Back to Paris! As I mentioned previously, the first half of my trip was spent with Andrew, the second half with my friend Julie. With my camera always in hand, I snapped photos as we wandered the streets. Images in this post are from days one through four, my wanderings with Andrew.
This beautiful steeple belongs to Sainte-Chapell: "a royal chapel in the Gothic style, within the medieval Palais de la Cité, the residence of the Kings of France until the 14th century (source)."
This photo, from a cloudy day, shows the Conciergerie next door: "La Conciergerie was originally built as a medieval palace and later became infamous during the Reign of Terror as "the antechamber to the guillotine" — a prison where hundreds of people were held before being executed. Marie Antoinette was famously imprisoned in la Conciergerie during the weeks before she was beheaded (source)." The line to tour was crazy long!
Of course you recognize this, Notre-Dame, also on the Île de la Cité (one of two islands in the Seine, at the heart of Paris).
It is a beautiful building.
Especially against a blue sky.
But frankly I saw so many beautiful churches in Italy I just don't know that I can get too excited about them any longer.
This is the best photo I took of the "flying buttresses" on the back of the building. Okay, I have to admit they were remarkable.
The center of the Square René Viviani features a fountain by French sculptor, Georges Jeanclos (1933–1997)...
Borrowing from the Wiki: "Inside the square, there are two features, other than the lawns, walkways, well-trimmed plane trees, and benches, that deserve a mention here. There is an odd-looking fountain, known as the Saint Julien fountain, that was erected in 1995...and it is emblematic of the legend of St. Julien the Hospitaller, a tale, now largely discounted, involving a curse by witches, a talking deer, a case of mistaken identity, an horrific crime, several improbable coincidences, and a supernatural intervention." Of course I read that after we'd visited. In person it just struck me as an incredibly odd sculpture.
"The other feature worthy of note is an ancient tree that is surrounded by a circular curbstone. The Robinia pseudoacacia, a species commonly known as a locust tree, is believed to have been planted by its namesake, Jean Robin (1550–1620), in 1601; if so, it has now been standing on the rive gauche for over four hundred years. It is supported by two concrete crutches. The tree lost its upper branches to a shell during World War I, but it proves its continuing vitality by blooming every year. Despite some speculation about its true age, it is universally recognized as the oldest tree in the city." That's it over by the church.
I wish I could have seen it leafed out, or even blooming.
The buildings were a constant source of fascination.
There must have been something valuable growing in there once?
Andrew was enthralled with the size of the gargoyles looming off the sides of many buildings. "They're old, what happens when one falls off?"... ya, that would be a day you'd remember. Or not.
Naturally I was taken with the plants on balconies and window ledges.
I snapped this photo mainly for the "Gaz" plaque, in honor of my friend Gaz of Alternative Eden fame. My handy Google Translate app then told me the sign says "gas on all floors" and I started to notice "Gaz" signs all around...
Now those are some tall roof-top plantings!
Wish I could have gotten up there to see it all in person.
Love this entrance!
And this building! The Arab World Institute
And this tile work in a restaurant we ate at one night. Unfortunately the food was not nearly as nice as the tile.
Since I frequently complain about our in-fill housing here in Portland — the style is typically completely incongruous with the surrounding buildings — Andrew pointed out this building. I love the look, do you?
This row of buildings even seems to coordinate with the bridge balustrades...
On the Seine, near the Eiffel Tower, I spotted this boat and did a double take.
Yep, that's a miniature Statue of Liberty...
On Andrew's last day in Paris we set off for The Bazar de l'Hôtel de Ville, BVH for short. This photo is of the Hotel de Ville itself, which it has been the headquarters of the municipality of Paris since 1357. It serves multiple functions, housing the local administration, the Mayor of Paris (since 1977), and also serves as a venue for large receptions (source).
Over there is our destination, LE BHV MARAIS. I am a little hesitant to rave about a department store but wow. WOW. There's a detailed history of the store here, and to say that it has everything EVERYTHING you could want is not an exaggeration. Deigner clothing, housepaint, curtain rods, potting soil, lumber, underwear, fancy shoes, a DIY lighting bar, it was amazing. I bought my "Eiffel Tower vase" here as well some gorgeous dish towels and and a fancy wireless speaker for my iPhone.
In the toy department I fell hard for the Parisian Restaurant set. Check that thing out!
The Brick Bank looked pretty fun too.
This Anthurium version could be yours for 42Euro...
Lots of terrariums too, the plants did look healthy.
Cork Cactus! My purchases were carefully considered for pack-ability and this didn't make the cut. However I just ordered one off Amazon! I'll be using a different container though.
The lighting department had a ton of high-style designer fixtures, but they also had this.
And they even had windows to the outside world, which seem unusual for a department store, at least those in the U.S.. On one of the upper floors I enjoyed this view of neighboring terracotta chimney pots that seemed to go on forever. On tomorrow's post I'll share images of a green wall I spotted from another window.
Back on the streets, I'm such a Protea fan I even notice them in places like this.
The flowers are better than the dress IMHO...
After shopping, and lunch, Andrew and I went our separate ways. He headed to the Louvre and I walked up to the Le Jardin du Luxembourg (that's a post for another day). Later, on my way back to the hotel, I spotted the Panthéon: "originally built as a church dedicated to St. Genevieve and to house the reliquary châsse containing her relics but, after many changes, now functions as a secular mausoleum containing the remains of distinguished French citizens (source)."
There was another long line of people waiting to get inside, I just enjoyed wandering around the outside.
Especially when I spotted these!
Weather Diary, Feb 26: Hi 46, Low 34/ Precip .18"
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