Sketch of Port Royal Abbey in Paris

In Paris, near the RER station of Port Royal, you can find the remains of the eponymous abbey, well hidden within the Cochin hospital and the Baudeloque maternity hospital, so much so that you could almost walk past it without noticing. This abbey was the centre of jansenism, and famous writers and philosophers frequented it (Racine, Pascal, …). It was closed manu militari in 1664 (nothing to do with a famous blonde though 😉 ). The cloister is almost intact. […]

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Autumn leaves in Aix les Bains

Autumn leaves is a recurring theme, and now is the right period for this kind of pictures. Here’s a series of shots taken on October 31 in Aix les Bains. Above, a beautiful 1900s building. I really need to get rid of these awful green posts on the right though. It’s a never-ending discussion with the wife : should I tweak this photo to make it more beautiful, and distort reality, or should I leave it as is even though it […]

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Remarkable houses in the Ariège

Remarkable houses abound in the Ariege, in the Pyrenees. This is especially the case for Saint Lizier, on top of the beautiful 12th-century cloister (above), as in the picture below with this strange bodiless character. Saint Lizier Cathedral is a Romanesque Catholic cathedral located in Saint-Lizier in the Ariège region […] The cathedral, dates from the 11th, 14th and 15th centuries. It has a superb Romanesque cloister, also a listed historic building. The town has been listed as a UNESCO World […]

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Topiary Art, peacocks and other animals

Topiary Art is something I’d seen before, even though I must admit I’d never heard the noun. My wife and I went to a wedding ceremony in Brittany last July. We were invited to this beautiful place near Combourg. Here are a few pictures including those with this Topiary Art thing I’d never heard of before. Topiary Art, peacocks and other animals I was stricken by the beauty of this place with architectural ornamentations from what looked like the 17th […]

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love songs Montmartre

La vie en rose or singing in the rain in Montmartre

Paris and its love songs, l’amour, toujours l’amour as the saying goes. La vie en rose is Edith Piaf’s most celebrated song. A few weeks ago we took a stroll around Montmartre with a young street singer who showed us around places. With her love songs, Anne Sophie rekindles the spirit of the old Montmartre, which is still remarkably parochial, despite the swarming of tourists all around the “butte”. Here we were gadding about and each time we encountered a […]

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Back to the shack

This back to the shack post is about a photo I made a few weeks ago as we went to the East of the big City to the Haute Île park a place which nearly became yet another concret jungle chock-full of high risers and motorways. Fortunately, anytime one wants to build something anywhere, archeologists are mandated to carry out excavations by law, in case one finds anything like remains of people or ancient buildings or other. Thank God, those blessed […]

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Bishop's Palace in Saint Lizier and Trees

Saint Lizier Trees outside the Bishop’s Palace

Saint Lizier and its trees. I love trees so much I thought it would make a nice back-to-school post for September. Trees in Saint Lizier and news from the front studio Unter den Linden It’s this time of year when kids are getting back to school and things are starting to catch up, even though I’ve been back to work for at least a whole month. We tend to spend a rather protracted time in our house in the mountains […]

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Vilennes - 1

Lovely Villennes

This is a terrible pun, as ‘vilaine*’ means ugly and also naughty depending on context. Villennes-sur-Seine certainly is one of these dainty villages. It doesn’t deserve to be called ugly. Lovely, not ugly, Villlennes Villennes-sur-Seine is a commune in the Yvelines department in the Île-de-France region, a mere 25 miles west of Paris. Trees are so important there that they agreed to grant special rights to our CO2-eating friends. The municipality of Villennes-sur-Seine voted to adopt the Declaration of the […]

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Rusted Cross

One Cannot Find a Name… One Cannot Find a Name on this Rusted Cross is the somewhat elongated yet poetical title of a song by Jacques Higelin. Higelin sadly passed away in 2018, time flies. As I was posting the pictures of the four-nations cemetery the other day, it reminded me of a song by Higelin. I’m not much of a fan of French pop music, but Higelin is a different kind of artist, one who stood out from the […]

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Four-Nations Cemetery

The Four-nations cemetery is an incredible place. A derelict, yet beautifully romantic, old cemetery on the hills above the town of Caen in Normandy. Four-Nations Cemetery Wikipedia has a story on the Four-Nations Cemetery: On 1 March 1780, the Parliament of Rouen confirmed a ruling of the Bailiwick of Caen of 1779 ordering the transfer of urban cemeteries outside the town. In 1784, the parishes of Notre-Dame, Saint-Sauveur, Saint-Martin and Saint-Étienne bought a plot of land next to the Notre-Dame-des-Champs […]

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