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Category archive: France

Monday February 08 2016

More and more, as I browse around in places like dezeen, I come across pictures looking like this:

image

The this in question being the idea of connecting the tops of towers with footbridges.  And that particular picture having been produced to advertise a new scheme for jazzing up Paris.

I love bridges of all kinds, and footbridges just as much as any other sort, so I have been paying attention to such pictures as the above for quite a while now.  And I reckon there’s now something of a buzz developing around this idea.  Simply, there are about to be a lot of such bridges as those fantasised above, connecting the tops of buildings, and often for the use of the general public, rather than just the people in the buildings directly connected.  There will, in some big cities, in only a few years, be entire new alternative worlds at the old roof level, where you will be able to travel for miles without ever touching the regular old ground.

I am now going to scroll down at dezeen, to see if I can find more pictures like the above.  Bear with me. …

Well, it took a while.  Dezeen has lots of postings about stand-alone little modernist buildings, which, frankly, don’t interest me that much.  My feeling about such stand-alones being: we already know how to do those.  Modernist versions of big sheds or older school houses are just stylistic tweaking.  Nothing profound is going on.  But pictures like this …:

image

… and this …:

image

… (which I found in this posting, and which I remember being very struck by when I first set eyes on them) tell me that a seriously different urban future will soon be happening, in cities all over the globe.

The underlying story here is that cities are ceasing to be mere machines for living in and for working in, with occasional little spots that tourists will like to visit and have fun in (but which the locals ignore).  They are becoming nice experiences.  Everyone is becoming a tourist in them, you might say.

Central to this process is the banishment of big old road vehicles, and an alternative emphasis on being a pedestrian.  Or even a speeded up pedestrian.  Think of how the old dock districts of big cities are being turned into nice new developments with lots of waterside footpaths.  Think of what has been happening to canals.

What’s going to happen is that one city – maybe Paris? – will do this in a big way, and tourism, including by the locals, will surge upwards, in the city and on the graphs.  People will love it.  And then lots of other cities will do it.  Including London, because London has a natural pre-skyscraper height at which this will make sense, and because London is now so full of stuff that is worth seeing from this particular height..

A big reason why all this is going to happen is that it will not be all that expensive to do, one of the big reasons why pedestrian footbridges are already a major design flavour the decade being that public money is now tight, and footbridges are relatively cheap.  Designers love them, because although footbridges do not involve that much metal or timber or concrete, they do often involve a lot of design.

The picture at the top of this posting has the words “Ternes-Villiers, La Ville Multi-Strate by Jacques Ferrier” attached to it at dezeen, and I just googled those words.  And, I immediately found my way to this, here:

image

It’s not clear from this picture just how public these bridges are intended to be.  Other pictures suggest that the “community” able to use these bridges will just be the people who live in the apartment blocks thus connected.  But this doesn’t alter the fact that the general public are going to want to get involved in all this high-level fun and sightseeing (and photography), if only because it will all be so clearly visible from below.

Thursday December 31 2015

I spent a lot of today doing an elaborate Samizdata posting with twelve photos in it, and now I am doing the same here.  Most of these ones are just of the I Just Like It sort.

Whether I have the time and energy left after posting the photos to say something about them remains to be seen.  Anyway, here they are, one for each month, in chronological order:

image image imageimage image imageimage image imageimage image image

Okay, let’s see if I can rattle through what they are, insofar as it isn’t obvious.

1.1 was taken outside Quimper (which is in Brittany) Cathedral, where they were selling that sugary stuff on a stick called I can’t remember what.  I stalked the guy for ever, until he finally obliged by sticking his sugary stuff on a stick in front of his face.  Never clocked me, I swear.  Although, when others stalk me when I’m photoing, I never notice them.

1.2 is the amazing coffee making equipment owned by the friend also featured in these earlier pictures.

1.3 is the men’s toilet in the Lord Palmerston pub, near Suicide Bridge, photoed soon after I took those.

2.1 explains itself.  2.2 is Anna Pavlova, reflected in the House of Fraser building in Victoria.  2.3 was taken on the Millenium Footbridge.

3.1 is 240 Blackfriars.  What I like about it is that in some photos, such as this one, it looks like a 2D collage stuck onto the sky, instead of a 3D building in front of the sky.

3.2 is the new entrance to Tottenham Court Road tube/crossrail station, outside Centre Point, seen from further up Tottenham Court Road.

