Streets

La Bastille

La Bastille

Walking the streets of Paris is one of the things that I love most about this exquisite city, easy to navigate and breathtakingly beautiful. It has been a daily activity for me and of course with all that walking, at least 100 kilometres, I can easily hit up the chocolateur's and pâtisserie's no problems at all! The food is delicious and so is the wine! I reckon I am losing kilos!!

Even after two months I am still in awe at the beauty of this city. The intricate sculptures and details that adorn most buildings and the exposure to the fine arts is stimulating!!

Walking without purpose. Smelling the roses!

Place de la Republique

Place de la Republique

I arrived at La Promenade Plantée, an elevated urban park. Originally an abandoned railway track, this 4.5 kilometre stroll in the garden leads to a massive public park with cafés, fountains and sporting/recreational facilities. It's gorgeous full of statues and rose beds.

Promenade Plantée

Promenade Plantée

Underneath the track, the arches of the former railway viaduct have been transformed into art and design studios. 

Viaduc des Arts, Avenue Daumesnil.

Viaduc des Arts, Avenue Daumesnil.

One day I went looking for material for Matilda ... Mad!!

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Then just around the corner....

Sacré-Cœur Bascilica, The Sacred Heart of Paris

Sacré-Cœur Bascilica, The Sacred Heart of Paris

Sacred heart is a Roman Catholic Church situated at the highest point in Paris on the hill of Montmartre. As it sits at the very top of the hill, you can see views all over Paris.

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I am the complete tourists hey!! I absolutely loved this lady who has been coming here for years playing her piano accordion and singing songs surrounded by fake flowers... Awesome!

Behind the monumental bascilica is Place du Tertre where there are artist drawing portraits and painting images of Paris alongside cafés and gorgeous winding cobblestone streets that are an adventure in themselves.

Place du Tertre

Place du Tertre

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A lot of my adventures takes me this way and I never get sick of walking through this part of Paris!! It's glorious!

Musée du Louvre

Musée du Louvre

Musée du Louvre entrance

Musée du Louvre entrance

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Jardin des Tulleries

Jardin des Tulleries

PS I have just come on line to write up a new blog and found three blogs not posted!! Eeeeeek! 

France Organic

Back to the heart of all hearts and a big welcome "home". Yeeeha!

Vin De Provence? .... Anyone...?

Vin De Provence? .... Anyone...?

Soooooo great to get back to France, Vee and her beautiful family! I am completely behind in the blogging department. Thanks to ordered photos I can track a bit of life, food and joy... 

Tagine on the terrace and welcome home Ella!

Tagine on the terrace and welcome home Ella!

We decided to go back to the country for a few days to experience  "à la française" (quality of life) and catch some of the local "brocantes" (Village markets). Driving there is seriously like going back in time, billboards drop away and highways splinter into little country roads that carry you through woodlands, farms and meadows. The cows are beautiful

Parc Naturel Régional

Parc Naturel Régional

Le Perche is a sanctuary, literarily. The whole region has been granted the status of 'Le Parc Naturel Régional' to promote a more organic economy. If you want to build a fence it must be of stone and rooftops must be pitched at 45degrees alongside a range of other sanctions that keeps urban development at bay.

Home away from home....... Away from home.

Home away from home....... Away from home.

Definitely NOT a place where you would find any tourists!!

It's a snails pace for sure.

A sanctuary!

We set out to collect fuel from the local farms. The charter drafted to protect the buildings and forests of Le Perche also includes the promotion of local artisans and agriculture.

Laiterie translates to Dairy....

Laiterie translates to Dairy....

This farm is run by a group of families that each have specialties. Here you can purchase milk, cheese, fruit and vegetables, breads and eggs...all completely organic. Even cheese from sheep!

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We set out early for a Sunday drive.... On a Sunday ....to scour the brocantes.

Gorgeous roads where a deer, a hare, or a mole may cross your path.... 2 out of 3 ain't bad!

Gorgeous roads where a deer, a hare, or a mole may cross your path.... 2 out of 3 ain't bad!

The markets are awesome where you can buy anything from fresh produce, to hot croissants, to hardware, to bric a brac or even a helicopter ride for Karl. I totally wanted to take that carton of dolls for Matisse @ 5 euro.... What a bargain!! Or that Esso sign for my brother...

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And then there are the hugest range of tomatoes....

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So organic!!

Brummagen

When I said '...am off to Birmingham' .....the looks on peoples faces was generally like that of a rabbit looking into headlights. From all accounts I didn't hold much hope for the place. However, I was off to see Bridget (Lani Joy's bestie) and her hubby Luke. We booked into a bargain hotel in the middle of town and crossed our fingers. Well....weren't we in for a treat!! Simply gorgeous!

Mailbox, Central Birmingham

Mailbox, Central Birmingham

The Ramada was perfectly positioned in the 'Mailbox' right in the heart of the most beautiful canal system, excellent local pubs and restaurants and massive shopping centres. Lia and I found our local and spent a couple of evenings experiencing double pours of blue sapphire, amazing homemade soups and digging a little deeper ..... some interesting facts on Birmingham? 

Canal side

Canal side

Proper brummies...look!

Proper brummies...look!

People who come from Birmingham are called 'brummies' a term derived from the cities nickname 'Brum' that originates from the dialect name Brummagerm, which is derived from the city's earlier name of Bromwicham!

In a lot of ways it reminded me of Hobart for all the 'hens night parties' that were on.

Imogen, you will totally follow this!

 

 

 

Birmingham also has the biggest library in all of Europe! It is fabulous with a huge community feel to it. Flouro blue escalators carry you up through this massive cylindar with floors and floors of books and each level pans out into areas of particular focus. On the rooftop there is a native garden, come parkland, with views over all of Birmingham. People were having picnics up there.

