Saturday, 28 November 2015

The Sacré Coeur Up Close

I've been living eight minutes walk from the Sacré Coeur for the past 10 years, however the last time I went up to the top was in 1981. 34 years ago! Oh my, that makes me feel so old.

Time to do something about this. Access to the dome is at the west side of the Basilica: 4€ for children and 6€ for grown ups. Given the fantastic view you get from the top I think this is money well spent. 300 steps take you to the top. For me, the physical side of the ascent was fine, I've been living in Montmartre for long enough to have plenty of practice with stairs. The narrowness of the stairs, however, was a little challenging. Claustrophobics beware! As well as those prone to dizziness.

What helps the journey up to the top is the way you pop out at at different levels and get to admire the domes and roofscape 'eye-to-eye'.

Not to mention the gargoyles.

The textures and patterns on the domes are right there for you to enjoy.

I often admire the copper winged statue from ground level. Here I got to see it up close. 

Looking up.

Looking across: a copper lightening conductor.

Looking down: traces of copper, bleed across the roof.

And then of course there are the magnificent views across Paris. Towards La Défense ...

Towards the Eiffel Tower.

What's not to like?

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Southern Shutter Swatches.

I've written about Arles shutters before (here). I love pretty much everything about them, their colour, their weathered texture, with cracks and peeling paint that show the passage of time. During our holiday in Arles this summer I took some close up photos of a selection of these moveable window covers. Shutter swatches.

And here are some shutters in situ, looking wonderful against the creamy Arlesienne stone.

Previous Arles posts:

A Room With a View.

Round and About in Arles.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

A Room With a View

We're back in one of our favourite places, Arles. A Provencal town 40 kms inland from the Mediterranean and 90 kms west of Marseilles. Arles is steeped in history and culture. Apart from the Roman amphitheatre, a Classical Theatre, and antique baths there are endless, narrow, incredibly picturesque streets that wind around each other in unpredictable ways. A pleasure to get lost in.

We're staying in the Hotel du Forum on the main square. Up on the third floor we have a beautiful view across the rooftops. Curved Roman terracotta tiles prevail.

Looking down and across the Place du Forum.

A window above Le Café Van Gogh, the Café which Van Gogh famously painted in 1888 while he was living in Arles. 

From our hotel room we can also see this domed tower on the top of the Mairie d'Arles. 

In the morning.

In the evening.

We move rooms today, the view is different but just as good. More photos to come!

Arles photos from previous visits.

Arles: shutters, clear skies and dragon flies.

Round and About in Arles.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Lovely Loire

Our annual visit to the Loire has finally come round. A week spent with friends relaxing in their small house in a tiny village near Candes Saint Martin. When we first started coming here the children were little so we would start the day earlier than we chose and our days were spent moving from one activity to another. Now, the kids are older and we have seen most of the nearby Chateaux, it feels like the daily rhythm has changed to a more leisurely pace. We go for strolls and cycle rides, swimming and accrobranche. We make it up as we go along.

We like to visit old haunts. On our first evening we went on a cycle ride to some nearby caves. 

Last year in the fields on either side of this small track grew sunflowers.

Near the caves are a beautiful collection of quite grand houses. 

I love this grass roofed dovecot.

No shortage of bees here.

Or vineyards.

Big skies.

Good sunsets.

What's not to like?

For more Loire posts from previous year, click here.