What a day today has been. The emotional rollercoaster evoked by the general election in Malaysia, which undermined the true spirit of fair and clean election, was followed by the disenchantment that the popular vote didn’t translate into electoral win (because, you know, when the margin is small and one does 5 recounts to include “forgotten” ballot papers, one suddenly wins and that’s the end of recount!). Malaysians deserve more than polarising rhetorics from the ruling party, race-based politics, vigilantism against phantom voters, and bald faced lies propagated through the government-controlled media… :(
On the positive side, voters are more aware of their rights and more politically involved than ever – in the past, many didn’t even care because they felt change was a hopeless quest. They know better now. Their voices will be heard louder in the coming years. For now, time to look onward and upward.
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29 Apr: There are many sculptures tucked within the Jardin des Tuileries and it seems I’m still discovering new ones each time I popped over for a stroll. Today’s find is one simply entitled Column, by Antony Cragg. Tucked just behind the Jeu de Paume, had I not been at the WHSmith to look for books and then decided to take a small walk, I may still not be aware of its existence!
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I have just realised, while I’m keeping up with this photo project, I am falling behind with my reading. A whooping seven weeks into the year and I’ve just finished my third English book, never mind none in French yet. And rather frantically, I haven’t been able to find my public library card either. A spring cleaning is seriously needed because I’m hoping to make this year the one where I make full use of the libraries around Paris instead of buying more books when I have no space to store them.
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11 Feb: Frédéric often tells me how much he loves the winter sky, specifically the softer colour hue at the end of a fine day. This evening was one of those where you couldn’t take your eyes off the horizon, where shades of colours blended into one harmonious palate. I wasn’t the only one who stood rooted at a spot looking up – a number of people on my Twitter were excitingly sharing their photos of this beautiful evening.
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Overnight, Paris underwent a most magnificent transformation.
I got up really early this morning, put on layers of clothes and headed out when it was still dark outside. The plan was to get to a couple of spots within the city where snow would not be cleared away too quickly, and while they were tourist-free. I should have a good couple of hours to try to grab some photos of a Parisian winter wonderland.
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This has been a tough week to be motivated to go out and play photographer. For the most part of the week, I was battling a horrible cold and cough (which includes a couple of “home arrest” days to try to get better) while staring out the window at what looked like the most dull weather for the longest time.
At the rate things are going, I may have to do something drastic, like buying new dresses and scarves in multiple bright colours? Anyway, without further ado, here are the photos of this week.
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7 Jan: Truth be told – I completely forgot about Project 365 today, but by mere coincidence, I have one photo in my camera and two in my smartphone – all of the same thing: galette des rois. I’m sure you don’t need me to go into details as to why would I possibly want to take so many photos of galette des rois… Even then, my mind was not on task, thus capturing mere out of focus images. I was eager to put down the cameras and eat!
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It seems I’ve been heading towards the food hall of La Grande Épicerie a little too often in the last week or so (these lights are those outside of Le Bon Marché, the mothership of above-mentioned food hall) and I couldn’t help it. There are so much goodies to be had that if it’s not for the price tag, I could see myself shopping here regularly. Good thing I can’t afford them that much on a day-to-day basis.
However, for the festive season, it’s a good place to hit to find all sorts of delicious treats that makes fantastic edible gifts. I’ve pretty much shop for most of my presents for my family and friends here, apart from some caramels and chocolates from either Pierre Hermé or Jacques Genin. Last week, my housemate had to pull me away from the shelves, so today, I went alone, mouahahaha.
Ps: in fairness, there shouldn’t be any complain re my shopping tonight since it was mainly for items for our Christmas dinner ;)
With the recent move, I needed to look for the closest market(s) to me where I can do my regular fruits and vegetable shopping. One of them being the Breteuil-Saxe market that’s held every Thursday and Saturday, at the tip of the (imaginary) axes where Champ de Mars and Les Invalides meet in southward direction.
It does mean the setting is simply idyllic on a morning like today, where golden ray bounces of the dome of Les Invalides while on the other hand, one could shop while admiring Eiffel Tower at the same time. If this is not one of the ways to celebrate the fabulous life of a Parisien(ne), I don’t know what else it could be. Especially for one who loves food. And I’m doubly pleased that my vegetable producer from my old regular market also sets up stall at this one. He was certainly surprised to see me here this morning!
It seems the end of daylight savings is going to be very challenging for me from now on, at least for the next two months, in getting decent photos for Project 365. And you may be getting a lot of night shots too, which means I really would need to learn how to use and optimise the camera for low-light conditions and start carrying a baby tripod with me everywhere. It’s not the same now compared to earlier in the year, when my movement was not constrained by working hours.
My attempt today was tricky at best. It was slightly drizzly and I have forgotten my tripod. Still, moving on, I took myself towards Invalides and decided it could be nice to try to photograph Pont Alexandre III by night, in the direction of the Grand Palais. As I stood there, the drizzle became progressively heavier but I played on with various settings. I had to pack up when it started to pour. I thought I managed a decent shot but I’m still not particularly happy with this one because it’s not as “crisp” as I’d like it to be.
