Category Archives: photo

Paris “Grand Siècle” 2 : Hôtel de Sully

Next to place de la Bastille, on #62 rue Saint-Antoine stands a great example of French seventeenth century architecture, l‘hôtel de Sully.


You have to come in through the porch to discover its magnificence. But you can stop at the bookshop just left coming in. It sells a selection of art books and photos you can look at.


It is called after duc de Sully, a former minister of king Henry IV who bought this house, which stayed his family’s property up to mid-eighteen century. The “hôtel” was built in 1625 by Jean Androuet du Cerceau, official architect of king Louis XIII.


The first courtyard, on rue Saint-Antoine side, is paved with coble stones. It’s style is both post – Renaissance neo-classic and early baroque.


These mixed influences are obvious when you look up at the statues on the wall.


And at the female creatures guarding the door leading to the second courtyard.


The second courtyard is more like a garden.


Hotel Sully is part of the Jeu de Paume museum, which other site is in Tuileries garden.


Just beginning (March 4), the current exhibition is called” la photographie timbrée”(postmarked photography) but as “timbrée” has two meanings, it also says “nutty photography”. It is dedicated to postcards of early twentieth century.

Excerpt of Paul Eluard postcards collection (circa 1930) Paris Musée de la Poste.


And going out through the small door on the right side, guess what : you’re back on place des Vosges.


Hôtel de Sully, 62 rue Saint-Antoine 75004 Paris, Métro Bastille or Saint-Paul. Tel : 33 (0)1 44 61 20 20. Current exhibition : ” La photographie timbrée”. All days except Monday 12 to 19, week-ends 10 to 19, price 5 euros, up to May 18.


Paris : Stormy birthday party for Simone de Beauvoir!


Simone de Beauvoir would have been a hundred year old in 2008, if she had lived that long. Her major contribution to non-fiction literature, “the second sex”, published in 1949, has nourished the feminist movements of the seventies, and is still a reference.



This anniversary was celebrated by two interesting documentaries on public cultural French television channels (“la 5” and “Arte”), and by literary press.


In this harmonious appropriate praise concert, the false note came from “le Nouvel Obs'”, which is not exactly a tabloid.


What? Scandalous she may have been in her writings as well as in her life, but she was never known as a play mate. So rose the first protest choir : How shameful it is to dig out this nude picture of a dignified writer and put it on first page, just to sell more copies !

Then, of course, the original photo came out, which started a righter contest : the real indecency was to use Photoshop to model her figure according to modern taste.


It seems that Simone de Beauvoir never asked for this picture to be taken, but was not really mad at Art Shay : he was a professional photographer, a friend of Simone’s american lover Nelson Algren, and she left the bathroom door opened.

I don’t know if it was appropriate to put this picture on a front page, but I think it was certainly not to modify it, for it’s a really good picture. For myself, I am glad that it came out. I think it makes her look really cool, just pushing up her hair looking in the mirror, feeling just comfortable to stand naked and not bothering to close the bathroom door. It reminds us that she was not only a solemn thinker, nor her life time companion Jean-Paul Sartre eternal “girl friday”: she had the unconventional way of life which matched exactly with the ideas expressed in her writings, and she never tried to hide it (which can’t be told of all male writers).


Shay’s beautiful portrait of Simone de Beauvoir in Chicago in 1952 is as accurate as the more conventional ones. To read his version of the facts, go to :

To get an idea of the passion it rose, go to :

We’ll never know what she would have thought about this. “Much ado about nothing”, maybe?

And by the way, did you read “the second sex”? If you prefer the english version, go to :


ancient photos by Steichen and Ultralab multimedia at Paris Jeu de Paume

Located in Tuileries Garden, overlooking place de la Concorde, Jeu de Paume National Gallery is a museum dedicated to modern art and photo exhibitions.


Up to December 30, it is showing the first european retrospective exhibition of Edward Steichen work, from 1895 in France to 1955 in United States.


Painter and photograph, he was first inspired by symbolist and impressionist painting, and almost an adoptive son to Auguste Rodin.


He was also the first to work for fashion and publicity,


as well as a portraitist of all stars of american film industry,


Reporter on the two world wars, he became after 1945 director of New York museum of Modern Art photo department. Always modern and innovating, he is one of the great figures of twentieth century photo.

All around this great exhibition, Utralab collective disposes several visual and sound devices, in a satellite event called ” Paradise Island”.


Kitsch multicolored electric pannels at Steichen exhibition entrance :


A waiting room with videos, acrylic paintings, black earth sphere, and earphones for sound surroundings.


Visitors climb the stairs in a dim light, along with spooky sound effects. The space is upside down.


Next to restrooms, a canvas for visitors to tag, with a pencil at the end of a string (but someone had stolen the pencil).


More about Ultralab on :

Musée du Jeu de Paume 1 place de la Concorde,75008 Paris, Metro Concorde, tel 33(0)1 47 03 12 50. Monday closed.Tuesday 12 to 21, Wednesday Friday 12 to 19, Week ends 10 to 19. Entrance 6 euros. More information on :

near Paris, good reasons to visit “parc de Sceaux (2)

Another good reason to visit Parc de Sceaux is a gorgeous outdoor photo exhibition called “Arborescence”. (Poster photo by Yann Arthus-Bertrand 1998)


84 most beautiful photos about trees, taken between 1842 and 2007, are showed along the alley leading to the “Orangerie” built by Louis XIV architect JulesHardouin Mansart.


Great photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau, Jacques-Henri Lartigue or Yann Arthus -Bertrand have pictures of trees exhibited in the garden surroundings.


Eugène Atget took this picture of Parc de Sceaux in 1925 ( “L’allée de la Duchesse et la satue de la servitude”.


Henri Cartier-Bresson took this picture of Brie in 1968.


“les jardins de L’Altana in Antibes” in 1936 by Jacques-Henri Lartigue.


Palm trees in Fort Lauderdale (Florida) by René Barri (1998)


“Jeu de soleil et vapeur dans un bouleau en Russie “ ( sun and haze effects on a birch tree in Russia) by Olivier Grünewald in 2006.

If you enjoyed this virtual visit, you have the opportunity to see all this photos and Sceaux garden for real up to January 14.

Parc de Sceaux is opened from sunrise up to sunset : in winter 8 to 17.

Parc de Sceaux, RER B station Sceaux or Parc de Sceaux.