Du coeur à l'écorce, this was the exhibition about wood-turning and woodcarving we visited in Lunéville a few days ago. I have hesitated before translating the word coeur. Should I choose "center" or "heart", but I decided heart was better as it shows what the artist felt when he/she made this piece. The inspiration comes from the inside of the man and is used till reaching the bark of the tree.
We saw beautiful work of art, were surprised by such a fineness, so many details which mean that the artist needed patience and perseverance.
Boxwood was mainly used, but also cypress, maple, rosewood, ebony... and a bit of bone, ivory or paint was added.
The two "secrets boxes" (one black, one white) of the photo were covered by different signs. I imagine you have to turn each ring to the secret code you have chosen and then you are able to open the box. And the piece above the others made me think about cup-and-ball game at first. There were several similar pieces in the exhibition, and each time the top part of them was so detailed and seemed so fragile.
The usual "Don't touch" was put everywhere. We didn't need it, it was so obvious. The last time we had seen "work of art" made with wood was in the Vosges mountains, and people had used chain saws. Beautiful too, but no possible comparison !
The income tax form must be sent back before the end of May in France. Each year we have to face it and each year something changes in the form so you feel like having to be very careful when you read it and when you fill it in.
As yesterday was a public holiday I thought it was a good idea to do this unpleasant job at the end of the day. Bad idea, it spoils your day, I can tell you !
First you check the amounts declared by your employers and possibly your bank. All is printed already, but, you know, just in case there is a mistake. Then you have to write charity payments. As it is deductible from the income tax it is not printed ! In case you forget to mention it ! And then you read all of it again, just to be sure you have ticked everything which must be ticked.
This year you can't calculate your tax straight with the form, you must use Internet. So you are facing the "Do I want to know or not ?" Cruel, isn't it ? But of course you want to know.
Having finished the job, I watched Alice in Wonderland by Tim Burton. I had just got rid of a nightmare and was in front of Alice's one ! But from the second she arrived at the bottom of the hole I was taken with the film too much to think about my income tax form. Many thanks to you, Alice !
Let's hope that next year in May we'll have a good film on television ! (And I have decided this form is not worth a photo.)
The castle of Lunéville is a place we like to go to spend the afternoon. Yesterday, as the weather was quite pleasant, we went there to have a walk around the grounds and to visit two exhibitions.
The castle of Lunéville is in fact the palace of the last dukes of Lorraine. It was built at the beginning of the 18th century using the plans of the architect Germain Boffrand. It is known as the château de Stanislas. Stanislaw Leszcynski was the dethroned king of Poland made duke of Lorraine by his son-in-law King Louis XV of France.
There have been several fires in the buildings, the last big one happened on January 2nd 2003. Such a disaster, the chapel and the right part were badly damaged. And workers are still restoring all this nowadays. That's why I had to take a photo at the back of the castle, to avoid showing you scaffoldings which are exactly at the center of the building at the moment.
The grounds are already full with colours thanks to the flowers, fountains are working, statues are looking at us and ducks are swimming in the nearby Canal des Bosquets. From June musicians will use the bandstand every Sunday afternoon, all sorts of music so sometimes you find it a bit unexpected to hear rock-'n'-roll near an eighteenth century palace !
V-E Day is a public holiday in France. It has not always been. Twice a president decided it would be a "normal" day and twice the day was a public holiday again.
On television and radio we hear about the different ceremonies to celebrate the end of WW2 in Europe. We'll never thank enough all these men who died for France, all the ones coming from across the Atlantic Ocean or across the Channel to give us freedom.
On this day I also think about my two grand-fathers, both were prisoners of war in Germany, one in the north near Russia, one in Bavaria. They were five long years away from wives and children. One of them (on the photo, just above the capital letters) came back home in the late summer 1945 and my grand-mother was really worried having seen all the other men returning to the village several months earlier. So many years lost.
So, as far as I am concerned, the 8th of May is not only the celebration of the end of the war but also the opportunity to think about all men and women who were living at that time and who had such a hard time.
When you arrive near Saint Nicolas de Port, you can't miss it. Such a high building amongst small houses. You can see it from far away but we are so used to it that regularly we drive on the roads around without noticing the basilica.
It was built between 1481 and 1545 and its style is called flamboyant gothic. The outside is full of detailed ornaments, and full of gargoyles too (one day I'll write about gargoyles). In 1635 part of the basilica was destroyed by a big fire when the "Swedish" soldiers invaded Lorraine. Legend has it that a priest was finishing to celebrate Mass when he heard soldiers killing the other priests, he took the chalice and host and went behind a big pillar to hide. He was leaning strongly against it when it half-opened and the priest went inside ! The soldiers saw this, tried to break the pillar but the stone was becoming harder and harder. The priest is still inside this pillar, you can hear his voice when big disasters are happening in the area, and the pillar cries, big drops, when bad events are near.
As you can imagine a lot of money is necessary to repair such a big old place. For a very long time there was not enough and only what was absolutely necessary was done. But in the 1980s a miracle happened. A French woman, Camille Croué-Friedman, who had lived near the basilica and married an American man, died in New York. In her will it was written that she wanted to give several millions of dollars to maintain the old building. And till nowadays this money is used to work oustide and inside the basilica.
I'll have to show you the inside later, impressing and beautiful.