A whirlwind week away can only be matched to a whirlwind week at home, right? Well, it may not look it but it certainly felt like it. As I set my to-do list for the next few days, and reviewed my calendar for the coming weeks, I realised things are liable to be crazier than ever. On the plus side, I manage to sneak in some reading time, which makes me pretty content at the same time.
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20 May: I know, a photo taken at Marks & Spencer is hardly exciting but have a read at the labels of these bottles. Juices with red pepper or asparagus in them? We tested out the one with asparagus in it and it actually was quite nice. Granted, there wasn’t too much asparagus in it to start with, but enough to give a hint of the taste. Honestly though, I miss the food hall of M&S. There are a couple of them in Paris; the food section in the branch on Champs-Élysées is very limited and the other branch is a bit far in Levallois-Perret (actually outside of Paris), thus why I’ve not yet been there, but it does boast a much bigger food hall so maybe I should at least check it out once!
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There’s a change in the pace of my personal life this week, and instead of slowing it down a notch to catch a breather, it got cranked up to include reasonable amount of travelling for a couple of weeks. We just came back from the region of Lorraine where we attended a wedding over the long weekend, just to unpack and repack today for a week in Ireland. All these travelling is going to test my resolution when it comes to this blog’s schedule – I have opted not to travel with a laptop and I’m not normally someone who plans post(s) in advance either. Guess I will have to learn the how-to now, stat!
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6 May: It is May but the sunshine pretty much comes and goes, its level measurable by the amount of people sitting at the cafe terraces for a drink or two. On a good day, it could be a real challenge scoring a table from an already tightly packed terrace, never mind the best effort afterwards not to wince when presented with the bill that appears to have packed in also a cost for the beaming sunlight onto your table. Often (just often, not all the time), it’s worth it though.
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First year uni, freshers’ week. I still remember the flutters in my stomach the first time I received a text message from this cute guy I have just met the previous evening, signed off with “kisses”. A mere hour later, another guy I also met during the same social event, also attaching “kisses” to the end of his email. Surely I cannot suddenly be so popular for everyone to be sending kisses my way?
Ah, the naïveté that was me in my youth, and on getting to know the charming “Latin-Europeans” – mainly French, Italian and Spanish – for the first time.
Little did I know, those kisses were merely equivalent to the air/cheek kisses I’ve been getting in greetings to say hello and goodbye, only in these cases, in written form. Had I received a message from a girl that ended with “kisses”, I probably would have think twice about its significance and not jump onto the “someone-had-a-crush-on-me?” bandwagon. The other shoe dropped when some of my new Latin-European friends, of both genders, concluded their text messages or emails with “kiss kiss”. Aaaahhh…
Embarrassing, right? Oh well, at least for a little while, I felt the thrill of the geeky girl who garnered the attention normally reserved for the homecoming queen ;)
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Often, streets in Paris are named after who’s who in history, or famous landmarks adjacent to the streets, and the likes. Occasionally you do get whimsical names, like this one, a teeny small street off Quai St Michel – literally translated the street of the cat which fishes. While narrow, it is not quite Mårten Trotzigs gränd (in Stockholm) where I could walk along with my hands touching both walls of the street. Someone tall (over 1.8m) could manage this feat though.
I must have passed this street hundreds of time before I finally noticed it. With the souvenir shops lining the entrance to the street, it’s easy enough to ignore it. What amuses me is this mural of the infamous fishing cat! Granted, this piece of street art has since been defaced by addition of other elements, including this half-man with an umbrella (protecting the kitty?), breaking of the fishing rod and as far as I can see, no fish in sight. The kitty cat would have a long wait if it wants to be fed… ;)
Ps: talking of arts imitating name, here’s an interesting series of photographs depicting names of Paris metro stations by Janol Apin.
After last week’s confounding collage art by Tristan des Limbes, today’s piece found at Butte aux Cailles looks rather straight forward at the first glance. Or is it? Perhaps there is also multiple explanations to it, but I’m going with the most obvious.
I see this as an allegory of submitting oneself to the superiority of French wine. As good as made by the gods. But drinkers beware! Too much of it, and you’re slaving away to an addiction that will bring you down on your knees. For a substance to have control over you is never something positive.
