Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Galeries Lafayette Glass and Steel Dome

I was at Les Galeries Lafayette in the run up to Christmas this year and promised myself that after going to the toy section on the 5th floor I'd treat myself to having a look at the glass and steel dome from up close. Once on the top floor I noticed a small inconspicuous flight of stairs that lead me to the roof terrace of the huge and infamous department store. In all the 21 years I've lived in Paris I have never been on this terrace. 

This is what the dome looks like from the outside. Isn't it fantastic? It looks like a UFO has just landed.

Looking west from the roof terrace you see more domes of the other Galeries Lafayette stores, with the red tipped dome of l'Église Saint Augustin in the background.

Looking south you see Opéra Garnier from the back. It seems so close.

Looking north you see l'Église de la Trinité.

South-west, you can see the gold dome of les Invalides and the Big Wheel at Concorde. The dome to the left in this photo is l'Église de Notre Dame de l'Assomption.

Looking down, there are stripes. 

Back inside the department store you can get a good look at the glass work of the cupola from the 'outside'.

And then back down the 4th floor you can get a good look at the spectacular hanging Christmas tree. 

For more photos of the glass cupola in les Galeries Lafayette click here

Friday, 19 December 2014

Soothing Stone

In contrast to my last post where I gathered together shiny images, today I have gathered some images of creamy golden stone. They sooth me. 

I walked past an apartment block on our street for nine years without noticing this lovely detail. Then one day, when walking on the other side of the road it came into my field of vision. Moral of the story? Change the side of the road you usually walk along, you may see something new!

Here is one of the windows in the Église Saint-Eustache, near Les Halles in Paris' 1st arrondissement. A heart with some intricate carving below.

The next two images are of the Palais du Luxembourg, in the Jardin du Luxembourg.

The facade of the Palais de Chaillot by Trocadero.

A stone wall in the Jardin des Tuileries.

The facade of the Basilica Cathedral of St Denis.

The Pont Neuf.

And finally a crow, pauses on the borders of the Seine.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Shiny Things Around Paris

On this wet rainy Friday I've gathered together some shiny things to try and cheer you up.

Some light switches at an antiques market at Place des Abbesses.

Cycle Reinor Standard.

Silver spoons.

The Géode at La Villette science museum, viewed from the south-east.

Viewed from the north-west.

Water droplets on our balcony eucalyptus tree.

A magnificent pegasus at the end of Pont Alexandre III.

A burst coffee capsule. Finezzo lungo perhaps?

And finally the cupola at Galeries Lafayette with the inverted Christmas tree glowing blue.

And finally, some mandatory shiny éclairs. Bon weekend!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Wonderful Wooden Bridge

For centuries a wooden bridge has crossed Lake Zürich at its narrowest point between Rapperswil and Hurden. Timber piles found on the lakebed indicate that there was some kind of crossing at this point that dates back to 1523BC. How such a precise date can be given is a mystery to me, but there you have it, this is what historians say! The wooden bridge was part of The Way of Saint James, a short cut across the lake that pilgrims took on their way to the Monastery in Einsiedeln and eventually onto Compostela in Spain. 

In 2001 the 841 metre long wooden walkway was reconstructed and is now apparently the longest wooden bridge in Europe. 

When we were there in October we approached the bridge from the southern side of the lake by Rapperswil. 

The bridge kinks in a few places. After the first hundred metres or so the steel cable handrail moves to the other side.

Looking south.

Looking north.

Wood used to build the bridge apparently came from trees that had fallen in the 1999 hurricane Lothar. The bridge is simple, elegant and beautiful.

Away from traffic on the main causeway this walkway is very peaceful. A perfect place to mediate and reflect. Indeed we saw a few people doing just this. The main sounds were of water lapping against the wooden pillars and of chirping birds. We were lucky the weather was so perfect.

Looking east we saw snow covered mountains in the distance.

Looking west we saw Zürich in the far distance.

Looking down we saw snow white feathers.

More lake photos can be seen hereSailing Swans

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Sailing Swans

Across Lake Zürich between Rapperswil and Hurden is a wooden walkway. The walkway follows the path that Jacob pilgrims took on their way to Santiago de Compostela as far back as 1523BC. The walkway itself, reconstructed in 2001, is beautifully crafted out of oak (more on the walkway in another post) and the views you get from the bridge are magnificent. We were lucky enough to go on a cloudless day where we were accompanied by coots and swans. Lots of swans.

We noticed that all the swans were gliding back and forth across the water with their wings puffed up. A little bit of research shows that ... 'The wings of a swan form a sail at each side, between which the current of the wind passes, and thus acts upon them with much more effect than it does upon the sails which apply to vessels.' (The British cyclopaedia of ... )

Once the swans had reached where they wanted to go, they fed, nibbling at weeds on the bottom of the lake. Perfectly clear emerald green water.

On thy fair bosom, silver lake! 
The wild swan spreads his snowy sail, 
And round his breast the ripples break, 
As down he bears before the gale.
James Gates Percival, 1795 - 1856