Wednesday, July 06, 2011

An Eburonis in Paris

I went on a bookhunt to Paris two days ago.
My first visit was to the Puces of Saint-Ouen. Most shops were closed on Mondays though.







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From there I took the Metro to the secretive Librairie Faustroll. A treasure trove. If I should ever win the lottery this will be my first visit. I purchased a fair amount of books from the Collège de 'Pataphysique. Enough said.






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I always wanted to see the Sainte Chapelle. Built in 1245 on the Ile de la Cité by king Louis IX (later on Saint Louis) supposedly to house the crown of thorns offered by Baldwin II, emperor of Constantinople and count of Flanders, in 1237, in exchange of France's help in his war against the Greek. A piece of the true cross was added. Most relics were destroyed during the French revolution.

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Back then the king could walk directly from his palace into the chapel, but it is now surrounded by the Paris courthouse, so it took a check by the gendarmerie and my luggage being examined by a metal detector to get inside.
The chapel is in fact two chapels: the lower one, la Chapelle Basse, reminding of the dark medieval times, with low ceiling, dark corners and melancholic atmosphere is on the ground floor. It takes a spiral staircase (which reminded me a bit of Gaudi's in Barcelona's Sagrada Familia) to get to the true gem: la Chapelle Haute is a gothic masterpiece. Very narrow and relatively short, its height is impressive, and seems supported by glass alone. The stained glass go almost to the top. Every panel describes a particular book of the bible.
I found no hermetic symbols, most being part of the classic catholic imagery.






















































































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A view of the church rising above the surrounding buildings
The entrance…
… from which a glimpse of the Chapelle Basse is seen
And from which one can see the balcony of the Chapelle Haute.

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Some details of the bas-reliëfs in the lower chapel




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The view from the upper chapel towards the stairs
Some details of the walls

I'd need a fish-eye lens to evoke the all-vertical dimensions.

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A cathedral of light.




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While everyone was staring above, some views from below.
Mythological imagery?

And a photoshoot wouldn't be complete without a torture pic.

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Some details seen from the balcony
The genesis…

… and the apocalyps.

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Two final exterior views when leaving the chapel.
Gargoyles galore!




After a short break in the Irish pub (never thought I'd drink a Guinness along the Seine) I took the tour of the bouquinistes along the Seine. Most are specialized.

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From the docks along the Seine I entered the rue de Seine. First alongside the grinning statue of Voltaire…
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I wanted to visit gallery Yeux Fertiles, housing an exhibition by pataphysician and Oupeinpist Olivier O. Olivier (1931-2011, he took part in the Panique group with Arrabal, Jodorowsky and Topor in the sixties), but it's closed on Mondays. I already mentioned his name as a book cover designer.
Here's another view of this painting, as well as another of his works on the same bizarre theme.








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Oupeinpo

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In the rue de l'échaudé, glorified by Alfred Jarry, I found a remarkable gidouille on the facade. Further up in the rue Princesse the famous Village Voice bookshop.
On a side street a butcher with a sense of humor.







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I was told I could find interesting bookshops surrounding the obnoxious church of Saint-Sulpice but found none that sold books in my particular line of interest.

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I finished my tour by visiting l'Album, two bookshops on the Boulevard Saint-Germain specialized in comics. My last two pics are for my fellow maybe logicians.





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