Le Cabinet de la Maire de Paris


My www-blog address is back!!

After having been able to get hold of some helping people on the phone, first in France, then in Arizona… spending a few hours on the phone (and paying some 205 US$, in addition to the phone costs) ... my blog’s www-address is back. Don’t ask me what went wrong, how it was solved - too complicated… but now you can again find my blog under www.peter-pho2.com.  … and the message that “the domain registration expired” should not any more appear, when you hopefully also in the future will look for Peter’s Paris.

Birds need to make a pause...

... so do I. A bit too much to do lately and I have no real post awaiting to be published. Sorry! I hope to be back next Thursday.


Another little night walk

I took a nice little night walk again, maybe less spectacular to the eyes than my recent walk along the Seine River (see here).

I started at Place de la Bastille (see previous posts). The Bastille Opera has since the end of last year an illumination, named “Saturnales”. Why this name? Why not - “Saturnalia” was some kind of Roman winter celebration, in December, a short period of great festivities, when even the slaves had some kind of limited freedom…   

I continued along the rue Saint Antoine, since “forever” the major way to enter Paris from the east.

You pass by the statue of Pierre Beaumarchais (1732-99), a man known for an enormous amount of activities, but today perhaps best known for having created the Figaro plays, later linked to Mozart. The “Temple Sainte Marie” is a former catholic church, given to the Protestants during the 19th century – and of course, differently from the catholic churches, always closed except for masses. There is also the 17th century “Hôtel de Mayenne”, today a school. The doors to the “Hôtel de Sully” were closed. During day time, when the doors are open, this is one of the nicest ways to reach the “Place des Vosges” (see here). 

I took a little side street instead to have a short glimpse at the “Place des Vosges”...

... and another one to see the “Place du Marché Sainte Catherine” (see top picture)… and I also looked at some other side streets.

What I appreciate is that the street lamps in this area, and also in many other Paris areas, are maintained in a style which seems to fit the old surrounding buildings, a feeling of gas lanterns.

Most of the bars were closing when I made my walk. Unfortunately I could also see some traces of crushed windows, traces of some recent demonstrations.  

I finished my little walk, after having passed the “Saint Paul Saint Louis Church” (see here). It was not very late, only a quarter to twelve, but I decided to take the metro and go home.