I went for a routine blood test the other day. In France your doctor writes you a prescription for the required tests and then you choose the medical clinic where the tests will be done. For convenience I chose a clinic that is between our house and our son's school. The building from the outside seems like any other Parisian building, built in 1910, it is unremarkable. Once you step inside, however, things look a little different.
It turns out this apartment building used to be the location of some public baths, 'les bains Damrément', hence the elaborate tile work. As you go down the very long corridor the tile work changes.
At the bottom of the flamingo scene I spotted these tiles.
Boulenger, a company who specialised in ceramics, was founded in 1804 in Choisy-le-Roi by three brothers Valentin, Melchior et Nicolas Paillart. In 1906 they collaborated with another ceramic manufacturer, Faïencerie de Gien, and together produced the classic white rectangular Metro tiles that are so ubiquitous these days.
I had arrived early for my appointment so took a little time to look closely at the tile-work. The details are exquisite.
More photos of the tile work can be found on my Flickr account here.
In Paris bacon comes in numerous formats. The ones that immediately spring to mind are lardons, small cubes of bacon; thinly sliced rounds of lean bacon and poitrinede porc, resembling very fatty streaky bacon.
What I have never managed to find is bacon that looks like this.
Along with Ready Brek, Shreddies and Bramley apples, bacon rashers have now joined the ranks of things we bring back from the UK.
Every Saturday morning we have pancakes or crêpes. This morning I had a go at making bacon-rasher pancakes. I fried the bacon on one side, turned it over and then poured the pancake mix over the top.
Flipped the pancake. Et voila!
If anyone knows where I could buy this kind of bacon rasher in paris you will let me know won't you?
Many of the impressionists of the late 18th and early 19th centuries: Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir, Utrillo, Modigliani, Degas, Bonnard, Seurat, to name a few, lived in Paris for at least part of their lives. Montmartre was a particular haven for these artists. It was one of the more affordable neighbourhoods in Paris and attracted bohemian artists of the time to come and work. Montmartre, today, is scattered with courtyards, passage ways, gardens where artist studios and ateliers are nestled up against each other in beautiful hidden enclaves.
A five minute walk from where we live is an annex of La Cité Internationale des Arts, a state funded organisation receiving professional artists from all over the world for short term stays of 2 - 12 months. The foundation was started 1957. In 1965 a building was constructed in the 4th arrondissement of Paris to house 270 individual workshops. The annex to this foundation is in the 18th arrondissement at 24 Rue Norvins and comprises around 30 workshops in several buildings situated in an extraordinary oasis of greenery. It is often said that Montmartre is like a village and when you see these artists studios and their surroundings you could be forgiven for thinking that you were in a small village far away from Paris.
Back in June we were taking a walk around our neighbourhood when I noticed that the usually locked back gate to La Cité des Artistes on Rue Girardon was slightly ajar. Having often pressed my nose through the surrounding railings of La Cité to have a better look, I seized the moment and squeezed through the gate. It was even more wild than I had expected.
Some of the studios looked empty.
Does this look like Paris to you?
An artful swing.
At the north side of the site I looked over the fence across Rue de L'Abreuvoir. The view this way was none to shabby either!
It was June. There were flowers.
Last year in May 2013, La Cité des Arts Internationaleopened it's doors to the public. I think this is probably an annual event so I shall be looking out for this next May, and perhaps have the chance to go into to some of the studios.