Birmingham Library

Birmingham Library

I left the library and literally stumbled on a performance. It was a children's play and just a lucky, excellent detour to my day! I realised later that the performance area was a part of the library that I did not get through. You can see how it's like a well in the centre of the courtyard. Just gorgeous!

Public children's performance... All about being happy.

Public children's performance... All about being happy.

Canalside selfie not...

Canalside selfie not...

The canals are beeautiful, such a lovely place to mooch around. Plenty of art Galleries, pubs and restaurants. My favourite was the Ikon Gallery, a neo-gothic former school, founded by a group of artists in the sixties and intended as an antithesis to exclusive art establishments and galleries. Unfortunately I can't publish any photos from the show....aaaaaw, go to http://ikon-gallery.org
 

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View over Birmingham from the Cube

View over Birmingham from the Cube

Bridget's backyard blitz! Love the narrow cricket pitch gardens!

Bridget's backyard blitz! Love the narrow cricket pitch gardens!

Lia left to head back to Cayman Islands and I mosied out to Moseley to visit Bridget and Luke.  

Just LOVED their English style house and garden, so completely different to 'straya'. You could cut the grass with scissors quicker than mow my yard!!

 We walked to Kings Heath for lunch at the Fighting Cocks and pub crawled the rest of the day and night back to Moseley. W O A H !

English pubs are just so gorgeous and each with their own particular decor. The names of them are hilarious... The Slug and Lettuce, the Fox and Hound, Pitcher and Piano, the Goose... 

Having a gander...       Kings Heath

Having a gander...       Kings Heath

Artwork decorations in the toilets of one of the pubs... Love it!

Artwork decorations in the toilets of one of the pubs... Love it!

Bridget took me for a Sunday drive ... On a Sunday .... Out to the Cotswalds. We went to Broadway for a roast lunch in another gorgeous pub and wandered aimlessly through the village.

Broadway

Broadway

Broadway Tower

Broadway Tower

The weather was simply beautiful and lovely to see so many people out picnicking on the hillsides. I just wanted to roll down the hills laughing, reminding me of the church picnics we used to go on when we were kids. Egg and lettuce sandwiches, butterfly cakes, orange cordial from coloured tin cups and sack races ....  Gawd.. Where did that come from??

Hill and Dale

Hill and Dale

Then we drove down to the Slaughters, Upper then Lower.

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 There is something completely beautiful about English villages, whether it's because of the Robin Hood TV series that I loved in the sixties (next to Shintaro) or the Pride and Prejudice thing, I expected to see either Friar Tuck or Mr Darcy at every turn. The latter being more  welcomed.

Shut the garden gate!

Shut the garden gate!

..and just in case you do run into Mr Darcy, a Defribillator....mmmmm

..and just in case you do run into Mr Darcy, a Defribillator....mmmmm

I wonder if people run around making collages of houses from Darwin?? 

Or stand in front of other peoples houses and pose....

Or stand in front of other peoples houses and pose....

When all is said and done .....Birmingham was fab.

Au revoir... Birmingham

Au revoir... Birmingham

and ......also the birthplace for heavy metal... Think Black Sabbath... Oh yeah and Judas Priest! Half of led Zeppelin band come from Brummagem!

And in the seventies.... UB40 then Duran Duran, Fine Young Cannibals... Endless notoriety from "The Second City!"

 

London Tourist: Red River

Red River London

Red River London

Just a couple of tram stops from Camden and your at Kings Cross Station. That is where we meet our hop on, hop off, red, roofless, double decker bus with guide and an opportunity to be the complete snap happy tourist!! We were ready for a day of action.

There are still millions of double decker red buses that stream through the streets of London non stop! I call this the Red River.

 

 

 I am really not one for discussing weather and how the garden beds are going but having lived in London for quite a while I was fully blown out with the excellent weather and the flower pots adorning everything! Blue skies are a rarity in England and one of the main reasons I got so homesick and went back to Australia ..... Back in the day! 

Blue skies, shining on me, nothing but blue skies do I see.....

Blue skies, shining on me, nothing but blue skies do I see.....

The live commentary takes us back to the great plague, the Fire of London, the WW1 bombings and seriously funny (not) meanings behind rhymes and sayings like 'Laugh your head off', 'Hung drawn and quartered', Londons Burning' and 'Ring a ring a Rosie'. London sure took a beating! Imagine living there with all that in store.... And then surviving! Phew.

There is always pints and god though...

There is always pints and god though...

London is  definitely not suffering now! The old and the new...

The Shard behind The Tower Of London

The Shard behind The Tower Of London

....the money is a flowin'

....the money is a flowin'

There is as many cranes as there are buildings!  I really tried hard to exclude them from my postcard visions of sunny London.  We counted eighteen looking across the Thames over the Tower of London area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the stops was Harrods and in we paced with bus loads of tourists directed to the food hall. Mmmm mmmmm. Totally Impressed by the staff and their kindness to the hoards of people that pour through every day,  photograph them working at their chocolatier counter handing out the most beautiful choc coated almonds I have ever eaten, directing us to floors, toilets, particular grandness or just asking the stupid question how much? like I did at the Alexander McQueen department. Sorry Tills no can do!

 

 

Harrods

Harrods

 

I can't go past putting up more of the tourist postcard shots with the blue skies! 

Big Ben

Big Ben

the London Eye. People actually get married on this taking their vows at the top, guess it's all downhill from there..LOL

the London Eye. People actually get married on this taking their vows at the top, guess it's all downhill from there..LOL

Sunset cruise back to Big Ben.

Sunset cruise back to Big Ben.

