Paris Focus: Jardin des Plantes

The final post in my Paris series is another short walk in the 5th Arrondissement, taking in the markets and food shops along Rue Mouffetard en route to the Jardin des Plantes, a 400-year-old garden of science.

Our walk began at the Fountain of Guy Lartigue after exiting the Metro at Les Gobelins a short stroll away. First had to be the Rue Mouffetard market and a look at the lovely buildings in this area.

At the far end of the road we reached Place de la Contrescarpe and turned right onto Rue Lacépède. Crossing over Rue Monge, a busy road, we continued along

Rue Lacépède, stopping every now and then to photograph interesting shops and buildings. The lovely wrought-iron balconies a particular favourite of mine. Continue reading Paris Focus: Jardin des Plantes

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Paris Focus: Art and French Lessons

When I saw this painting (well actually NOT the painting as that had been loaned elsewhere) but a copy of it in the Musée de l’Orangerie I was immediately taken back to 1968 when I was a young teenager in a Grammar School near Leeds.

There we had an amazing French teacher who earned himself the nickname of ‘Lurch’ as he was a big, tall chap with short cropped blonde hair and for some reason reminded us of Lurch, the butler,  in the Addams Family programme on TV at the time.

He was a wonderful teacher, making our French lessons fun and interesting, with great humour. One of his comments in my end of year report has stayed with me all my life: “Jude is an excellent conversationalist, just a pity it is not in French“. Saying that I loved languages and especially French, so much so I even went to work as an au pair in Geneva several years later. He unfortunately for us, left to teach in Chad at the end of this school year, leaving us to do our French O level with a rather disappointing replacement.

But back to the painting. One of the ways he taught us the language was by studying scenes or paintings and this was one of them. The teeny  dog, or was it a cat? The family in the cart – where were they going? Who were they? Is that a child or a pet monkey? Such a painting could stimulate many a conversation. In French. Of course 🙂

Paris Focus: Walking the Right Bank Passages

Paris in springtime is what most people think about when the city of Paris pops up. I am sure it is utterly wonderful, strolling alongside the River Seine hand in hand with a loved one, perhaps a river tour on one of the cruise boats, sipping champagne in an old-fashioned intimate restaurant where the waiters wear those long black aprons and hover politely. But what to do when it rains? Paris in the rain can be cold and miserable. Yes, there are the numerous art galleries to visit, but if you have already been there and done that then perhaps a wander through the 19th century ‘Les Passages’ might do the trick.

Put on your walking shoes, hide the credit card and let’s go exploring!

Les Passages

I shall also add the original post to Jo’s Walks

Please leave any comments on the original post.

Paris Focus: Claude Monet’s Water Lilies

This third photo essay about Paris is of the wonderful Water Lily paintings by Monet seen in the Musée de l’Orangerie, Jardin des Tuileries in Paris, France

During the 1920s, the state of France built a pair of oval rooms at the Musée de l’Orangerie as a permanent home for eight water lily murals by Monet.

Outside the museum is the Rodin bronze statue of the ‘Kiss’ (Le Baiser) ‘The Kiss’ was originally inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy and depicts two of its characters; Paolo and Francesca. The sculpture is located just outside the entrance to the Orangerie Museum and is adjacent to the Place de la Concorde.

The bronze sculpture of the ‘Lion crushing a Serpent’ is by Antoine-Louis Barye (1796-1875) in the Jardin des Tuileries close to the back of the museum.

“According to Claude Monet’s own suggestion, the eight compositions were set out in the two consecutive oval rooms. These rooms have the advantage of natural light from the roof, and are oriented from west to east, following the course of the sun and one of the main routes through Paris along the Seine. The two ovals evoke the symbol of infinity, whereas the paintings represent the cycle of light throughout the day.”

I don’t quite know what I was expecting to see, but it wasn’t this.

The Water Lilies: The Clouds

The Water Lilies: Morning

“The painter wanted visitors to be able to immerse themselves completely in the painting and to forget about the outside world.”

The Water Lilies: Green Reflections

The Water Lilies: Setting Sun

“The first room brings together four compositions showing the reflections of the sky and the vegetation in the water, from morning to evening, whereas the second room contains a group of paintings with contrasts created by the branches of weeping willow around the water’s edge.”

The Water Lilies: Morning with Willows

The Water Lilies: Clear Morning with Willows

The Water Lilies: Trees Reflections

The Water Lilies: The Two Willows appears in the header image.

A tip: if you want to visit this museum and Musée d’Orsay, buy your joint ticket here to avoid the usual long queues at the other one.

Source: Musée de l’Orangerie

~wander.essence~  Photography

Paris Focus: A Stroll along the Seine

The second walk in the Paris revivals. This is a walk from the Eiffel Tower alongside the Seine to the Musée de l’Orangerie, criss-crossing the river and stopping at various interesting places along the way. The map above shows the two endpoints but I can’t seem to save the actual route.

Leaving the Metro at Trocadéro I walked through Jardins du Trocadéro and across the bridge to the Eiffel Tower. I had no interest in going up the tower, I think on my first visit in 1972 I went part way up, to the second floor, but you weren’t able to go to the top floor for some reason. No doubt a lot has changed.

I still had a wander around at ground level though, taking photos of the wonderful Jacaranda trees in bloom at the time, as well as the Horse Chestnuts.

I continued along the quayside on the left bank passing by an unusual war memorial to those who lost their lives in the Algerian Wars (the Maghreb region of Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria). This war from 1954 to 1962 led to Algeria gaining its independence from France.

Just along from here is the pretty Debilly footbridge,

but I continued to the next bridge, Pont des Invalides, where I crossed over and into the quaint little Jardin de la Nouvelle France close to the Grand Palais, which is what I came to look at. Continue reading Paris Focus: A Stroll along the Seine