Sunday, July 18, 2010

Paris - Aux les interieurs.

And so begins our inside tour of Paris - with a self-portrait of the artist - off a Gaudi designed mirror - inside le Musee d'Orsay.

Don Quixote & Sancho Panza. Sometimes, as humans, we can just commiserate with great works of art & literature, n'est ce pas?

This painting was huge on a wall, and deep in scope. Young knight in a field of fairies. Look for their reflections in his armor...

JOB cigarette wrappers. Original '60s psychadelic artowork. Seeing this brought to mind my good friend and artist - Pat.

Very awesome trippy '60s wall piece.

Risque, but uncensored. A smashing good time.

Now onto statues. This one, also inside le Musee d'Orsay, is made totally of a single block of stone! The folds of the cloth are insanely delicate.. and dare I say of marble..?

I'd love to meet the sculptor here - especially after noticing he included a self-portrait.

This incredible sculpture spanned about 10' if I recall correctly, including the croc's tail. Truly, this was the work of a master craftsman; the detail is painfully exquisite.

A counter to the dramatic, this statue's ecstacy was contagious. Victory!

Working in the field of wastewater, I felt, understandably, a special appreciation for this lapis-inlaid bronze & wood toilet bowl. I saw no bidet, however...

This was a scaled model of the stage section of the famous Paris Opera House. Imagine this life-sized, and the notoriety of the performances there, and you only begin to understand the masterful design..

... especially when its placed in context to the rest of the Opera House. Another scaled model, with the entire stage section taking.. center stage. HA!

This book on display catalogued a number of psychadelic font-types chronicled by a 60's-ers artist. I again thought of Pat here, who taught me an appreciation for font-type and those few artists who still design the literal shape of the words we read.

31 January 2010 - Despite Chris's gastronomic malaise, he managed to get out today for a visit to Le Musee d'Orsay for an afternoon visit. Afterwards, after a direct trip to the hotel, the remaining trekkers went for a Greek new years dinner in Le Quartier Latin. It was spectacular, and by midnight we arrived at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, along with tens-of-thousands of others there for festivities. Police were everywhere but it was enjoyable none-the-less.

The following day, our crew again broke ranks. Mom & brother returned to Madrid for the last few days of our stay; Chris & I stayed in Paris another night, to return by train the day after the next. Chris remained laid out, so I took the day to do laundry and walk around the 14eme Arondissement, or the 14th District. I found some of the most decadent and delcious pastries at a local bakery open just long enough for me to enjoy some treats before returning to the hostel. I also discovered a few great eatieries and got to know a mostly residential, if not older Parisian neighborhood. I'm certain my French improved by watching & repeating after several French-dubbed American films through the day. I wonder what the hosts thought of us, cooped up in there for 2 whole nights basically without going far.

By 2 January Chris was well enough to stand & walk; even EAT! That day also our wonderful host (see previous post) and now friend met us for the afternoon, after dumping bags at train station. He took us all over central Paris and showed us some great little spots in a hip, albeit touristy section of the city. It was the perfect end to a bittersweet first visit to Paris. Certainly more to follow!

Here, inside a side-chamber of Notre Dame, with ancient but intricate stained glass. I believe this section's windows survived thru several centuries of war & revolution.

Magnificent and awe-inspiring arches and cieling holding up the central chamber of the infamous Notre Dame. A testament to ancient pioneers of masonry, architecture, & engineering.

A nice nativity scene inside Notre Dame, included for posterity.. I can't believe it's been almost a year since my visit.

A whispy but opulent iron gate behind which mysterious beams of light play in a large side chamber off the main room in Notre Dame.

More of the incredible architecture inside Notre Dame. It's so high light nary reaches the domed, cavernous cielings. Well worth a visit!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ah, Paris... dehors.

A sliver of the abundant splendor that is Parisian food - healthy, clean meats & fresh vegetables. Don't buy from late-night supermarches.

Street musicians of the indigenous Andean variety - in Paris! - between platforms in the Metro.

Another of my favorite photos. Should've stopped in here for treats.

A near-universal staple of daily life worldwide - a farmer's & street market. Not many share this one's backdrop, though.

Another apparent staple - meaning a local political party office, not so much socialism - of Parisian life. 14eme Arrondisement, Paris, France.

More evidence of Parisians' active civic engagement.

Subway art, of the left-wing variety. The industrious Soviet hen that lays the golden egg.

30 December 2009 - In Barcelona, our party split. My brother & mom took the crow's route, while Chris & I took the overland route by overnight train. We arrived at Gare Austerlitz train station early Wednesday morning and met my mom & brother at a pretty swanky pad they found near the American Embassy. Fancy as it was, it was while here where Chris got ill - a condition that marked nearly his entire stay in Paris. Until, of course, the last day.
But in the meantime, I was able to get out & explore some of the City with Mom & the brother. The Latin Quarter, Notre Dame, New Years at la Tour Eiffel, FOOD!, Musee d'Orsay, cafe's, & even a guided afternoon tour through the hippest parts of town including Paris's own San Francisco-equivalent district. Because of that and despite Chris's ailments, holiday-induced lack of activities, & a general seasonal gloominess, Paris was perhaps my other most favorite part of my first European adventure. Our afternoon host/guide was extremely generous with his time, knowledge, & patience (especially with all my questions).

Plaza around la Tour Eiffel, circa 12:10am, January 1, 2010.

Statues, edifices, monuments... and Chris! Oh my. Near la Concorde.

Interesting configuration of Parisian skyline on a foggy day.

La Tour Eiffel, du glace (ice).

Chris, Peace Park, & Eiffel Tower.

Near la Tour Eiffel, with mochila.

View from beneath. New Years Day, 2010.

Happy Holidays at le Champs Elysee, Paris. (Sponsored by - look close - Mastercard & GE)

One of the major train stations in Paris; from where we arrived & departed.

Trash barge passing along le Seine.

Evening view from across le Seine.

Lovely backside... of Notre Dame.

Headless statue over elaborate front facade of Notre Dame.

More statuary over Notre Dame entrance.

Central entryway into Notre Dame.

Renowned Place St. Michel, metro archways & all, in Paris' infamous Quartier Latin.

Baroque fountain of St. Michel, demonslaying. The square where its situated, Place St. Michel, was declared an independent state during the 1968 Paris revolution.

Statue of the Good Samaritan, outside le Louvre in the Jardin de Tuileries

Full frontal minotaur slaying, Jardin de Tuileries.

Centre Georges Pompidou, another center for Parisian art & culture.

Here's some public rubbish containers to be proud of - low impact & sortable.

Non-QWERTY keyboard.

Street art, Parisian gangster style.

More street art - "Natures Revenge".