 

Go on 'laugh your head off'

Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat, was a bit of a scoundrel and completely unliked by the people of England. He was arrested for treason in the mid 1700's and sentenced to death, however the people wanted to witness the slaying. A scaffold for spectators was built to view the beheading but it collapsed killing 20 people. This amused Lord Lovat so much that he could not stop laughing and in the flurry his head was then chopped off. This became the origin of the saying "laughing your head off" 

There is a famous etching by William Hogarth, that depicts Lovat awaiting execution in The Tower, counting with his fingers the various Clans that he had brought undone. That made me think of Nick Caves murder ballad 'O'Malleys Bar'

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XX 

London: True Grit

No pigeons at Trafalga... Just a big blue Cock!

No pigeons at Trafalga... Just a big blue Cock!

I had a jigsaw puzzle when I was a kid of Trafalga Square, London. The image was true to form and included a river of red double decker buses, black taxis, crowds of people and pigeons. @ 21, I moved to London and did the whole 70's backpacker, Earls Court, nanny thing. 32 years on, and here I am back again meeting up with an old mate Lia who did a similar thing. We do that a lot.... Meet up in obscure places! Now.......Back at Trafalga!

Feed the birds... Tuppence a bag...

 

 

.....wasting no no time at all, we dropped our bags and went to the Thames, walked Tower Bridge and cruised through the Tower of London.

 

Lia and I pole dancing.

Lia and I pole dancing.

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge

At the Tower of London, ceramic artist Paul Cummings is there with a huge crew of people installing thousands and thousands of red ceramic poppies in the Moët surrounding the Tower. The art installation commemorates 100 years since the First World War. Awesome to see this in action. It will be finished on the 5th August. Check out 'Blood swept lands and seas of red' www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon

Tower of London and the installing of 'Blood swept lands and seas of red'

Tower of London and the installing of 'Blood swept lands and seas of red'

We stayed out at Camden, the TRUE GRIT of London, complete with punks, drunks and

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...an amazing canal system where they hold a very popular and massive market. We spent hours there trolling the maze of laneways and unique art stalls and enjoying feasts of food, bars and plenty of people watching.

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Deb joined us the following day and we went down memory lane revisiting old haunts like Earls Court, Fullam Broadway, Kings Road and ended up at the Tate Britain.

Earls Court..... Stepping back in time... To a place.....

Earls Court..... Stepping back in time... To a place.....

Jo finally found his car.....

Just couldn't find the key!

Just couldn't find the key!

We did find the Tate Britain! 

Originally Henry Moore was commissioned to record Britains war-time experiences which secured his public reputation. His drawings were mainly of Londoners sheltering underground. Moore is 'more' known for his monumental semi abstract sculptures. 

 

Moore

Moore

And then there was Turner!! Galleries on Galleries filled with works, finished and unfinished. How prolific!! The Tate has over 37,000 works on paper and some 400 odd unfinished oils... "Unfinished in whose eyes!! Maybe only Turner himself.

A Fire at The Tower of London, watercolour on paper

A Fire at The Tower of London, watercolour on paper

To me his work really loosened up... With his lifestyle .......by all accounts!

The Decline of the Carthagian Empire, 1817

The Decline of the Carthagian Empire, 1817

Reclining Venus, 1828.... Unfinished?

Reclining Venus, 1828.... Unfinished?

Waves Breaking on a Shore, 1835.... Unfinished?

Waves Breaking on a Shore, 1835.... Unfinished?

Well after all that it was time for a Pint! We found Covent Garden and then a fab pub in the name of Garrick!! Tomorrow we are on the buses!!

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La Tour Eiffel

Waking to bells tolling every morning, 8am, across the city is glorious!! Love to take that sound home to Wulagi, NT. 

Saint Denis

Saint Denis

I am staying in Saint Denis, right in the heart of everything Paris and a mine field of adventures. There is probably more than the five directions I have taken so far when I leave the front door. Love it! No matter which direction I take I land somewhere breathtaking, inspiring and yummy with small glimpses of the iron laced tower that clearly represents this beautiful city.

Panoramic....spot the Eiffel....

Panoramic....spot the Eiffel....

So far all my directions have been left, not because I am zoolander with an inability to turn right, moreover I have not exhausted the possibilities of left. 

 

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One day I went for a walk and found Galerie Lafayette, the flagship of a very upmarket department store, sorry Myers you just do not rate here!! Groupe Galleries Lafayette now has locations around the world. Exclusive man!! Matisse is the only person that has scored from this place. 

Galeries Lafayette, ten floors of Mecca shopping.

Galeries Lafayette, ten floors of Mecca shopping.

One day I spotted these massive photo montages wrapped around the dome of the Pantheon and thought that has gotta be JR! Man was I excited!! It looked like part of the Inside Out Project..........and it was!!........

Pantheon, Paris.

Pantheon, Paris.

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 JR's installation, "Au Panthéon!" is thousands of faces collected through the Inside Out photo booths and used to create this monumental work.It surrounds the drum of the Pantheon's dome and will be exposed throughout the renovation of the upper parts. The work inside the monument covers the floor and the capola and is on display until October, how lucky!! 

 

 

 

 

 

Check him out on God, especially the Ted Talks, the work he has done with photography to bring people together is absolutely amazing, inspiring and heart warming. http://www.jr-art.net

 

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The Pantheon has a crypt in the subterranean chamber and is the final resting place for many historically famous French writers, poets and scientists, Voltaire, Rousseau, Louis Braille and Marie Curie to name a few...

 

Pantheon Crypt

Pantheon Crypt

Days later I decided to turn left with purpose.... Walk to The Lacey tower. Walked down to La Seine and passed many beautiful and interesting sights....

A beach, with no water!

A beach, with no water!

Boule

Boule

Bridges bridges and more bridges....

Bridges bridges and more bridges....

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Getting closer......... Yikadeeeeeeee

Getting closer......... Yikadeeeeeeee

I have a thousand photos of bridges and statues.... See me later if your keen...and then....

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Selfie HI!.... for realz!

Selfie HI!.... for realz!

