Sunday, 29 June 2008

Closet Blogger

I am very grateful to this hotel for having free WIFI, really I am.

It's just a bit odd that the only spot in our room where I can get any sort of a signal is when I stand in the wardrobe.

Am I on Candid Camera?

Apartments in Madrid

Be warned!

A wall at the Caixa Forum, a museum displaying a fabulous collection of Alphonse Mucha paintings and lithographs.

Let it be a warning for those of you who don't take the moss off your tiles!


Roman aquaduct.

The cathedral.

Cathedral cloisters.

CDG Airport prepares for Halloween...

Monet's home - Giverny.

Nouveau beggars

Travelled by train and bus to Monet's home and garden. On the train, a guy walked up the carriage putting cards on each seat and then came back in a little while to collect them.

New age begging.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008


Detail from La bouée rouge by Signac.

Today we spent pretty much the whole day at the Musée D'Orsay. If you think it looks like a railway station, you are right. It was one, lay derelict for many years and then was turned into a museum.

Now it may shock some of you but I came to Paris with no intention of visiting the Louvre.

The main museums of Paris are the Louvre (Ancient and Renaissance art), the Musée D'Orsay (Impressionists) and the Pompidou Centre (Modern art). My likings fall squarely in the impressionist camp. (I am also probably the only person around who thinks Leonardo DaVinci is awfully over-rated. But there you go.)

So we spent seven hours or so at the Musée D'Orsay. Loved it.

Can I keep the desire to return to painting alive until I return home? I hope so.

(No, painting on the road doesn't appeal.)


Postscript: I think I should have been a Parisian. The number of statues and paintings and buildings that honour the female nude is absolutely delightful!

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Not culture but fun none the less.

The Moulin Rouge in Montmartre, home of the Can-Can.

No, not real. This shot is taken from the show program as cameras were not permitted in the theatre.

Next door to the Moulin Rouge is a Irish pub (there are dozens of them in Paris for some reason.). This one has some significance as Martin worked here a few years ago.

Misc Paris shots

Painters are about but more common are portrait and caricature painters.

Light from St Pierre de Montmartre church window.

Of all the countries that we have seen, France has the most beggars.

A return visit to St Eustache's, Paris' ugliest church. Well, we were actually going to nearby Metro station. Noticed that the church has a clock (top) and, on an other wall, a sun dial. That odd looking circular object on the front wall in the above photo is a barometer. A bit of everything. A dyslexic dog's breakfast.

Nouveau Tardis?

Don't know what this thing is - apart from being a glass box on an old pedestal.
No, it's not in a useful place for a gendarme to direct traffic.

Anyone know?

Sunday, 22 June 2008


Yesterday, June 21st, was midsummer and there was music and stuff happening around town. We wandered down to the Eiffel Tower (as one does) and listened for a while, sampled a crepe from a street vendor and then wandered home again.

Plus a coffee at a roadside cafe, of course.

From the top to the bottom.

Having climbed the Eiffel Tower one day, we went on a tour of the sewers the next.

Yes, there were rats (in the distance) and no, the smell was not bad. Not good, but not bad.

The above is a very small tunnel. The biggest is about 5m (15 foot) in diameter.

A la Indianna Jones, one of the ways they clean the sewers is to send an enormous ball down the tunnels. As it floats on the liquid and also touches the roof of the tunnel it creates a high speed flushing effect between it and the bottom of the tunnel as it moves and thus sweeps the heavy stuff ahead of it. Tricky, non?

It's all glass!

Took Margaret to see Sainte Chapelle.

I had, with mixed success, kept its beauty from her so that, coming out of the spiral stair case into the upper chamber, echoing Dave from 2001 A Space Odyssey, she exclaimed in awe "It's all glass!".

The above photo does it no justice and it is by far the most beautiful spiritual building I know.


Over the hedge and across the river is a camera crew. These people above and a number of others were providing backdrop for some sort of filming.

Behind them, providing further back drop was Notre Dame.

Not all these people were queuing to enter Notre Dame but a good many were.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

The Paris Metro.

The Paris Metro (underground) is very good.

Much of it runs on tyres, not rails.

The thinking man's sparrow.

Nothing I did would dislodge the sparrow on the Thinker's head.

So I left him there.

Obligatory Paris photos

Famous rivets

More rivets.

Trusses and supports.

The view from part of the way up.

The view from the very top - Arc de Triomphe in the middle.

That tower.

Two queues...

The queue of people waiting for tickets to climb the Eiffel Tower.

The queue of people waiting for tickets to catch the lifts up the Eiffel Tower.

And yes, we did climb the tower.

Twice. Today.
But that is another story.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Clash of cultures

Saint Eustache, possibly the world's ugliest church. The unfortunate off-spring of a gothic church and a Greek temple.

Salt farms

An area to the south of La Turballe has a large expanse of salt farms.


That's what so nice about is so French!

Shameless plug!

We travelled to the coast to spend a couple of nights with Allan Sanders and his wife, Anne. I had come in contact with Allan during some earlier writing exploits. He and Anne run a B&B on the coast at La Turballe and have also recently started La Sardine, a tapas terrace, out the front of the B&B.

Allan and me testing La Sardine's facilities. Passed with flying colours.

See more about Allan & Anne's B&B here.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008


Paris is beautiful.

Our hotel is fairly central (Metro: Madeleine) so went for a walk plotting our strategies for tackling the town went we return from a sojourn on the coast. We are in easy reach of the Louvre, Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle, the Seine and other such treats.

Despite a reputation for otherwise, all people we have met so far have been delightful.

Celebrated our first night here with French Onion Soup, red wine and a platter of cheeses.

Seemed the right thing to do.

Monday, 16 June 2008

The new Globe Threatre

Went to see The Merry Wives of Windsor at the new Globe theatre. A lot of people stood in the round at stage level but we went for the comfort of seating. Happily the weather was fine; not sure what happens when it rains as the building is circular with a thatch roof. The centre area, the round, is not roofed.

The London i.

I was a bit ambivalent about going on the London Eye. It seemed a bit kitsch.

But it was a great view and technologically fascinating.

The Tower of Big Ben, and surrounds, as taken from the London Eye.