Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Chantilly, but not the crème...

The Château de Chantilly is located 40km to the north of Paris and it represents a nice Sunday visit. Not too much showy, of simple lines in the outside, it is surrounded by spacious gardens of several styles (including mazes), and by one of the few big French forests still standing. In spite of its name, the famous crème wasn't invented here, but its renowned creator (François Vatel) served during many years as grand chef and parties organizer at this place.

(the two first pictures belong to the church Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, near Gare du Nord, from where the train to Chantilly leaves)

"--I SHOULD see the garden far better,-- said Alice to herself, --if I could get to the top of that hill: and here's a path that leads straight to it... at least, no, it doesn't do that...-- (after going a few yards along the path, and turning several sharp corners), --but I suppose it will at last. But how curiously it twists! It's more like a corkscrew than a path! Well, this turn goes to the hill, I suppose... no, it doesn't! This goes straight back to the house! Well then, I'll try it the other way.--"
Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, Lewis Carroll

(esta entrada en español)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Visiting the kings

Right in the outskirts of Paris, to the north, rises the Saint-Denis Basilica. The outside view is very nice at sunset, with the Gothic style that fits so well to French cathedrals.

Burial place of Saint Denis (famous for walking 5 kilometers between Montmartre and Saint-Denis, giving a sermon with his recently beheaded head under his arm...), with the passage of the centuries it became the official tomb of the French royalty. More than a thousand years of history literally lie inside it.

"Some laboriously naif spirits insist to highlight the miraculous nature of the most spectacular phenomena of Nature. The dawn, the rain, the flight of the birds, a spider's net, are for these thinkers a reason of perpetual amazement.
I dare to object that the central point of a miracle is its unusual character. That is to say, the miraculous thing would be that it didn't dawn. Nevertheless, the Islam perfects and ennobles that idea: the existence of God is demonstrated through the order and the beauty of the world. The miracle is something rather pernicious that comes to disorder the things."
Hell's Bar, Alejandro Dolina

(esta entrada en Español)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace

From the beginning of time the man has wanted to fly, but only since the end of the XIXth century we have leaved the world of the dreams and we have turned it into a daily reality. To the north of Paris, at the airfield of Le Bourget, it is located the Museum of the Air and the Space. It can be easily visited in one-day, but nevertheless it's surprising the quantity and the kind of machines it has.

In the inside, relics from the first pioneers: Bleriot, Levavasseur, Santos-Dumont. Outside: airliners (like a Boeing 747) and modern fighter planes (MIG-23, Lockheed F104G Starfighter), plus a couple of Ariane rockets (obviously they also have an indoor section devoted to space). But the stars of the visit for me were the planes of the temporal exhibition about the second war, with names that go back to the golden age of dogfight: P-47D Thunderbolt, P-51D Mustang, Spitfire MK XVI,...

"P-51! Cadillac of the sky!"
Empire of the Sun, Steven Spielberg

"Ce pour quoi tu acceptes de mourir, c'est cela seul dont tu peux vivre"
("The reason for which you're ready to die is the only reason to live")
Citadelle, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

(esta entrada en español)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Montsouris macro

A small preview of the beauties of the macrophotography, from the Parc Montsouris (Paris)

(esta entrada en español)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Scandola Natural Reserve

As part of the school in Cargèse (Corse) we did a boat excursion to the Réserve de Scandola. It is a natural park that spans huge rocky formations by the sea, full of colors in the earth as in the water.

The excursion includes a stop at the small town of Girolata, which consist of only an old castle, a few houses, and the harbor.

(esta entrada en español)