Tag Archives: Ferris Wheel

My Favourite Exhibition in Paris this Summer and a Fun Fair

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I love the Tuileries Gardens in the late afternoon in summer. The crowds have died down and if it’s a fine day, the sunset will turn the Louvre a lovely shade of pink. There are four fountains, each with a different view. Just pick a chair and take it all in! But first, make sure you go to the free Ahae exhibition in a temporary installation on the Concorde end, just before the Orangery.

I’ve now been twice and each time, the effect when I leave the exhibition is the same – a wonderful feeling of lightness and serenity. Ahae is a Korean photographer who took 2 million photos over a period of three years from the SAME WINDOW. Not just any window, of course. He looks out onto a pond, maple trees and mountains. And not just any photographer either. His high-tech equipment includes a 1200 mm lens. The stunning result is often more like an impressionist painting than a photograph.

I particularly like his photos of birds in trees or in flight, although the dragonflies perched on reeds in the middle of the pond are not bad either!

When we left the exhibition, Relationnel suggested we take a walk through the fun fair on the other side. Not really my scene but it was actually quite amusing. The first attraction, for small children, consists of a series of large plastic see-through balls floating on water. Each blown-up ball has a zipper. The operator pulls the ball up onto the landing stage and opens the zipper. The child crawls in, the zipper is closed and the operator sends in a blast of air to fill it again. He then pushes the ball into the water. The children all seemed to be having a whale of a time crawling on the bottom of the ball and making it turn around.

However, when I saw the getting-in process, I couldn’t possibly imagine Black Cat at 3 or even 6 for that matter, being zippered into a plastic ball, having air blasted at her, then being thrown into the water in a ball she couldn’t get out of. I watched the next child come along and was not surprised to hear her scream as soon as the air was fed in. The operator undid the zip and she got out, sobbing. However, another little girl, who had just finished her ride, asked if she could go instead, so I guess it’s something you get used to.

Maybe it’s all in preparation for the most horrendous (adult) ride of all – a large arm with an 8-person swing on each end – that had everyone goggling. Relationnel was fascinated watching the riders’ faces. I couldn’t even look at it without feeling ill!  He said they all looked as though they’d had enough after one round, but it then starts turning in the opposite direction. Strong sensations are not my thing, I’m afraid.

Even the traditional ferris wheel is not within my possibilities but it’s much more attractive, particularly in the late afternoon!

Practical information:
The Ahae exhibition is open every day from 10 am to 10 pm and the Tuileries Gardens from 7 am to 11 pm. Until 19th August.

Power Walking down to Concorde

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Just power walked down to Concorde and back through the Tuileries Gardens but grossly underestimated the temperature. The thermometer says 9.5° but I forgot about the wind factor. Next time, I’ll wear my cap with ear flaps (hoping I don’t meet anyone I know, Black Cat in particular) and my inferior Australian suede gloves (because I still haven’t got my new rabbit-fur ones from Italy). Or I could just use my exercise bike and watch a movie at the same time (if I can get the technology to work).

But if I did that, I’d miss the pianist on Place du Palais Royal and the guy with the giant bubble ring that all the kids love. I wouldn’t see the glass pyramids of the Louvre or the pink marble Carrousel Arch with its gold figures and green horses. I would miss the sun setting over the Eiffel Tower and the giant Ferris wheel looking so out-of-place with the Obelisk peaking out behind, mocking my fear of heights. I wouldn’t see the kids sailing their boats on the pond and looking like an Impressionist painting (except for their jeans and anoraks) nor hoping for a ride on the Olde Worlde carousel.

Neither would I be reminded on seeing the Orangerie that I haven’t been back since renovation to visit the wonderful oval rooms with Monet’s waterlilies (shame on me). I wouldn’t see the seagulls calling and screeching over the fountain. I wouldn’t have that stunning view of the Louvre spread out before me as I power walk my way back. I’d miss the man who hires out the sail boats pushing his boat-laden trolley home at the end of the day.

 I wouldn’t see the lovers kissing on benches (they don’t have cold ears) or the foreign tourists having their cheese and wine picnics (and ignoring the cold). I wouldn’t see Henry (and not the more strait-laced Thomas) Moore’s Reclining Figure at the foot of the Orangerie or the 18 Maillol statues down the other end. I would miss the open-mouthed fish at the bottom of the lamp posts next to the Decorative Arts Museum. Not to mention the giant monkey leaning out the window!

I wouldn’t be treated to the welcoming smell of roast chestnuts as I come out onto Rue de Rivoli. Neither would I go past the Comédie Française where Molière died in his chair or see the Night Revellers’ Kiosk. I wouldn’t see all the kids playing among the Buren columns and proudly wearing their crowns (they had the galette des rois today). I wouldn’t see all the people crowded into Miss Bibi’s tiny jewellery shop nor would I have the pleasure of feeling my ears get warmer as I walk up the stairs to my apartment.

But, more than anything else, I might forget just how lucky I am to actually live in the Palais Royal, right in the centre of the City of Light!

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