X

Nice Grasse

Nice...

Nice...

Head out of Nice into the mountainous countryside and it's another world! Nice is beautiful and the perfect location to access the French Riviera and coastal icons. The promenades are just beautiful places to stroll through......something for everyone.

Nice streets hey!

Nice streets hey!

Chocolatiers are so amazing!! Lani, Imogen and Matilda... I know you want it!!

Chocolatiers are so amazing!! Lani, Imogen and Matilda... I know you want it!!

Glamma Rocks... Wall art Nieux Nice.

Glamma Rocks... Wall art Nieux Nice.

There was a very classy jazz festival set up at the end of Promenade du Paillon with all the limos, rolls and beamers rolling up to a red carpeted entry! All the plebs sitting around outside dancing and enjoying the ambiance.

Bit baffled by the 'Jazz' as the songs were more like David Bowie... Let's Dance... So I did!

 

Nice Beach, beautiful Mediterranean Sea.

Nice Beach, beautiful Mediterranean Sea.

There are sections of the beach that are free to sit at... Completely pebbles! Pretty difficulty to walk into the water, most people had special reef shoes to get around, me I hobbled in with as much ladylike finess that I could muster!! Other parts of the beach had back to back beds to hire... Plus umbrella.... Plus towel... get the lot for about 50 Euros. Whoop whoop!

Check out the carpet!

Check out the carpet!

Grasse

Grasse

Fragonard Parfumeur, 

Fragonard Parfumeur, 

Grasse, just an hour up into the mountains was originally a tannery because of the abundance of water. They started to make scented gloves back in the day and then the perfume trade took off. There are about 30 perfumeries there, 3 of which offer tours, and there is a museum full of objects related to perfume. If you have seen Perfume you can really get a good picture of the process... Lol. 

You can bath in it.... Ngnlaaaaaa...

You can bath in it.... Ngnlaaaaaa...

Then there is perfume sprays all up and down the streets..... Not!

Mist sprays set up through the streets!

Mist sprays set up through the streets!

Intell: A Nose is a person who makes perfume blends and would train for 9 years! 

Who knows a Nose?

Who knows a Nose?

Grasse is the world capital of fragrance. Beautiful!

 

Musee d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporian, Nice. 

Rooftop view... Amazing

Rooftop view... Amazing

This museum was awesome with a focus on the relationship between new European realism and American pop art and assemblage. Artworks include Alexander Calder, Andy Warhol, Yves Klein and Arman. On entry there are huge homages to Calder ... Truly great!!

 

 

Arman, Sans Titre, 1923 

Arman, Sans Titre, 1923 

Calder with a Warhol in the background...

Calder with a Warhol in the background...

Niki de Saint Phalle, sculpture artist from France

Niki de Saint Phalle, sculpture artist from France

Alexander Calder

Alexander Calder

Marc Chagall Museum, Nice.

Detail of one of the larger paintings....

Detail of one of the larger paintings....

This museum has the largest collection of Chagall's testament series.... The colour so pure. There was also quite a few works from his circus series. Am sure Boyd was influenced by this guy. Spent hours devouring his work. Matisse and Chagall did mosaic works and stained glass for churches, simply gorgeous!

 

Inside main gallery area Marc Chagall

Inside main gallery area Marc Chagall

Completely amazing!!

Abramo e i tre angeli

Abramo e i tre angeli

Stained glass, Marc Chagall

Stained glass, Marc Chagall

 

My art is an extravagant art, a flaming vermilion, a blue soul flooding over my paintings

~ Marc Chagall


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 .............................back to Paris, X

Côte D'Azure

What a playground! 

A fraction of the available spaces for kids to play

A fraction of the available spaces for kids to play

France is first class child friendly, Matisse would love it today!

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In the centre of town right outside the biggest name brand shopping centre, the likes of Chanel, Hermes, .......there is this massive water play area that has water shooting up in fountains, sprays, mists... Kids squeal, scream and laugh... amazing, beautiful to watch.

Play Misty For Me... Clint

Play Misty For Me... Clint

From the bus window

From the bus window

I am feeling like a master at public transport, took another bus (praying for a seat) up to Eze to sit where Nietzsche composed chapters of "Thus Spoke Zarathoustra"

Sorry about all the Diptics but it's the best way to include some of the thousand photos. Back in the day it would have been 6 rolls of 36 over that many weeks.... and then process them, saving enough to get a double set!!

My how times change!

 

 

  Chateau Eze.

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Just north of Nice and nestled onto the top of cliffs dripping into the Mediterranean Sea sits the medieval Village d'Art & Gastonomie. Once a former residence of aristocrats and cited as the most beautiful panoramas of the Riviera. I am THERE! Absolutely gorgeous with the scents of jasmine and bougainvillea crawling all over walls dating back to to the Bronze Age. 

All the downstairs areas that used to be wine cellars or stables are now shops, studios and art galleries. 

 

 

 

 

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Then you reach Chateau Eze, now a very exclusive hotel and restaurant....

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And I decided on lunch 'de gastronomie'..... W H A T a treat!!

Can't even begin to describe the food.... Devine!

Can't even begin to describe the food.... Devine!

With these views...

Mediterranean on a plate!

Mediterranean on a plate!


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If I had booked I could have had this table.....

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A couple of days later I headed out on the bus again to Monaco...OMG I felt like I was Grace Kelly or James Bond travelling around the Corniches, hugging the coastline... Breathtaking!! 

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Arrived in Monaco in time for lunch at the Port...

There is a lot of money floating around here!

There is a lot of money floating around here!

and the Casino... Where money flutters!

Ian and I came here ....... A long time ago.....

Ian and I came here ....... A long time ago.....

Went for a leisurely walk around the Port .... 

Step into this beach!

Step into this beach!

 

Or this one... Getting stoned!

