Sunday, June 10, 2007

Le Doudou

The remainder of the trip to Belgium was spent in the southern part of the country where we attended the "Doudou" in the midieval city Mons. Le Doudou is a festival held in this city for the last 658 years commemorating Saint Georges. The festival lasts for 6 days during which hundreds of thousands of people crowd the small streets of the city and drink large quantities of beer.

There are several different traditional celebrations during the six days, but the biggest focus of the festival is on Sunday, with a procession through the city culminating in the reenactment of the fight between Saint Georges and the dragon.

The procession includes many religious icons and ends with a golden carriage. The carriage must make it to the top of the hill beside the church, otherwise it is very bad luck for the city. Thousands of people run behind the carriage at this last part of the procession in order to help make sure it makes it to the top. Prior to the arrrival of the carriage, young men practice pushing against the wall of the church in order to get in shape for the final push of the carriage.

The Dragon has a tail made out of horse hair and it is considered lucky to pull some hair from the tail. Large numbers of young men crowd around the fight area to try to catch some of the tail.

Saint George

Et voila, la queue!

Friday, June 8, 2007


Sorry for the long absence from posting. We went up to Belgium this past week and then the batteries in my camera were dead so I couldn't transfer my photos to the blog.

We went up to Brussels for a day and I had the chance to buy a few French language comic books (bande dessinées). Comic books for French speakers are a far more serious business than English language comics, with a much larger selection of adult comics. Also, the pictures help with the context as I struggle to read the French. If you are in Brussels, I have been told that the best place for comics is the store "Brusels". It is just a few doors away from the stock exchange building in the Place de Bourse. The store had two rooms of comics and an upper floor with framed pics available for purchase.

After my morning shopping session we headed to see some arte nouveau houses. This beautiful one is for sale right now if you are interested in buying.

Later in the evening after a few Belgian beers we went out for some frites at the "best" friterie in Belgium. "Maison Antoine" located in Place Jourdan.

Et Voila! Les frites!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tomorrow's Gardens

I stumbled upon an interesting exhibit at Hotel de Ville entitled Jardins Demain (Tomorrow's Gardens) . It was a combination of art, garden and landscape ideas, and environmentalism. The exhibit continues until July 2. Luckily, I also managed to be there during a rare moment of sunshine this week.

Some drout resistant plantings

French lawn furniture?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Pere-Lachaise Cemetery

Le Cimetière du Père-Lachaise

This past Thursday was a sunny, warm day in Paris and I decided to take the afternoon off to explore part of the city. I went to the Pere-Lachaise Cemetery which is the world's most visited cemetery. It is a cool, green leafy location and a great place to visit on a warm day. The Cemetery feels like a miature city with its cobblestone paths and all the small mausoleum style graves.

Père-Lachaise is the resting place of many famous artists, writers and musicians and it is easy to pick up a map to the famous graves at the businesses adjacent to the cemetery. The upper part of the cemtery is a grid, but the lower part is a maze of winding paths and it is easy to lose your way. But, you might find you enjoy your time there more is you just allow yourself to get lost.

Some of the famouse graves I found:


Jim Morrison


Heloise and Abelard

Friday, May 25, 2007

Photography exhibitions

I have been to two photography exhibition openings since my arrival in Paris. I am blogging about one of these a bit belatedly, but I wasn't really up and running yet when I went to the first one. It was an opening for Brian Finke at Galerie Philippe Chaume. Brian's collection being shown there is of american cheerleaders. My brother works for Brian and was responsible for the prints shown at the gallery. Unfortunately, I don't have any pics that I can put in here of the work, but you can follow th link to the gallery for more information. The show runs until July 13.

The second opening I went to is an open air exhibit just next to La Tour Eiffel. And just to make this an official Paris blog, here is the Eiffel tower pic for you.

The exhibit was called Alive or Vivants in French and it is animal photography by the french artist Yann Arthus Bertrand. The purpose of the exhibit is to call attention to environmental issues including global warming water conservation as well as focusing attention on the many endangered species in th photographs. The exhibit runs in Paris until August 22nd, but it is also running in other cities in Eurooe, so check the website if you think you might want to see it elsewhere.

I took a pic of Bertrand's honey bee photograph. I have been particularly concerned and interested in what is happening now with the disapearances of honey bees known as colony collapse disorder. Honey bees have been disapearing from their hives and no one knows what is happening to them. As I understand it, so far North America has been hardest hit by the mysterious disapearances, but it has also been happening in Europe and South America. It could potentially cause a major agricultural crisis as many of our food crops depend on honey bees for pollination.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

London Calling

Or as it is said in French, Londres

After a small potential setback, we made it to London this past weekend. What setback, you ask? Oh, only an unexploded 500 lb WWII bomb found at a construction site nextdoor to our friends' flat. All the buldings on the street had to be evacuated until the bomb could be defused. It was discovered only a few days before we were scheduled to head up to London, but luckily the army managed to safely take the bomb apart and our friends were allowed home just a few hours before we arrived and we were able to stay with them.

We had a great time for the rest of the trip. It was a little disorienting for me to be there so soon after arriving in France. I kept forgetting that people could understand me if I spoke to them in English. Well, here are some less than typical pics from the trip:

This was a breast cancer funding advertisement. It added a bit of extra fun to the side of one of London's double decker buses.

And this is an Invader put up on Brick Lane by a French street artist who travels the word and "invades" cities with his work.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I have arrived

Je suis bien arrivée.
"I have arrived"

Ok so it has been a month since I promised to start this blog, but with all the flurry of moving, I just couldn't manage to get to the blogging. But I have been here in Paris for 1 week now and I think it is time to get this back up and running. It probably helps that today is a rainy day, so it is a perfect day to sit at home and work on the computer.

So speaking of running, I restarted running this week. We live just down the street from the "Bois de Vincennes." This is the large park/green space on the eastern side of Paris. This provides a great place for me to run and I have been taking jogs around the "Lac de Daumesnil." It is a pretty little lake with some islands in the middle. There are rowboats and ponies (yes ponies) available to rent at the lake.

I also have some updated knitting pics. First, the mostly completed keyhole top. I still need to find some buttons in order to complete it. This will of course require a trip to La Droguerie which is a wonderful knitting store in Paris. I have been there once before on a previous visit to the city, but have not made it there yet since the move.

And next up, I promised pics of my other project "The Rustic Sweater" cardigan from Rowan. I just completed the second piece for the front last night. So I have one more sleeve left to go.

This is the project during which I managed to teach myself how to knit 2-handed. I normally knit with a modified continental style, so I had to learn how to work with my right hand too. It really sped up the color work and I enjoy the rhythm it creates when I work with both hands. Here is some closer detail of the fairisle:

Well after my long initial absence, I am afraid it will be a few more days before I post again. We are heading up to London this weekend and I won't be able to post again until Monday.

À bientôt