Sunday, 30 September 2012

Mussels in Brussels

Sorry about the title...Mussels in Brussels...but ooohhh....those moules and frites were just so good .....and dare I say it....much, much better than the versions I've tried in Gay Paree.

Our hotel suggested that we try the moules and frites at glad we did, as this was one of those beautiful Art Nouveau grand cafés with dark wood-panelled walls, oval mirrors reflecting dark green lamps....moody, cosy and comforting....the perfect spot for lunch on a cold, grey day in Brussels.

Pierre and I loved Brussels.....its slower pace, its little medieval streets, those rich, creamy luxurious Belgian chocolates and of course, the beautiful Flemish architecture of the Grand Place.  This is Brussels' central square framed by splendid guildhalls adorned with gilded statues et al.  Gaze up...and you think you're in heaven!
Unfortunately I didn't get to the René Magritte Musée...praps next time.
And little Manneken Pis...almost a national symbol...he's short in stature but big in popularity.....
he's everywhere in Brussels (see below).
Not quite sure of the legend behind Manneken Pis....
some say he's modelled on a boy who extinguished a fire,
others say he was a nobleman's son.
Ummmm...looks like he can be very naughty at times too!!
It'll be full-on dieting now.....those Belgian chocolates!!!!!!!!
A post...gorgeous Bruges.

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Thursday, 27 September 2012 Artistic Cornucopia

One of the great things about living in Paris is that there's a never-ending stream of great art galleries, ateliers and exhibitions to's really an artistic cornucopia for an art enthusiast.

For example, if modern art takes your fancy...head to the Pompidou Centre.  The Louvre is a veritable cornucopia of all the greats...yes, little Mona is there as well as Rembrandt, Ingres, Vemeer, Delacroix etc etc.   There's also the Grand Palais, home to the trés grand Monumenta exhibition....and the Petit Palais....Paris' fine arts musée. You can also see superb exhibitions hosted in many of the smaller musées of Paris like the Canaletto-Guardi exhibition currently showing in the beautiful 19th Parisian mansion, Musée Jacquemarte-André.  There's world-class photography at the Jeau de Paume and Maison Européenne de la Photographie..... it just goes on and on and what I've mentioned above is just the tip of the ice-berg's a sample...hope you like it.

1.  Pompidou Centre...saw the fabulous Gerard Richter's work here.  I'd never seen his paintings in fact, I'd never heard of this artist before coming to Paris.   He's obviously an extraordinary talent...I loved his large squeegeed and splattered abstracts and his 'blurred' and out of focus paintings.
2.  Le Louvre....glorious both inside and out....Pierre and I enjoy visiting the Louvre on a Wednesday's open until 9pm and the crowds are a little less on Wednesday evenings....I just steer clear of Mona with her magnetic attraction.  There are lots of other lovelies there!
3.  Grand Palais....Daniel Burren created an incredible 'reflective' forest of blue, yellow, orange and green disks supported by white and black columns for this year's Monumenta Exhibition.The installation was beautiful....with sunlight and clouds (visible from the main dome overhead) creating reflections and shadows on the floor below.  Parfait for this grand and impressive space.
4.  Musée Jacquemartre-André....the fantastic Canaletto...the master of Venetian canals and reflections.  Once you'vre seen his extraordinary paintings do you really need to go to Venice?Unfortunately, the musée didn't allow me to take photographs inside...but here's some snaps of the's an exquisite 19th century Parisan mansion filled with incredibly beautiful loot...and there's a lovely tea-room too.
5.  Maison Européenne de la Photographie....did you know that Charlotte Rampling is also an accomplished photographer as well as fine actress.  I loved this exhibition which gave a glimspe into her life and family....her photographs were tender and loving...very special.
6.  Street Art.....there's a lot of this in Paris....and yes there's the good, the bad and the ugly.  But this is good I think...have a look.
Ssshhhhh-don't tell anyone...but the guys are hard at it below.
We're in Brussels at the moment....the art here isn't bad either.....but more on that when I return to Paris.  Must to Bruges this arvo!!

A bientot.

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Friday, 21 September 2012

Paris...Noir et Blanc with a Splash of Rouge

A while ago I was strolling in Passage Verdeau when I came across a wonderful old bookshop. 

There was a sale on at the time and displayed just outside the shop, on long timber tables, were the most fabulous art books...all on sale....for only 10 euros each!

I love a bargain and am also a fan of Taschen when I saw that both "Brassai Paris" and "Eugene Atget Paris" were on sale....I knew they were meant for moi!

Those black and white photographs of Brassai and Atget were (and still are) magnificent, atmospheric images of life in Paris many years ago.

I liked the covers of the books and white with a splash of red....hence the inspiration for this post....and a reminder to me, for when I eventually return home to lovely Brisbane, to create a series of prints in just noir et blanc....with perhaps a splash of rouge.  

Can't wait to get printing again....actually I'm becoming a little homesick for Brisbane....never thought I would.  But just this week some lovely friends from Brisbane visited and kindly brought Pierre and I a jar of Vegemite, that very Aussie sandwich spread.  Well, I have to say it was as good as receiving a bottle of Dior that's saying something!
Passage Verdeau....a great place to rummage for a bargain.

The covered passages of Paris are great for a quiet wander...
or perhaps a cool drink at one of the quaint bistros.
Oui love a bargain!
Graffiti....Place des Vosges
Legrand Wine Bar...our favourite spot for a tipple in Galerie Vivienne.
The terrace....L'Opéra Restaurant, Opéra Garnier.
Iconic Parisian carousel at Montmartre.
Beautiful Art Nouveau tiled frames in the Metro.
Gendarmes in the Marais, Paris.
Roller blading to the action!
Moi being silly....and capturing reflections at the Cité de l'Architecture.
A sultry pose on the banks of the Seine.
Dali inspired Red Lips fountain...just outside the Pompidou Centre.

Well, Pierre and I are off again next week....this time to Brussels and Bruges.

Don't really know what to expect of these two cities....but I'm hoping they'll be as beautiful as Antwerp.

Of course, I'll be visiting the surrealist Magritte Musée in Brussels...and sampling some Belgian waffles...but if anyone has any other fab suggestions about what to do/visit in these two cities...I'd love to know.

A bientot.

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