Friday, 31 December 2010

Thursday, 30 December 2010

A day after Christmas

On boxing day the sun came out. It was still freezing, but there was light. It was a 'sunglasses' kind of day, if you remembered to bring them out with you of course. I was suffering the mandatory post Christmas anticlimax when I went up the hill to buy the Sunday croissants. I went out gnashing my teeth, muttering and grumbling and came home with a smile on my face.

For a start there were lovely crisp shadows everywhere. You can't underestimate the significance of a shadow. It means there's sun, and sun is good for the soul.
In this photo you could almost be forgiven for not thinking that it's the middle of winter with snow on the ground. This house, on Place du Calvaire, is called La Maison Neumont and was built in 1905 for the artist Maurice Neumont who died in 1930. Apparently the house is now lived in by a (very very very) wealthy Swiss family. It's beautiful.
I walked up to the Place de Tertre where there were more people than there had been when I was up there at  8h30 in the morning back in October. The restaurants have now cleared away the tables and chairs in the middle of the Place, leaving free reign to the painters and their brightly coloured umbrellas..
As the trees have no leaves you can see the Sacré Cœur over the roof tops.
And behind L'église Saint-Pierre de Montmartre.
More shadows.
Some snow.
A rainbow.
A lovely glazed door.
This was taken from this tiny public garden on Rue Norvins (the lower end) that opened recently. The park itself is nothing amazing, but the views you get from the park, are.
And finally a bit of mosaic cuteness. He blends in so well I nearly missed him.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Magical Light

Polycarbonate, the plastic material commonly used for greenhouse roofs, features prominently in our house. The bedroom walls are made of polycarbonate. We initially used it to get more light into the rooms that only have windows in the roof. What we hadn't bargained for was the gorgeous light effects it creates. 

When sun light comes through the roof lights and through the polycarbonate wall, the light is refracted, and splays out across the living area. 

Artificial lights create magical effects.
Fun can be had with Photoshop.
We have a bridge with a polycarbonate floor. This has the great advantage in that you can see when small people are on their way.
And more importantly you can see when dinosaurs are on their way.
And last but not least, the Christmas tree has a magical je ne sais quoi.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Beautiful strangeness

There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion -  Francis Bacon

I thought it would be a fitting, as the year draws to a close, to gather together some beautiful oddities that I have come across over the past year. They appear here in chronological order.

This first one, a frozen 7, I actually spotted at the beginning of this year, yep it was cold then too.
Here we have a broken glass door. Since I took the photo the whole pane fell out, but it took about nine months to do so.
Here are some curled shoots peering over the Cimetière de Montmartre wall. This is how they look in the bleak mid winter.
Here is a photo I took in the car while driving along the périphérique, the horrendous Paris ring-road. It looks okay here.
This is a mysterious tree in Parc Monceau (Paris 8e). When the leaves first grow in spring they are pink. Later they become green and the tree looks completely normal again.
I saw this gorgeous curl in Le Parc de Bercy in May.
A crescent moon hangs from a lamppost.
The Eiffel Tower hangs from a television aerial.
A monster at the Louvre.
Big foot at Square des Batignolles.
A reflected painting, Donegal town.
Bulbs on the merry go round by the Sacré Cœur.
Red leather (Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen).
A stone lion (Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen). I want one.
Here is an extraordinary cat that was lost in our courtyard for a few hours.
And then there's my friend the Hippie Lamppost.
Here is an attractively decaying hinge.
And here is a bauble on the Sacré Cœur. Merry Christmas!

Monday, 20 December 2010

More snow

Yes, more snow in Paris on Saturday night and Sunday morning, and again this morning. Lots more. As I went up the hill to the bakery I saw cars slithering across rue Lepic as they tried to make it up La Butte (cars behind, naturally hooting their patiently). There were no anglophone Sunday papers in the newsagent as the delivery folk hadn't been able to 'make it up the hill'. In years to come we'll still be talking about the winter of 2010, when it snowed 10cm and we couldn't make it up the hill. 

Well as usual I had my camera slung round my neck so took a few photos. Jardin Burq was closed but I poked the camera through the fence. It's rare to see this park so quiet and empty.
I then made my way up to Place Ravignan, accompanied by pigeons.
Place Ravignan was looking as gorgeous as ever.

The café at the lower end of the Square had put a few tables outside, but was not anticipating any intrepid smokers.
The Moulin de la Galette looked rather lovely covered in snow.
Square Junot was actually open, surprisingly, but not a lot of action on the climbing frame.
St Denis, or as the 6 year old mysteriously calls him, 'Los Angeles' looked very forlorn.
I walked down the middle of Avenue Junot, because I could!
And eventually I made it to the bakery. Mmmmm...