3.3 is the Big Olympic Thing, seen from Canning Town railway and tube station.  A tiny bit of it, anyway.  To me, unmistakable.  To you, maybe an explanation needed.

4.1 shows me photoing shop trivia, in this case a spread of magazines dominated by the scarily intense face of one of British TV’s great Tragedy Queens, the actress Nicola Walker.  I first clocked her when she was in Spooks.  Now she’s in everything.

4.2 and 4.3 are both film crew snaps.  4.2 features a London Underground Big Cheese, who is a bit put out to find himself being photoed by the wrong person instead of by his own tame film crew.  He was drawing a lot of attention to himself, so I reckon him fair blogging game.  4.3 is another film crew, in Victoria Street, just loving the attention, who will be ecstatic when they here about how they have hit the big time.  I like how there’s a movie advert on a bus right behind them.

There, that wasn’t so bad.  Although there are probably several mistakes that I am, as of the smallest hours of 2016, too tired to be fixing.

Happy New Year to all who get to read this.

Sunday October 18 2015

I’m talking rugby, not life.  If you came here because of the above headline but care only about life, relax, the Northern Hemisphere is safe.  It isn’t being culled.  It is merely that the Northern Hemisphere’s rugby teams haven’t been doing very well in the Rugby World Cup, which is now taking place in England.

Watching Ireland lose to Argentina had me conflicted, as they say.  On the one hand, another Home Nation succumbs to a Southern Hemisphere monster.  But on the other hand, England don’t now need to feel quite so bad.  Wales knocked out England by a whisker, and that was disappointing.  But England, Wales, and now Ireland, all got beaten by Southern Hemisphere sides.

And if Scotland do anything different against Australia in the last of the quarter-finals, about to be played, it will be a major upset.

England merely got the same bad news just the one game earlier.

Which means that, unless Scotland have entirely failed to read this script, the semis will be NZ v South Africa, Australia v Argentina.  These four teams have their own tournament every year, in their own stadiums.  Now, they are having another such tournament, in England.

As for France, well, they have done almost as badly as England, and perhaps worse.  They beat their minnows, as England did.  But, like England, they lost very upsettingly in the group stage to a home nation, Ireland in their case, and they were then completely shredded by the All Blacks.  Many neutrals had hoped for a repeat of 1999 or 2007.  By the end, even the humiliation of NZ only winning by one mere point in 2011 was expunged from the record.  This time around, the margin was: 49.

John Inverdale told a good joke after England got beaten by Australia 13-33.  He was in a taxi afterwards with a couple of England supporters, and one of them said: that was as bad as 1066.  Not really, said the other.  It was only 1333.

But 1362 (the year of the battles of Brignais and of Launac (blog and learn)) is quelque chose else again.  And if an All Black hadn’t dropped the ball just as he was about to score yet another try right at the end, it would have been 1367 or 1369, years in which other things presumably also happened in France.

LATER: Scotland have NOT been reading the above script.  They now lead Australia 34-32 with five minutes to go.  In-obscene-present-participle-credible.
But, penalty to Australia.  They lead 35-34 with a minute to go.  End.  “Southern Hemisphere clean sweep”, see above.

Thursday September 10 2015

This blog is suffering from problems caused by me failing to re-register my domain name.  This has now been done, and it should all be up and running Real Soon Now.  But apparently it can take time for people to re-connect to here.  Glad you have succeeded.  (Because you can’t be reading this if you haven’t succeeded.) It was all I could do to get through to my blog myself, and post this, because my regular method is still not working.

Anyway, here are some random photos, just to be sure that I can also post a photo:

imageimage

On the left there is a close-up photo I took in France, of part of The Internet.  Not all of The Internet; that would be crazy.  Just a bit of it.  No wonder the bloody thing keeps breaking down.  And on the right, the instructions for The Internet.  Although, to be fair, these pictures were taken nine years ago, so things may have improved a bit since then.  Now, for instance, it can’t any longer be: “A VOS BLOGS!”, but instead: “A TWITTER”, or Tweet Air as they presumably call it over there.

No links to anything else in this, because I am now only getting to my own website, but not to anywhere else.  And if you understand that, then maybe you can explain it to me.  Don’t try emailing me until I tell you you can, because I can’t receive them yet either.

Monday August 17 2015

A lot of my postings just now involve me showing you photos I took quite a while back, and this one is also one of those.

