Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Hector Guimard

Hector Guimard was an important French architect, born in Lyon in 1867. He died in new York in 1942, at the age of 75. He is widely considered to be one of the major representatives of the Art Nouveau movement. He was greatly influenced by Viollet-le-Duc (French) and Horta (Belgian) two other architects who pioneered the Art Nouveau movement. 

In Paris he is widely know for his Metro Station entrances made using wrought iron, bronze and glass. Eighty-six such metro station entrances still exist today in various forms, but the only original and complete one which still remains is the one at Porte Dauphine built in 1902. I knew there was something special about it when I saw it last week.
There is another Hector Gumard Metro station entrance at Place des Abbesses. Interestingly this Metro entrance was previously located at the Hotel de Ville, but was dismantled in 1972 and rebuilt at Abbesses.
At Place Blanche Metro station there are also some Hector Guimard elements. Here is a railing detail.
Here is a pigeon perch.
And look, here's a triffid. Or if you prefer, an elegant woman holding tightly onto her hat.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Bleu Blanc Rouge...the chairs are back

I went for a walk up to the Sacré Cœur this morning post school drop off, I haven't been up there so early for a while. As I approached the Place de Tertre, the small roads leading up to the Place were blocked with white vans. White vans everywhere.
If you ever wondered when they set up the restaurant tables and chairs again, after having taken them down in November some time. Well it was today.

The Square was buzzing with activity.
The Sacré Cœur provided a lovely back drop to the metal poles.
Deliveries carried on as usual.

If a tree got in the way, they just cut a hole to let it pass through.
Chairs, tables and planet-destroying-terrace-heaters were stacked up every where.

And the colour theme was definitely bleu blanc rouge. Vive la France!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Bloomin' Pink

Paris is full of pink.
You can even find pink leaves.
Not to mention pink tree trunks.
Pink wire.
Pink street art.
Pink leather.
Pink decorations.
Pink lighting. Between you and me, I think I would get tired of lighting like this in about 3.5 seconds.

And, of course, anybody who has had a daughter will know that pink rules!

Friday, 18 March 2011

Incey wincey spider

We went to Parc Floral the other day, a beautiful park in the Bois de Vincennes, situated in the 12th arrondissement in the south east of Paris, accessible by metro (line 1). In the 19th Century the Bois de Vincennes was an area of woodland primarily used for military training. In 1860 Napolean III gave up the land to the City of Paris and it was transformed into a public park, along the lines of the bois de Boulogne. At the third International Flower Festival in 1960, the concept of creating a special park to house a wide range flowers from around the world was initiated. Nine years later the Parc Floral  was inaugurated.

When we went the other day it was a gorgeous sunny and mild day. Near the entrance to the park they have an exhibition of spiders, floral spiders woven out of twigs and flowers. There are dozens of these spiders, big and small. Here are a few examples. They're just lovely.
They even have ones wearing glasses.
Ironically they also had a floral tortoise. I say ironically as my kids either call me a spider (due to long gangly arms and legs), or a tortoise (due to my bad posture...see aforementioned long gangly arms and legs). They were thrilled, charging round saying "Mama, look, another ones of your cousins!"

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Parisian Cats

Apparently there are about 10 million cats in France, roughly speaking that means one cat for every six people. That's a lot of cats. In Paris it's rare to see cats unless you're in somebody's home. Parisian cats are house cats, that don't generally leave the confines of their apartments. 

The cats you do see, therefore, tend to be stray cats. Cemeteries are a good place to find cats in Paris. Here's one I trailed in the Cimetière de Montmartre.
Eventually I caught up with it.
Here are a few that were being fed by an old lady up by the Sacré Cœur.
These two, a little further down the La Butte, had probably just been fed by aforementioned old lady.
Here was a cat popping out for a snack at the neighbours.
Just round the corner from there I spotted this one.
This one appeared in our courtyard one day. I think this maybe the most beautiful cat I've ever seen.
I suspect it lives here.
And these are the two we have. I can highly recommend this kind if you're allergic to cats. By day they hang out on the balcony...
...and by night, they go out to prowl the streets.