For those of you reading this blog for the science, this post will probably not be your cup of tea. For those who are reading for the travel experiences, read on…
A couple of posts ago I featured some images of an intact Notre Dame. Well, here is the old lady now, cleaned up & wearing splints & bandages… still magnificent from the outside. Dread to think what she is like on the inside…
I took the above image from the Tour de Montparnasse the other weekend. Funny thing is that on so many visits to Paris, I have never managed to get to this landmark. The tower is quite an eyesore on the Paris landscape. That said, the views of the city from it are magnificent, so this time I made sure I stopped in there. Below are some other images taken from it – yes, yes, I know – shameless touristic images… …a nice view of the Grand Palais with the Petit Palais seen partly on the right side of the image below.
Invalides, Ste Sulpice & of course, the Tour Eiffel itself.
And not to mention plenty of views also of the intricate layout of Parisian streets & buildings…
Hard to not get carried away with the camera when confronted with a view like that… I need to get back there once more at night time. Speaking of night time, I have been experimenting with taking some pictures from my kitchen window of the Eiffel Tower at night. Quite a business to do – had to put a stool in front of the window & balance the camera with long lens on a pile of books, but worth the effort because at night on the hour, for five minutes the Tower shimmers with light. Beautiful to see. Hard to photograph.
My project now is to try to shoot a video of the shimmering. First attempts not bad, but not yet fit for public consumption. Need to do more work… stay tuned.
This last weekend I went to a light show/installation at Atelier des Lumières in the 11th arrondisement [see https://www.atelier-lumieres.com/ ]. There were 3 shows, with the main one being Van Gogh, La nuit étoilée [Starry night] a visual compilation by Gianfranco Iannuzzi, Renato Gatto & Massimiliano Siccardi with music selected by Luca Longobardi.
A number of Van Hogh’s images have been selected for this compilation. The images have clearly been sampled at ultra-high resolution & parts of them have also been extracted. The dynamic compilation overlays & mixes these images in a delightful visual kaleidoscope for the viewer. Images are projected onto the walls & floor of the building.
The ~3000 m2 building in which the Atelier des Lumières is today used to be a foundry in the 1800s. It started out as the La fonderie du Chemin-Vert in 1835 & was run by the three brothers of the Pierre family. It’s main clients were in the maritime & railway industries & at it’s peak the foundry had 60 employees. It closed in the 1900s & the space was ‘discovered’ in the 2000s & fashioned into a place where these light installations could take place on a regular basis.
Of the three light shows, one of the others Japon rêvé, images du monde flottant [Japan dreamed, images of a floating world] by L. Frigola, C. Péri, S. Carrubba, P. Ciucci from the Danny Rose Studio was the one that really impressed me. The images were colorful & very traditional & of course, larger than life.
This visual art installation/animation really made the images come to life. Here are a couple of brief videos that I shot of this visual animation/installation.
This last weekend I was also able to pay a visit to the Russian Orthodox Cathedral [http://www.cathedrale-orthodoxe.com/ ]. I have wanted to visit this church for a long time. It is in the 8th arrondisement – literally up the road from my favorite chocolatier in Paris – Chocolat Bonnat, of which I have enthused about in earlier posts. It is located in a very quiet, but stylish, neighborhood. Indeed, there are a few Russian shops surrounding it & the street that runs into it is named after Peter the Great [Rue Pierre Le Grand].
A decree by Tsar Alexander I on the 12th of February 1816 paved the way for the eventual establishment of an Orthodox place of worship by the diplomatic mission in Paris. It was designed to serve the wider Orthodox community, not just for worshippers of Russian origin. A considerable time passed before two adjacent parcels of land were bought in 1857-1858 & a design by 2 reputable architects was created [both were members of l’Académie des Beaux-arts of St Petersburg]. The first stone was laid in March 1859 & the building was finally finished in August 1861. The cathedral was dedicated to the memory of St. Alexander Yaroslavich Nevsky [1221-1263] – a military hero for his victories over German and Swedish invaders among other things. He was canonized as a saint of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1547. [for more information on this intriguing man see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Nevsky]. I am only showing you some lovely pics from the outside of the building. Cameras are not permitted inside – but I can assure you that the interior is beautiful & well worth a visit.
On the way out, in the church grounds I was approached by a four-legged worshipper, wanting a pat…
Being in the 8th arr., the church is also a stone’s throw from the Arc de Triomphe & Avenue des Champs-Élysées. The Sunday I visited the church was also the 1st Sunday of the month – a day when the Champs-Élysées is usually closed to cars & is opened up to foot traffic. Weird seeing it like that. It is also pretty quiet too – no tooting of car horns etc.
That said, if you miss that sort of thing just head to the nearby Arc de Triomphe & the cobblestone roundabout that allows 12 avenues to meet. Every time I stand there I am amazed at the seemingly haphazard traffic pattern, yet I have never seen a bingle there… everyone seems to instinctively know that to do when going around it – probably doing defensive driving :).
The day was the hottest we have had so far: 33 deg C – summer temperatures to be sure. [Glad I am not going to the semi-finals of the French Open this year…] I retired to a nice little neighborhood park in the 8th arr. – a park I discovered on a previous visit as part of my chocolate odyssey. It is a small one & only the residents around there seem to use it. It is actually part of the grounds & gardens of a stately mansion & the gardens are open to the public. When I went there on Sunday afternoon there were still a lot of nice empty benches in the shade & families were just chillin’ out on the grass having their picnic Sunday lunches. Everyone was in a good mood, despite the heat & the breeze in the park was very pleasant.
I must say that I have re-discovered the pleasure of going to a park. I did it last year when I was here as well – to escape the heat of my non-airconditioned 6th floor apartment. I am so very fortunate to have a really beautiful & huge park near my apartment. It is delightful to sit outside & catch up on reading & also contemplate life…
As I was walking back to get the metro to go home, I came across the most amazing building – Art Nouveau gone wild – the Ceramic Hotel no less [check it out – looks like a nice place to stay… https://ceramic-paris-hotel.com/]. Built in 1904 – accordingly to the inscription in the stone. It is a creation in stone & tile & it channels Gaudi – for me at least. As the images below show, it is quite astounding.
So this was a little bit of tourism sandwiched in a trip that is very heavy on the work side. Always grateful for opportunities like this. It is part of the privilege of being a scientist.