This morning's view from the studio window. There are still quite a few leaves on the trees and Didier, the homeless guy is still encamped on his bench. I keep thinking that as it gets colder, one day he'll just disappear. Does he have somewhere to go in the winter, or does he just get more and more sleeping bags?
J and i had decided to target the left bank today and started off at Shakespeare and Company. Or Shakespeare and Selfie as it's now called.
Do you think i'm starting to look abit like Tintin? Maybe just the hair?
We dropped into the Pantheon to see where the great men of France, and one great woman (Marie Curie) are buried. The massive crypt there has plenty of room for lots more of the up and coming greats.
Circular things in the Pantheon.
The rearview of the Pantheon
From the Pantheon we walked down to the Luxembourg gardens, stopping off at a corner bistro for a bite of lunch. Even the fallen leaves in the Luxembourg Gardens seem beautifully placed.
This pile of leaves structure was somewhat intriguing.
The shadows of the chairs in the garden seem to be doing artful things.
Our own shadows were not as artful as the chairs. Oddly you can tell we're both holding cameras. And look, a moment of sunshine!
From the Luxembourg we wandered back up to St Germain des Pres to have a look at a really old church.
From St Germain des Pres we continued wandering towards the river and stopped at Laduree for some late afternoon refreshment. This pastry, which is a caramel filled puff pastry with fleur de sel is called a "Religieuse Caramel". And it was.
So today being December 1st and World AIDS Day i thought i would get out on the street and spread my message of hope. With my face covered in bandaids and my trusty documentary photographer in tow (thanks Jim!) i went out to meet the french public.
This is one of the few people who actually approached me, really only to yell something at me about the war. But he did return a few minutes later to give me a coin. I tried to give him a bandaid but he said he already had lots at home.
Even these security guys barely glanced my way, hey its just another guy with no face, no big deal.
So i thought i'd try a more visible location, right in front of the Pompidou. Maybe i'd get lucky and like in Vancouver someone would come and throw me off the property.
Here's my inspirational signage.
Sadly, i wasn't doing much business here either. My message of hope seems to be falling on deaf ears.
Poor bandaid man!
While Rod floats towards Barcelona, Jim and I continued our assault on the great museums of Paris. Today was the Musee D'Orsay where we started off with some fortifying lunch to get us through the cultural battle that lay ahead. Also photography is not permitted so i'm afraid its a short post today.
As the afternoon wore on we spotted this museum casualty convalescing on a conveniently provided bench.
I would also like to mention that though i didn't get a photograph of it we did see a concept drawing for the building that was suppose to replace the Orsay train station when they wanted to tear it down back in the 60's, and i can tell you it would have made a lovely Walmart. So to whoever mobilized the forces that saved this building from demolition and instead turned it into this amazing museum, which is i'm sure a huge economic generator for the city's tourism industry, a great big MERCI.
Going to the Louvre with your camera is abit like prospecting. You dig and dig and once in awhile your looking rewards you with treasure. That ping of recognition that you're looking at something that you recognize, not through familiarity but through some obscurely struck and echoing cord. Of course in the Louvre the challenge is discovering your treasure amid the superabundance of other treasures. How about the Raft of the Medusa?
Or this statue of winter.
Some marble fruit and grapes.
This jewel of a portrait by Bartholomeus Pons (1535?)
J pretending he's still in Venice with this Canaletto.
Or a Mona Lisa selfie?
And then from home this super story about the owners of the Big Top Restaurant where Rod and i often go for breakfast. The owners found a circus mural during some recent renovation, that covers an entire wall of the restaurant. This story filled me with glee. Sometimes the treasure is right there under your nose.....
People are still sleeping and dreaming in the street....
We went to Notre Dame today where behind the great studded doors of the cathedral.....
Jesus wants 4 Euros to allow you into his treasury....
where little golden bishops dream in their little golden houses....
and the jeweled crowns made by the most talented craftsmen are artfully lit....
and scraps of bone are venerated with silent effiges
gold and diamonds for a few fingernail clippings....
What can you do but stand by the river and wonder.....who decides who dreams in the streets?
We spent a large part of the day yesterday in the Accademia Gallery, where of course they don't allow photography, so instead here's a selection of tourist trash to ponder. There's alot of tourists here and the swag varies from sublime designer wear to the crappiest made in china trinkets.
These were at our local hardware store.
Some adorable marzipan animals?
How about one of these sexy calendars?
Many, many masks. This was one of my favorites.
or this sexy calendar?
