A mailbox

This is what many Paris mailboxes look like. Some have got some quite interesting "street art", many have just been tagged. This one is perhaps something "in between". You could possibly ask yourself whether they all should be cleaned and repainted or not? Even historically some tagging maybe of interest? Today we can see some on ancient buildings, monuments... and we are then quite happy to see them. Look what was written, drawn...on the walls of Pompeii, in the Paris Saint Paul Church... and there are thousands of other "unauthorized" inscriptions.


Red men...

I found a red man among the trees close to the Paris Observatory (see previous post).  Actually, he stands on a pedestal, on which you, until 1942 and the Nazi occupation, could find the statue of François Arago (1786-1853), a man with a lot of activities, but his statue was obviously placed here, close to the Observatory, due to his being – also - an astronomer, known for his works on the (French) meridian. I talked about it and on him several times, e.g. here.

I found out that the red man, sniffing some kind of a flower, was placed here, very unofficially, by an artist called James Colomina… and then I learnt that he had placed another (little) red man on the Pont Mirabeau.  

I have already posted about this beautiful bridge, built during the last years of the 19th century (here and here), but I felt that the bridge was worth some more photos. Those days, the decorations were important - there is even a man with a (tagged) flame… reminding us that we can see another flame close to the neighbouring bridge (see posts e.g. here and here).  

On my way to the second little red man, I felt that I had to take some photos of the Seine banks under a particularly blue sky.  


No cars, no motorbikes...

There are Sundays, when some central Paris streets are supposed to be open to pedestrians only. There are a few Sundays, when the whole of Paris is closed for cars, motorbikes, scooters… This was the case last Sunday (yesterday), a date of course chosen to coincide with the UN Climate Action Summit today (Sept. 23), preceded by the Youth Climate Summit.

We should perhaps know that less than 1/3 of the Paris households now own a car and that this is a continuing tendency. There is an aim, by the present mayor, that in 2030 no petrol driven vehicles will be allowed inside the Paris limits.  

Well, for the moment, on this specific day, taxis, buses, bikes, roller-skates… are allowed.


Stockholm - again

I spent a few days in Stockholm, excellent weather, nice company… I have already posted about Stockholm (see here and here), so I will try not to repeat myself. If you are a Swede, or have visited the country, you will probably recognise where some of the photos have been taken… and maybe you will realise that the first ones are linked to visits to museums – Nationalmuseum (the top picture), Waldemarsudde, Millesgården, Thielska Galleriet, Dansmuseet.

One nice thing with Stockholm is that there is a lot of water around. You can even visit some of the museums by boat.

Crossing a bridge, I happened to meet the Royal family – on their way to the opening of the Parliament session. (Security measures in Stockholm are not comparable to the Paris ones.)

… and finally, here are just some photos from the  “Gama Stan” (the Old Town) and from the “Söder” (the South) quarters.


A little pause...

I will not be posting for a little while. Will spend some time in Stockholm. But... I hope to be back rather soon! 


A new museum

The lion we can see in the middle of the Place Denfert-Rochereau is referred to as the “Lion de Belfort”. There is an original version, in stone, to be found in the city of Belfort in the east of France. It was created by Bartholdi, even more famous of course as the creator of the Statue of Liberty (see here and here). The lion was meant to be a symbol of resistance - the city of Belfort avoided, thanks to a long resistance, being taken by the Prussians in 1870-71. The resistance was headed by Colonel Denfert-Rochereau who thus gave his name to this place, where we find two lodges of the toll barrier called the “Wall of the Farmers General”, on which I have posted e.g. here, here, here and here and which were in operation until 1860.

Today one of the lodges houses the entrance to the Catacombs (see post here). The other one has now just opened as the “Liberation of Paris Museum” It also has the subtitles “General Leclerc Museum” and “Jean Moulin Museum”, referring to two heroes of the French Resistance and the Liberation from the Nazi occupancy. This museum existed on a smaller scale before, but opened here August 27 this year on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Paris.

The choice of the place is quite obvious as we are on top of what, deep underground, (on the same level as the catacombs) was the Paris headquarters of the “FFI” – “French Forces of the Interior” -  led by Henri Rol-Tanguy (1908-2002), who has given his name to a small part of the avenue which arrives between the two toll lodges. The avenue is the one on which the liberation troops led by General Leclerc (Philippe Leclerc de Hautecloque, 1902-1947) arrived in Paris. Due to the recent celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Liberation, there are still some French flags lining the avenue, Avenue du Général Leclerc.

We must remember that the catacombs and the "FFI" premises that we find underground are only a very small part of an enormous tunnel network, originally stone quarries. To visit, you have to go deep down - there are some very impressive stairs.

Well, I’m not going to tell here all the details about the museum, the collaboration, the resistance, the liberation… I guess that some illustrations of what can be found in the museum tell enough. 

We can see a number of things having belonged to General Leclerec…

… and to Jean Moulin. We should remember that he was not only a high-ranked civil servant before the War, he was also a good artist (cartoonist) and during the War he also opened an art gallery (in Nice) for a while as a “cover”.


What's new on the Champs?

Dior is obviously working on some remodeling of its flagship on Avenue Montaigne (see previous posts here). They have since about a month ago opened a new big shop on the Champs-Elysées. An artificial facade, trompe l’oeil, supposed to imitate the facade on Avenue Montaigne, has been added. It’s somehow “folding”. (If you wonder... the “real” façade behind this “folding” one is still there – and is actually quite “ordinary”.)

I made a quick visit, have seldom been so welcomed (“bonjour monsieur” tens of times), but didn’t buy anything.    

I then walked down the Champs-Elysées, noticed that there are not any broken windows anymore, that “Fouquet’s” is again open, that there are the usual long waiting lines to get into the Louis Vuitton building…

 that the new “Apple” and “Galeries Lafayette” installations are there (see previous posts here and here)…

… that the beautilful “Guerlain” shop is there… but what will happen to the former Citroën building, abandoned for more than a year? (See previous posts here and here.)…

… that one of what I referred to as “rotating showers” (see previous post) is already out of water, that the “pergola”, abandoned for years, has disappeared (What happened to it? just scrap? to be mounted elsewhere…?) and that the pavements still need to be repaired (see previous post).

It’s still probably the "world’s most beautiful avenue", but…