Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Elysian

I'm not exactly sure when I took this picture. It's probably some time in the '90s, and if I wanted to dig through the slide collection stored in boxes in the attic to find the date, I could. But I'm not doing that today. It was long enough ago that the rooftop café on top of the now-closed Samaritaine department store was still open; that's where I was when I took the picture.

Looking west along the Champs-Elysées. Color slide, 199?.

The colonnade and building in the foreground are the eastern facade of the sprawling Louvre museum. Behind it you can see the obelisk in the center of the Place de la Concorde and the Champs-Elysées stretching west to the Arc de Triomphe. Behind that, the axis continues out to La Défense and its high-rise development which, today, is even more high-rise and more developed than when this photo was snapped.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Uni-fied

Here's an old favorite from 2004 (before I started blogging). I posted it here in 2006 during the blog's first year. It's taken on the grounds of the château at Bouges, about an hour south and east of us. I don't think I've been back there since then. I don't remember what was going on when I took the picture, but I was lucky to have the camera ready.

Four kids on unicycles with one running behind. Château de Bouges, October 2004.

This was before I had my own digital camera. I was using one of Ken's first cameras, a Canon PowerShot Pro 90, undoubtedly set on automatic mode.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Cierges

Another old photo from inside the cathedral at Rouen in Normandy. Candles that are used in religious settings are called cierges in French. I guess that distinguishes them from the standard bougies that people use in their homes. And on birthday cakes. Tea lights are called bougies chauffe plat (platter warmers). Candles used to be called chandelles, but bougie seems to have taken over as the more popular term.

Cierges in Rouen. There's a coin box nearby where worshipers can leave an offering before lighting a candle. Color slide, 1992.

I'm up early this morning. Tasha got up with Ken, went outside (to pee), then ate her breakfast. She then came up to the loft and insisted I get up to take her outside (to poop). She usually waits for me to wake up, but this morning I guess she just needed to go. We are in this pattern now where she waits for me to take her out for morning "poopies." Ken thinks I must scare the shit out of her. I'm looking forward to summer when Ken can just leave the door open in the morning and she can go out on her own.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Paris morning

Another shot from the archives, this time from a spring morning in 1997. Ken and I rented a studio apartment in the 7th arrondissement. The windows in the main room opened on to a tiny balcony with a great view of the Eiffel Tower.

The view from our window. Color slide, Paris 1997.

We were in Paris that year to attend the French Open tennis tournament for the first time. We had tickets for the women's final on Saturday and for the men's final on Sunday. The weather was great on both days. We watched Iva Majoli beat Martina Hingis for the championship, and Gustavo Kuerten won over Sergi Bruguera.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Leeks

Among my favorite pizza toppings are leeks and bacon, together. I've been making a version of this pizza for almost twenty years, and it's always good. I don't use tomato sauce for this pizza. I start with my regular pizza dough recipe. Before baking the pizzas, I cut up and sauté a couple of leeks in olive oil until they're tender. How many I use depends on their size; more if they're skinny, fewer if they're fat.

Leek and bacon pizza for lunch. Yum! By the way, that "Gallo" bottle is Portuguese olive oil, not wine from Ernest & Julio.

In the US, I used standard American bacon, thickly sliced if I could find it. But here in France I use lardons fumés, those chunks of smoked bacon that are a staple of French cooking. They get sautéed as well prior to baking the pizza. Cheese is optional, but grated Parmesan works well, sprinkled on when the pizzas come out of the oven. Yesterday I added grated French Emmental before each pizza went into the oven.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Butcher

I'm not sure that this butcher shop exists any more. I tried looking for references to it on line and by looking at Google maps street view, but I couldn't find anything that looked right. I believe the shop was on the rue Montorgueil in Paris, judging by other photos in the same batch and the street pavement. But I can't find a butcher shop with this name.

A pigeon does its shopping on the rue Montorgueil. Color slide, 1992 (I think).

The street has changed a lot since I took this photo back in the early 90s. It had already changed then from days I spent here as a student a decade earlier. It has become a pedestrian street. Many of the old shops that served the former working class residents have been replaced with upscale boutiques, cafés, and restaurants. Needless to say, property values have skyrocketed as this very centrally located neighborhood became trendy and an attraction for tourists.

The catalyst for the dramatic change was the closing of the old central market halls (les halles) back in the sixties. The neighborhood was on the edge of a huge construction zone for nearly thirty years while the city rebuilt its center. The construction was still going on when I was a student. The result was less than stellar, which prompted a competition for a do-over in 2004 and another decade of construction. The new canopy over the renovated underground Forum shopping center was completed in 2016 and the surface-level park renovation is scheduled to be finished this year.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Wet

As long as I'm digging around in the archives, here's a another shot from over twenty years ago. I took this one in the then-new Parc André Citroën on the river in Paris' 15th Arrondissement. The little girl was riding around the jets on the plaza-level fountain trying to outrun the spray.

I would set this shot up a little differently if I were taking it with my digital camera today. Color slide, 1992 (I think).

It would be interesting to see the what the park looks like after so many years. Maybe I'll have an opportunity to go over there the next time I'm in Paris. If the weather's good, of course.