Le Printemps à Paris

Le Printemps à Paris

It has been a while since I have managed to sit down and write a blog post, and to my lovely readers I apologise! The last few weeks have been busy, and despite all this chaos, we are finally catching the first glimpses of Spring here in Paris (aka. Printemps en Francais). It may not be April just yet, but we are indeed experiencing more rain at the moment – sigh. Moving on from weather issues…

As I mentioned, my somewhat hectic schedule has been a fun one! Two weekends ago I was blessed to have my parents come and visit me in Paris. As it was both Mother’s day on the Sunday, as well as Mum’s birthday, we made the most of the time we had together. This included venturing to the Marché aux puces de Saint-Ouen and the Puces de Vanves Marché, which both have amazing trinkets and antiques on offer. For those who don’t know my father, he has a little (‘little’ being gigantic) passion for collecting records, and so these markets were somewhat like stepping into Paradise! Albeit it overpriced compared to his usual experiences at British car-boots. We also had pre-booked tickets to go and see the ‘David Bowie Is’ exhibition that is currently on a world-wide tour. Having grown up listening to Bowie, and with a father and uncle who are big fans, I was extremely excited to attend. We were unfortunate to not be able to see the exhibition in the V&A when it was in London, with mum and I instead going to the cinema for a tour of the exhibition – without having to leave Liverpool or our seats! It was great to have my parents over, not only to celebrate my mum’s birthday and because I’ve missed them, but also to be treated out for some nice food!

During the week, I met up with Emily Guerry, one of my old tutors from York who was visiting Paris with her current students from Cambridge University. I was delighted to be able to join Emily and her pupils on some of their visits. On the Monday we met at the Musée Cite de l’architecture et du patrimoine and examined the many Romanesque and Gothic reliefs; Tuesday morning saw me join them for a visit to the Abbey de Saint-Germain which is very close to my language school; and on the Friday I headed with the group to Laon to see the fantastic cathedral (as well as going to a lovely dinner that night!). Spending much time with fellow medievalists got me all excited for getting back to further study next year and continuing researching something that I am so passionate about.

The following weekend (this one just gone) also welcomed Sally, an old friend from school. I haven’t seen Sally in person for around 3 years, and so it was awesome to see her in the flesh and not on my Skype screen. Sally is also an Au Pair, but in Berlin, so she knows the routine that I am currently in. Due to her flight arriving the same time I collect the children from school, Sally had to jump in the car and come for the ride! The plus of this was that I gave her an unconventional tour of Versailles. We spent our weekend dining out with good friends. One of the reasons why me and Sally are such great friends is that we have such similar interests, one being art and culture. So we ended up exploring the Musée d’Orsay, Musée de l’Orangerie, and the current exposition at the Éléphant Paname gallery. I also took Sally around the Sainte-Chapelle – any trip to Paris avec moi is not complete without visiting this divine beauty, and I was excited to see that all the boards covering the renovation work have been removed. En fin! I will definitely have to go back again soon with my dad’s wide-eye camera lens to try to capture this exquisite space. Although the weather was pretty rubbish during the weekend, we were blessed with blue skies on Monday morning. So, before Sally’s flight we headed off on a bike ride in Saint Cloud park to see the wonderful views of the city. Unfortunately for me, I could not get on the spare bike (it was too big for me!), and so was left with the only options of running next to Sally or to take a children’s scooter. I chose the latter. What an intense workout! Never again.

So there you have it. My March thus far, which continues to be a busy one. Tomorrow is my birthday, and on Saturday night I will be going to dinner with some great friends of mine for Thai – I have been dreaming about Thai food for so long now, and cannot wait.

The Virgin and Child sculpture at the Abbey de Saint-Germain
The Virgin and Child sculpture at the Abbey de Saint-Germain
The western front of Laon Cathedral
The western front of Laon Cathedral
One of Monet's stunning paintings on display at the Musée de l'Orangerie.
One of Monet’s stunning paintings on display at the Musée de l’Orangerie.

