Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Histoires de Portes

Last Tuesday morning I fell head over heels in love. The circus was in town so I went over to take pictures of the animals. Afterwards, as I was walking home thinking what funny creatures elephants are, I glanced up and BAM! It was, as they say in French, un coup de foudre. Love at first sight.

I’ve always been a sucker for good looks and this time was no different. But usually that initial euphoria is quickly followed by disappointment because it’s damn near impossible to find good looks and smarts in the same package. And in the long run, it's intelligence that matters most to me.  But this was the first time I had fallen in love in France and it crossed my mind that maybe a French love affair would be different. Maybe this time there would be some substance beneath that handsome exterior. And with that my decision was made...This one was coming home with me.

We’ve been together for nearly a week now and I'm completely satisfied. All of my expectations have been exceeded. In fact, it seems that Histoires de Portes was written expressly for me.

Friday, September 6, 2013

All the Forgotten Faces

When we first visited Bordeaux I was struck by the number of carved masks that highlight the buildings around town. But when Bruce suggested I buy a book on the subject, I just scoffed. "No way," I thought. "They’re just like all Classical ornament -- pretty, but essentially meaningless." (What an architectural snob, huh?) But recently it occurred to me that a post on these masks would be just perfect for the last gasp of summer. The subject wasn’t too heavy and it provided an opportunity for lots of interesting photos. A fluff piece before tackling heavier subjects like Gothic cathedrals once the weather cools off.

But as I walked around taking pictures, I realized that the masks were much more varied than I had expected. They were even sort of intriguing. And when I started reading about them I learned that not  only do these sculptural elements have a history of their own, but that they also provide a visual testament to the city’s development. So much for this being a fluff piece...

A female figure with a crown that appears to represent the
city's ancient walls. Her face is surrounded by three
crescent moons - the symbol of Bordeaux, also known
as the Port de la Lune because of her location on a
crescent-shaped bend in the Garonne River.