This piece of street art is very intriguing. When I last walked past the junction between rue des Feuillantines and rue Pierre Nicole, it was in the summer. I didn’t see this collage then. But it was there this evening. Its creator goes by the name of Tristan des Limbes.
I can’t quite make out who is making this cry of help, nor the reason why. Is this a representation of mother earth crying out for help, or someone’s buried conscience, or something else? But I guess that’s makes art beautiful in its own right. It can have multiple interpretations, each to its observer, and still there is no need for just one answer. It may be A, it may be B. It may even be Z.
If you ever wonder, if someone is spying on you from an abandoned building, then there is probably something there. Maybe not a person per se, but possibly a trompe-l’œil that somone is tracking you from behind a small curtain. I guess this can be spooky at night.
This building on rue de la Glacière is marked for tearing down and rebuilding. Cranes can be seen peeking through the metal barrier put up to prevent public wandering onto a building site. There is an air of neglect, which made this trompe-oeil even more striking. Can you feel the loneliness radiating from this boy behind his hiding place?
… love, peace and nature.
I don’t know if it’s me paying way too much attention at random things, or if it just happens that there are a lot of notices posted on public poles lately. And most of them tend to run along the vein of massage service offered so please rip one of these phone number strips below. Yes, if you are wondering, there are people who take those numbers.
It is therefore refreshing to see a different kind of note. One with positive message of respect and tolerance, one designed to make you take a minute to reflect on its message. Perhaps it’s an aesthetique thing, but I like the representation that love transcends race. In this increasingly mobile and cosmopolitan world, relationships are certainly stretched beyond country and cultural boundary. Such transformation can only enhance our lives and the way we see the world and its people. I’d say, keep it up!
At the junction between rue de Haudriettes and rue des Archives sits a mural called La femme, lumière de l’homme. Painted by Combas in hommage of the great Cubic master, Picasso, who called Paris his home for many year, where he lived, painted and sculpted in Montmartre. In fact, not very far from where this spot itself – less than 5 minutes walk – is Musée Picasso, where thousands of his works (plus his private collection) make up the exhibition collection.
This photo above is but about 1/3 of the entire mural.The very top panel was a reminder of how Montmartre and Paris used to be, and the middle panel, the name of the painting reflected is at the tip of my tongue yet somehow I couldn’t just spew a name and get it right. It’ll come back to me some time. Meanwhile, spot the amusing tiled floor of this picture.
Pixel art is fun, pixel art in bedazzled tiles is even more entertaining.
Spotted on a wall somewhere in the Marais (I cannot for the life of me recall the street name right now), this space invader is sitting pretty with coloured alien antennae (note the matching colour scheme) and a special one that sparkles and dazzles. Is there extra point for zapping the alien via that particular antenna? ;)
As a child, growing up, my first memories of computer/video games are of Mario Bros (ah the days of game cartridges and square Nintendo box), Space Invaders (black 8″ floppy disks!), Pacmac and Pinballs (giant machines at the arcade, anyone?) but somehow I seem to have outgrown them quicker than I’d anticipated. Nowadays it’s all nostalgia and reminiscing the past, and me unable to play wii without embarassing myself.
… l’orage au désespoir.
The poor penguin, lamenting that [it is] waiting for the storm in despair. Is it heartbroken? Or just feeling a bit blue because of the crappy weather? Or a combination of both? Fear not, it doesn’t reflect how I am currently feeling. In fact, we’ve been blessed with a sunny bank holiday Monday, which is promptly celebrated with a trip to Pozzetto for a spot of ice cream and playing spectator at a tango session at Quai de Seine.
And on a side note: I’ve put in place a few small changes in recent weeks to the site. They’re not by any mean complete but at least good starting points, I guess.
- lists for my Big Read Challenge of 2010 and 2011
- tracker on the progress of Challenge Resto A-Z
- the pages above summarised under Coffee Break
- subtle updates to The Ultimate Travel Challenge
I have a couple other things planned (as per friends’ suggestions) that I don’t yet have time to look into, but should I do, I will let you know where to access them. But first, I need to figure out how these would fit in the framework of this site, then how best to present them. Sorry if it all sounds a bit cryptic but I haven’t think through them just yet, so I myself don’t know how it’ll morph into the final presentable state.
