Wednesday, October 30, 2013

PARIS - A Flaneur's View at Halloween

In the spirit of the haunting season, the following images are from a flaneur's walk through Paris near All Hallows' Eve, or Halloween.

Notre Dame Cathedral

A Pigeon at dusk in Notre Dame Square by DG Hudson

A looming tower of Notre Dame lends an ominous air to this photo, as does the lighting. The pigeon showing its beautiful wingspan was hotdogging it for the camera. Shortly after, a great flutter of these birds rose in the air around the statue of Charlemagne. There is much history in this one spot. Several churches have existed here before. The center of Paris is in Notre Dame Square. Roman ruins can be found beneath street level and are visible in the Crypt Archeologique.


Montmartre Cemetery

Montmartre Cemetery, Paris, by DG Hudson

As we made our way with a walking tour group up the hill to Sacre Coeur, we stopped at the Montmartre Cemetery. In the photo above, note the design of the rounded monument on the right with the pinkish exterior. It has the look of Victoriana, but I couldn't confirm that. At one time, this cemetery would have been outside the Paris city limits.

Montmartre Cemetery corner, Paris, by DG Hudson

In certain parts of Montmartre Cemetery, Paris, our modern times encroach on the stately tombs of the past. Those lying beneath the overpass lived in times when only the sound of horses' hooves hitting the cobbled streets could be heard. A statue of a man lies in repose on that solid white block in the foreground.


Pere Lachaise Cemetery

In Pere Lachaise Cemetery, monuments date from many different eras. Some commemorate horrific events, such as war, or disaster where many lost their lives. This is grief.

Memorial in Pere Lachaise, Paris, by DG Hudson

In a place like Pere Lachaise Cemetery, a story exists behind each portal, door or entrance shown. These are family tombs.

Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris by DG Hudson


Hope you have a pleasantly creepy Halloween! Are you fond of cemeteries, and if so, do you write horror? Have you every been into a crypt or cemetery on Halloween? Would you want to?


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Archaic Weapons - History Revisited

Cannon to the left and cannon to the right, weapons which caused destruction to castle walls and fortifications now aim forever outward in defense.

Cannon in Paris, Hôtel des Invalides and Museum, by Green Eye.

The building above: Hôtel des Invalides

A hospital for veterans and an Army museum, this distinguished building had an important purpose.  In 1670, King Louis XIV decided to build the hospital "Hôtel Royal des Invalides" for the wounded homeless soldiers of its wars. Note the cannon in the foreground of the photo.

France frequently recycled the metal from captured cannon. These perhaps were French cannon kept for historical purposes, and installed as a reminder of what is owed to those who fight for their country.

More information and photos:


Weapons or knives on display in the Antiquities section, at the Louvre Museum. Hiding a dagger in the folds of a cloak seems appropriate with the designs shown below. Tools and artifacts from Antiquities can whet the imagination as to their use in the era in which they were formed.

Louvre Museum, Knives and artifacts in Antiquities, by DG Hudson

Small artifacts, knives, pipes, and carved items are included in the photo above. These were in the Egyptian exhibit. I photograph many of these images which may be useful as objects in my novels. I want to remember the little things, the traditions, the craft shown in some of these objects. Hand made survivors of time, these objects were part of someone's life centuries ago.


The Carnavalet Museum, Paris, is a museum dedicated to the history of the city of Paris and the French Revolution.

Old metal signs used by French shops adorn the entrance, as you discover room after room decorated in lush city style. No flash photography is allowed and some of the paper artifacts can't be photographed. The light is subdued in the rooms, as it would have been in the days before electricity. The low light protects what time has treasured and adds a touch of atmosphere.

French swords shown below in the Carnavalet Museum. This was a room in a French town mansion, completed in 1560. The reflection* in the display glass shows the striped wallpaper on the opposite wall.

Swords in the Carnavalet Museum, by DG Hudson

Flintlocks and a cuirass, two objects which bring to mind legions of soldiers, with the officers and nobility in the best armor they could afford.

Carnavalet Museum, Paris, by DG Hudson

Archaic weapons fascinate us, and history shows us that our ancestors felt the same way. A finely crafted and well-kept weapon was an object to be proud of in earlier ages.


At the beginning of the 17th century, the flintlock mechanism replaced earlier firearm technology and continued in use for over two centuries. French court gunsmith Marin le Bourgeoys made the first flintlock firearm for King Louis XIII in 1610.

Cuirass (French)

A piece of armour (armor spelling also used); formed from a single or multiple layers of metal or other strong, dense material. A cuirass covers the torso front and back (using two pieces joined) to protect the torso.


*Photographer visible in reflection, due to lack of polarizing filter for the small digital camera. There's always something. . .


Are you interested in antique weapons from a particular time period? Does weaponry play a part in your novel's world building? Have you visited many antique weapon displays in museums?

Please share in the comments and thanks for dropping by!


References: Les Invalides

Carnavalet museum (a post of mine from the A to Z challenge)