Or a really cute fridge magnet?
After spending the last few days in thrall to contemporary art we decided to catch up on some sightseeing. We started out with some of the principal monuments, which were not being flooded today, the first being the Basilica of San Marco, where every surface is crusted with mosaic. And of course no photography allowed. So why did we come here, if not to take pictures?
From there we strolled next door to check out the Doge's palace and the prisons.
Acres of gilt ceilings studded with paintings by Veronese.
Afternoon light on a curtain outside the Council Chamber
Looking out into the courtyard of the Doges Palace through the old glass.
Across the Bridge of Sighs and into the prisons for a selfie. The prison of the selfie?
The prison courtyard.
Looking out the stone grill from the Bridge of Sighs.
The Doge's Palace.
Then we went up the Campanile to look out over the city.
Such a clear day you could even see the mountains to the north.
We spent Day 2 of our Biennale viewing in the Giardini, which is where most of the country pavilions are located as well as the main pavilion. Here's the entrance to the main pavilion....
Belgium Pavilion selfie. Thankfully it was a bright sunny day. There was a wonderful wax cast of a very large felled tree in here but it was so dark my pics didn't really come out.
This was in the Dutch Pavilion
Eva Kotatkova at the Czech Pavilion. A table covered in interesting sculptural objects.
Loved these two small paintings by Ellen Altfest in the main pavilion
Oliver Croy and Oliver Elser, The 387 Houses of Peter Fritz in the main Pavilion
Exquisite sketchbook drawings by Jose Antonio Suarez Londono of Columbia
Hilarious clay sculpture by Peter Fischli and David Weiss
"Dr Spock looks at his home-planet of Vulcanus and is a bit sad that he cannot have any feelings"
"Charlton Heston kisses Dr Zira in Planet of the Apes"
Rialto Bridge before repairs.
Not quite as good as yesterday's pumpkin tortellini but some nice salmon and roast beef.
Brazilian Pavilion. Interesting interleaved phone books.
Serbian Pavilion. Mickey Mouse product placement.
Serbian Pavilion, little animal heads from found camera cases.
This was, i think, one of the best pavilions, the Romanians, who were recreating historical performance pieces. Fun, witty, unexpected, somewhat theatrical but also very mundane and even kinda sexy.
Ai Wei Wei at the German Pavilion. Are German artists ok with that?
The little stool that didn't get to be an Ai Wei Wei.
Jim in the British pavilion
Shary Boyle representing Canada.
Some light in a corridor in the French Pavilion, not part of the Biennale.
The Russian Pavilion where a shower of golden coins fell on the female spectators, but not the men. It felt a bit weird to be excluded by gender but i guess that was the point.
Those coins could hurt so an umbrella is provided.
Sarah Sze does an excellent job at the American Pavilion.
After about 5 hours and all but one pavilion, here we are with our legs only slightly longer.
Walking our way back home.
Well, here we go, tickets to the Venice Biennale in hand off we go to the Arsenale this morning to see what's on offer.
I won't torment you by showing all the photographs i took, but here's a few things i really liked...
these shadows on velvet.....
i didn't really like these plastic figure sculptures but i liked the guy coping a feel of that one's ass.
This scale model of the Biennale which rose up out of the water.
This photograph in the Chinese pavilion....
Sometimes it was hard to tell the exhibits from the viewers....
People photographing one another...
Photographs of machines mounted on boxes to look like machines.
This swinging pendulum tree.
This lady's sequined coat....
This wall to wall drawing installation in the Italian Pavilion.
A coffin made of lottery tickets...
This band of brass musicians playing mournfully on a boat in the basin was one of my favorite things.
And despite the all day rain, the awesome spaces of the Arsenal.
In the morning Rod and I set out to explore the Basilica SS Gioanni E Paolo, one of the large gothic churches in the city.
The Doge's big chair.
There were alot of tombs to the various Doges who have ruled the city, each one more elaborate than the last.
In the afternoon i killed some time in the market area near the Rialto bridge waiting for our friend Jim to arrive. Here's the view from the bridge....
All kinds of small food stores in the market area near the Rialto bridge including this horse store.
Then i wandered into the fish market area which was just shutting down for the day....
Box of eels.
The acqua alta continues in this area near the fish market. That's the Grande canal making its way up into a cafe.
Our friend Jim has made it here to spend a couple of days with us at the Biennale.
These local ladies enjoyed a moment of celebrity thanks to Jim.