Street arts in Paris are not strictly-wall endeavours. As you can see, footpath is as good a canvas as a blank wall. Not only that, it can be smartly done to incorporate objects present including a drain cover. The grille as rib cage of spray-on skeleton, why not?
And speaking of street art, the artist JR is currently in collaboration with Centre Georges Pompidou to encourage everyone to take part in becoming an art movement. Have your picture taken, printed to a poster size, and you’re then to put it somewhere public as part of the Project Inside Out. Pretty cool idea if you’re open to having your face publicly admired ;)
“One must be wary of words.”
As warning goes, it is not too far wrong from the truth. We often forget how powerful words can be. One careless word, one inconsiderate phrase, that’s all it takes to hurt someone and cut deeply. The scar invisible, yet nonetheless there. Turn to another facet, however, words are all powerful, inspiring and motivational. These have healing power, to lift one’s spirit up. And empty promises, these are perhaps the most damaging of all. They break trust and create wariness.
This 3D installation by Ben Vautier is set up high on a building at place Fréhel, at the intersection between rue de Belleville and rue Julien Lacroix (en route to my favourite Thai restaurant, Krung Thep). It depicts two puppet-workmen who are busy setting up this chalkboard, all oh so casually. For anyone seeing this for the first time, it’s easy to do a double-take, wondering who are up there working on putting this notice board on.
I’ve walked rue Bonaparte quite regularly, thanks to the presence of a number of delicious shops along the street, but tonight, for the first time, I spotted this Mr Chat. Of course I don’t see it during the day, since it’s hidden within the shutters of this shop, lowered only after close of business.
I particularly like it that Mr Chat is so happy, reading away his time. I’m not unlike him actually. Have I told you how book-buying happy I’ve become lately? I’d say, by now, if I am to move, I would need at least 2 boxes for the books that I’ve acquired. And I’ve only live here for a few months. I think this habit is just going to get worse with time, but in a good way, right? I mean, it’s books, and it’s about reading. Surely it can’t be bad… ;)
The risk of dreaming is loneliness? At least that the hypothesis postulated by Aerosol in this art-graffiti wall of his.
Dream is a two-edge sword. On one hand, we could not not dream. To not have dreams is to live a monotonous existence, without anything to look forward to and nor something to aspire for. At the same time, to dream also means to put ourselves in a state of fantasy, imagining something that we may put too much hope on, and hurtful when it’s misguided.
What we should aim for is a balance between the two. Afterall, isn’t much of our lives about balance in one way or another? Too much of something is bad enough, too much of nothing is just as tough. However, I don’t see loneliness in either scheme of dream. Am I missing some obvious link?
There is a particular humour to this rather basic graffiti found at Bassin de la Villette. “Come to daddy!” says the monster with an evil and gleeful grin. The phantom-y cat knows something’s up and and couldn’t try to escape quickly enough!
It is Father’s Day today, and it is a rather poignant day for me. I do not remember any celebration that I may had had with my late father, and at home, it was more of a day where we celebrated it with granddad. However he is no longer with us for another celebration. As I walk the streets of Paris, I’m reminded of us planning a trip for him to visit me here after my move but time ran out on us.
Anyway, sorry for the change of mood. Back to happy. Think happy thoughts. Think Happy Father’s Day. Think happy memories :)
After a series of non-street art photos, you’re getting mural works two days in a row. Not only that, they can be found on adjacent streets. Am I slacking, by going back to the same place for my photos? Maybe. However, with things hopping busy on my end, time is a bit on the premium. Plus, I like this mural. I was debating with myself yesterday, at the junction between the streets, on which mural I should photograph.
I like that the setting is edgy. A Keith-Haring-like background, laced with additional graffiti, they serve to emphasis the rather aggressive passion between the couple. It’s, errrm, animalistic? In my head, I was humming to Savage Garden’s The Animal Song. Of course, on the other side, a reminiscent of a classic pose by Robert De Niro. “You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me?” (If you haven’t guess it – it’s a scene from Taxi Driver.)
