Saturday, 30 April 2011

Multiple faces of the Sacré Cœur

The Sacré Cœur is one of the most visited landmarks in Paris. More than 10 million people visit the Sacré Cœur every year. We were there the day before Easter and it was certainly heaving.
Here is a typical picture post-card view of the Sacré Cœur. Majestic on top of la Butte.
What I love about the Sacré Cœur is the unexpected views, and the way the views change in the different seasons. There are a whole series of views of the church that one can only get in winter when there are no leaves on the trees.
Here is glimpse one can catch of it from our local park. Only visible in winter, and if you happen to look between the two high apartment blocks.
There are the views one gets from different parts of the city. Here is a view from the 19th arrondissement. As the church is quite far away, and this particular view is symmetrical, it almost looks like a flat card board cut out propped up on the ridge of the building in the foreground.
Here is view from the Cimetière St Vincent, behind la Butte.
Here is a view from Boulevard de Rochechouart.
This photo was taken on an October morning. There were many soldiers walking round with machine guns in the square in front of the Sacré Cœur and to add to the general ambiance of gloom, the crows were out in force.
On a brighter note, I think my favourite views of the Sacré Cœur are when it appears, suddenly out of the blue, oddly out of scale.
On rare occasions you might catch a glimpse of its' reflection.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Wonderful Winding Wisteria

On Avenue Junot, a beautiful road that winds up the west of la Butte eventually joining rue Norvins which goes all the way up to the place de Tertre, there is a spectacular villa draped in wisteria. 
In winter, while there are no flowers, the twisted vines wind their way up the building in wooden ropes weaving their way round railings and drainpipes.
This year the first flowers started to bloom at the beginning of April, earlier than last year.
And then a week later, the flowers were tumbling down the villa, and you could only catch glimpses of the coiled twisted branches.
Delicate purple flowers.
Wouldn't it be lovely if the Sacré Cœur was draped in wisteria
For the wisteria obsessed among you, more photos can be seen on my Flickr account here (thumbnails) and here (slideshow)

Friday, 22 April 2011

Spring green

A month or so ago I was looking for spring, and then a few weeks later I found blooms galore. It occurred to me that I shouldn't only be taking photos of spring flowers, but I should also be gathering some 'spring green'. The intense, bright, fresh, yellow-green that we are being treated to so much of at the moment.

We went to the Parc André-Citroën in the 15th the other day and they have coloured themed gardens. One of the colours was green, le jardin vert.

There was plenty of green at the Porte de Montmartre food market the other morning. I bought some of this coriander.

Parc Monceau is a riot of intense colours at the moment with signs of new growth everywhere.

This tree looked fabulous with the bright green against the silvery tree trunk.

The leaves on this tree in the Marais were just opening out, I love the contrast of green against blue.

At Parc de Bercy it was hard to tell which were the greenest, the trees or the pond.

A mallard duck waddles in green in the Square des Batignolles.

Here are some green grass glasses at the Parc Floral.

In Donegal in Ireland you find this intense green in the middle of summer.

Some people take this spring green business so seriously they like to match their bicycle lock, with their bike, with spring green.

Some animals like to be spring green too...with a touch of red, not to overkill.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Sailing boats

The school holidays continue. I think by the end of the two weeks we will have visited every park in Paris. Yesterday it was the Jardin du Luxembourg. Let's just say we weren't the only ones who went. The park was heaving, and I mean HEAVING!

We'd arranged to meet friends by the main pond where the kids can sail boats. The boats were looking very photogenic. They sailed in pairs.
They sailed alone.
They sailed with ducks.
And if you ever wondered what the boats used to look like circa 1969. Well the answer is...EXACTLY the same. Look, even that blue bit at the top is the same!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Parc de la Villette

I went to Parc de la Villette with the kids yesterday. Our plan had been to go to the Jardin de vent et des dunes, a great play area with a wide range of things to leap off...and on...and around. Despite getting there reasonably early (13h30) the place was heaving with approximately 5 gazillion centre loisirs (school holiday centres) with the same idea as us. Pretty quickly the kids said "can we leave, there are too many children." So we did. The Parc de la Villette is huge with big expanses of grass and lots of different 'sub-parks' with plenty of things to leap off...and on...and around.

The most striking building for me in La Villette Cité des Sciences complex is the mirrored Géode omnimax theatre made up from 6433 triangular mirrored panels. It always looks fantastic, whatever the weather. 
The main museum, built in a former abattoir looks stunning as well, especially when the sun is shining.
There are of course the 26 red follies designed by Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi, that lie in a grid across the whole park area.

Yesterday when we were at the park I tried to take some photos that captured some atypical view points and scenes.

Here is the Géode looming with intent.
Here is the globe peeking through a red folly.
We saw some cows.
I saw some lovely light patterns.
The follies through the trees looking intriguing.
I'm not sure what this building is for, but I liked the stripes.
The Grande halle de la Villette is a huge iron and glazed structure, built between 1865 and 1867. It was the former covered market where cattle was sold. It has been completely restored now and houses exhibitions. From the outside.
The park seems to generate mysterious forces every time we go.
You can find more photos of Parc de la Villette on my Flickr account here.