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Paris in February

It was a couple of years since our last trip to Paris and in the middle of February I suddenly got a yearning for a quick weekend fix of that belle ville. 

So we hopped on the Eurostar and bang, two hours twenty later I'm sipping a coffee wondering if anyone else bothers to look up at these  stone mesdemoiselles atop the magnifique and imposing Gard du Nord.

Some new trains on the metro since our last visit - love the cool upholstery and JUST my colour scheme, all secondary colours and clashing purples and acid green

Always on the look out for  statues with plenty of sculpted detail- especially equestrian ones (see my posts on Guillaume le Conquerant and Wellington Arch)

I LOVE a French hotel window! - They usually have this style of casement window with the wrought iron railing - so Matisse!

The hotel staircase. I've seen many a circular or oval curling staircase like this in France and every time I ask myself, why don't architects think of incorporating these wonderful curling structures into contemporary spaces???

What a great idea is this? If you've got a long-term development happening in the centre of town (this is redevelopment of Les Halles - long overdue!) then do something interesting with the portakabins and site hoardings!!  Basically - just add colour!

But despite the modern interludes, you can't wonder far in Paris without bumping into 18th century.

The Tuillerie Gardens - I know that random chairs left standing around at all kinds of angles is a bit of a cliche - but who can resist?

The hotel breakfast - and the room it was served in - were both sumptuous.......

I didn't concentrate hard enough on the crispy croissants and fresh orange juice because I was too distracted by these Dutch-style still-life opportunities!

Square, espaliered trees are fantastic structures in skeleton form

 Cleaning up after a Saturday morning food market - I just liked the colours and patterns.

Another cliché I'm sure - the Palais Royale viewed through the Pyramide.

YES !!! - to the pink!

This is a computer-sculpted model of a classic turn-of-the-century house at the Architecture Museum - it looks really weird in white resin I thought. I photographed some like this at Deauville - they are crazy concoctions.

Unlike magazine food photography which is totally staged and unreal, a table where people have just got up and tossed down their napkins is so much more human and evocative.  And I like the arrangement of objects just because it's unintentional and random.
I photographed more breakfast tables at the Culver Hotel, LA

Sunday morning wouldn't be Sunday morning without a flea - this is a cute little one at the Place Aligre near the Bastille. 

This is a quintessentially French view in my book - and why I keep going back for more! The most exquisite combination of sculpture and architecture.

I know, I know ..... but it's got to be done!

Back to the Gard du Nord on Monday evening, and under the ever watchful eye of these mesdames we sat down to a fab bistro meal in a classic brasserie opposite the station (restaurants near French stations are often great in my experience - good, unpretentious food - unlike chez nous!)................

......the station is really atmospheric at night, the lighting makes it feel like you've stepped right back into the 19th century - that is, until you hear the cult SNCF jingle announcing your train! Listen here...SNCF !! Love it.

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