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: 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

Yorkshire Sculpture Park: Part Two

The Cascade bridge (header) divides the lake into two – Upper Lake which leads to a Greek Temple and Shell Grotto and Lower Lake which is larger and has walking tracks through the woods or on the north side a pathway suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. I stayed on the pathway because now the sun had come out and it was becoming quite hot and I was already too tired to take the longer route to the south of the lake.

Lower Lake to the Gate & Dam Head Bridge

Most of the sculptures are located near the YSP centre and around the actual hall, but it is a rather pleasant stroll alongside the lakeside with both natural landscapes and man-made views. A wild flower meadow attracts bees and butterflies and ducks lazily swim by. Continue reading Yorkshire Sculpture Park: Part Two

Yorkshire Sculpture Park: Part One

On a recent visit to South Yorkshire for family reasons I took time out to visit the YSP near Wakefield. I vaguely remember Bretton Hall from my teenage years living in Wakefield, but haven’t been there in donkeys years. Today the park hosts exhibitions both indoors and outdoors as well as permanent sculptures in the grounds.

Anthony Caro “Promenade”

The way one views sculptures, as with many forms of art, is highly subjective. Some I loved, others puzzled me, but the setting is great and if nothing else you get a good workout walking around the different parts of the park.

Outspan by Tony Cragg

Continue reading Yorkshire Sculpture Park: Part One

An amble around Durham’s cathedral

After two lovely sunny days in Lincoln we were ready to carry on northwards. Instead of heading for the A1 immediately we decided to drive through the Lincolnshire countryside via Gainsborough and Bawtry and get onto the A1 near Doncaster. A lot of this region is familiar to me as I grew up in Retford (Notts), Scunthorpe (Lincs) and then moved to Doncaster (S. Yorks) on my return from South Africa. I still managed to get confused on the outskirts of Doncaster though as many of the road routes have altered since I was last there. And then we hit an accident on the A1 and were at a standstill for about an hour!

Eventually though we were about to hit Durham, another city that although I have passed by many times I have never actually visited. My intention was to find the park ‘n ride and bus into the city, but obviously my directional awareness was totally absent on this day as I couldn’t find the site and finished up almost in the city centre where more roadworks were taking place. Heading back out of the city we eventually found the right road (it is next to the A1 but not very well signed) and caught a bus back into the city. It was a very hot day and by the time we had walked up to the castle and cathedral area we were feeling very warm!

Cathedral view from the river
Cathedral view from the river

First stop was to get some lunch and relax! We saw a nice looking café on the Palace Green and found a table outside. After 10 minutes we moved inside to get out of the heat. Now bear in mind this was mid-September in the north-east of the country!

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You are not charged to enter the cathedral, though a donation is suggested, and you are not allowed to take photographs inside either, which was rather disappointing. I did see a few people surreptitiously taking a few shots with their phones and a couple who had cameras were approached, rather more gently than my Lincoln experience.

I did make a few notes and sketches though:
Prior Castell’s clock – a highly decorative wooden clock; the shrine of St Cuthbert; huge pillars carved in a diamond or chevron pattern in the nave; coloured marble floors and a lectern stand with pink and green marble pillars and heraldic lions at the base. Inserts of patterned marble and bands adorn the upper columns. Shrines with traces of the medieval paint in red and blue… Lindisfarne Gospels

Cloisters - the windows would once have contained clear and stained glass
Cloisters – the windows would once have contained clear and stained glass

On entering the cloisters, where the monks would have once passed daily on their way to the Chapter House, the Monk’s Dormitory, Scriptorium, Refectory and Great Kitchen, I decided the photography rules no longer applied. The shadows on the stone slabs were far too tempting and how could I resist the flat wooden ceiling with shields at the intersections of each cross beam and the golden angels near the Chapter House.

More notes: Arched shadows form on the wide stone floor as the hot sun beams down on the cloisters. Wooden pews line the walls and marks in the stonework indicate that possibly a recess has been blocked up. Maybe where the monks stored their books? A pipistrelle bat flies down the passageways and surprises me – I have never seen one at this time of day before. Maybe the darkness in here confuses it into thinking it is dusk. Dust motes float in the air and I can almost imagine the slapping of the sandals of the monks from distant times in the all-pervading silence.

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We exited the cloisters into a Memorial Garden which stands on the site of the Monastic buildings. A young lad sat peacefully on the bench studying his text book in the sunshine whilst we soaked in the colour and the beauty of the roses still flowering in September.

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The Ypres Rose
The Ypres Rose

Brought back from Ypres in 1917 by Lieutenant H J W Scott 5th BN:DLI. Since then it has travelled with the Scott family from Essex to Surrey and to Cornwall. Presented to this garden of remembrance by his son Mr O T Scott. Planted on Remembrance Sunday 1978.

College Green is a quiet area on the south side of the cathedral, it has a very beautiful secluded village like quality to it, with the houses being the home to members of Durham’s Dean and Chapter. Many of the buildings surrounding the Green originated in the Middle Ages.

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An arched gateway on the east side known historically as the Abbey Gates also called Prior Castell’s Gatehouse of 1495-1519 leads into the street called the Bailey. The gate is still locked each night. It has some delightful carvings on the ceiling.

The south western corner of the College is the home to the Durham Chorister School. This was originally established as a song school around 1390. Former pupils of this school have included the former Prime Minister Tony Blair and the actor, Rowan Atkinson most noted for his role in the BBC comedy Blackadder and as the comedy character Mr Bean.

As usual, colourful doors and interesting windows caught my eye as we made our way back to the Palace Green where we could catch the cathedral bus back to the Park ‘n Ride stop.

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For some inexplicable reason I failed to get a shot of the full west face of the cathedral (I have a vague recollection that there was scaffolding around some of it). To see some images of the cathedral then please visit this site.

These memorial crosses near the cathedral did manage to catch my eye. I was particularly drawn to the rather arts and crafts style of carving on the larger cross.

IF YOU ENJOY A WALK, LONG OR SHORT, THEN HAVE A LOOK AT JO’S SITE WHERE YOU ARE WELCOME TO JOIN IN WITH HER MONDAY WALKS.