1 Oct. Pizzeria for Lunch, Pizzazz for Dinner
Ah, the homely Parisian feeling of waking up to sunrise over La Défense (my balcony faces north-west) - and my special Télématin-sur-France2 friend William Lemeyrgie !!
Good old William has been right there every morning, always perky and impeccably made-up (perhaps on the overdone side......), ever since I started travelling to Paris in 2003.
Being the 1st of October (Saint Theresa's Day) I thought I would pay a visit to her chapelle out at "my" Fondation d'Auteuil in the 16. arrondissement.
This foundation has been doing a terrific, praiseworthy job among the less fortunate children in Paris for over 110 years now - and also in the rest of France, making sure these kids get an education, teaching them good values - and most important: making sure they learn a trade, so that they may grow up to support themselves and become upright citizens and an example to their peers.
As it's located in Rue Jean Fontaine, the closest metro is Jasmin, leading you down the beautiful Rue Ribéra, with many elegant buildings. I have shown you this bas-relief before, but here it is. Just incredible.
As a matter of fact the 16.arrondissement - huge as it is - offers a wide range of delightful architecture experiences: both the opulent & sumptuous late 19th century, then cool-elegant Art Noveau/Déco (lots of Hector Guimard) and finally the stern, puristic modernist styles of the 1930'es.
Interior courtyard of the old buildings at the foundation. These photos are taken not with my usual Sony Cybershot, but with a bought-on-an-impulse Canon. I do not like the colours at all, look how milky and overexposed and watery they are !!!!! Bleeeeeh !!!
I want an idiotproof camera that I can set on AUTO and then it performs perfectly with: bright colours and sharpness also in depth, has a generous wide angle, can do great macros of e.g. flowers and can cope with hard sunlight as well as dim/dark light conditions. e.g. in churches.
Actually ended up in BHV buying a Sony Cybershot (yes yes yes, totally absurd and obsessive and neurotic - but I really needed a camera that I liked)
They have a second-hand shop at the Foundation, where they sell stuff they have been given, just like Red Cross or Salvation Army. This cage was set out for people to dump used books.
The chapelle is neo-gothic and built in the honour of little Saint Theresa who is the patron saint for La Fondation d'Auteuil.
Her relics are kept here in a small golden shrine and devoted pilgrims come here to pray, especially in the week up to her Saint Day. I must admit I'm not sure what relics actually are ?? (not being a catholic myself). Theresa is buried in her hometown Lisieux in Normandy.
Hmmmm.......here in Wikipedia it says that relics can also be things that have been owned and used by a saint.
But that's what I have come to like so much about catholicism: that divine spirit and holiness can be represented and revered in so many forms. Me being a Scorpio: we love all things mystic and spooky !
The atmosphere in this chapelle is always so warm and loving, not only because of Theresa but also with a strong presence of Saint Vincent de Paul who gave his life to helping the sick, poor and down-and-out in Paris in the 16th century.
Now there was a good and kindly man, if any. His picture always makes me smile, he looks so gentle and compassionate. Read his story in the yellow link ! Very colourful: he was even kidnapped by Turkish pirates andd sold off to slavery in Tunis !
All over the world there are so many crucifixes showing the suffering and the misery of Christ, the horror of the deed. In my humble opinion too much of the Christian tale focuses on the crucifixion, the cross, the pain and death.
To me that's not what faith is about. Not one minute do I believe it. To me the core essence of the Christian legend is Easter Sunday Morning: Life overcoming Death. That we shall not fear death, because death is but a passing thing. Death is a bridge which we all must cross to go from Life to Life. Those kind of messages.
What uplifts my spirit in Saint Theresa's chapelle is this crude oak statue of the Resurrected Christ.
It just makes me glad and confident inside. This is Life's final victory over Death. Behold, He is risen.
When my time comes, I hope I will be able to leave with that image firmly on my mind.
So much philosophy for now.
I am not a very good person, not at all. Just as depraved and corrupt as the next person. I am not even sure any of this is true. Most likely it's not. For all I know, we humans may be nothing more than potatoe peels: here today, gone tomorrow. There is no way of knowing.
But hoping for the Good Story to be true, definitely makes you feel better than thinking of yourself as a measly little potatoe peel. Maybe that's the real challenge: hoping against odds, in spite of evidence.
Back to mundane affairs. Looking for Villa La Roche from 1923 by architect icon and genius Le Corbusier, greatest architect of the 20th century.
You do the googling, I think I posted the relevant links in one of my Travel Diaries from New Year 2010.
My first husband is an architect, so I was "raised" to appreciate modernist architecture - and I am very grateful for that, as it has stayed with me all these years.
But Gawd Almighty, I have lost count of all the building sites I was dragged around to gawk at, standing in mud and cement up to my knees - while all the other tourists were sipping wine and writing postcards on a sunny terrace in The Old Town of somewhere !
But those were fun days really: we were young and poor during the recession of the 1980'es. I helped him as well as I could with cutting out carton for models, glueing up drawings on big boards, colouring letters, making little trees out of dried yarrow for the scale models, packing all the project material for the competition, waiting in wild excitement to learn the results..........
So you understand that Le Corbusier is a deeply revered household word where I come from - and Villa La Roche has been on my Paris list for some time. So now ! Let's go !
Magnificent ! Only the hands of a master could create something like this.
I don't know what I had expected, but it was much different from what I remember from photos. And much older.
But oh, still so so glorious. A masterpiece. Wauw !
The calm, the light, the harmony, the proportions. And the colour palette: warm chestnut brown, petrol, pale blue, ochre, slate, beige (yes yes, those colours should be mentioned by their correct numbers ! My description is way off the mark, but you'll have to make do with that).
How edifying and thoroughly pleasing - a pure delight !
However, a woman does not live on aesthetics alone, she needs her sustenance too. In Rue de la Fontaine there is the funniest Italian restaurant, food not really worth mentioning, but the décor is so elegant and oldworld Paris.
A wildly surreal mismatch with the cheap, pizzeria-style food.
What I had ?? Good question, perhaps a veal sort of steak covered with ....... ??
Later in the afternoon the weather got crappy.
Happy Hour - yup, got it !
In the evening I went to dinner with these 2 very lively ladies, but I think we want to keep that story between the three of us........ and everybody else present that night at Joséphine Chez Dumonet's.