Milestones or Guard Stones in Versailles

Versailles Milestones
Versailles Milestones, or Piss stones or guard stones – December 2020

At first, I thought these milestones might have been installed for dogs to relieve themselves. Which they undoubtedly seem to be doing, with their masters’ blessing, I’m sure.

On second thought I realised they might not be milestones at all but protective stones to avoid the pillars (there is a flat upstairs) to be damaged by horse-drawn or man-drawn carts.

Many of such stones can be seen in mediaeval cities like Provins, a formerly prominent town in the East of the Paris region, theoretically in the Champagne region. Check the June festival, who knows, once the umpteenth lockdown has been lifted, maybe we’ll be allowed to go places again.

One can see another one in the courtyard of a house in Versailles.

It’s a shame I can’t put some alongside my Brompton‘s wheels to protect myself from all these nasty, noisy and smelly vehicles.

After some research I found that they are called guard stones.

Here is an interesting list of guard stones in various places in France. They can be found in Britain too.

There is something weird happening with my Flickr account and pictures. Sometimes I post pictures I deem rather successful and yet they attract few eyeballs and get no kudos.

At other times, I post OK pictures like the one above after much hesitation — should I post it or should I not? — and there we go, likes keep flowing in.

Why so? OK, this little townhouse in Versailles may mean something to me and it’s even somewhat interesting but its composition isn’t particularly good and I can see quite a few items I’d like to change.

Ever wondered why people like your pictures and why those you prefer are seldom favoured by the public? Interested in your views if you have any.

Versailles – December 2020

Stairwell – Petite Ceinture – Paris 14th district

This picture reminded me of Maurits Escher and his celebrated stairwells

A fascinating story of the Penroses being inspired by Escher’s impossible representations, which in turn inspired Escher who created renditions of the Penrose steps like the ones above or below.

Fascinating too is the fact that Escherian stairwells or Penrose Steps were used by Christopher Nolan for Inception in the following scene.

The illusion is perfect but how were they able to do that? Here is the explanation.

Some film student managed to make a viral video with a seemingly real Penrose Steps staircase. It was the subject of his thesis and attracted millions of views on YouTube.

But the myth is debunked, quite pedantically, by Captain Disillusion.

I have also taken other pictures (here and there) with impressions of Escherian stairwells.

Uzerche is a small town in the Corrèze tucked between Limoges and Brive. It’s one of my favourite places. Its hills are strewn with 15th-16th century stone mansions that all look like mediaeval castles. Here’s the first one of them in a series of pictures which should be enough to fuel this blog for weeks on end. If you manage to evade the quarantine, or even better, if you didn’t make it to Calais on time, feel free to stop there and roam around.

After the lockdown, we went down to the 13th district for a walk along the river. Fewer people were wearing masks at that time. They look a lot more terrified now, strangely enough. Coming up for air would have been a good subtitle for this piece.

Over there, one can find the great library that was built in 1989, a Jean Nouvel project.

As well as newer buildings that are cropping up here and there.

Modernist architecture. 

And dramatic skies.