Together, it’s as if a reflection on human psyche living in a big city. Your relationship may burn fast and hard but also short-lived, while a sense of impatience and frustration bubbles underneath, ready to take one’s emotion over to spill. There’s always turmoil aplenty, running circular like an infinite loop. Does taking ourself out from urban living help us to find the balance within? That is the million dollar question.
Tucked in one of the smaller streets behind Port Royal is this creative piece of street arts, which incorporates mural painting to exposed brick façade, along with fake wine leaves snaking around the edges. As a result, my brain is running away with the image of a hot day in the Caribbean where one grabs a cold drink and sit out to watch the world goes by.
In the mean time, the weather in Paris continues to be dull for most part and rather chilly too in the evening. I may have to pull out my little fleece throw from storage so I can be snuggly wrapped up when I sit in my apartment to read. I am just starting to read Harry Potter in French and it’s taking me quite some effort since I don’t always have the vocabulary to understand everything, and the name changes are confusing. For example, Hogwarts has been rechristened Poulards, muggles are somehow Moldus, and even Snape is now Rogue apparently. One word – confusing!
You’ve seen me posted entries of various street arts and mural paintings of Paris. Here’s another creative one – which is used to not only decorate the wall but also to frame the elements of the building, i.e. windows and doors. Pretty good job for a building that seems to be in need of major restorative works.
While I find the roar of the animal amusing, the picture is still slightly disturbing. It’s the body. I can’t wrap my imagination around it and no matter how I look it over, it still feels all wrong. Not my kind of art perhaps. If you want to see this for yourself, head over to rue Neuve Tolbiac, near Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand.
One thing that you may have noticed by now, is that street art is never just something born out of vandalism. Especially in Paris. Some are works to reclaim the public space for expression of art, some are works to put out a message – political or not – to the public, some are works to provide food for thoughts, some are works to beautify the living space.
This mural which covers the entire side of a building can be found near Gare du Nord (I forgot to mark down the name of the street, but I believe it’s at the fork of rue La Fayette and rue de l’Aqueduc) is striking to me for a couple of reasons. First, the representation of Paris. Just try to see how many monuments you could identify. From the obvious (Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, Obelisk of Luxor) to the nestled and ambiguous (Assemblée Nationale, the pyramid of the Louvre, Panthéon). Secondly, the depiction of Parisian life and history, all in man’s memory, and you’re just there, at the tiny corner, looking up to all that has come together in this city.
Painted in 1992 (clearly marked) this mural of nearly two decade old still holds true today. Paris is dynamic and ever changing, but the core value within, they are contained and unforgettable.
Something happened today that left me fuming, and to clear my head I decided to take a random bus in the city and see where it takes me. Perfectly reasonable strategy too to see more of Paris that I would not otherwise be familiar wth.
As soon as I spotted this mural on rue Oberkampf (near the junction to rue St Maur), I rang for the bell and got off so I can check it out. It’s a curious work that’s still ongoing, with students from Cergy and Havre working on the piece in collaboration with L’Association le M.U.R. (Have a look in larger size)
There’s a mixed message on it right now, with strange faint writing (that makes the title of today’s entry), naughty gnomes, McDo etc. I’m not quite sure what’s intended for the final picture or if someone has tampered with this. The artists were packing up their materials when I was there, but since I lost my voice today, I couldn’t really talk to them.
It seems from the association website that the artworks on this mural wall changes every couple of weeks, and this one will be there until 18 April 2011. Only 6 more days to catch it.
Have I ever told you just how varied Parisian street art can be? From simple spray can graffiti variety to stencils to truly thought-provoking pieces, they never cease to amaze me. And there are a lot more street arts that I haven’t yet spotted so far.
I term this Alice-in-Wonderland-esque as “Blown away” and if anything, it reminds me much of Ireland, where windy days are not rare and nobody even bat an eyelid at “inside out” mushroom umbrella. Some day, on Grafton St, there is even a street artist/mimer there who stands at his spot with tie blowing away from him face and him struggling with his weather-sensitive umbrella. I may have his photo somewhere – if I find it, I’ll update this post accordingly.