What happens is, I rootle through all my past photos, and then sometimes get an idea for a posting about a certain category of thing or human conduct or mode of transport or some such thing, and I start gathering photos to illustrate this, in a separate directory.  I am careful to copy photos into the new directory, rather than just transfer them there.  One of my rules is, keep all the photos you took on a certain day on a certain expedition all in one place.  But, no harm in copying from those directories into other ones which are about particular things rather than particular trips or particular times.

However, what often then happens is that I forget about it all.  So, the directory sits there, sometimes for years, and then years later I come across it again.  This happened last night, when I encountered a collection of photographs, assembled in 2010, of photographers who were also holding guide books.  I could tell that I had never used them in a blog posting, because when I do that, I always give photos different names.

Here are four of those photographers-holding-guide-books photos, all of which involve guide books with the word “Londres” on them:

imageimageimageimage

Click to get the bigger pictures.

I’m guessing that both the French and the Hispanics spell London as Londres, with the French calling it Londr and the Hispanics calling it Lon Drez.  But that’s only a gez.

And, yes (google google), I gezzed right:

Londres, the French, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan and Filipino language name for London, capital of the United Kingdom and England

The guide book while photoing thing always appealed to me, not least because even then I was looking for ways to not photo people’s faces, and guide books often achieved that outcome for me very nicely.  But the phenomenon is also interesting because, slowly, it is fading away.  You do still see photographers flaunting guide books, but it is rarer now.

Instead, the smartphone is the new guidebook.  And, of course, increasingly, the new camera, for people like those shown above.  Makes perfect sense.

As for the lady above (in the picture bottom right) whose face I do here display (if you click), well, she was wearing a T-shirt saying, in London’s own language and therefore to attract the attention of Londoners like me: “believe me… i’m incredible”.  Somehow I don’t think it was “incredulous”.  Ergo, she was attracting attention with her own attention-attracting behaviour, ergo she was and is fair game for her face to go up, totally recognisably, (but nearly a decade later) on my blog.

Nearly a decade later because these photos were taken by me in 2006 and 2007.

Saturday August 15 2015

Time today only for three rather antiquated Citroens.

First, a Citroen DS23, photoed by me in Lower Marsh this afternoon, 3.45 pm:

image

Second, a second Citroen DS23, photoed by me in the Kings Road this afternoon, 5.06 pm:

image

To see one of these beauties is a beautiful thing.  To see two, within the space of less than two hours, is to be doubly blessed.

I know they were both DS23s because I also photoed where they both said they were DS23s, at the back.

And then, before the two hours were up, I also snapped this:

image

It just turned off the Kings Road, right in front of me.

Magnifique.  J’aime Londres.

That last one reminds me that I also took this photo, earlier in the week, in Strutton Ground:

image

A form of transport that is even more antiquated than are the automobiles pictured above.  See also: this.

By the way, I rather enjoyed it when I just image-googled automobile.  All I was doing at first was checking the spelling.

Tuesday July 28 2015

Certainly in London and I presume everywhere else in Britain, when you see lots of verbiage attached to the outside of a building site, it tends to be health and safety stuff, of the sort shown in this posting, which I did here in February 2011.  (That was the very first posting I did with the category “Signs and notices” attached to it.)

In the summer of that same year, I was in France, where I took the picture that follows.  But I never got around to displaying it here.  Here it is now:

image

This is a sign that I saw adorning the outside of a French building site.

To me, it resembles nothing so much as the credits at the end of a movie.  Every imaginable contributor to the building process is painstakingly listed.  Click if you want to be able to read everything more clearly.

Although I am sure I might be persuaded otherwise (for instance by people with knowledge of the relative merits of the actual work that tends to be done in each country), I think the contrast is rather in France’s favour.

In France, everything that has been done, and by whom, is listed.  Presumably it has been done in a manner to make the people who did it glad to have their names in, as it were, lights.  In Britain, every imaginable thing that might go wrong is listed, in the form of an imprecation that people not do this.  It’s the difference between being proud of what is being done, and being nothing but apologetic about it.

Right at the end, though, it does say: “chantier interdet au public, port du casque obligatoire”.  This means (unless the internet has gravely deceived me): “access forbidden to the public, helmet obligatory”.  So, a bit of health and safety nagging there.  But that’s all there is.

In Britain, you also sometimes get a rather shorter list of the grander and more professional of the enterprises and people who are doing the job, but not nearly so much is made of this, compared to all the stuff about being ever so, ever so careful.

