My favourite pavement…

Rue Montorgeuil is a fantastic market street with cheese shops, bakeries, fish stores, wine shops, produce and flower shops. It’s a very hip neighbourhood. There’s a Starbucks that I hope the smart people avoid comme la peste. The area has my favourite pavement. Small, square stones are arranged in a wavy pattern – the streets are dark, the sidewalks are light.

Street walking

Dark

Light

The pavement (Taken in 2006)
Market street scene

Market street scene

Dare I say…

… that all the beautiful people on Rue de Bretagne have ruined the mood here in the Haut Marais?

Meanwhile, I had a 25cl glass of 1664 at Café Charlot – headquarters of the trendy denizens.

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On the road

Antraigues-sur-Volane et le Pont de la Tourrasse

On the D578

On the D578

Cycling is very popular here. Anke and Bart bike up to 70 km of these up and down roads!

These two guys were probably not aware what was up ahead…

The Tour Cycliste Féminin International Ardèche went by us at a terrific speed!

Tour Cycliste Féminin International Ardèche

Tour Cycliste Féminin International Ardèche

Mont Gerbier de Jonc. The mountains of this area are remnants of volcanic craters. These geological formations are called “sucs”. Anke and Bob climbed this thing a couple of days ago!

Mont Gerbier de Jonc

Visiting Bart

Bart is a gentle, generous 55 year old Dutchman that has been visiting La Roche for 45 years. His house is isolated from the rest of the hamlet. He bought it a few years ago and has restored it on his own. He has no electricity but has a spring that provides excellent, healthy water. Everything has to be hauled up via a rocky path on the mountain, including the cast iron stoves!

Bart Huis

Faux-vintage interior scenes

Bart Huis interior

 

Getaway to the Ardeche

The day after I arrived, I hurtled off by TGV to visit Anke and Bob in the Ardeche in the southwest. About 600 km in 2.5 hours – I’ll never see anything like this in Canada in my lifetime (I used to belong to a ‘high-speed rail in Canada’ forum, but realized the futility…)

They have a beautiful home in a 12-house hamlet called La Roche de Juvinas, which is a 2 hour drive from the TGV station of Valence. It’s a restored stone farmhouse, a very nice balance of the old and new. The hamlet is gorgeous as is the rest of the Ardeche. Very interesting scenery – remains of volcanic activity millions of years ago. All the mountains in the area were worked on by people a long time ago – they terraced the mountain sides by building stone walls so they could eke out a sustenance farming life – dead at 30 because of the backbreaking work. We went on a long hike that was a lot fun and visited a couple of small towns in the area. Feet are OK, though hiking boots are necessary in the area.

La Roche de Juvinas

La Roche (Google Maps)

La Roche pathway

La Roche pathway

A pathway in the forest (damaged by wild pigs that root for grubs)

A pathway in the forest

Almost all the trees planted in the mountains of Ardeche are châtaignier, the chestnut trees that have edible chestnuts

Edible chestnuts

Rocks – the only building material

Rocks, the only building material

Departure (almost an anagram for ‘Raptured’)

The departure (along with Debi graciously driving me to the airport) went smoothly. Getting out of Parkdale is always difficult, even more so when the Ex is on. I had checked-in and printed my own boarding pass – I sailed through security and we didn’t have to wait too long to get on board.

Charge your robot

I thought I had reserved a seat far away from the wing, but I guess not – my seat was right above!

Wing over Ontario

Context

At the beginning of 1991 I began a two year work term in Paris. A few days after I arrived I participated in one of several anti-war rallies against the first American war in the Arabian Gulf (euphemistically called “The Gulf War”). The march took about three hours and while taking photographs and chanting some slogan or other, we passed monuments, famous buildings and streets – I saw Paris so differently than as a tourist.

 

Four Photographers - One Warrior - Peace For All

It didn’t take me long to fall in love with everything about Paris – except the attitude. Twenty years (and a few months) later Paris is still Paris and the attitude has improved tremendously.

I thought I’d blog about my twentieth anniversary visit. It will be composed mainly of photographs with some nostalgic musings about places revisited and perhaps some new surprises.