France 2007

I had a quick trip to France in June, and armed with my new camera (about which I knew little, and when, on opening the booklet on the plane saw I had brought the Spanish version, I knew even less) I tried taking some interesting pictures.  Hopefully you might like some.

  This is Avignon where my customer (fortunately) has a large base.  The Chateauneuf above is the little home the Popes built for themselves in the 14th century.  After being there 108 years I guess they decided the wine or the weather wasn't good enough, and moved back to Rome to be Italian again instead of French.  Which of course is all a huge simplification, but this will set you straight.

But what I tried to do here was capture the old, and the really old.  And no jokes about me not being in the picture........

  Avignon has a lovely main square called Place d'Horloge, which has of course a big clock, the Opera House above, the Hotel de Ville (every town has one), a thousand tourists, and some imprisoned horses (also above).  I guess they let them out to play during the day.  There is also a little gay bar at the bottom of the square which isn't mentioned in any guide books.  But the flags inside give it away.  Oh, and the patrons too.

  Another one of l'Opera.  Tried to capture the interesting light on the forecourt.

  The great chateau at night.  I was intrigued by the curve of the bollards contrasting with the severity of everything else.

  The local Klan gathering outside my hotel.............

  And since that was a nice photo but not a very funny comment, here are my funny towels.  The hotel is the Hotel d'Europe.  HA HA HA HA.  (It's Ok, you don't have to laugh.)

  So then I returned to Paris for a lovely afternoon just walking around that wonderful city.  A favourite place is the Jardins de Luxembourg, and its Palais.  Built for Marie de Medicis when stone was cheap, it now houses the French senate.  There was an exhibition there celebrating the links between France and the US which I wanted to see, but it meant being inside instead of out in this beautiful day.  I don't think many people realise how much the US owes the French (Washington was designed by L'Enfant as only one example).  See the kid's sail boats in the pond.  They really sail from one side to the other.

  It is hard to take a bad photo in Paris, but I think this was my least bad one.  No idea what the church was, and I don't know the name of the light pole either, but they went well together.  They are on the hill above the left bank, near the famous Ecole Polytechnique, and very close to a small cafe whose rose I can highly recommend.

  Now is this the way to sell flowers, or what?!  My first time walking the small Ile Saint-Louis (just downstream of the Ile de la Cite) and this in the main street (there are only 5).  A small island covered entirely by old houses, so it is quieter than most of Paris.  Probably more like how it was before trains, planes, and automobiles.

  At the foot of the Ile de la Cite, behind Notre Dame is a monument to those people deported by the Nazis, who never returned.  Specifically all those who wore some type of star or cross.  Jews, gays, gypsies, handicapped, French political prisoners, German political prisoners etc.  All had their own symbol, and only 3% returned after the war.  This underground tunnel has small lights all the way along, one for every person who didn't return.  Very moving.

But atop, in the sun, were banks of blooming pink roses.

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