This sign was spotted by Herbert Park. Someone has been getting creative while tampering with the sign, and what was meant to be the disc machine (for parking discs) is now a disco machine. Might the effect be better had the “o” also came in the size as all other letters rather than being the stuck-in-the-middle-red-ring?
However, this sign is not quite as amusing and clever as another I saw a couple of years back at Wellington Place nearby. Someone has transformed the “children crossing” sign to a grim reaper leading a child across the road, by adding a pointy hoody and a scythe. And it was nearly Halloween then. How apt :D
Passing by the area yesterday (George’s Street Arcade is flanked by both George’s Street and Drury Street) these colourful street art caught my eyes but in the miserably wet and grey weather, the vibrancy of the colour and form is just not that quite same as today, when the sun comes out to play for a little while.
I know I have been photographing mainly the southside of Dublin city for Project 365, and am considering venturing more often across River Liffey for variations, or perhaps to go to the suburbs areas such as Howth and Dun Laoghaire. If only it would rain a little less without the wind of 50km/h… I don’t fancy getting blown off the coastal areas into the sea!
I flew in to Paris this morning for a short 48 hours trip. As a thick layer of cloud shrouded the sky (the view during the flight was very impressive) over north of France, it was inevitably a grey and coooold day in Paris. Nonetheless, I find myself on a stroll around the Latin Quarter for a couple of hours in the evening before heading to Anne’s for dinner.
I’ve barely crossed the road from Place St Michel towards rue St André-des-Arts when this trompe-l’œil materialised before my eyes. The hues matched so beautifully, yet the painted reflection of the window revealed a season that is definitely not winter. Afterall, the trees outside are currently pretty bare. I should revisit in a few months for a follow up photo.
I’ve found a sister graffiti to Kindness!
A stroll along the Grand Canal has always been lovely, from spotting swans and mallards further inland (towards the direction of Ranelagh/Portobello and beyond), to studying the gates system that controls the water level (near Leeson Street), to pondering food options (lunchtime market on Thursdays, the docked La Peniche, restaurants flanking the sides) and now, with a bit of philosophy thrown into the mix.
Reading this reminds me of an unkind remark that I uttered a couple of years back. I lashed out in a moment of frustration and anger. As soon as the words flew out my mouth, I berated myself over it. This behaviour was (and still is) inexcusable and that one sentence caused much hurt and damage. My apologies haven’t quite yet mend the bridge as I’d hope for. If only I’ve held my fraying temper tighter…
Modern city life can be very impersonal. Add rat race to the equation and now, not only we can easily dismiss things that are irrelevant to us, we also often forget what is it to be kind to someone who crosses our path whom we don’t know and whom we may never meet again after that chance encounter.
This message, seen on Dame Court today, is a gentle reminder that I should always care. Kindness comes from the heart, is sincere, freely bestowed, and ultimately, there should be no expectations. Acts of kindness by others taught me to be kind in return. There is no place in society for excess selfishness.
Kindness can be as simple as a bus driver who waits for a passenger who is rushing to catch the bus but haven’t quite yet make it to the stop; a traveller offering a fellow traveller the use of mobile phone to tell his/her loved ones that his/her flight has been delayed; a passerby buying a hot cup of tea and some sandwiches for the homeless man huddling at the corner of the stairs; a worker extending invitation to a new colleague to join him/her for lunch at the canteen; a flash mob entertaining weary crowd and lifting their moods (let’s for a moment forget about the publicity value of this effort).
Each time I walk past the locked gate that leads to the courtyard of Wexford Arts Centre, I’ve been piqued with curiosity over the painted walls. Were they specifically painted, or were they the works of artistic vandals (which the Arts Centre then decided not to remove, since street art is still a form of art)?
I must admit, I can’t quite recall when I last went to the Arts Centre. Must be a good 10 or so years ago, when my friends were involved in a local theatre production. I can only imagine changes that it has underwent over the years. I should go pay it a visit some time soon.