Monday July 13 2015

imageMore Dezeen catching up.  And this time the news is that Paris is about to get its first truly Grand Chose since the Montparnasse Tower.

Paris is, in certain Parisian minds anyway, suffering from London Big Thing Envy, and they want to change the place.

“The change in regulations is a historic moment,” the architects told Dezeen. “Paris is cautiously allowing tall buildings back into the city.”

Like Ken Livingstone, who did so much to make London’s recent Big Things happen, some of the Parisians angling most powerfully for Grand Choses are socialists.

But Big Things fit right in in London.  In London the antiquarian tendency is weak when confronted by the We Want More Office Space tendency.  But in Paris, it is the other way around.  Paris already has a look that lots of people like, and scattering Grand Choses all over it will radically change that look.  London has always grown in big ugly bursts of money-making, which everyone then gets used to and decides they like, so Big Things are just the latest version of a regular London process.  Paris was kind of perfect in the late nineteenth century, and since then it has been half city, half museum.  It was then neither bombed nor redeveloped by socialist maniacs, as London was.  It will be interesting to see if this transformation of Paris can be made to stick or whether it will be stopped in its tracks once again.

The opposition is gathering.  This particular Grand Chose has already been dubbed a poor man’s Shard, and in truth it really does look like a cross between the Shard and this infamous North Korean structure.

See also this earlier posting about Paris here, here

A new Grand Chose for Paris
Pancake White Van
A forgotten war
A new not very big Thing in Paris
Marc Morris on how the Bayeux Tapestry ought not to exist
Not squash
The Bayeux Tapestry small enough to fit in this blog
Exit Caesar
Triple Chess and a Four Wheeled Pedal Board
Proof that there are a lot of French people in Britain just now
Smartphones and tablets at the Charlie Hebdo demo
Sixty Charlie Hebdo demo signs that say something other than “Je Suis Charlie”
Charlie Hebdo demo in Trafalgar Square
Old Quimper Cathedral
Posting difficulties so see you tomorrow
Cats in Quimper shops
Quimper and its Cathedral
French roof clutter
Touch typing or no typing at all
A French film poster advertising a British film
Tired in France
Quota photo from Paris (also a selfie)
Marginal Eurostar economics
MicheldeMontaigne.fr
Recently on dezeen
Parisian roof clutter gets the Real Photographer treatment
Back from France (plus cat photos)
Cat photo and cat news
I need a new passport but just now passports are a problem
Emmanuel Todd talking in English (about how the Euro is doomed)
The joyful excitement of the Festival lyrique international de Belle-Île-en-Mer
Bennett and Lotus on how Emmanuel Todd’s family provoked his Grand Theory of Everything
Omaha dead
Selfies of me – 2001, 2007 and yesterday
Three more Paris pictures
Eiffel Tower with chimney pots – La Défense ditto
Fat bastard!
Eurostar before St Pancras
Craig Willy on Emmanuel Todd
A Fleet Street lunch
Little Lady Liberty - still in France
Mon chat se tient debout tout seul
I’m Charia Hebdo!
Les Rillettes Henaff
Summer blogging break
Empty tables and empty chairs
Quimper cat on Harley-Davidson
Quota frogs
Infrequent flyer
Signs from the Frenchosphere
Paris signage
Rugby shirts on drugs
Pronouncing on the Six Nations
Another link enema
Great speech by Kevin Dowd in Paris which should be available to listen to soon
France falls in love with Hugh Laurie
Sailing photos – and another bridge for the collection
Happy New year (if possible)
The Fat Man is not alone
French cats
Flat viaduct and spiral bridge
Talking about St Pancras at St Pancras
Millau Viaduct with goats
Australia out! – New Zealand out! – pass forward!
Wildlife news
Antoine Clarke on the French National Assembly elections
Lots of links
Antoine Clarke on Sarkozy
Somebody else photos Billion Monkey photo-ing Notre Dame!
Volte-face
Antoine on Sarko’s win
Serious tax cutting
If they don’t get who they would have preferred then silly them
“What do YOU think?” - “More -isationisation!”
“It’s a shame that copyright was infringed in a thesis about copyright itself”
Other people’s photos (6): More bridges
Other people’s photos (5): Red balloons on a monochrome bridge in Paris
Deceiving the eyes of Paris
Singing Frenchmen in stripey T-shirts
A dangerous development