Hibiscus time - time for a break.

This week, this is again how I found the – giant - hibiscus in my – little – garden. 

It made me think that it was time for a little summer break - soon leaving for the south… I hope to be back blogging in about a month. In the meantime, especially if you live in the northern hemisphere, enjoy the season!  

I’m not the only one to love this tree and its flowers!


Hôtel Gaillard

I already mentioned this remarkable building in some previous posts, see here and here. Already from the outside it’s really amazing and it certainly has some of nicest gutters you’ve ever seen (see top picture).

It’s a very large mansion (hôtel particulier) built around 1880 for a banker, Emile Gaillard (1821-1902), and it’s still referred to as Hôtel Gaillard. It may be interesting to know that he was the banker of many of France’s richest dynasties, of Victor Hugo… and that he once was one of Chopin’s best pupils – Chopin even, in 1840, when Emile was 19, dedicated one of his mazurkas to him (Mazurka in A minor, B. 140 – you can listen to it on the net) !

Emile was married, there were children… , but the vast space was obviously especially requested to make place for a fantastic art collection, mostly from previous centuries. He asked the architect, Jules Février (1842-1937) to take inspiration from the Loire Valley renaissance castles (Blois, Gien…).

After Emile’s death, the art collection was sold, but it took until after WWI before the building was acquired by the Bank of France, who after much work, opened a branch office here, closed in 2006. 

A lot of the original architecture is fortunately still there, however we must of course remember that it had become a bank during some 85 years before closing with e.g. an important bank vault surrounded by heavy walls (temporarily closed when I visited – I “stole” a photo from the net).

On one of the walls you can find some caricatures in relief, one of Gaillard, holding a purse and one of the architect, Février, holding a compass.

It took then some time for the Bank to decide what to do with this building. There were some ideas to make it into some kind of a “Dumas Centre”, the three Dumas (grand-father, father, son) are all represented on the Square in front of the hotel (as, you can see on one of the photos, is Sarah Bernhardt who lived around the corner for a couple of years. I talked about all this in the posts I referred to above.) 

Finally, the decision was taken to make the place to a “Cité de l’Economie”, dedicated to economics, moneys… and, after a few years of restoration, it opened to public mid-June this year. If you want to learn something about economics there is now plenty of information - screens all over, of all sizes… documentation… Despite my education in economics, I was personally much more interested in the building itself.  


Colourful balloons - and flowers

In a previous post I showed colourful umbrellas in the “Village Royal”. This time I wanted to show colourful balloons. You will find them at the “Bercy Village”. This is the place where you can find what used to be wine merchant buildings, now transformed in to shops, restaurants… I posted about the place on my previous blog and also here.

But… on the way there (I had a nice lunch) and back, I walked through what since the 1990’s has been transformed into a large park (see again my previous posts). This time I decided to take photos only of some “details” of what you find in the park. “Details” refer of course basically to all the kinds of – colourful - flowers. A great bravo the gardeners!

But, the first thing I found was actually this turtle. Someone had offered it (him / her?) some roses. I had a feeling that it looked at me, somehow opening its eyes… but it didn’t care about the dead insect.

I hardly know the names of the flowers I saw (except roses…), but I recognized the fantastic garlic flower which to me looks like a concentration of hundreds of small tulips.

This flower has a very specific beauty I think – and I was not the only one to appreciate it.

I didn’t know that ants were climbing all the way up to visit flowers.

A few more flowers, berries, vines …

… and at last some examples of some nice insect “hotels”.