Friday, 30 March 2012

Église St Pierre de Montmartre

Everybody knows the Sacré Cœur, the white church situated up on the second highest point in Paris (the highest point is in Belleville). Less well know is the church just behind the Sacré Cœur, Église Saint Pierre de Montmartre. It is thought to be one of the oldest churches in Paris, built between 1133 and 1147. The church can be seen from the famous Place de Tertre.

When I go up la Butte to the Place de Tertre for my early morning strolls I often go into the Église St Pierre de Montmartre. I love the simple creamy stone vaults. Unlike the Sacré Cœur it is usually empty. Calm and peaceful. 

I love the stain glass windows by Maurice Max-Ingrand in 1953.

Intense rich colours.




Earlier this week when I was there, I noticed their candles.

They also have red candles. Those of you who regularly follow my blog will know that I'm partial to red.

So while the Sacré Cœur steals the lime light, the Église St Pierre de Montmartre is definitely worth a visit, especially if you want a quiet moment to yourself. Do you have a special quiet spot where you like to go in Paris?

Thursday, 22 March 2012

School Run Snippets

It is light again on the school run in the mornings, the sun has a kiss of warmth, spring is in the air. Time to head up to the Sacré Cœur to savour some of the fresh morning air and big hazy skies. 

The shadows were crisp and well defined, sharp and tangled.

Curled and straight.



The early morning light on typical Parisan facades makes me think of white icing.

I think I like the Sacré Cœur most first thing in the morning, a hazy silhouette against the pale blue sky, appearing out of nowhere.

A bauble.

Standing among friends.

Spring is most definitely on her way.

Like an angel.

At this time in the morning, even the cats come out to play.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Parisian Horses

A week in the mountains in Switzerland staying on a horse farm, has left me contemplating horses. I know very little about them, but appreciate and am seduced by their beauty. For the first year of our daughter's schooling in Paris she went to a school on the Isle Saint Louis. This school was in the catchment area for the Garde Républicaine. Half the pupils were children of Republican Guards. Our daughter was always berating her dad because he 'didn't even have a horse'. Well. No.

Once you start to look, Paris has its' fair share of horses. There are stone ones. Here is winged horse (one of a pair) by the main entrance into the Jardin des Tuileries on the Place de Concorde. It represents Mercury and was sculpted by Antoine Coysevox  in 1719. Unusually, the rider has a seagull on his head rather than a pigeon.

And then there are bronze horses. This one is also on the Place de Concorde. I love its' wild mane blowing in the wind.

On the Champs-Élysées side of the grand Palais are two bronze horses pulling a chariot depicting immortality over time. I'm a big fan of patinated green and am impressed with the motion captured by sculpter Georges Récipon.

Here is a bronze statue we saw at the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen. Its' grimace is rather scary and I think it's a little large for our balcony. So...we won't be buying it.

Then there are wooden horses to be found on the traditional old manèges (merry go rounds) around the city.

This ceramic horse is in the Horse museum at Chantilly (more real-live-horse photos in Chantilly can be found here), 40kms north of Paris. I loves its' muzzle. It's not soft and silky to touch...but to look at, yes.

Then of course there are the beautifully gilded horses. On a sunny day they look absolutely stunning. This winged horse is on the Pont Alexandre III.


And this horse, which I spotted on a side road in the 18th's not a horse.

Saturday, 10 March 2012


No, not those shingles, these shingles. The wooden ones.

While in Switzerland we passed quite a few old farm houses with wooden shingle cladding. Can you imagine how labour intensive they are to fix? And then throw in a carved detail like this one.

There are quite a few examples of contemporary shingles, they are mostly crude and not very attractive, though there are exceptions like these.

My brother took us to a small village with several old farms nestled into the hills that rise steeply from lake Lucerne. 

All the houses were made of timber. In some cases very VERY old timber.

Rough and textural.

Everything made out of wood.

Well not quite everything.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Snow, ice and blue blue skies

So we're back in Paris after our skiing holiday, curtesy of my brother who lives in Switzerland. The sun shone for us more or less non stop and I now feel recharged and ready to cope until spring, when the days get longer and the sun warmer. This is what the sky was like most days.

Through the car windscreen it looked like this.

With bright sun came sharp shadows.

There were windy days where the snow whipped up like egg whites.

Here is a photograph I took from the chair lift, more waves.

On some days there were hazy clouds.

Of course there was ice.

And icicles.