Monday, July 1, 2013

PARIS - The 'Little Details'

A Carousel in the City

When traveling in your home country or abroad, notice the little things, the fine touches, the attention to craft. Little details enhance an object and help us retain that memory, but only if we notice it. Craft excellence can be seen in objects as well as in writing. Learn to observe the world around you.


A Les Halles Carousel Closeup, Paris, by DG Hudson

Carousels and merry-go-rounds are good examples of decorative details that embellish the whole object. Some carousels in France have two levels, others are smaller with one level. Both styles are lush with embellishments. Bright colors, lots of lights and music are part of the packaging. We saw two, one near Les Halles, and one at the bottom end of the Trocadero Fountains.

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Paris Cobblestones (Street detail)

When older buildings, like the Bastille, were dismantled, the bricks were recovered and used for paving the streets. The bricks shown in the photo below are laid with an overlapping curved pattern. Cobblestones differ in size. Those bricks shown below are smaller than the square cobblestones in Pere Lachaise Cemetery. We walked up a few of the cobblestone streets and entranceways in Montmartre, the Marais, and at Versailles.



Cobblestones in Paris, Fr. by DG Hudson


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Fontaines de la Concorde

The detailed fountain shown below is a popular photo opportunity location in Paris. Small and large spouts of water encircle the fountain, and the statues are embellished with gilding.  Remember the old movies of the past with shots of the fountains of Paris? This is another one of those meeting spots where people like to congregate and get their bearings, and it's a cooling spot when the weather's hot.



Fontaines de la Concorde, Paris Fr., by DG Hudson

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The Dome

Observing the dome rising behind the arched entrance in the photo below, I was reminded of Victorian styling and attention to detail, much of which is incorporated in 'steampunk' design. Can you imagine the view from that round window, and what about the room behind the window? This building is situated behind the 'walking' statue of General Charles de Gaulle on one of the main thoroughfares in Paris.



Detail of Dome and Arch on Building, by DG Hudson


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Our Lady of Paris, Notre Dame de Paris

The delicacy of detail in the architecture of Notre Dame is something to behold. Considering when it was built, the feat is impressive.


Notre Dame Cathedral Detail, Front, by DG Hudson


Our Lady of Paris, Notre Dame, has endless details and embellishments in its Gothic arches and sculptures. I didn't climb the 400 stairs inside the church, the lineup was a long and winding road. Next time, perhaps. I can't help thinking of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, who peered between these stone decorations to watch the people below.


Details make the difference in how we remember a place. In our writing, we can inject that information to bring the reader closer to the scene or location being described.
Record those descriptions on location by whatever method suits you. I keep a travel journal, with notes, sketches and observations for further research on my return.

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Note: the excessive use of a certain word is intentional to make a point.

Any cobblestone streets in your city or town? Buildings with ornate or steampunk/Victorian designs?
OR
Can you name one item with 'little details' that you recall from any travels? Why do you remember it?
Please share in the comments and thanks for stopping by!

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References:

Want more information and photos on Paris? Check the Paris Posts or the Paris, Etc tabs at the top of the page.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fountains_in_Paris Fountains in Paris

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carousel more info on carousels

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notre_Dame_de_Paris Notre Dame in Paris


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36 comments:

  1. Ah so beautiful. Paris is magic. I love these pictures and you make me want to get on a plane right now.

    Details are so very important. One of the areas near my home on the South Side of Chicago is Pullman. The rowhouses are fantastic, quaint and interesting and the green serpentine church is magnificent.

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    1. That location with the rowhouses would make a good setting for a story. What's the history behind the church?

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  2. I do love that gothic style like on Notre Dame. You see a few churches with that sort of ornate detail here in the US, but doesn't really compare to the architecture of old Europe.

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    1. Notre Dame was close to our apartment location so it became familiar and a landmark for negotiating our way. I never tired of looking at it from the square.

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  3. I love these pictures! I took 3 years of French in high school and my teacher loved sharing the culture with us. Much of the architecture in Paris has amazing detail and it's so beautiful and full of history. Which I love! Thanks for sharing this :)

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    1. Those are the great teachers, adding something to the learning experience which is outside the scope of the curriculum. We remember those teachers.

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  4. I remember one amazing little church in Edinburgh, Scotland. The chairs inside were all ornately carved. Just incredible.

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    1. I never tire of finding craftmanship in old furniture. One day, I may get to Scotland (it's in my background).

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  5. I love, love, LOVE your pictures of Paris. I studied French for five years, and fell in love with its culture and architecture. (Can still recite the poetry, and sing some French songs, too, including a cool drinking song...we had a terrific teacher!)