 

 

Le mur des je t’aime, Montmartre

Le mur des je t’aime, Montmartre

What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a post all about love! This week I ventured off to Montmartre, and stumbled upon an infamous sight of this area. Stretching across 612 lava tiles, this is no ordinary wall. It is Paris’ Le mur des je t’aime, a wall devoted to expressing the words ‘I love you’ in 311 various languages. It was created by Frédéric Baron and Claire Kito, who both went round the various Embassies in the city and asked their neighbours to write down the phrase in their own languages, until finally they had gathered an adequate amount of love. Furthermore, what is interesting is that the artist Frédéric Baron stated that the random red shapes which interject various parts of the tiles have a metaphorical function, representing “the pieces of a broken heart” of “which the wall tries to gather together.”

You can find this interesting piece of art in Jehan-Rictus Square, which is located right by Abbesses station in Montmartre. There is even a website for the wall: http://www.lesjetaime.com

Le mur des je t'aime, Montmartre

Le mur des je t'aime, Montmartre

Le mur des je t'aime, Montmartre

‘Time is not measured by clocks but by moments’: Musée d’Orsay

‘Time is not measured by clocks but by moments’: Musée d’Orsay

This Saturday, some of my closest friends and I went to the Musée d’Orsay. In addition to exploring all the beautiful paintings and sculptures on display, we could not miss seeing the iconic clock on the top floor. The vista of Paris from the clock is amazing, with stunning views of the River Seine and La Basilique du Sacré Cœur, amongst many others. Here are just a few of the photos I took.

Exhibition Review: ‘Voyager au Moyen Âge’ exposition’, Musée de Cluny, Paris

Exhibition Review: ‘Voyager au Moyen Âge’ exposition’, Musée de Cluny, Paris

The current exhibition at the Musée de Cluny offers a journey through time and space during the Middle Ages. ‘Voyager au Moyen Âge’ (‘Travelling in the Middle Ages’) hosts a variety of key aspects of travel in the Medieval period. As one walks around the exhibition, which is currently on show in the third-century Gallo-Roman thermal bathing hall, you are presented with different types of traveller, from the merchant to the pilgrim, the prince to the artist. Furthermore, the exhibition highlights the diverse reasons for travelling during this time, encompassing specific issues such as the aspiration for knowledge, the need to demonstrate visibility within specific societies and the journey of the afterlife.  On show are a selection of varying objects, including tapestries and reliquaries taken on travel, to illuminated manuscripts illustrating maps of various countries. Probably the most notable artefact is displayed right in the centre of the exhibition – the fragments of a medieval boat which have been recreated to provide a tangible sense of the physical nature of such journeys and what they may have entailed.

Overall, the objects on show are interesting, and offer one an insight into the various aspects of travel during the Middle Ages. The exhibition closes on 23rd February 2015, so there’s still time left to be transported and travel through the life of a medieval voyager.

You can view more of my photos taken within the exhibition here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/roisingrace/sets/72157649491292490/

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‘Medieval Morocco: An Empire from Africa to Spain’, Louvre, Paris

‘Medieval Morocco: An Empire from Africa to Spain’, Louvre, Paris

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Yesterday I was lucky enough to meet with a friend who is studying at the Courtauld, with her fellow classmates and professor, to look around the current Medieval exhibition at the Louvre. The exhibition titled, ‘Medieval Morocco: An Empire from Africa to Spain’ offers a glimpse into a period when the Medieval Western Islamic world was at the height of its glory, as much in terms of its artistic production as its place in history. Focusing from the 11th to 15th centuries of Western Islamic dynasties, this exhibition presents over 300 objects that aim to show this culture’s long and complex history, which is crucial to an understanding of Medieval Morocco and Islam.

This exhibition shows many beautiful objects, including architectural decoration from various Mosques; textiles and ivory; and it also displays a plethora of illuminated manuscripts and examples of beautiful calligraphy. Many of these objects are extremely rare, not only in historical value, but because many have never been showcased in such a way to the public. Even though I have previously studied various key examples of Medieval Islamic works, I have never studied this particular area as a whole in depth. Despite this, I found the exhibition really interesting. Coming from a different perspective research wise during the same time period, it is completely fascinating to notice the differences in style and workmanship. If you thought Medieval Christian Reliquaries were lavish and ornate, many of the objects in the ‘Medieval Morocco: An Empire from Africa to Spain’ exhibition will be able to change ones mind. For example, before entering the exhibition you encounter an elaborately carved Grand Chandelier originally from Fez, Morocco. Created between 1202 and 1213, this magnificent Chandelier has intricate patterning and inscriptions adorning the surface. This is truly a beautiful piece of art, and one can only imagine how awe-inspsiring it must have in-situ. I can imagine good old Abbot Suger being very impressed!

