Places in Paris: Basilique du Sacré Couer

When visiting Paris, there are always the usual places to see which must be ticked off and are popular with all kinds of tourists, the new and awestruck, and the old and jaded. The Basilique du Sacré Couer is one such place, together with some of the seedier parts of its neighbouring Montmartre. I overheard on a recent visit, “I love this place, this is probably my tenth time – even last year I came”. Assuming at the most this is someone that visits Paris every year, that would make it ten years running, or at the very least five years in all if they are bi-annual visitors.

Sacré Couer is like that; I don’t know whether it’s the juxtaposition of this sacred place alongside the delightfully rebellious Montmartre or just the sheer beauty of the church and it magnificent views that draws the crowds so much. I go often, there are sights in Paris that never get tired for me, and this is one of them.

All that glitters at Château de Versailles

Château de Versailles was the seat of power from 1682 to 1789. With every every king that lived there, three in all, the Château was transformed and expanded – making it an enduring and beautiful part of French history. It is after all the Museum of the History of France. For a history lesson that’s concise, and far more interesting than any guide book will provide make a trip to this well-preserved castle.
You can take the guided tours or go for the self tour option. It is bustling with tourists, literally bus loads of them. The grand rooms from where war strategies were formulated, the exquisite grandeur of the hall of mirrors where statesmen were entertained, amongst other exhibits, is all breathtaking.

‘Kultures’ with Khwezi Strydom in Paris

Alliance Française is renowned for giving young and old burgeoning artists a platform on which to show their work. It’s done it again, this time with an exhibit by a young South African artist Khwezi Strydom. The ‘Kultures’ exhibition will run until 15th June at the Paris branch on Boulevard Raspail.

Khwezi is very reluctant to talk about himself. At the opening night of his exhibition he was casually and comfortably working the room, but in a one-to-one conversation he is reluctant almost to the point of evasive. I am able to glean that he was born in the US of a Tunisian mother and South African father. Raised in the US and France he began drawing at a young age, encouraged by his artist mother. This is his first exhibition.

Mascarades et Carnavals at Musée Dapper

Hidden away in the 16th Arrondissement, Musée Dapper seems incongrous in its surroundings. High-end clothing boutiques, designer stores, an elegant Nespresso boutique, and just off the posh Avenue Victor Hugo is the museum.
An artistic and cultural space for Africa, the Caribbean and their diaporas is how the museum bills itself. It is an offshoot of the Dapper Foundation, which was established to raise the profile of sub-saharan Africa’s artisic heritage.
I took in the Mascarades et Carnavales exhibition last week. It is on until July. A fitting exhibit seeing as it is the month of carnivals. I do believe the Paris Carnival is itself an annual treat, which I missed. Quel dommage!

From Abstract to Minimalist

I thought it being a Sunday, not to mention a cold day it would be fairly quiet; this was not the case. While some Parisians were enjoying the comforts of their cosy apartments, others were taking in the jovial atmospheres of warm and loud brasseries; I do love how, irrespective of the weather, visiting your neighbourhood brasserie is very much the thing to do. The more popular ones are always overflowing.

Touch & Feel at Cosmo Caixa, Barcelona

Always tricky striking the right balance between the ideal entertainment for adults and kids when on holiday. Took the kids to the Cosmo Caixa Science Museum for the morning. As is typical of some of the science museums we have visited, it encourages the sensory experience for children. They can touch and feel, prod, poke and twist to their hearts’ content. They enjoyed it. The 45 minute long 3D Show on Darwin’s Natural Selection was a definite winner. It’s always good when you can combine educational and fun in one phrase.