Monday, June 6, 2011
The incredible spring weather has everyone outside, even this fellow. Yes, that's a real live person who has managed to get out on the miniscule balcony and shut the exterior shutters behind him so he could clean a year's worth of grime off of them. Now that's what I call dedicated spring cleaning. I didn't stay to watch how he managed to get back inside.
The building, on the quai Anatole France, was one of the late Art Nouveau, early 20th century apartment buildings you find in Paris that seem to be looking for a style of its own. In this case it seems to have borrowed from a lot of styles. Note the tiled zigzag eave over the front doors, the rounded windows on the left and the iron balconies on the right.
Looking up there are columns and a loggia and pointy turrets, and the facade is this striking floral rondelle tiling, set off by several different patterns of molding under and around the windows. No fear of 'too much' here.
And all proudly signed by the architect, Richard Bouwens, who was quite well-known and important at the time.
Not far away across the Seine is the Petit Palais, a museum that is less well-known than it should be. Entrance to the permanent collection is free and there are often very interesting temporary exhibitions. Currently it is featuring the designer and photographer Charlotte Perriand who is less well known than her friend and contemporary Le Corbusier but who may hve been just as talented.
But on this gorgeous day the best part of the museum is its garden, with a cafe opening onto the terrace and the elaborate architecture to look at.
The symbol of the city of Paris, a sailing ship, watches over the garden. Why a sailing ship? That's what the tourist next to us asked and who knows, maybe you'd like to know too.
Googling gives us the usual choice of answers, but the one everyone seems to agree on is that the island in the center of the Seine, now the Ile de la Cité, which was where Paris began, is shaped like a boat. As good an answer as any other I suppose.
In this weather all I really wanted to know was where my next citron pressée was coming from.