Friday, 29 June 2012

Sacré Surprises

A few weeks ago I was at Dreyfus, an enormous fabric shop at the bottom of the main stairs that lead up to the Sacré Cœur. I was looking for some tapestry canvas for my mum and had worked my way up, floor by floor, until I was in the luxury furniture fabric section on the fifth floor. As I was casting my eyes around the massive bolts of fabric I looked out of the window and saw this.

A view of the Sacré Cœur one doesn't usually get! Usually you need to be far away to see the whole mass of the Sacré Cœur with all its' domes, towers and turrets. 

Here is a photo I took from the Pompidou centre. 

Sunday two weeks ago, we were up by the Sacré Cœur and by chance we stumbled upon a small kermesse (fete/jumble sale) in the gardens of the Église St Pierre de Montmartre, the much older but the lesser known church at the haunches of the Sacré Cœur. These gardens are usually closed to the public so I was excited to be able to go inside and get some new - to me - views fo the Sacré Cœur. 

I'm always on the look out for these unexpected or unusual views of the church. Last week we were walking home from a Capoeira festival in the eastern part of the 18th. We took a wrong turn down a cul-de-sac but were recompensed by getting this view (well I was, the kids were less impressed!).

Here is a view from the 19th arrondissement.

Here is a tiny peek of the dome, as seen from the 10th.

And then zooming back in again, I can offer you this. Dome and chimneys.

Dome and heart.

From the gardens of the Église St Pierre de Montmartre I noticed the Sacré Cœur still seems to be for sale. You can just see the barcode at the bottom righthand side of the door. I think, however, it might be a little large for our family of four.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Buren's Magnificent Monumenta 2012

I've been seeing amazing photos over the past months showing the Monumenta 2012 exhibition by Daniel Buren, currently on at the Grand Palais. When I found out last week that the exhibition finishes on the 21st of June I realised I needed to stop procrastinating and go. 

We went at midday on a Wednesday and there was no queue, we just walked straight in. This is what you first see as you walk in. We were lucky that the sun was shining when we arrived so the shadows cast on the ground were clear and sharp.

We went with the kids (which I would highly recommend if you can find some). As we walked in we said to the kids that if they got lost we should meet......hey come back!

Daniel Buren who designed the exhibition is a French conceptual artist born in 1938. He also designed, the striped column sculpture in the great courtyard of the Palais Royal in 1986. This one.

The Grand Palais was built for the Universal exhibition of 1900. Construction began in 1897. It was built at the same time as the Petit Palais and the Pont Alexandre III just near by. The building was constructed in the architectural style of the Beaux Arts. In parts it is incredibly over the top and fancy.

What is most striking about the building is the vast glass roof vault, one of the biggest and oldest in Europe. 

This photo, taken from the gallery, helps to understand what on earth is going on.

Underneath the central glass dome are a series of giant circular horizontal mirrors raised about 10cms above the ground. They reflect the ceiling of the Grand Palais. If you're in any way vertiginous, walking across these mirrors is not for you!

Our son didn't mind, he thought he was flying!

Our daughter tried to do a handstand but said it was too scary, imagine diving 50 odd metres into a shallow glass dome. She did manage a cartwheel, however.

If you're in Paris before the 21st June 2012 I urge you to go, it's really impressive.

Details of exhibition with details about opening hours and tarifs etc. can be found here.

More details about the Monumenta exhibitions can be found here.

Friday, 8 June 2012

There's an elephant on the loose!

What is this I see before me?

If I didn't know any better I'd think it was an elephant.

Isn't he lovely?! And happy.

The Montmartre Elephant lives lived in Rue Gabrielle,  Paris 18th.

A week later I went to see if the elephant was still there. This is what I found. Sigh.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Beautiful Bollards

Rue de l'Abreuvoir, just north-west of the Sacré Cœur is beautiful. A cobbled road that gently winds up the hill behind the famous white church on La Butte. Here it is in the early morning sun. Quite a far cry from the Haussmannian boulevards in the centre of Paris?

For the past eight years there have been major changes to the traffic circulation round these small Montmartoise roads. On Sundays cars are no longer allowed into the Lepic/Abbesses neighbourhood unless they're there for a reason i.e. their owners live there. They have changed the traffic direction of many of the roads which means that these narrow streets no longer get used as a thoroughfare to cross the hill, La Butte

Bollards have been put up everywhere to stop cars parking half on the road, half on the pavement.

I can't believe I'm writing about bollards and traffic. YAWN...Bear with me!

Somebody has been having fun with these street bollards.

They have been very carefully painted. No colour used more than once.

Aren't they lovely?

This is a common form of Parisian street art. These polka dots were added by an after school art club that our kids went to last year. They start them off young.

This is more of a railing than a bollard, but I thought it was worth an entry. A giant silver scoubidou.

And last but not least, les girafes. Somebody has taken a lot of time over these!