Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Celebration and Reflections 2

First, this is a week for celebrations both north and south of the Canada US border: Canada Day on July 1 and Independance Day on July 4th, hoping the festivities are (were) fun and safe. Also I just realized I am slightly overdue to celebrate one year (actually about 13 months) of Whimsy Wednesday posts.

Thank you to everyone who dropped in and commented my Reflections 1 post last week, hope you enjoy this one too.

As promised here are more pictures from our recent holiday. These ones are from France.

This little guy seems to be saying, "Haven't seen you before, you new here?".

"No I'm just visiting for a few days," I answered.

We spent 3 days in Paris before  heading south.

These are views of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, with the rows of gargoyles, must be quite a sight when it rains, to see all these decorated spouts gushing water. The ones below are not true gargoyles, they are just decorative (eg they don't drain water) and they are referred to as Chimera.

 Of course this is Notre Dame Cathedral from the front.

This woman was obviously well known to the pigeons, as soon as she walked onto the plaza in front of the Cathedral they swarmed her, vying for a place on her hat. This guy won, hoping for the lion's or "pig"eon's share of the birdseed she had brought.

These roses were beautiful, but it was the scent that stopped me in my tracks and begged me to come closer and take this picture. Roses are beautiful flowers but not all have a scent to match their beauty, these roses were delicate, beautiful and had a sweet aroma that kept me entranced for quite a while. The little park they were in was also a cool respite from the heat of the day.  Paris is full of little neighbourhood parks.  Since most people live in apartments they are the Parisians' back yards.

Sacre Coeur Cathedral commands a beautiful view, and since it is atop a hill it is also a good hike uphill.

See what I mean?

Lots of street performers, this guy below suddenly went out of character startling a passerby.

In Montmartre the square was full of artists painting, drawing and showing their art.

A beautiful window above a corner cafe.

A favorite cookware store near where Les Halles used to be:

We went to the exibit at the Centre Pompidou and then enjoyed the sculpture park, the art and street performers outside as well.

I stopped for flowers, again and again.

This pedestrian bridge is covered with padlocks also called lovelocks. A closeup below, each lock has the name of a couple on it. More on the locks....

I like this boat, wouldn't it be a great place to live.

This was the staircase down from our hotel room, there was an elevator too, but that's no fun.

Good place to stop for a coffee, glass of beer, some lunch and a short rest before continuing.

This is a glimpse of the Sunday market in Isle sur la Sorgue in Provence.

This is the arena in Nimes, first a view of the outside and then a couple of views of the inside. There was a very interesting self guided tour, posters describing the different types of gladiators and a display of toreros (matadors) costumes.

 Did you know that this is where the word denim came from Nimes (de Nimes)?
"The word comes from the name of a sturdy fabric called serge, originally made in Nîmes, France, by the André family. Originally called Serge de Nîmes, the name was soon shortened to denim.[3] Denim was traditionally colored blue with indigo dye to make blue "jeans", though "jean" then denoted a different, lighter cotton textile; the contemporary use of jean comes from the French word for Genoa, Italy (Gênes),[4] where the first denim trousers were made." (Wikipedia)
Some beautiful reflections, still in Nimes.

I liked these reflections from store displays.

This is a chandelier in a restaurant we had lunch in Montpellier There were some made of wine bottles too.

Saturday market in Sommieres, in the Gard department in southern France, only a short drive from where we rented a house while we were in the area.

The weekend markets often have a brocante section, a combination of flea market and antiques. I really liked the shadows cast by this display.

We visited the Camargue too: Flamingos, white horses, bulls, salt pans or salt ponds. This boat was tethered at the shoreline creating interesting reflections.

A salt mountain below and then a view across the salt pans, which appear a pinky purple colour.

"Salt evaporation ponds, also called salterns or salt pans, are shallow artificial ponds designed to produce salts from sea water or other brines. The seawater or brine is fed into large ponds and water is drawn out through natural evaporation which allows the salt to be subsequently harvested. The ponds also provide a productive resting and feeding ground for many species of waterbirds, which may include endangered species.[1] The ponds are commonly separated by levees."
"Due to variable algal concentrations, vivid colors – from pale green to bright red – are created in the evaporation ponds. The color indicates the salinity of the ponds." (Wikipedia)

A mountain of harvested salt  to be processed into seasalt.

Well I don't know about you but I have built up quite a thirst, time to stop for a quick drink before moving along?

I have spent a lot of time sorting through the pictures from my trip recently but I have also done some painting. Here is a watercolour that I have finished recently (actually I haven't decided whether it is finished yet or not), it is titled "Bleeding Heart":

Just a reminder to my Vancouver blog readers:

July 7, 2012 10 am until 3 pm (this Saturday) is the Brock House Summer Fair:
 It's Fun, It's Free and Everyone is Welcome! 

Happy Whimsy Wednesday, until next week ...


  1. wow gillian . I'm very happy to see all these images of France ! you certainly have enjoyed your holidays very much ! Paris - Montmartre is one of my favourite place !
    Montpellier, Camargue, Nimes, I love these places so much !
    great post !
    "bisous" from france !

  2. Hi Gillian. Just found your blog. This is a lovely watercolor of the bleeding heart flowers. I've always loved them but never had much success in growing them. Your photos are wonderful. What kind of camera are you using?

