Marja-Leena Rathje
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Paris: arches











Arches beguile me,
these ancient architectural and structural elements,
these passages of invitation to something magical beyond...

(Should you have missed them, earlier posts about our spring trip to the UK and Paris can be found under travel.)

Marja-Leena | 17/10/2009 | 17 comments
themes: Travel


Ah, how I too love arches, and the views through them. Arches mean journeys through.

These photographs are delightful, each in its own way, my favourite being all the threes in Fred. The I.M. Pei pyramid is such a successful building - I don't think I have seen a better juxtapositioning of contemporary with historic.

Ihania kuvia. Tulee ikävä Pariisiin.

pleasing arent they...arches...and your photos

Arches, like Oriental Moon Doors, are sacred and respectful ways of going between physical spaces.

Olga, I totally fell in love with arches on a visit to Italy in 1993 and I've used that shape in my work often in the past. The Fred shop caught my eye because it's my husband's nickname :-) The pyramids at the Louvre are enthralling and yes, what a successful blend of the old and new. I've still to post about that...

Anna, kiitos! Olet varmaan paljon käynyt Pariisissa.

Rosie, thanks!

Susan, I like the concept of sacred. The arch is, after all, half of a circle. I love the feeling of being protected and enclosed in a loose and gentle way when walking through either.

I like what Susan had to say about arches as I believe the built environment shapes our movements on earth, shapes our possibilities and our limitations. Arches remind us of the circle, rather than the line, and in that sense we are always inside a multiplicity of spaces.

I love arches, too. I got a few good ones.
I wonder how the new Islamic art collection will change the area around the Louvre. They are putting it up very fast, as we saw on our recent trip to Paris.

Taina, yes, well said!

Hattie, I looked up where they are building it. Are they building out into the main huge courtyard? I'd love to see that Islamic collection so I think another trip to Paris is in order but we'd need more than a week to see everything we missed.

Wnen you think about it, arches must have been considered triumphs of early architecture, like domes. Well spotted with the last one.

They make wonderful framings; I thought the last must have been taken with your husband in mind!

Joe, yes, think of the Roman aqueducts that are still standing.

Lucy, so you remembered... :-)

It just occurred to me that I saw very few arches in Japan that were round. The Shinto arches dominate (although the pylons are round). In Europe, the arches are circular, but the pylons often have a straight edge to them.
In either case, I do love the feeling of walking through an arch.

R, you're right, arches aren't really round, or a half-circle, except for the top curve. I just meant that the circle is the source or beginning of the arch as a shape and architectural form. It's amazing how our ancestors found a way to make it stand up and be so strong. The pylons - I forget now the correct architectural term - can be as high and straight as the biggest cathedrals in Europe or low or non-existent as the littlest bridge over a creek.

The top curve, yes, of course! The Japanese have a custom of throwing stones up in an attempt to lodge them on top of that curve. But I don't know the reason for it.

R, maybe it's just a game, like making stones skip across water...

What, no 'golden arches'? ;-) Love the arches, too, and I recognize the view in that first photo from my trip there a few years ago. We were there at sunset, and the light playing around the arches and the pyramid were lovely.

Leslee, seeing the glass pyramids at sunset sounds absolutely lovely, how lucky you were!