Or this one... Getting stoned!

Musée Oceangraphique de Monaco, with a 100 metre long facade perched on a cliff, was created as a palace dedicated entirely to the sea. Excellent!!

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On the rooftop of the museum was a restaurant, viewing area and a beautiful children's area.

Everywhere in France there are amazing areas dedicated for child's play.. It's beautiful!! 

 

Arriving back into Nice in time for the Pink Parade.... Pumping!!

 

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The world is a playground!!

xXx

French Riviera

Marseille

Marseille

Trains are great! Travelled along the coast from Marseille absorbing great views of Côte d'Azure all the way to Nice. A new adventure...... exciting! 

Train window views along the coastline- Marseille to Nice

Train window views along the coastline- Marseille to Nice

Wasting no time at all, went for a stroll out of the apartment.....seriously in the thick of it all and only a block from the Mediterranean Sea!

At the front door of the apartment. Playground of Mediterranean food, boutiques, flash hotels and casino's

At the front door of the apartment. Playground of Mediterranean food, boutiques, flash hotels and casino's

Taking a stroll up the famous Promenade des Anglais landed us in one of those tourist trains that kids like to go on because they look like a train and they are not. Luna Park comes to mind! It was so much fun and took us up to Parc du Château through Vieux Nice, the old quarter, gorgeous!

 

nglah! Complete tourist with headset and all! The view definitely gave the lay of the land. 

Vieux Nice 

Vieux Nice 

An evening with mojito's...oh yeah!

An evening with mojito's...oh yeah!

Then it was Bastille day....the name given in English-speaking countries to the French National Day. In France, it is formally called La Fête nationale and  commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution with the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789.

Now.....There is a bit of history for you!

 

Relevant?

 

 

 

Off to the country to see Matisse's final work, The Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence. When I arrived outside the chapel I seriously shed a tear and completely welled up! Not because it was closed and I had to come back in an hour, or the really long bus ride up the mountains standing, cause it was so packed, hanging on for dear life .....

My grandchild's namesake perhaps! 

Matisse Joy

Matisse Joy

Finally...    In..... and then.... NO PHOTOGRAPHE! wierd cause everywhere in France there is no problems taking a snap! The French have totally got it! I took handbag snaps anyway with Lani's you beaut point and shoot... Too sneaky... Looking all innocent style!

 

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There was a massive display of all the preliminary work Matisse had done leading  up to the final work... Completely amazing!  Large charcoal drawings of the stations of the cross and the intricate models he made exploring different chapel concepts. He designed all the priests' vestments and apparently the pope wanted them. The nuns made copies for the Vatican. Yo!

The chapel is stunning with the light bouncing around in the shiny tiles, white walls and marble floors. 


On the way back to Nice I stopped in at Saint Paul de Vence... Wow!!

  My bus window photo.....           Not.....            This ones straight from god.

  My bus window photo.....           Not.....            This ones straight from god.

A medieval cobblestoned village perched on top of a mountain that looks out over Nice and the Mediterranean Sea. It was once a peaceful place until artists and actors started hanging out there...... And now tourists!!

It's one of THOSE popular sites to visit.

 

 

 

 

I think I took one million photos of streets .... 

Neuf nuff

Neuf nuff

There are a lot of galleries, art and  Marc Chagall lithographs. Pretty coooool! 

Annie Liebovitz  portrayal of Clint Eastwood. Love it!

Annie Liebovitz  portrayal of Clint Eastwood. Love it!

Back to the promenade ....

Promenade Des Anglais

Promenade Des Anglais

Totally feeling like a tourist this week! 

But wait there WILL be more..... X

Arles Walkabout.... Nice

Arles is such a beautiful city, easy to traverse with treasures at every turn. I have totally loved the week exploring 'quaint', experiencing the festival and attending Bulletproof. I could come home now! Nice not!

Street Art

Street Art

These photos are all a bit random.... But nice...

Gypsy Dawgs

Gypsy Dawgs

Who let the dogs out... Woof!

Arles Amphithéâtre, street fresco and Rue de L'Agneau

Arles Amphithéâtre, street fresco and Rue de L'Agneau

Spice of life...... Nice hey!

Spice of life...... Nice hey!

The photography festival is pumping everywhere and I found this site very interesting.

The reviewing!

With bookings back to back @ about 500 euro a 20 minute session, budding photographers from all over the world gather day after day to get their work reviewed by gallerists, art critics and revered professionals. Truly amazing! Artists get genuine feedback on presentation, theme, how it would be received, what to work on, discard..... Some take the advice, and work with it, returning the following year for more feedback, some leave in tears,  some get picked up by a gallery and all make professional connections! Definitely a vibe about it! 

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...and then there are the photo books and book signings by the artists at various locations.

Photo books... Hundreds.... But none as good as Bulletproof!!

Photo books... Hundreds.... But none as good as Bulletproof!!

And more discussions...

The image of women in photography

The image of women in photography

3D logo les Rencontres Arles Photography

3D logo les Rencontres Arles Photography

And that's that! Good night to Arles and MWAH!

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  ......off to Nice..... 

Nglaaaaaaaah did you read that as nice or Nice? X

Bulletproof

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If there was one vernissage to attend, for me this was totally the highlight of the week here at Les Recontres Arles Photography.

Bulletproof by Vee Speers

Vee's work is excellent and speaks to a time in our life that is imperceptible.

Gallery Nuit, in the heart of Arles, completely packed out for the opening, only allowing people in as people left! 

Opening.....                                                                                                                                                      ......Champagne

Opening.....                                                                                                                                                      ......Champagne

Vee's work was presented in a Salon type space, opulent, soft and very classy. The images revisit the children from 'The Birthday Party' 6 years on, narrating the characters at an age where they are preparing for the world: 'Bulletproof' 

In each image, the narrative speaks beyond the subject: sharp, clean, abiding.