    I'm also attracted by the details of a place. Like the way Ft. Pulaski, in south Georgia, is pocked with cannon ball craters. Like how short the beds are in historic forts and ships. Intricate bits of architecture. The greenery growing, or a flower blooming, in an unexpected place. The splashes of color in an otherwise drab place.

    There are still cobblestone streets in Baltimore, but not here in Georgia. (that I know of) Atlanta recently purchased a giant Ferris wheel from Paris, and it's supposed to be set up in Centennial Park, which was built for the '96 Olympics.

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    1. You look for beauty in whatever you see. A good trait to have.

      I hope you give that ferris wheel a try or at least photograph it. BTW - Which side was firing the cannonballs on that small town?

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    2. The Union troops, during the Civil War. (Or as some folks around here call it, the "War of Yankee Aggression.") If you do a google search of Ft. Pulaski, you can find some really good pics on Wiki, showing the pock marks in the side of the fort.

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    3. That gave me a chuckle, Susan. I will check out Ft. Pulaski - I love interesting bits about places like that.

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  6. oh how i loved this post---i too am very fond of carousels----before my time, a local park had a carousel in it and it was free, i understand---we have many cobblestone streets in our city :)

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    1. A free carousel is a thing more cities should incorporate. Something so simple, but fun for little ones and some adults.
      It's nice when cities don't destroy the older streets, glad you have some left.

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    2. Love all these pictures you put up here! In my wip, I have my characters go to Paris for a while and I mention Place de la Concorde. It has been difficult for me to write abut Paris, so afraid of getting it wrong despite having lived there for a few years. But in the same vein, I couldn’t imagine not having Paris in my current wip. *sigh*

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  7. Elise, my posts are a combo of my notes, my experience and places we visited, googling certain sites and research. I try to be as exact as I can. Lucky you having lived in Paris. I've got a WIP set in Paris too. How about that.

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  8. Your photos bring back a lot of wonderful memories. I rode that carousel when I was five months pregnant with my son. My husband and I joke that it was Bubba's first carousel ride.

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    1. That's touching. I'm glad I helped you capture a memory again. Paris has that effect.

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  9. Happy Belated Birthday to you, dear D. G. and thanks for stopping by so often in the midst of all your other activities. I really appreciate it. My birthday is June 21, usually the Summer Solstice, and because of the light nights, a very special day in Sweden. I have always loved to have been born on the longest day of the year. Take care ~ Inger

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    1. Merci, Inger! Interesting things about an interesting person (you). Hope all is well.

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  10. Details are what bring depth and loveliness to any object. The wrought iron lacy railings in the French Quarter remind me of Paris in their detail and evocative beauty. I have always loved carousels!

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    1. Carousels have that child-like appeal, and it's one of the early rides most children remember. I liked Ferris wheels, too, that sensation of flying. . .

      New Orleans shows its French background in its use of wrought iron. Thanks for visiting, Roland!

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  11. I love carousels. I think it's the detail that draws me to them. My daughter has a collection of miniature carousels that are done in exquisite detail.

    Great advice about detail in our writing as well as drawings and photography.

    I love the idea of a travel journal.

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    1. I like them too, farawayeyes. Very nice that your daughter has that collection. I always think of the talent required to paint such objects.

      A travel journal is a good way to capture the essence of a place.

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  12. Great photos! I see all the gritty details in my mind when I write, but they don't always make it into the story. I don't want to bog down the reader, so I have to pick and choose the ones that matter most.

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    1. I'd say you're adept at selecting the right ones, Milo. Glad you like the photos.

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  13. Wow, the architectural details of Notre Dame are seriously amazing. I live in a fairly old town but the oldest buildings are brick and nothing to write home about. I do love old buildings and in another life I wanted to be an architect.

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    1. Notre Dame surprised me. How did man in earlier times manage such proficiency? And beneath the same square are the Roman ruins of a settlement.

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  14. Thanks for the important message: beauty is in the details. I've never been to Europe, so I appreciate this brief tour. Thank you.

    xoRobyn

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  15. Oh I love this post - and not just because we get to see Paris. I so agree with you on details - that's what fascinates me in places I go, and nothing places me better into a scene while reading than to be clued into a small detail, whether visual or sensual in some other way.

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    1. Glad you agree, Nicki. It takes time to notice the details, and consider how it must have felt to those citizens to be walking on the bricks which once may have held some of their ancestors in the Bastille. Probably very satisfying.

      I look for that detail in my reading, too.

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  16. The right amount of details can set imagery in your memory forever. Beautiful pictures and commentary.

    ......dhole

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    1. Thanks, Donna, I wanted lots of detail for a wip set in Paris. Glad you liked the photos.

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  17. on location notes, excellent idea! gorgeous pics! i need to work on my attention to detail... enjoyed the parisian tour!

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    1. Thanks Tara! Location notes works for me.

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