The Exact Centre of Paris


my exact centre is not the Point Zéro described at the end of the last stay, but this curve of rounded paving slab at an apex in Place Théodore Herzl at Arts et Metiers, where Rue de Bretagne has become Rue Réamur, and then meets Rue de Turbigo, and continues on. You can look back do Rue de Turbigo to République, and back down our street, to where Rue de Bretagne starts again. But it is La Grande Oblique of Rue de Turbigo that I am always caught by, as it runs all the way down to St Eustache at the bottom. For me my slab  has a more fitting mundanity than the official Point Zéro.It is my Point Zéro.SC


Source: The Exact Centre of Paris

Musée de la Vie Romantique 2


Another slightly mad museum, not far from its bed-fellow, Musée Gustav Moreau. Not much in it, except for itself, the former studio of the painter Ari Scheffer, friend of Georges Sand, and 3 Delacroix sketches.Like with many of the outlying museums all the good stuff may have been shunted off to the Quai d’Orsay and other mainstays.Nonetheless, it is free entry, and you recognise the madness of it all, where bureaucracy meets M. Hulot.SC

Source: Musée de la Vie Romantique 2

Les Passages


Some of The Passages remain unchanged in spite of an ever-changing Paris. They are as brown and glazed as they were for Walter Benjamin, and lead you on an almost clandestine side route to the openness of the Grand Boulevards and the big shops.SC

Source: Les Passages

The Horses of Cirque d’Hiver

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2 March Monday

I am getting closer and closer to making a visit to the Circus. I find myself detouring to the right hand side of the front entrance. The horses are kept in stalls there. All of the horses I see are white. They are safely behind a fence so that they cannot be approached by people from the street. I can see them in their stalls and I can see them outside their stalls when they are being brushed and washed. There are heavy curtains to be pulled over the openings at night, perhaps to keep out the light and the noise of the city, or perhaps to keep the horses warm.EVH

Source: The Horses of Cirque d’Hiver

More Church Music

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We like to drop in to the Armenian church to listen to music. We can leave the house ten minutes before any music begins and then we are there and the music starts and we sit and have it played around us and for us for forty-five minutes and then we can just walk back home and have a cup of tea. Twice in the last weeks, we have set off to hear Schubert. Once we were late and the door was locked to stop the noise of latecomers interrupting the music for both the audience and the musicians. The next time we went to hear Schubert, the Schubert was cancelled. Instead we heard Chopin selections played on piano. Whatever I am listening to, I always look up at the patching work on the ceiling.EVH

Source: More Church Music

Sunday Lunch


1 March Sunday

We were walking for hours in the bright cold. It was a fine thing to have no rain and no threat of rain. When we got hungry we started to look for somewhere to have lunch. We did not want a big lunch. We just wanted something to eat. We wanted to have the energy to keep walking and we wanted a little rest. We did not want to be weighed down by lunch. After a bit of menu-reading and more wandering and walking we stopped in a small Jewish restaurant. It was more like a diner than a restaurant. It was a kosher, and quite orthodox place. There was a rabbi blessing the food as it left the tiny kitchen. We ended up with falafals and cous cous and grilled chicken as well as salads. It was all light and just right for the walking day. Simon was the only man who was not wearing a yarmulke. If the other men in the restaurant were not wearing a yarmulke when they entered, the man in charge loaned them one to wear while they ate. Simon was not offered a yarmulke.EVH

Source: Sunday Lunch

An Urban Dovecote

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27 February Friday

There is a large dark green dovecote on the rue Reamur. It is raised up on a pole so that it is out of reach of people. Birds can feel safe within its confines. Sadly, I never see any birds entering or leaving the dovecote. I do not think there are any living there. I am not sure why the structure stands where it stands nor why it is so well cared for if it is not being used. I wonder when it was built. This is the first time I have continued to think about it after I walked out of sight of it. I do all my wondering right at the point of viewing the dovecote and then it and its questions evaporate.EVH

Source: An Urban Dovecote

Le Livre Ouvert


26 February Thursday

I like seeing all of these people that I do not know. The city is full of people I do not know. As I sit on a bus in traffic, there is a man on the corner who is picking his teeth. I do not know him. I do not know him by sight. I do not know him by name. I do not know him by family affiliation. I am so accustomed to life in the country where everyone knows everyone or at least they know something about someone. At the very least they know something about where everyone lives and how they came to be there. We each become part of one another’s landscape. On one level this means there is very little privacy. In another way, it is very comfortable.

A teen-aged boy who walks along the opposite side of the street most days. He reaches one point in the block where he begins to dance. He dances with careful and practiced steps and he dances with the metal posts coming out of the edge of the pavements. He dances and he twirls and he makes deep swoops. I cannot see from the window if he is listening to music. His dance and his moves are almost always exactly the same. He moves from one section of the opposite side of the street and he crosses and then he dances the entire length of the block. When he reaches the next street to cross, his dancing stops and he continues his journey with normal walking. I do not know this boy but he is becoming familiar.EVH

Source: Le Livre Ouvert

With Wet Ink

ironmongery spare

25 February Wednesday

Today has been wet. It has been raining all day. It has been raining hard all day. There have been a lot of grey and drizzly days in the last few weeks but today is the kind of day that makes me happy to stay inside. I spent the day drawing with ink. I was drawing and re-drawing my same old pieces of rusted metal. I went across the street for coffee. Later, I walked out to buy more ink. Each time I thought about going some where further but each time I went back to my drawing. I was happy to look out the window at the people with their umbrellas. I was glad to see rain jackets and moving windscreen wipers and I was glad that my presence was not required anywhere out in the world. The city looked fine from the window. I was glad that the city was out there. I spoke to a friend who asked if there was not anything I wanted to draw here. My friend meant was there not anything in all of Paris that I would like to be drawing. My friend did not know why I should want to continue to draw the same rusted objects from the soil in Tipperary, especially since the objects are not here with me. I am mostly drawing the objects from other earlier drawings of themselves. She thought it odd that I should not adapt what I drew while in another place. I thought it odd that she thought I should adapt. I tried to explain that I do not want to draw Paris. I just want to draw. EVH

Source: With Wet Ink