Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine

Today, our last full day in the Cité we decided to go over to this museum, which opened in 2007, and we hadn't been to it. It's housed in the Palais de Chaillot wing where the Theatre is located, the opposite wing from the old Musee de l'Homme. It has great views of the Eiffel Tower from lots of it's windows and from the top, a great view towards Sacre Coeur. I was taken by the views. The displays on the first floor were of casts of catherdral entrances, full size, it was pretty amazing. Here's C taking a photo of the back of one of the casts. There were lots of models of buildings, too. Very interesting. Upstairs, they had contemporary building models, photo intallations, and a replica of an apartment designed by le Corbusier. Another section had replicas of stained glass windows and frescos.
On the 4th floor, they had an installation of Elle Decor rooms. One room, set for a dinner party, had the walls covered in trompe l'oeil wall paper. Doesn't it look like there are open doors and hallways? Not! It's a flat wall. C might have some photos of the plaster casts, otherwise, you're left to wonder or check out the link above.

The Metro ride back was crazy. The trains were so packed with people and walking through the tunnels to get to the connecting train was a real experience. We were really happy to exit at St. Paul, into the still light evening.

This is "au revoir" from Paris, unless I'm able to get on-line before we leave on Wednesday morning. I leave you with this very cool image of the Eiffel Tower that I took today through a window (with a screen.)

Using the Metro and seeing our reflection

I may have mentioned this before, but the Metro station right in front of the Cité des Arts (Pont Marie, Line #7) no longer has a ticket counter. They've installed these machines and the person at the window only gives information. The most information he gives is: no tickets here, use the machine, or something to that effect. The first time we saw this machine we were a bit confused, but after we did it a couple times, it was perfectly simple. You make your choices by rolling the bar below the screen. You can use coins (but not bills) or a credit card. It even gives change and a receipt. Of course, it does help to be able to read French. However, if you look puzzled, some French person (or other American who's figured it out) will help you. It never fails, whenever we ponder over a map in the metro, someone will come up and ask if they can help us. In French first, and then in timid English.

I can't help but snap our photo whenever I spot us in a mirror. Oh, look, here we are again!!

The Place de Grève

We stopped by the Place de Grève, which is the place in front of the Hôtel de Ville, to watch the skaters during the daytime. The rough boys were there, showing off, while timid skaters carefully made there way around the ice. The carousel had a long queue of parents and children waiting for their turn. It was free. Even some grown-ups without children were riding on it.

In the Marais

Since this will be one of my last posts from Paris most likely, I'm going to show you some recent things in the Marais. We had lunch at our favorite place, the Swedish Cultural Centre, where we had lentil soup and cheese sandwiches. One can have refills on the coffee (I think I mentioned this before.) They had a snow machine in the courtyard blowing snow onto the little pine trees set up for the holiday season.

On another day, we spotted this Chanoukah van parked across from Monalisait bookstore. It was silent at the moment but at other times, it drove around playing holiday songs for everyone to hear. One day we stopped at this bakery and bought: a big brownie that was like a chocolate bar, a slice of poppy seed cake dripping with honey, and a piece of strudel. We made that last, oh, about a day!

Monalisait has a bookstore in our area and we love to stop in and browse. It has the best prices on postcards as well as books. The inside of this one shows the original "floor" which was a street or a courtyard. There is both a lower level, catacomb-like with paperback books, and an upper level with posters. The name of the librarie (bookstore) is a play on words.

Dinner with friends.

Last night, we had dinner with our friends in their neighborhood near Pere Lachaise cemetery. I had an omelette with cepes (wild mushrooms) & potatoes in it. It was buttery delicious. Chuck had coffee and cassis glace for dessert and I had a noisette (small coffee.) The other dishes were duck, duck and duck. Three different versions of duck, which they all enjoyed. (Sorry no visuals as they turned out too blurry. So much for the "food" setting on C's camera or could it

While sharing some views out the window of a studio at the end of the building, and a view looking left from the front entrance to the Cite, I also have to share this man walking down rue de Rivoli next to L'Hôtel de Ville. It's very chilly out, he's wearing a nice suit, gloves, scarf and hat. If only I'd taken a movie so you could see how confidently he was walking. It was very classy.

In the views from the window, you can see the little playground at the end, the Hotel de Sens (which is NOT a hotel) across the street and Hotel "something or other" (a state administrative building) which is to the left of the entry to the parking area. It have a nicely managed garden but it's a no-no to go up there to that space. We love going into other studios to see the different views. Everyone loves out view, however, since we have the Seine, Ile St. Louis, and Notre Dame. We love it, too.

Christmas windows...