Remember my recent greedy/wild photography mission? Here’s a new shot of Montmartre and Sacré-Cœur, and today the view point is none other than the newly-opened 5th floor gallery of Musée d’Orsay! After a week of strike action by the staff of the museum, it finally reopened on Thursday and I made good use of my MuséO card to gain entrance for a look at the new gallery.
From this shot, in the foreground, you can see Jardin des Tuileries in full autumn glory and the adjacent buildings of rue de Rivoli. But note the tiny golden statue at the left hand side, just peeking above the roofs. I’ve tried magnifying the photo to check, but couldn’t quite make it out. I’m deducing one of the golden sculptures above Opéra Garnier, but I can’t be absolutely certain. There’s something odd that makes me doubt this deduction. It needs further confirmation.
Despite being a frequent visitors to Paris (and France) in the past, I have actually never been here before for La Fête Nationale. We don’t call it Bastille Day here and in fact it may even confuses the French – “c’est quoi, le Bastille Day?” So, my first celebration, and although I skipped the military parade in the morning, I was at Champ de Mars (with a few thousand others) to enjoy the fireworks in the evening.
My friends and I got there early to bag ourselves a sweet spot at the feet of the equestrian sculpture of Marechal Joffre, having a spot of picnic and chit chatting while enjoying a pretty decent free concert prior to the start of the fireworks. As the sky got darker, the Eiffel Tower started lighting up while I played with a few settings on my camera, capturing something like above, which I thought was really cool. The fireworks finally began just after 10pm, and for about 40 minutes, we were treated to a visual feast of bangs and sparkles, dancing to the songs of Broadway Musicals. Two words – über impressive!
(For additional photos, see here)
“Ah la la” is definitely phrase of the day.
The temperature is set to soar this weekend from low 20°C to some 32-35°C. It will then stay so for 2-3 days before another massive plummet back to around mid-20s °C. Insane? Just the thought of it… and I’ve been told by friends that Paris would easily feel like a city-wide sauna during the heatwave.
I’ve also been warned that travelling by public transport that’s packed would be equivalent to cramming oneself into a pre-heated oven. It would be better if I would consider alternative displacement methods, such as by foot or by bike (the Velib’). This is when I am glad that I have taken up an annual Velib’ subscription. Now, I just need to be brave enough to cycle with all the traffic around!
I <3 Miró. I first fell in love with him when I was in London, standing in one of the many rooms of Tate Modern, gazing at Message d’ami (Message from a friend). I was immediately smitten. What started as an attempt to get acquainted with modern art (I used to be a tad scathing about modern art movement) became a day of exploration and unspoken connection. That day, I learned a true lesson in the beauty of keeping an open mind and giving things a try. At least once.
At Musée Maillol, an exhibition of Miró’s sculptures is currently taking place and it is so good to see the familiar elements of his paintings also reflected in the sculptures. The one thing missing is the bold colour blocks, given most of the sculptures were casted in bronze and not cured in any other way. I miss those vibrant colours. There are a couple of coloured preparatory sketches in exhibition, along with 2-3 paintings proper, but that’s too few for my liking.
In writing this blog post, I discovered that another Miró exhibition is currently running in Tate Modern, which assembles paintings from public and private collection (what a coup!). I need to now find some free time to Eurostar myself over to London. Oh where in my calendar can I fit this in…?
Start of week 4 since the big move, and I still haven’t posted any photo of famous Parisian landmark, so this evening, after work, I took some time to traverse west of the city in order to grab a photo of the infamous La Tour Eiffel by night. It was a rather impromptu decision, so I don’t have my mini tripod with me to help steady the shot. This turned out reasonably well but the sparkly version, not so great.
I took the bus to cross the city and it makes sense – no métro changes plus I get to see the view above ground. The 7th arrondissement used to be sort of my “home” ground in Paris, and as we passed some of the more familiar streets, I started to feel all very nostalgic of the neighbourhood. I should try to come back more often, and find time to get to Champs-Elysées somehow. I may have been travelling in and out of the city (and now all moved here) but it has been a very long time since I was at the stylish thoroughfare. 2-3 years perhaps?
Weekend numero deux in Paris and it is a cooooold Saturday despite the sunny blue sky. This morning, I conquered the communal laundry machine and dryer (yay) with the help of my neighbour and I am also all set for a weekend at the museums, thanks to Chloé’s mum who furnished us with a Télérama pass which entitles free entry (for up to 4 person) to selected museums both today and tomorrow.
But first thing first – la manif. Purportedly one of French’s favourite pastimes (apart from la grève), the educators are on the demonstration path this time round, starting from Luxembourg. When I went past, they were just getting themselves organised, with brightly coloured balloons, gigantic banners, oversized puppets, and photographers are swarming the place, amateurs (like me) and professionals alike.
I didn’t stay around. Instead I was away to the Musée du Quai Branly and Musée d’Art Moderne, near the neighbourhood of the Eiffel Tower. I know, I know, I haven’t yet taken a single photograph of that iconic Parisian structure since I got here. It’ll come, at some stage. Just not today. Stories of the museums to come separately when I have a bit more time to write. Plenty of accompanying photos as well. ;)