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The constructed image deconstructing the essence of adolescence as utopian, magical and armoured.  It is beautiful work! I love it! 

The work conjures up thoughts about my own mythical shields invented to protect me from pain, meet challenges and journey on.

What tools did you use to keep your world safe?

It's a great question and I congratulate Vee on her perceptions.

B E A U T I F U L L !

 

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The celebration of new work begins and the champagne flows!

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We followed from the opening and went to dinner in the most poshest restaurant in Arles I am sure. The joy and the laughing continues.....

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And then a grand tour of the Julius Ceaser décore.... 

OMG

OMG

Followed by some hilarious posing....

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Which went a bit caraaaaazzzzzy........... Censored!

Fabulous memorable night!! 

But wait .. There is more... 

 

Released

Released

Bulletproof, on sale in bookshops, is a beautiful publication. The book also has images from both bodies of work and I would totally recommend sourcing this publication.  Check out her work in cyber land. 

 

Love  

Vernissage

Vernissage

Vernissage

Who would have thought that boxed rosé from a plastic cup would taste so good! Nibbles are freshly picked tomatoes, apricots, pears presented in wooden crates fresh from the farm ...I did not quite fathom the word vernissage until I asked God! Traditionally Vernissage (varnish) referred to the final varnish an artist might put on his paintings the day before the opening, developing into what is now the opening celebration.

 

Meet Laura extraordinaire! Powerhouse woman of the world. Gallerist, writer, artist, reviewer. From London doing port folio reviews here as part of the festivals.

Laura, partner in crime.

Laura, partner in crime.

Together we have visited exhibitions, projections, lectures and discussions. Completely madsdoggesteverest!

Kudzanai Chiurai from Zimbabwe

Kudzanai Chiurai from Zimbabwe

I could seriously put up a million photos of  photos that I have perused!! Look out! This artist is massive!! Filmmaker and photographer, check it out!

Kudzanai Chiurai from Zimbabwe

Kudzanai Chiurai from Zimbabwe


Location location....

Location location....

This work was created in 1915 to illustrate an article that was actually never published. Children acting out the Great War in the streets of Paris whilst their fathers were possibly NOT acting out. 

Léon Gimpel, France, Kids at War 

Léon Gimpel, France, Kids at War 

I was confused by the amount of reference to war, China, propaganda and collections of war photos... I was beginning to think it was a bit much and that European art was a bit anchored in war porn......until I had the realisation that it is 100 years since 1914! 

Selfie on a Lucien Clergue

Selfie on a Lucien Clergue

Nights of Photography are projections set to live music and held in the Theâtre Antique, 

Eye, the queue!

Eye, the queue!

Beautiful Roman amphitheatre and excellent venue for the projections

Beautiful Roman amphitheatre and excellent venue for the projections

The drummer completely stole the show, brilliant!

The drummer completely stole the show, brilliant!

Went to a round table discussion: Is Amatuer Photography Part of the History of Photography. Loved that toooooooooo. Vik Muniz was one of the artists on the panel so I think I went just to see him. Groupie! Great dialogue about the recovery of amateur photographs and the pre digital age.

Is Amatuer Photography Part of the History of Photography.

Is Amatuer Photography Part of the History of Photography.

Another artist that I am loving is Chema Madoz from Spain. Surrealist contemporary black and white photos. Excellent.

Chema Madoz

Chema Madoz

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Wait there is more...... French bread anyone?

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Saving the best till last is Vee's show, but I need to devote an entire blog post to that maddog night of nights!!

 

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Vernissage.

Les Recontres ARLES Photographie

In other words, big massive international photo fest!!

Fabulous!!

With projections, lectures, workshops, panel discussions, symposiums, book signings, reviews and over 50 photographic exhibitions presented in anything from 12th century churches to industrial buildings, this is opening week! Maddog!!

 

Christian Lacroix: a couturier who, through photography, has revisited the Arlésienne. 

Christian Lacroix: a couturier who, through photography, has revisited the Arlésienne. 

This exhibition, in a beautiful old church, had Lacroix's research on display as well. It represented the historical design elements behind hair and costume. Really interesting the hairstyles and bonnets that would align symmetrically with the profile. Amazing!

Selfie with Lacroix

Selfie with Lacroix

8 Jeunes photographes à connaître avant que n'importe qui les connaisse. (See Franck for translation)

8 Jeunes photographes à connaître avant que n'importe qui les connaisse.

(See Franck for translation)

Basically 8 photographers presenting their show was in Garage de l'hotel Nord-Pinus. The sites are truly awesome!!  I had arrived on the Sunday night and while most of the big installations were up there was still a lot of painters running around with ladders and tools finishing off galleries. The opening day followed. It is buzzing!!

David Bailey  with over 25 years of his work.

David Bailey  with over 25 years of his work.

In the last few days I have been 'exposed' to some amazing work from retrospectives to collections to new work by greats and discovered work by curators from around the world. Vik Muniz's (from Brazil) latest work is giant images all made from family photos and postcards.... A M A Z I N G ..PLEASE check this guy out.... They are made up of thousands of torn up photos and postcards, so painterly and stunning! Am looking forward to his lecture!

 Vik Munz

 Vik Munz

Being in Arles is like being in Van Gogh's work. It makes Arles feel like home, he seriously nailed the very essence of the Provence. So apart from participating in the most stimulating festival I have ever had the pleasure to be a part of, I am also chasing Van! I walked forever to find this.

Pont Van Gogh

Pont Van Gogh

In the evenings there are projections that are mostly narratives, set to music and presented in old massive roman era courtyards or amphitheatres. Stunning.

Palais de l'Archeveche

Palais de l'Archeveche

Projections new work

Projections new work

and a day is never complete with out fooooooooood!!