  3. Que tengan una feliz celebración.
    muy bonitas las fotos.
    que tengas un buen día.
    un saludo.

  4. That was a fun trip through France. Thanks for taking us along. Love all the flowers, but those gargoyles are the most intriguing. Would love to see them during a rain. Beautiful watercolor. Looks finished to me.

  5. wow! such a plethora of beauty - from the architecture, culture, water scenes. but the bull and horses at the end sealed the deal. :)

  6. Oh, what wonderful memories these pictures bring back. I was in that same Montmartre Square and enjoyed viewing the artists' renderings. I brought home two different copies of paintings depicting the area. I also remember those surprising statues! Thanks for sharing your awesome journey. Hope to see more of your trip in future. :)

  7. You certainly covered a lot of ground. You make me want to visit France. Some of these sites are a photographer's dream and you've certainly done them proud. I love the idea of the love locks. And your painting.. gorgeous as always.

  8. Thanks Gillian for showing everyone about the time you spent in France, and the photos, they are brilliant.

  9. Fantastic shots from your trip to France. I visited their briefly on 2 different occasions but sadly wasn't into photography back then so have few shots as reminders. Fun seeing yours of some of the places I visited. I love your bleeding heart water color. Wishing you a belated Happy Canada Day!

  10. You have had such an interesting trip seeing such a variety of places and things. I like the way the scenery is interspersed with photos of the beautiful flowers you saw.

  11. Super tour you took us on, Gillian! You visited the sort of places I like to see.

  12. what a fun post with so many wonderful images!!

    LOVED the street performer and seeing the artist. i am always drawn to the artists!!

    i always feel overwhelmed with the number of pictures i take and i always want to share them all!!

  13. Wow, Gillian! I am speechless after viewing your images of France. Thanks for the wonderful tour, felt like I was there with you. Love your painting.

  14. France withdrawals. Nime was one of my favorite cities in France along with Avignon. So many parks and flowers and wonderful structures.....your pictures make me want to visit again. The flowers are beautiful...and so is your painting:)

  15. That's amazing, what a collection you have in only 3 days time.

    I am going to have to go back and do some more sight seeing.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  16. Lots of beautiful shots, Gillian! Really nice work! I love the one of the pigeon on the woman's head...that made me laugh!

  17. You visited so many interesting places during your holidays. Seems everywhere you turn in Paris there is something amazing to enjoy and photograph. Must be almost overwhelming to be there. The street performer you show looks very much like a statue.

  18. What a fabulous trip you must have had! I'm very much enjoying the tour you're giving here. Lots of great scenes, though it is nice to stop and smell the flowers from time to time.

    Your Bleeding Hearts watercolour captures their sweet delicateness.

  19. Fantastic photographs, beautiful places. I am greeting

  20. Fabulous shots. I particularly enjoyed Notre Dame and those huge heaps of salt!

  21. Gillian, wow what an awesome trip. France is beautiful and I enjoyed your tour. The flowers are the churches are beautiful. And I would love to see all the street artists. Your bleeding heart watercolor is gorgeous. Thanks for sharing your lovely photos. Have a great day!

  22. You seem to have enjoyed Paris comprehensively, Gillian. I remember that long steep steps leading to Sacre Coeur Cathedral in my daughter’s photo on her visit to Paris. Both photos and painting are lovely. Thanks for sharing.


  23. Gillian I loved your pictures from France. Never been, but I'd certainly like to now.

  24. Looks like you had a wonderful trip. I really enjoyed seeing all your photos. I would love to go to Europe someday.. and your painting is fabulous. So talented my friend..


  25. I really enjoyed looking through your photos and reading your accompanying information. Love that chandeleir! Thanks for showing your recent painting - beautiful.

  26. Highlights! Hm.. so many! The stairs coming up to the cathedral. You really conveyed that climb. The suddenly smiling, waving mime. The artists at work. The boy standing on another's hand, while another fellow watches closely. The close-up of the love-lock. The archway in the arena. And, oh.. the flamingo, horses and water buffalo! Thanks for giving me a lovely tour of Paris, Gillian!

  27. Oh my goodness!! What a fabulous trip. So many beautiful photos, and I love your finishing painting. You must have had a wonderful time!!

  28. Thanks for a fabulous tour! I have been to Aix en Provence and to Normandy but never to Paris. Now I feel I have! And such a beautiful watercolor. What an accomplished lady you are :)

  29. are in France. Will you come to Portugal????

    I would be glad...

  30. Stunning selection capturing the essence of France, Gillian. I have always wanted to visit the Camargue since I saw a TV programme about it here a few years ago. I have to say, as a bird lover, that Flamingo picture is my favourite. Would love to see one of those lovely birds!

  31. Hi again...

    Today it is my 25st weeding anniversary!-...I Praise the LORD...
    We have gone through so much...BUT WE ARE still here...with so much love...
    His cancer seam to be gone...and he is here with me. We do not have children...I could not get we live to each other...laughing...crying...being silly...and being in love...
    I praise the LORD for He is LOVE...and I'm so glad that I can't help spreading the news...

    Hope you have a blessed day too...

  32. Oh how fun! Love your pics. And the watercolor is Fantastic!

  33. Ι love Paris!!!It is perfect!!!your drawing ise perfect too!!bravo!Kisses!

  34. i love all the photos you took. i like the statue saying hi. what a fun day. sure you did enjoyed it.