November 15, 2010

Père Lachaise sneak peek

In all my trips to Paris, I had yet to visit the Père Lachaise cemetary which houses some of the most respected historical figures of French literature, music, and the arts. I finally made the trek out there during my last visit and it was one of the most ethereal yet haunting experiences of my life. It's a very strange feeling to be surrounded by the gloom of death and feel overwhelmed by respect for the greats that informed so many aspects of my life, from the visually compelling Délacroix and Modigliani to the emotionally stirring Edith Piaf and the ever-inspiring Oscar Wilde. I will post the photos I took during my visit, only showing graves that are either significant to me or happened to elicit a great shot, though I really did attempt to be as respectful as possible and limit the pictures taken. The hunt for the graves of my idols were hard to track but the one in the final photo above was perhaps the most important for me to find. As a photographer, how could I not pay my respects to one of the early masters of photography, Félix Nadar. Anyone who has studied the history of photography knows how important he was in the early development of the artform and it was thus necessary to stop and show my gratitude. So appropriate that this nondescript grave tucked far away from the much more visited graves of Jim Morrison and Chopin, is only marked by a flower and a roll of film. Moving, indeed. 

November 9, 2010

Gelato. Enough said.

Attention all future travelers to Florence: Don't listen to ANY guidebooks regarding gelato. I lived in Florence for four months, tried every gelateria you could think of and this is the bottom line - Gelateria alla Carraia on the oltrarno by Ponte alla Carraia is hands-down the best place to get gelato in Florence. Bon appetit!
Attention aux touristes à Florence: N'écoutez pas aucun conseil à propos de la glace, gelato. J'ai habité à Florence pendant quatre mois où j'avais goûté tous les glaces et la vér gelato ité c'est que le meilleur endroit pour en acheter un est Gelateria Alla Carraia. C'est à l'autre côté du fleuve Arno au coin du Pont Carraia et croyez-moi quand je vous dis que c'est l'absolu crème de la crème pour gelato à Florence. Bon appetit!

November 8, 2010

Les Colonnes de Buren, Palais Royal, Paris

Paris is such an incredible city that even after three visits, including a five month semester abroad, there were still a bounty of sights I had yet to see. On my fourth visit recently, I finally got to experience the court at the Palais Royal in the 1st arrondissement (about two blocks from my old apartment). The court was closed for renovation during my whole semester so I never got to go. As an art history enthusiast, I was thrilled to finally get to see Daniel Buren's innovative use of his signature modern stripes in this ages-old palace! During my time at the Palais Royal, two sisters caught my attention as they played atop the shorter colonnades. Ah, Paris in the fall!
Paris est une ville si incroyable que même après l'avoir visité trois fois, y compris un semestre de cinq mois, il y avait plein de choses encore à faire et endroits à visiter. Pour ma quatrième séjour, j'ai eu la chance de visiter la cour au Palais Royal dans le première arrondissement (très proche de mon ancien appartement). Je n'ai eu l'opportunité d'y aller puisque la cour a été fermée pendant le semestre entier. Comme un enthousiaste de l'histoire de l'art, j'étais ravi de voir finalement l'art innovateur de Daniel Buren et ses rayures modernes dans cet ancien palais! Au Palais Royal, deux soeurs m'ont intéressé alors qu'elles jouaient sur les petits colonnes. Oh, Paris est si belle pendant l'automne! 

November 7, 2010

Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, Ireland

One of the most breathtaking places I've visited. This property/castle/fairyland was used as an abbey, residence, even a girls boarding school. Oh majestic beauty! Not too bad for testing out my new f/1.8 lens on interior details either.

A rainy day in Florence

Florence is a beautiful city in the fall, even during rain. Under a sea of umbrellas, tourists stay dry and lovers keep close.
Florence est une belle ville dans l'automne, malgré la pluie. Sous un mer des parapluies, le sac de touristes se maintiennent sec et amoureux restent proche.
Firenze è una bella città nell'autunno, anche se piove. Sotto un mare degli ombrelli, i turisti restano asciutti e gli innamorati si tengono vicino.

November 6, 2010

Monastic skin care, Florence

Farmacia Santa Maria Novella is a pharmaceutic house founded in 1612 by the monks of the nearby church of the same nam. The world-famous soaps, fragrances, and rose water are still produced according to the old monastic code. Even though I spent four months in Florence, I only recently heard of this great find. It is such a unique place and the products are not only aesthetically gorgeous but among the best in skin care and confectionery goods. I definitely recommend anyone visiting Florence take a trip down to this erboristeria. I guarantee you won't be disappointed.
Farmacia Santa Maria Novella est un maison pharmaceutique fondée en 1612 par les moines de l'église d'à côté du même nom. Les produits connus par tout le monde, y compris des savons, eaux de parfum et l'eau de rose sont encore fait selon les règles anciennes des moines. Bien que j'ait habité à Florence pendant quatre mois, je n'en avais entendu pas jusqu'à présent. C'est un endroit très charmant et les produits ne sont pas seulement beaux mais aussi parmi le meilleur de la beauté et les sucreries. Je conseille à tous d'y aller! Je garantis que vous ne soyez pas déçus.

Sotto il cielo di Roma