Paella

Paella

Even the food is artistic!!

X

Accidents do Happen

And they are so worth it!!

No1. Internet malfunction: Buying a train ticket to Arles on line landed me in 1st class all the way to Arles. Not sure how that happened....SCNF I love you! Such comfort in speed. Running parallel with the freeway and leaving cars for dead in our wake! Arriving around 3pm I am ready for a new day! There are advantages to wheelie bags but cobble stone streets are not one of them! 

Rue de septembre is where I am yo!

Rue de septembre is where I am yo!

No 2. Stumbling around ancient roman streets and taking photos of just about every gorgeous street adorned with wooden shutters and flower boxes, put me smack bang in front of Starry Starry Night! Van Gogh's cafe....Was I thrilled?? Ahh yeah! I am sure that if I went hunting for this cafe, as I am sure a million have before me, I would have ended up at the Carmargue. 

Café

Café

Loving the architecture

Loving the architecture

Le Café la Nuit

Le Café la Nuit

No 3. It was raining so I decided I would experience some fine dining and found restaurant L'atelier. 2 times Michelin star, award winning 'superbly crafted symphony of fresh organic tastes' I learnt two things: Ask what the meal is, have this defined even if you have to use body language, and don't believe everything you read in lonely planet. I thought I was getting pure French cuisine and ended up with a frying pan full of grisly meat. It's salads for me for a week! Over the top!!

I want to be able to buy this in OZ

I want to be able to buy this in OZ

No 4. I made my chambres booking late last year as the festival 'Les Rencontres Arles Photographie' brings artists, gallery owners and enthusiasts from all around the world! In other words no accommodation can be found. I realised on this morning that I had seriously screwed up my reservation, short staying by two days! Vee's opening is on the Friday and the book signing, so I totally did NOT want to miss that. After learning that, my host has kindly offered her own room in the house for these two days as her daughter is away! ThankGOD for daughters!! Saved!! 

L'atelier du midi, stunning.

L'atelier du midi, stunning.

The terrace every morning for coffee and croissant. 

The terrace every morning for coffee and croissant. 

My room is absolutely gorgeous and full of art and trinkets from all over the world! I love it! On the bookshelf I found a box and inside it a collection of gum prints... Such a beautiful object and this photo does not do it justice!

A little treasure

A little treasure

So accidents don't just happen, they are guides to something more awesome!

 

VIVA LA VIE!

 

Taxi

An early start to the day avoids me! However since there are forever sunsets there are absolutely no problems at all with that. Can still have a full day in France from 2pm. We set out for the Grand Palias to see the Bill Viola exposition and passed the most amazing taxidermy shop. This is where David Millet collects his objects for the Salon. Incredible! (Sonia, I read about him in the collective, have a look)

Taxi...dermist....extraordinaire!

Taxi...dermist....extraordinaire!

We walk down past the Louvre and fetch a Tuk Tuk, not sure what you would call them in Paris, to taxi us to Champs-Élysées passing tivoli and sightings of the Eiffel Tower. Have to pinch myself hard!

Oi taxi man.... Meet Irena.

Oi taxi man.... Meet Irena.

Louvre, Tivoli and our tuk tuk....Taxi:)

Louvre, Tivoli and our tuk tuk....Taxi:)

Queued at Grand Palais until we realised the 'Bill' was at another part of the Palais. There are three  shows on and Maplethorpe is one I am going to miss!! Oh to live here would be so cooooooooool!, So we queued again! 

Grand Palais presenting Bill Viola

Grand Palais presenting Bill Viola

Oh man oh man!! Fabulous does not even cut it. Check him out on God! Spent hours and hours in there trying to take it all in and then had to sit for awhile after we finished, stunned! AMAZING! Film installations on life and death. A master. The exposition spanned his lifetime and Look out! Brilliant!

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Vee, Mladin and I then ventured to this amazing Peruvian bar for cocktails and tantalising tapas then down to The Ballroom for some Parisian night life, more cocktails and a dance ...oh yeah!

Great selfie hey

Great selfie hey

TAXI! X

Delights

Vee and I caught the train back to Paris then went to get the metro back home. Massive public transport system... Incredible! As we turned the corner to our station there was a backlog of people that curtailed the entry  to the platform and the look on Vee's face said it all!! 

Trouble in paradise!

An evacuation...and with that the biggest mob of estranged passengers doing the Memphis Tennessee shuffle. Hang on to your handbags! Couldn't even get out the hassleblad!  We escaped and took a taxi across town that was crazy, zipping through traffic jams, pedestrians, bikes, trucks, sirens and all the hooting and tooting. We had a killer driver who gunned every opportunity. I put on my seat belt!

Aaaaaaaaah .....Home.

My Parisian abode, simply gorgeous!!

My Parisian abode, simply gorgeous!!

I am staying with Vee and her family in the absolute heart of Paris. LOVE - ly!!

Paris seems to be one gigantic heart though there is a real pulse to this area. We are literally 10 or max 15 minutes walk to the River Seine, Louvre, Notre Dame, Champs-Élysées, The real vibe is directly outside the front door and down the street. Culturally diverse and within minutes you are somewhere unique! Food always, bars, cheese shops, bakeries, chocolatiers, millions of restaurants, Italian, Lebanese, Turkish, African (I cannot list the countries of the world here) and the meanest hamburger joint ever. Everywhere temptations... I could eat all day long and sometimes I do!

One of the streets that pan from where I am staying

One of the streets that pan from where I am staying

Went to The Centre Pompidou and mmm mmmmmmmm, spent hours in there. So totally exhilarating seeing works by Man Ray, Matisse, Picabia, Picasso, Rothko, Calder... another list that could go forever. There was some amazing video installations that spoke about history of humans, art and design, emotion, anguish, pain and suffering. Amazing, Totally charged!! Everything is so excellent it makes me well up!! 

