Le Temps retrouvé

May 10, 2012

In Aix- en -Provence, the view from the flat in Rue Mérindol, shows a sleepy quiet lost in time square.  Only at lunch time is it transformed into a bustly but organised outside eaterie. The fountain is a central feature here. The Romans developed the system of thermal waters issuing from springs into a cures and treatment centre. Fountains and water basins reflect this sense of history in a decorative form throughout the town.

In Place Albertas, an elegant tazza fountain, quite discrete . . . .

. . . and a portico that conveys grandeur and charm too.

Nearby, a more modest frame but equally gorgeous in subtlety and tone.

In Cours Mirabeau, a series of water basins cool the air in this busy thoroughfare . . . . the mossy surface adds to the effect and the sense of the ‘old’.

The street culminates with the impressive La Rotonde . . . . difficult to access as it is the centre of a large roundabout but  just opposite, is something contemporary and ‘people scale’.

And why not use a handy fountain to cool some bottles of rosé . . . .

. . .  up out of town in Célony, there’s nothing to disturb thoughts while wandering around  the old almond trees. Thoughts of taking the experiences of life and transforming them in our own way.

He could say no more because he was overcome with tears. Night had fallen. I had dropped my tools. I couldn’t have cared less about my hammer, my bolt, thirst or death. There was one star, one planet, my planet, the Earth, a little prince to be comforted. I took him in my arms and rocked him gently. I said to him: “ The flower you love is in no danger. I shall draw you a muzzle for your sheep. I shall draw you a fence to put around your flower. I will . . . ”

I did not know what to say to him. I felt very awkward. I did not know how to reach him, how to catch up with him. The land of tears is so mysterious. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry The Little Prince

drama in Perpignan

January 20, 2012

An eclectic grouping by Pont Arago in Perpignan. Buildings with differing functions? I kept driving past  thinking how interesting the installation looked. So, eventually, on my last morning . . .

discovered that this is Théâtre de l’Archipel  designed by Jean Nouvel and it all started to make sense! Since visiting Cartier Foundation and Musée du Quai Branly  in Paris, I’ve become a fan of him and his buildings. So there’s something silver, gold some building that looks like local sandstone although it isn’t and something that looks like a doughnut finished with a layer of blood red nail polish. OK and why not – it’s theatrical anyway. The supporting landscape elements – pines, escallonias and  clethra –  are recently planted so need time to knit in and start to flourish.

Corten steel is a good backdrop and contrast for green foliage.

A galvanised steel structure – about 4 metres high – will be covered with Trachelospermum within 12 months. Crazy enough to fit in well. Loved it!

And the outside face of the auditorium looks like this – 2 large shiny buttocks!  . . .

. . . . no compromise on anything with this construction. So in relation to the previous blog, lets see how this stands up in 50 years . . . .

A few quotes on the theeaarrtrical:

(Antonin Artaud (1896-1948), French theatre producer, actor,theorist. “Preface: The Theater and Culture,” The Theater and its Double (1938, trans. 1958).)

The theater, which is in no thing, but makes use of everything—gestures, sounds, words, screams, light, darkness—rediscovers itself at precisely the point where the mind requires a language to express its manifestations…. To break through language in order to touch life is to create or recreate the theatre.


There is in every madman a misunderstood genius whose idea, shining in his head, frightened people, and for whom delirium was the only solution to the strangulation that life had prepared for him.


Where there is a stink of shit
there is a smell of being.

Wonderful foresight from Artaud. How did he know that the French have to have pets  in their apartments. These pets then cover the streets in shit because they can’t help it!  And the French see the cleaning up of this as beneath them!

Lazy morning in Prades

January 10, 2012

The branches and shoots of the plane trees and the Église-St-Pierre

Tuesday is market day so buy a few baskets and then retreat to the Café I’Europe, with le beau monde, and wait for the accordion player to start his repertoire  . . .

. .  lean back and close the eyes.

and think about a couple of quotes from Balzac:

A grocer is attracted to his business by a magnetic force as great as the repulsion which renders it odious to artists.

A flow of words is a sure sign of duplicity.
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