23 May 2022

Paris after dark - 9

This is the bridge called le pont Neuf in Paris. It spans the Seine at the western end of the île de la Cité and is really two bridges, or at least two sections, one over each branch of the Seine river at that point. This is the section that links the island to the right bank of the river.

Despite its name ("the new bridge") le pont Neuf is the oldest bridge in Paris now. It was built in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Here it is painted by an artist named Canella as it looked in about 1832, thanks to French Wikipédia.

22 May 2022

Paris after dark - 8

This is a composite image — two separate photos "stitched" together in Photoshop.
I'm posting it at a very large size, so you can enlarge it to get a closer view.
Just click on it a couple of times, or "unpinch" it on your tablet.

I'm looking downriver, so the Right Bank is on the right. Those are the buildings of the Louvre complex over there.
Opposite them, on the Left Bank, are the dome of the Institut (where the Académie Française meets to work
on its dictionary of the French language) and the Eiffel Tower. The boats on the river are called
bateaux-mouches — they take passengers up and down the river Seine
day and night to see the lights and sights of the city.

21 May 2022

Paris after dark - 7

I was on the pont Neuf, near the old Samaritaine department store, when I took the two photos below.
The Eiffel Tower is just over two miles west of that bridge.

I don't remember whether I knew that the special multi-colored lights on the Eiffel Tower were about to come on.
The timestamps on the photos show that I took the first one four minutes before taking the second one.

20 May 2022

Paris after dark - 6

I like the look of the water in this photo, and the bateau-mouche passing under the pont Saint-Michel.
I took it from the same spot as photo no. 3 in this series.

This morning I woke up to lightning, thunder, and...believe it or not... rain. The shower lasted all of 5 minutes. Maybe we'll get some more raindrops from the front that's moving through. We desperately need rain. But no hail, please. Afternoon temperatures have been in the upper 80s F for a few days now. Thay say this month will go down as the hottest May in the history of record-keeping. Oh, it just started raining again — heavily.

19 May 2022

Paris after dark - 5

This hotel across the river from Notre-Dame gets very mixed reviews. I've never stayed there. The rooms, described by many as tiny with barely acceptable bathrooms, have views of the cathdral. I took this photo on Nov. 1, 2015, when I was in Paris on my way to North Carolina. The weather was beautiful that evening.

18 May 2022

Paris after dark - 4

I'm enjoying posting just one photo a day right now. I don't have any complicated HTML coding to do this way. In this image, you see the dome of the Institut (where the Académie Française meets), the Eiffel Tower, the pont des Arts, and, on the right, the buildings of the Louvre complex.

I took these photos in 2006 with a Canon S70 digital camera. They are mostly hand-held, but for some of them I was able to place the camera on a bridge railing to steady it. The camera didn't have optical image stabilization, if I remember correctly.

17 May 2022

Paris after dark - 3

Standing with my back to Notre-Dame and looking toward the place Saint-Michel
and the place Saint-André-des-Arts in the Latin Quarter.

04 avril 2006

16 May 2022

Paris after dark - 2

Just a few minutes' walk across the île de la Cité from the pont au Change,
you get this nighttime view of la cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris.

15 May 2022

Paris after dark - 1

The last time I spent a whole week in Paris was in April of 2006. It's so near, but so far away.

This is the pont au Change, one of the 37 bridges on the Seine in Paris. It spans the north branch
of the river between the place du Châtelet on the right bank and the île de la Cité.

14 May 2022

A walk around Bouzy (3)

Bouzy is a funny name for a town in the Champagne wine country if you are an anglophone.
Some of the finest Champagne wines are made there. It's definitely a working town, but not without its charms.

I'll be moving on to other parts of France starting tomorrow. I've enjoyed re-living
through photographs all the times I've visited Champagne over the years.

13 May 2022

A walk around Bouzy (2)

Just a few more photos I took in Bouzy, a wine village in Champagne in 2011...




In Saint-Aignan right now, we're having summertime weather, with high temperatures in the upper 70s F. And it's so dry! The ground is still like concrete, and I'm not making a lot of progress on preparation of the vegetable garden plot for planting. The new tiller is not powerful enough to break up the hard soil. Old news: The contractor who's supposed to be re-tiling our deck and patching up some cracks in the walls of the garden shed... well, we're still waiting for him to show up. Everything is on hold until his work is done. It's frustrating.

