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Posts tagged ‘architecture’


Sunday Mornings in Paris

Just to be clear, I’m not spending my Sunday morning in Paris, but instead, I’m preparing work for the week ahead. So I’m going to write this post as the day goes on as a welcome and occasional distraction from the boring stuff!

I’ll start with a couple of panoramic shots of Paris – one of my favourite cities. This one taken from the top of the Arc de Triomphe looking out towards La Defense and the futuristic Grande Arche – part of President Mitterand’s legacy.

This shot was taken from Sacre Coeur, looking down over Montmartre and a curiously threatening weather system. My daughter lived on the Boulevard de Clichy near the Pigalle metro station, just along from the Moulin Rouge. Picasso also lived here – at number 11. While Edgar Degas lived at number 6.

Meanwhile, underground, the sign for the St.Paul metro station in le Marais – one of my favourite districts in Paris. Can still remember the haunting sound of Ave Maria being sung in the quiet station at night as a brightly lit train emerged from the dark tunnel. Strangely incongruous while oddly perfect. Le Marais has some excellent restaurants and bars, not to mention some great boutique hotels. I stayed just around the corner from the Place des Vosges in the Hotel des Chevaliers, now the Hostellerie du Marais –

This Italian restaurant and pizza takeaway was in the Montmartre district. I really liked the colour of the timber cladding.

Still on the slopes of Montmartre – good exercise I should add – you’ll see an eclectic jumble of buildings filling every space. Be ready for some hefty climbing up endless flights of stairs in these apartment buildings if, like me, you don’t fancy getting in tiny old lifts that resemble that device that rescued the Chilean miners.

Autumn was approaching as this picture was taken one Sunday morning – late September – and in contrast to the UK which relaxed it’s Sunday trading laws, Paris still offers a relaxed treat as shops are closed and only cafes and restaurants are open. You get a sense of the city taking a weekly pause for breath.

Here it is again. Barely a pedestrian in sight and the traffic has calmed to a trickle.


Partial to Manchester

What’s Manchester got to offer the photographer from a multi-storey car park on the edge of the city’s Northern Quarter? Quite a lot as it turns out.

If you’re after partial views of overhead walkways and it’s eclectic blend of architecture that is.

Or maybe it’s abstract street sculpture that you’re after. Well here it is in bold contrast to the trees behind.

And it’s not every day you see buildings wearing a tree – albeit a silver one!

And yes, that is Manchester’s Beetham Tower – home to the Hilton Hotel – sleek and straight against the jumbled lines, curves and shapes of the city’s chaotic foreground. Even from the 8th floor of a multi-storey car park on an overcast day in May there’s plenty of  partial detail out there.



Although Northumbria with it’s wild, wide open spaces and it’s dramatic shoreline is the jewel in the crown of the North East, there are many beautiful places south of the River Tyne, too. Yarm would not have been a name or a place that instantly sprang to mind – to be honest, I’d not really heard of it before – but was certainly a great place to stretch the legs and have a bite to eat before heading back down the A19.

Apparently Yarm was mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086, although the name is supposed to derive from the old Norse word yarum.

While the main street is attractive enough and was even voted “best high street” on BBC Breakfast in 2007, there are some hidden gems in the narrow streets just off it. Tastefully restored cottages tumble along in a range of styles and from different periods.

Quirky details abound on the streets and in the cafes – such as this ancient typewriter. Yarm’s well worth a visit.


Photographing FACT

Had a meeting at FACT in Liverpool yesterday. It’s an arts centre and cinema complex in Wood Street. Took a few shots there before and after the meeting.

Even the blackboard special seems to work to a design brief. Settled for a green tea and some tuna sandwiches to go.

It was a warm, bright Spring day in Liverpool yesterday which really lit these windows that frame the cafe.

FACT is an excellent venue, not least for the films it has on offer. A special showing of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca was advertised for Tuesday afternoon I think. The building itself is a draw for it’s understated yet bold architectural lines which created interesting shadows and shapes in yesterday’s sunlight.

Even the cafe’s noticeboard made for interesting subject matter. Didn’t manage to take a picture of it, but love the sound of the Happy Hookers’ Crochet Club advertised here too and happy to give a plug to Saint Etienne.


galeries lafayette

A few weeks ago I’d posted from the Corn Exchange in Leeds. It had a pretty amazing domed ceiling. Then I found this picture I’d taken in the galeries lafayette in Paris a little while ago.

Now that’s what I call a ceiling!


Winter Surprise in Leeds

After the day’s meetings, it was a real surprise to stumble across the Leeds Corn Exchange. Now a home to boutique shopping, this feat of Victorian architectural engineering was apparently completed in 1864.

Perfect retreat from the wintry weather over Leeds yesterday, although the place does have a dizzying effect. Last time I experienced this was in the Gaudi House in Barcelona. It’s got an array of interesting (and pricey!) shops, including this one selling lights.

Here’s one more close up from that shop. Winter’s darkness seems a million miles away.

The day was rounded off with a nightmare journey back to Liverpool on the M62 over the Pennines. Wintry conditions and gridlock!

For anyone interested, here’s a link I found –