Une Histore

Une Histore

true got to pinch myself......brusssssssssss

From the permanent collection of greats!

From the permanent collection of greats!

did I mention bakeries??

Nglah gamin......  Prostitutes... Another street that pans from where I am staying.

Nglah gamin......  Prostitutes... Another street that pans from where I am staying.

Daily home cooking......Vee is a legend at this....I want to be like her when I grow up!

whips up a storm in the kitchen with ease!!

whips up a storm in the kitchen with ease!!

Culinary delights!!

Provençal

We extended our country respite by a couple of days. Now I understand the real meaning of RE - TREAT!!  Treat after treat. Out the back of the pavillion is a beautiful rainforest fairy garden and Sienna can scramble to the top in seconds!! So many lovely walks across dell and dale, around farmlands and up and down picture perfect laneways.

 

Fairy gardens

Fairy gardens

One morning we woke up to a heavy mist. It was so magical I felt like I was in a movie and went searching for Heathcliff.. 

Out on the wild and windy Moors, 

Out on the wild and windy Moors, 

...think I found Mr Ernshaw's car.

we'd roll and fall in green.......Heathcliff......it's me..... 

we'd roll and fall in green.......Heathcliff......it's me..... 

Every morning after a delicious feast of bread and jam (I know I never eat that stuff) we would drive out in the gangster tank to take Sienna to riding school, meandering back through the townships hunting and gathering delicacies from specialists, take walks through hobbit villages, tell wild stories and laugh and laugh. OMG!

The beasts

The beasts

Did I brag about awesome bakeries??

...with a real Frenchman and French bread stick, in front of French bakery .... In France...impressive!!

...with a real Frenchman and French bread stick, in front of French bakery .... In France...impressive!!

... handmade lace bonnets....

This is for Matilda so she can see lace making pillow in action...

This is for Matilda so she can see lace making pillow in action...

Quaint villages where fossicking bakeries is real easy

Quaint villages where fossicking bakeries is real easy

Mladin is renovating the pavillion. It is so gorgeous set back up the hill with a big open fireplace. We hung the 'Water for Object' triptych in their bedroom. I am stoked big time and it looks perfect.

 

 

The Normandy Chateau... Lords gone past!

The Normandy Chateau... Lords gone past!

Water for Object

Water for Object

And of course every afternoon we would end the days watching the everlasting sunsets over glasses of French wine and the procured delicacies.....

au revoir.X

Forever Sunsets

Bonjour!

Embracing my dear old friend Vee after 26 years erupted into emotional charges of tears and babbling.....it is SOOOOO GREAT to see her!! Champagne anybody?? Oh yeah... Fantastic!!

 What a fabulous world she has created. Working, orchestrating, weaving together an energy, the desired image, a story. 

Witnessing her creativity is an incredible inspiration...... A Master! Love her!

.......at the studio Vee conjuring feasts of passion.

.......at the studio Vee conjuring feasts of passion.

After a couple of days dodging umbrellas, bursts of rain and queues and adjusting to being on the other side of the world it hit me that I was actually in Paris!! 

 

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Vee, Mladin and Sienna whisked me into country Normandy in their big black gangster style mafia car. Touring out past the louvre, there's the Eiffel tower, Grand Palais,  on Champs-Élyées, look at the shops, the cars, the people, this view, wow, round and round the Arc de Triomphe, my eyes can't keep up.......

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Meandering out of so many lanes...?...Of traffic... The freeway... Was it here that lady Di met her fate? 

Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh  The country....

 

Picturesque Perche

Picturesque Perche

The driveway to Vee and Mladins pavillion

The driveway to Vee and Mladins pavillion

Right now I am sitting, completely relaxed, out the front of their pavillion (bungalow) in secluded country Parc Naturel Régional du Perche ..... south east of Paris and huddled between Chartres and Alençon......very peaceful!  Filling up on the best wines, breads, soft cheeses, Vee's excellent culinary delights and stories that span our lifetimes. Can it be yesterday? 

Delicious!

Delicious!

No tourism at all, local villages,dare I use the word: quaint! Bakeries, goat farm, milks and cheeses, happy meat farms, gorgeous architecture and more bakeries... Mmmmmmmmm I am even eating tarts! 

Goat farm for fresh milk...mmm mmmmmmmm

Goat farm for fresh milk...mmm mmmmmmmm

Goat farm

Goat farm

Goat pate perhaps... Or some soft goat cheese... Yummmmmmy!

Goat pate perhaps... Or some soft goat cheese... Yummmmmmy!

Bakeries

Bakeries

Local farm houses

Local farm houses

This entire region is the prettiest of places I have ever seen. Rainforest greens, dense, ferns, moss, ivy,  a dear, a hare, in winter the grounds are thick with snow and the trees bare only their branches.  Where do all the ferns go? I want to take photos of everything, every corner exposes more pretty vistas!!

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The house is set back, up a hill, that overlooks the forests and the longest sunsets ever! I am serious....they are like three hours long!..... Longer...

 

Oi, note the jet trails in the sky... There was actually no clouds... Amazing

Oi, note the jet trails in the sky... There was actually no clouds... Amazing

 

Sharing is caring

Sharing is Caring'.                                      

.....or is it just plain,  simple bragging? 

I am with the latter. Off to Paris to visit a very old friend, Vee, who has promised me this....

"YOU WILL BE SO INSPIRED LINDA!"

As an Aquarian artist and demented decision maker, packing for this trip has had it's quandaries. My sketchbook is too big and heavy, the DSLR is too big and heavy, I am too big and heavy, the bag is too big and heavy,  it's not my back pack, how cold is it in Paris?

Blah!

The adventure begins. 

I am going to miss this little 'gangsterinspain' grandchild of mine.

I am going to miss this little 'gangsterinspain' grandchild of mine.