07 October 2015

L'avenue de Saxe

There's a really nice open-air market in the 7th arrondissement of Paris on the Avenue de Saxe. You can see the tree-lined avenue toward the bottom left of the image below. In the far lower left corner, you see the Place de Breteuil with its monumental statue of Louis Pasteur.

The building toward in the middle of the image above, and at the very top of the image below, is the Ecole Militaire, the French military college. The big modern structure nearby is the UNESCO headquarters building. The Marché de l'Avenue de Saxe sets up on the avenue running up from the Place de Breteuil toward UNESCO.

Below is a zoomed-in shot of the Pasteur statue in the middle of the Place de Breteuil. On the median that runs down the middle of the Avenue de Saxe, you can see the metal structures and (rolled-up) red and blue tarps that are set up to provide shelter for the market's vendors and customers on Thursdays and Saturdays.

And here's a close-in shot of the Ecole Militaire, with the Champ de Mars parade ground, now a big public park full of people in good weather, that runs up to the Eiffel Tower and the Seine.

I never lived in this part of Paris, but CHM does, so I've spent a lot of time in the area over the past 15 years.

Meanwhile, here in Saint-Aignan we are preparing for winter. A couple of weeks ago, I sent an e-mail to the man who sweeps our fireplace chimney every year, as required by insurance. He didn't answer. Finally yesterday I sent a follow-up message and he did, with an apology saying he hadn't seen the first message. He's coming to clean the wood-burning stove and chimney tomorrow.

Last week Walt called the man who runs the gardening service that takes care of pruning our long tall laurel hedge every autumn. He called back a couple of days later to say we are on his radar and he will give us a couple of days' notice before he sends out his crew.

And finally, I called the company that is supposed to install our new boiler before winter arrives. They said we are getting the manufacturer's latest and greatest model, and it has been a little late shipping from the factory. It should come in by next week. Meantime, they are going to send out a technician to tinker with our old boiler and refill it with water so that we can use it in case the weather turns cold sooner rather than later. We had emptied the boiler and the whole heating system so that we could take down a couple of big radiators this past summer for re-painting.

And as I've said, we've made good progress on cleaning up the summer's vegetable garden. The only plants left out there are winter squashes. So it goes... another season ends in a cloud of dust field of mud.

06 October 2015

Damp, and seeing triple

Rain rain rain. That's our lot in life these days. A strong thunderstorm woke me up at three this morning. The thunder clap rattled the roof tiles. That scared the dog, who went wild barking. Then there was a sharp flash of lightning and an immediate, even louder clap of thunder. Callie ran downstairs and I had to follow. She was standing and barking madly at the door that opens onto the front terrace.

A few minutes ago, I heard what sounded like a grape harvester driving up the road. It was strange because despite the darkness there were no headlights visible. I got up and opened the door to see what was going on. It was rain. Heavy, noisy rain falling straight down. It's just as well that we ripped the tomato plants out of the garden on Sunday. The weather report on Télématin as I type this says we should expect rain all day long again today. That's what we had yesterday, essentially.

Canon SX700 HS — August 2015

Panasonic Lumix TZ60 — August 2015

Canon Pro90 IS — April 2002

In the photos, you see the Panthéon in Paris, with the modern Jussieu university complex in the background. The first two pictures were taken the same day with different cameras. The third was taken more than 13 years ago from the same vantage point. If you compare that one with the other two, you can see that the high-rise tower at Jussieu has been completely refaced recently. All three photos have been touched up in Photoshop.

Here's another photo of the Panthéon, from a slightly different perspective. I took it in July 2000 with some digital camera I had back then — maybe a Kodak. Walt and I were on a short hop trip to Paris from San Francisco. This is a neighborhood (the Latin Quarter) that I have been tromping around in for 45 years now.

05 October 2015

Pairs of Paris pix

Yes, pairs of Paris pictures. The first is from April 2002, taken with a 10x zoom Canon camera.

The second photo is from August 2015, and was taken with a 30x Panasonic Lumix camera. Tour Saint-Jacques was being repaired and restored in 2002. I notice one apartment building in the upper right-hand corner than has been repainted since 2002.

The original photos side by side show the difference. The 2015 image (on the right) has so much more resolution that I was able to crop out the center and get an image that matched the much lower-resolution 2002 image (on the left). Actually, the older image looks sharper.

Here's one more taken at a higher zoom in 2015.

Yesterday morning we went out and pulled up all the tomato plants in the vegetable garden. Neither one of us took photos. Most of the tomatoes were suffering from damp weather and blight. I saved a few. I also pulled out all the green bean plants, and saved quite a few overgrown beans, which I will shell out as they dry a little more. Today we are supposed to have rain for a good part of the day.