Ultimately this a great exhibition, offering an interesting insight and opportunity to view the complex history of Western Islamic Culture that is not often displayed in comparison to the work and history of Medieval Christendom.

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Below are a few more photos that I took around the Louvre before entering the exhibition.

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Récemment

Récemment

Before I begin writing to my hearts content about the recent happenings for me here in Paris, for those avid (or not so avid) readers who drop by every now and then onto my blog will have noticed that I have a new layout and design! This morning I spent a while amending and changing various CSS coding (which to most people is geeky computer talk). But I think that I have done a good job so far, as there is still bits here and there that I would like to change. Simple, yet elegant.

So this last week and weekend has been very busy, not necessarily because I’ve been doing heaps of things, but I guess this is to be the Au Pair life. I don’t think I have mentioned it yet, but two weeks ago I started at my new language school which is right in the heart of Paris, a stone throw away from the beautiful Notre-Dame Cathedral. In fact, you can sometimes hear her beautiful bells ringing during the day (at least I think it’s hers…). I have met some wonderful people, and hopefully improved my french somewhat! No, I definitely feel like I am improving, even though I am the worst in the class. I was entered into the A2 group, so it’s above beginners and pretty much everyone in class is awesome, and then you have me. Oh dear! I think I’d rather be in a class that was intellectually testing, because at least then I have even more motivation to attempt to improve and learn more.

My last week pretty much consisted of Language school, eating pastries and drinking coffee. Oh, and looking after the children of course! I have posted below a few photos that I have taken during the week 🙂

The perfect bottle to place a tiny message inside.
Some body left their shoes...

Some body left their shoes…

I made a new friend whilst walking around the streets of Paris, so cute no?!

Ce weekend, however, was pretty jam packed. On Saturday, I met up with two friends from Language school to head over to the Centre Pompidou to see the current exhibition of the work of Marcel Duchamp. I have been around the Centre Pompidou, but never inside. From the outside, it looks a little kitsch perhaps, but the interior is pretty cool. Very different from the interiors of the Sainte-Chapelle however! If you don’t want to/ don’t feel like seeing any of the artwork (some parts are free though, so surely who would turn down that irresistible offer?), you can pay €3 to head to the top of the gallery. After ascending up what feels like underwater tunnels, you reach some stunning views of Paris that I did not believe the Centre Pompidou offered. Yet they do! The Marcel Duchamp exhibition was pretty packed, but I guess going on a Saturday may have a slight affect on the audience traffic of my visit. I’m still feel a bit mixed about the exhibition. I’m going to be writing an exhibition review soon, so will discuss more about it then! Keep watching this space.

Sunday saw the return of a previous Au Pair, Carmen, who is absolutely lovely! We spent Sunday walking around Paris, checking out the sights. I had a great time, as Carmen took the time to take me around some of her favourite places – showing me sights of Paris I did not know existed, so thank you! Sunday, however, showed me that Autumn has officially arrived in Paris. It was cold and wet. So cold that I had to wear my winter coat. Now I feel like I’m in England. The weather here has been up and down, it’s so confusing, and exhausting due to all the outfit changes I have to do. Sigh, what a hard life I lead eh?

A floating bubble.
A floating bubble.
A woman stuck in a bubble, hope she got out in the end...
Salvador Dalí says shhh...
Le Chapeau de Clown floating on the Stravinsky Fountain near the Centre Pompidou.
Le Chapeau de Clown floating on the Stravinsky Fountain near the Centre Pompidou.
La Sirène on the Stravinsky Fountain near the Centre Pompidou.
La Sirène on the Stravinsky Fountain near the Centre Pompidou.

The Centre Pompidou.

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Surreal tunnels of the Centre Pompidou.

My friend Kate making the capturing the views.

Another friend Jasmine taking in the breathtaking views.

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Me inside the Marcel Duchamp exhibition - the photographer finally gets photographed!