If you stand in front of the Eiffel tower and look across the Seine you see a monumental building, the Trocadero. The wing on your right houses the museum of Architecture of Paris.
Replicas of parts of some of the finest cathedrals and monuments of France is housed inside. Yes, this is a museum of replicas. Detail of parts of buildings is painstakingly reproduced for research and restoration purposes. The end results ends up here. On first reading this I decided against visiting the museum. Who wants to see replicas if Europe is filled with the real thing?
I am a fan of modern Architecture. Well, lets say most of the well designed buildings. One of the greatest architects of the twentieth century must be Charles-Edouart Jeanneret-Gris, or better known as le Corbusier.
Le Corbusier summed up his approach architecture in five points.
1. Lift the whole structure of the ground. He used pilotis or reinforced concrete stilts to do this. Because the stilts carried the weight of the building it allowed the next two points
2. A facade free of support elements.
3. No interior support walls witch allows for open plan spaces.
4. Ribben windows that span the length of the building that allows in lots of light and uninterrupted garden views.
5. Roof space used as garden and outdoor entertainment area.
On a recent visit to Paris I could not wait to visit the Le Corbusier Foundation that is housed in the Maison la Roche, built to house the art collectors collection of modern paintings. The site of the building is a challenge to any architect, but the ingenious rethinking of use of space make this house something special
One enters the house into a foyer that extends upward over three floors. With stairs and passages one is linked to the rest of the house.
Ever since I can remember, I had a love for books. Especially empty ones, like note books, books for drawing or painting in. If it had a nice hard cover it is even better. I can spend a whole morning in a bookshop in front of a bookshelf with Moleskin books in them.
The books that I do buy I usually use as Travel Journals. A5 size that will fit in my pocket or backpack. I draw whatever presents itself to me. Usually buildings. I love architecture. But even on visiting an art museum I will take out my pen and draw what is in front of me. You may say it is easier to take a photo, (and a lot quicker) but if I draw something, it is as if I really see it. And remember it better!
We are often lead to believe that, for a gardener, insects are your prime enemy. We create gardens sterile from insects. If we can create gardens closer to nature, where insects and their predators can balance each other out, the instances where pests take over will happen less often.
Secondly , there are many useful insects to a gardener. Predators that will keep pests in control. Parasites , like wasps that use other insects to use as living food for their small ones. Bugs to help with pollinating flowers and fruit trees. They also serve as food for larger predators like birds and small reptiles.
Neat gardens and lawns have less and less space to accommodate insects. Lately I saw several insect hotels. This is man made structures that can provide shelter for a variety of insects. They are east to build and can give an interesting focal point to a garden. All you need is a framework filled with hiding space and potential food. Mostly stuff we will throw away on a daily basis. Bark, twigs, pieces of wood and gardening left overs.
Your hotel will be as pretty as you can be creative and will gives lots of joy!
Between the tons of Paarl and Franschoek in the Western Cape Wine region is the beautifully restored historic farm of Babylonstoren ( Towers of Babylon). What better place to recreate historic gardens than on a farm with this name ( referring to the biblical ‘Hanging gardens of Babylon.)
Ever since I read the romantic novel, Notre Dame, by Victor Hugo as a student, I dreamt of visiting the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. I still remember how my heart skipped a beat at the sight of this great building as I crossed the bridge over the Seine to the Ile de Cite for the first time. The Cathedral, probably the best loved in Europe, with its facade decorated by the central rose window and flanked by square twin towers, seem to beckon you inside.
On a hillside in Nice, surrounded by a lush mediterranean garden lies the museum dedicated to the painter Marc Chagall. This is the first museum built in France to permanently display art of a living artist. The museum was built with the cooperation and involvement of the artist.
The permanent art works on display depicts images from the bible. The twentieth century art as a rule is overshadowed by a lack of religion and spirituality. Therefore this museum is like a breath of fresh air as it is permeated by Chagall’s childlike faith and spirituality.
Twelve huge paintings from Genesis and Exodus form the major part of the gallery, beautifully exhibited in a well laid out gallery where every wall was designed to display a specific painting. The artists vibrant use of colour in his paintings come to life in the good lighting of the museum.
The Museum of Antoine Bourdelle is located in the Montparnasse area. His former studio and a collection of art was left to the City of Paris after his death. The museum was his studio from 1885 until 1929.
Bourdelle was a one of the former students of the sculptor Rodin. Like his teacher he wanted to have a museum to commemorate his work.
The museum consists of various parts. Beyond the entry hall one enters a beautiful sculpture garden.
I prefer going to small art museums as they are far more accessible than huge museums like the Louvre. The smaller museums usually represents only one artist at a time. That allows you to get a grip on the art of a specific artist and help you to see how his style progressed over the years. Usually unfinished art works is on display as well witch gives insight in how the thought process af an artist work as well.
Zatkine Museum: Paris
Ossip Zatkine Worked in his studio close to the Luxemburg gardens. The house and studio was turned into a studio by Zatkine’s wife, Valintine Prax.
Sculptures from her personal collection as well as purchases later on fill the museum. The plain white interior of the building is a perfect backdrop for the artworks.
The garden also exhibits a set of beautiful sculptures.