12 May 2022

A walk around Bouzy (1)

Our first view of Bouzy (left) and our first view of the gîte we had rented (right)

On the right above is the winery owned and operated by Georges Vesselle. I'm going to quote myself — this is what I wrote about Bouzy in 2011:
“It's surprising how agricultural, rural, and working class a town like Bouzy, where some of the most prestigious champagnes are made, can feel. Moët & Chandon, Heidsieck, Mumm, and other big houses have facilities there — they are all warehouses and pressoirs for extracting the juice of grapes grown on the surrounding land. I saw Georges Vesselle, who owns the champagne house closest to Madame G's and sells bottles for high prices in Japan and all over the world, driving down the street on a forklift one morning.”

At Bouzy, the town ends very abruptly. The land around it is just too valuable to build on, because the grapes that are grown on it are worth a fortune. Living there is like living on an island.
On the right is the house next door to the gîte.

11 May 2022

Bouzy signs

All these photos except the last one were taken on a walk around the champagne village of Bouzy on the côte des Noirs.
The last one was taken in the village of Cramant on the côte des Blancs to the south.

A récoltant-manipulant is a grape-grower who harvests his own grapes and then makes and bottles
the wine from them himself, instead of selling them to one of the major "houses" (brands)
or sending them to a cooperative that turns them into champagne wine.



10 May 2022

Bouzy en Champagne : le gîte

The gîte we rented was a fairly big house with an enclosed courtyard. Above is the living room. One thing it didn't have was an internet connection. When I told them woman who greeted us that on the the Gîtes de France web site, a connection
was listed as available. "I don't know why they put that in the description," she said. "It's never had internet.
So now you'll feel like you really are on vacation. You won't have to work while you're here."
She obviously didn't understand much about using today's technologies.

The kitchen was big too. There was no separate dining room. There were three bedrooms, one downstairs with a half-bath
and two upstairs, where the full bathroom was. The upstairs toilet was of the type that has a grinder built in,
like a garbage disposal. It made so much noise that it could be be heard all through the house
when the toilet was flushed. Putting in a toilet with a grinder is a way to avoid
having to do major plumbing work to update an old house.

This was certainly not the nicest gîte we had ever rented, but it was okay. It was right in town, and the outdoor space
was nice. We didn't have to worry about the dog running away. It was warm enough, even in October,
for us to sit outside in the afternoon — and even have evening meals outside.

09 May 2022

Quelques étiquettes

Here's some reading material in French. Champagne labels...

Blanc de blancs, ou bien blanc de noirs ?

Peut-être un champagne fait avec les jus assemblés de différents cépages...

C'est vous qui voyez !

08 May 2022

Bouzy bis

Here are a few more pictures of the Guillemettes' wine cellar (cave à vin) in the village of Bouzy, pop. 900 or so. Bouzy is the name of the village, which on the montagne de Reims in the area known as la côte des Noirs. Note that raisin noir ("black" grapes) is what we call red or red-wine grapes in English. One of the wines produced in Bouzy is called bouzy rouge, which is a still wine (un vin tranquille) made from the juice of Pinot Noir grapes. The greatest volume of wine made in Bouzy, however, is sparkling champagne.

Still (tranquille, non-sparkling) wines were made in Champagne for a dozen centuries before
sparkling champagne was "invented" or discovered in the 17th century. And by the way,
the name Bouzy [boo-'zee] has nothing to do with our English word "booze."

The steep steps that lead down into the Guillemette family's cellar. What, no handrail?

A book I've reading recently — The New France by Andrew Jefford — points out that most grape growers
in Champagne "don't make wine and never will; eighty per cent of champagne
is made not by growers but by cooperatives and large merchant houses."

07 May 2022

Back to Bouzy

In October 2011, the family whose gîte we rented in Bouzy, on the Montagne de Reims, were themselves
champagne producers. We were invited to go to their house across the street for a tour of their wine cellar.

On the left is the winery sign on the Guillemette family's house; on the right is their tractor.
This part of Champagne was not prettied up and was surprisingly agricultural in feel.

The entrance to the cellar on the left, and a visible section of the local chalky bedrock on the right

The Guillemettes told us that they no longer made wine in their cellar. They took their grapes to a nearby wine cooperative
and had them crushed and turned into champagne there. They gave us a bottle to sample with our dinner. We enjoyed it.