The windows at Galeries Lafayette were not very interesting. They had an Alice in Wonderland theme but not memorable. The outside of the store was gorgeous with lights, however. Printemps had lights under a covered walkway in one part, and some flashing on the front, but their windows were beautiful, although not very child oriented. Even the windows geared towards children, with little elevated platforms for viewing, were a bit dark and scary. Because of the HUGE after Christmas crowds on Friday night, Chuck could barely get close enough to take any photos of the children's windows.

The clothing windows were quite nice so here are some images for you. Balenciaga, Chloe, Lagerfeld, Chanel, and more. Across the street, the C & A shop had some children's holiday clothing in a window; notice how colorful!?

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Our friend Agnese brought us a little bag of jelly bears, this is what's left when I decided to try the "food" setting on C's camera. We didn't realize there was such a setting, which makes me sorry that I didn't use it before. Agnese was supposed to be gone already but she missed her flight by 5 minutes due to a delay on the RER train that she was taking to the airport. She surprised us at the door, when we thought she was already back in Riga, Latvia yesterday. She used our internet connection and came by this morning, also. Besides the little bears, she gave us information about an apartment on view at the Palais de Chaillot. It's in the Cite de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine. This is a space that opened in 2007 so it's totally new to us and, how lovely, we get introduced by Agnese, who also took us to the tea house at the Musselman Institute. I hope we'll have good images to share, since we plan to go tomorrow afternoon.

Walking and Eating

Last night, we took a walk then decided to eat out. The Tour St. Jacques looks so beautiful now that it's been cleaned, and right near it, on rue St. Denis, is a restaurant called Le Trappiste. It has lots of beers on tap and serves moules with frites (mussels and fries) which I love. It was a perfect night for this as it was very cold out. Chuck had roasted chicken, which made him very happy. Afterwards, we had some creme brulee. It was very, very CREME and delicious. We walked back stopping on the way at the ice rink to watch people skating. The crazy kids were acting rash and we saw near crashes on the ice but, whew, no one was injured and everyone, even those terrified of being on skates, seemed to be enjoying the moment.

Today, it was very, very sunny and very, very chilly. We took a 2.5 hour walk. We went to the Monde Arabe to look around, but the book store was very hot and it made me feel ill so we didn't stay long. (I had on TWO wool sweaters!) We walked on St. Germain de Pres past the Cluny Museum, into the Patrick Roger chocolate shop which was very intimidating. Expensive chocolates! We walked back, passed the St. Michel fountain, the plant market, Hotel de Ville, getting more and more chilled, toes like ice cubes, ears like ice cubes, until we got to the Cafetheque. This is a little coffee shop where you can buy special coffees. We popped in for a little coffee and warmed up. A musician, who is living at the Cite des Arts, too, works there. It has a tiny front area and a tiny back seating area. It's the first time we ventured in after having passed by it many time this year and in past years. The coffee was delicious and after our toes defrosted we were able to walk the remaining few steps to the Cite. As I type this, the sun is almost set, the sky has a rosy glow close to the earth, the trees and buildings are like silouette cut-outs, as is the spire of Notre Dame. The towers of Notre Dame are lit up. I'm taking this all in, savoring it, as our days at the Cite come to a close. Just two more days in Atelier 8317.

Final Collage books

" A Paris" is 3" x 4.35" - 7.5cm x 10.75cm. Here is the cover and 2 of the inside pages. I used a lot of color with this booklet and really liked the way they turned out.

"Absolue..." is 3.75" x 3.75" - 9.5cm x 9.5cm. The cover and 2 pages are shown. Collages in this booklet work more with the images in it. These are the last two book that I completed while here in the Cité des Arts. We are cleaning up the studio, starting our packing already, so that we'll have little to do on Monday morning.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Fete de Noel

We had a lovely Fête de Noèl in the Cité. Lots of food and drink were brought in, as well as chairs from other studios so that we could all sit at the table that had been set up and filled the studio. As one person pointed out, we had at least one person from every continent in the room. The discussions were lively, the candles gave a nice ambiance, it was very festive. The red thermos was filled with vin chaud (hot wine.) This will be one our favorite memoires of our residency here.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dans la Nuit, des images

Last night, we went to the exhibit at the Grand Palais. It was open to all from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. The exterior had the words from the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union moving on it, which made the building appear to be both animated and flat. The work is by Charles Sandison. The interior of the huge space was filled with screens of all sizes and the movement and sound was all around you. In the middle was a scaffolding structure that you could walk up onto to view the screens from above. I only walked up to a landing to get a bit of an elevated view. One large screen was running code called Data.tron by Ryoji Ikeda electronic music composer and video director. People loved this screen. They would stand before it and have their pictures taken, take close ups, stare at it, it was fascinating. Here's my self portrait shadow against it and there is C in the lower left corner of it. We stayed awhile, had a coffee and a delicious brownie and a super sweet large macaron, before catching a metro back, getting in about midnight. Wonderful, really a wonderful visual and auditory experience.