Category Archives: Gallery

Photo Escape: Mont-Chiran

Where should we escape to today? I’m in the mood for clean air and open spaces — it happens a lot — so let’s take off for the mountains and the observatory of Mont-Chiran in the Alpes de Haute Provence.

Come along …. you’re dawdling.

Mind the traffic; sheep are notorious road hogs. And stop to pick flowers on the drive, it’s a good way to get your mountain legs — same as sea legs only less wet.

Road to the Observatory on Mont-Chiran, , Alpes de Haute Provence, France, mountains, Verdon, photography

Don’t forget to double-check signposts along the way. They almost certainly (fingers crossed) haven’t been turned around by the wind.

Road to the Observatory of Mont-Chiran, Alpes de Haute Provence, France, mountains, Verdon, photography

You didn’t think you could drive the entire way, did you?

Gateway to Mont-Chiran Observatory and Refuge, Road to the Observatory of Mont-Chiran, Alpes de Haute Provence, France, mountains, Verdon, photography

We’ve finally arrived! Let’s ask the resident astronomer to show us the telescope. During the day the sun puts on a solar flare light show, but it’s at night that the skies really show off.

Observatory, Road to the Observatory of Mont-Chiran, Alpes de Haute Provence, France, mountains, Verdon, photography

Looking at stars is exhausting, so it’s a good thing the gîte tucked to the side of the observatory serves refreshments and keeps restorative games on hand. You can unroll your sleeping bag and spend the night if you’re too tired to wander back down the mountain.

Inside the Refuge at the Observatory of Mont-Chiran, Observatory, Road to the Observatory of Mont-Chiran, Alpes de Haute Provence, France, mountains, Verdon, photography

Bathroom break! X (or cloud) marks the spot.

Mont-Chiran Observatory lavatories, Inside the Refuge at the Observatory of Mont-Chiran, Observatory, Road to the Observatory of Mont-Chiran, Alpes de Haute Provence, France, mountains, Verdon, photography

It was worth the drive, wasn’t it?

compass, Inside the Refuge at the Observatory of Mont-Chiran, Observatory, Road to the Observatory of Mont-Chiran, Alpes de Haute Provence, France, mountains, Verdon, photography

 

Where should we go next week?

Discoveries: Buddhist Temples In Laos

There are many well-known and frequented Buddhist Wats — monasteries and temples — in Laos, but countless more that nobody visits. The wealth and reach of a wat is dependent on the wealth and generosity of its patrons. Some are so small they have a single monk in residence, others are like small villages.

The country sees its share of visitors and the government is beginning to put money not only towards much-needed infrastructure, but also the conservation of heritage sites as it recognizes the value to national pride and in the influx of tourist dollars.

When I visited Laos last January I couldn’t walk past a monastery without taking a detour through its grounds. They’re beautiful without being ostentatious, with the exception of Wat Xieng Thong in Luang Prabang, which is the showpiece of the ancient royal city and although grand and glittery, still beautiful and a living, breathing monastery.

It’s mostly the images of daily life that appealed to me: the living quarters, laundry drying in the sun, the temple dogs — they all have at least one and they’re well cared for — monks going about the daily chores of cooking, studying, discussing, praying, helping, and always ready for a good talk with a passing tourist, the evening call to prayer on the drums that made my heart beat faster. I grew up in a family of mixed traditions and it was interesting to discover some of our traditions’ origins.

With so many monasteries to choose from it is possible to get away from the crowds, walk through a wat, stop for a chat with one of the monks, or just sit quietly on a bench until dinner calls. I recommend trying a bit of all these experiences.

Buddhism, Buddhist, wat, temple, monastery, monks, Laos, Luang Prabang, Asia, travel, discover, photography

Buddhism, Buddhist, wat, temple, monastery, monks, Laos, Luang Prabang, Asia, travel, discover, photography

Buddhism, Buddhist, wat, temple, monastery, monks, Laos, Luang Prabang, Asia, travel, discover, photography

Buddhism, Buddhist, wat, temple, monastery, monks, Laos, Luang Prabang, Asia, travel, discover, photography

Buddhism, Buddhist, wat, temple, monastery, monks, Laos, Luang Prabang, Asia, travel, discover, photography

Buddhism, Buddhist, wat, temple, monastery, monks, Laos, Luang Prabang, Asia, travel, discover, photography

Buddhism, Buddhist, wat, temple, monastery, monks, Laos, Luang Prabang, Asia, travel, discover, photography

Buddhism, Buddhist, wat, temple, monastery, monks, Laos, Luang Prabang, Asia, travel, discover, photography

Hidden Treasures: Statues Above A Paris Police Station

Paris, France, commissariat de police, 12e arrodissment, architecture, sculpture, statues, Dying Slave, Michelangelo, Louvre, police, Coulée Verte, discovery, photographs Paris, France, commissariat de police, 12e arrodissment, architecture, sculpture, statues, Dying Slave, Michelangelo, Louvre, police, Coulée Verte, discovery, photographs Paris, France, commissariat de police, 12e arrodissment, architecture, sculpture, statues, Dying Slave, Michelangelo, Louvre, police, Coulée Verte, discovery, photographs

As in many great cities, some of the most unique treasures in Paris are found in unexpected places; these giant statues are based on Michelangelo’s sculpture the Dying Slave, housed in the Louvre. What’s unexpected is that they sit on the top floors of the commissariat de police du 12e arrondissement — the police station of the 12th administrative district of Paris — and that they date back to the early 1990s and not from an earlier period.

Some call them gaudy, but I think they’re a wonderful find for anyone exploring the Coulée Verte, a 4.5 kilometre stretch of abandoned railway that runs from the Bastille to the Bois de Vincennes, which has been converted to a walking trail.

Getting There:

2CV_bullet  From Avenue Daumesnil to the Bois de Vincennes: take several stairs and lifts all within the 12e.

2CV_bullet  By Metro: exit at the Bastille.

2CV_bullet  Download a map here.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: