Friday, January 24, 2014

Late wet September afternoon stroll on side streets in the 4th Arrondisement in Paris

These photos were taken on an overcast day in mid September, about two hours before sunset.  It rained off and on, which made sidewalks and streets glisten just slightly.  This is not much of a tourist area.  Instead, it features cafés for locals and workers, small shops catering to foot traffic.  There are many motorcycles and bicycles, one sees mostly pedestrians.  The cars and trucks I notices were making deliveries.  Nobody even thinks of trying to get around quickly in a car in this area.  It would be time-consuming, challenging as you follow pedestrians and duck around delivery trucks, and then you have to find a place to park.  Good luck.

People were leaving work, doing errands, things Parisian.  No tourists in sight (except this photographer).

Activity at local cafés was picking up, as people sought refuge under the awnings.

Shop sales were hardly brisk, so it was a good time to do some texting.

even while on the way home . . . .


Children were returning home from school.  It is difficult to chat on some of the very narrow sidewalks with bins out for pickup and traffic on the mediæval one-lane road.

This clever graffito is a takeoff on the art-statement Marcel Duchamp made in 1919, the year Dad was born--Mona Lisa plus mustache and goatee.  I won't tell you what the letters actually mean, or are understood to mean when pronounced quickly, but when asked by the media, the painter said something polite like, "there is fire down below".  Over the decades, postcards of his work sold well, and people have been adding mustaches to public posters ever since.  This clever version superimposes part of the face of President François Hollande over Ms. Lisa.  The end result is anything but "IL. H. O. O. Q."

Trucks parked in certain neighbourhoods over night are given free paint jobs, sort of like tattoos.

"Kraken, I love you!"  Kraken is one of the most fearsome Nordic legendary sea monsters.  Not a bad piece of work, incorporating pipe, wall inset, roof flashing, and all.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Église Saint-Merry (Saint-Merri), Paris

Église Saint-Merry (St. Merry's Church) is named after Medericus (Merry).  Born in Autun, he joined the city's Abbey of St. Martin when still 13.  He would eventually became the Abbey's Abbot.  He died in Paris in the year 700 while on a pilgrimage.  Over a century later, people on the right bank proclaimed Merry as their patron Saint while seeking aid during (what proved to be) the final Norman siege in 844.  Once canonized, his feast day was August 29th.

The Église Saint-Merry is on the rue Saint Martin (a former Roman north-south road) and rue Saint-Honoré (the east-west road).  The original 13th-century church was replaced by the present building which was erected 1500-1550 in the flamboyant Gothic style. Its choir is the same length as its nave (recalling Notre Dame, across the river). 

We begin in the Gothic nave, looking toward the altar.  I cannot explain the plastic (protection? art?)  The brightly lit guilded sun above the alter was by Slodtz (1785), recalling Jesus saying "I am the light of the world".  Having spot lights on it is far more dramatic that it would have been unless struck by the sun.

The marble was added in the 1700's, a style which swept through many churches in France.

Looking from the choir stalls, past the transept, to the open back doors.  This is the only church in Paris, to my knowledge, which keeps its doors wide open--a welcoming gesture which invites tourists to pause, enjoy, and meditate.

There are numerous side chapels, many with large important paintings, but in the available lighting it was difficult to photograph without a tripod and ladder.

There was an invitation to make a cutting from a vine and place the cutting in a glass to have it take root.  They hoped to fill one of the chapels with these cuttings.