FRAGMENTS_ Le Point du Jour

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During our road trip through France, Lies and I indulged both in breathtaking nature and stunning architecture, and today I’m concluding my report of our trip with the latter.  Le Point du Jour is a housing project designed by Fernand Pouillon between 1957 and 1963 in Boulogne-Billancourt, a Parisian suburb.  The twenty five buildings house no less than 260 apartments, facilities and shops and yet the site never feels dense, on the contrary!  The materials, the lines of the buildings, the greenery and the colors form a perfect composition that never bores the eye.  A must-see if you’re visiting Paris and prefer magnificent architecture over tourist traps, but then again, who doesn’t?

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FRAGMENTS_ Les grands ensembles de paris

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Inspired by Laurent Kronental’s photo series Souvenir d’un Futur, Lies and I decided to see those Grands Ensembles in Paris for ourselves during last summer’s road trip through France.  These enormous housing projects were built between the 1970s and 1980s and were meant to be a solution to the housing crisis, urban migration and the inflow of foreign immigrants, while also meet modern needs.  The resulting buildings must have looked pretty futuristic back then, but nowadays they feel rather like the captivating movie decor of a Modernist utopian city.   We visited three of these Grands Ensembles in the outskirts of Paris during our trip (one of which I didn’t photograph because it felt inappropriate, but you might have already seen Bofill’s Les espaces d’Abraxas in the hunger games movies anyway) and today I’m sharing two, the circular Les Arénes de Picasso in Noisy-Le Grand, designed by Manuel Núñez Yanowsky and the Le Viaduc (1980) and Les Arcades du Lac (1975) in Montigny-le-Bretonneux, designed by Ricardo Bofill and dressed in rosy hues.  If you want to see more of our roadtrip, have a look here on the blog or here on instagram, and keep an eye out for my last post about our vacation if you’re enjoying these posts filled with stunning architecture!

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FRAGMENTS_ the french west coast

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Our road trip from last summer brought us to the french west coast after we visited the impressive villa cavrois.  We barely made any plans for this trip (we literally decided one day ahead that we’d drive through France), but Etretat was on the top of our list right from the start. With its stunning cliffs (including several natural arches) it is a however one of the most popular destinations at the french west coast for tourists.  We had no desire to spend our night among the crowd, so we headed to a camping that still had a spot for our tent in the nearby village of Yport.  Boy, was that a good choice!  The campsite (and thus our tent) turned out to have a breathtaking view over Yport and its beach.  We spent our days here reading, indulging in crêpes and baguettes and exploring the beach and the typical French village, before we headed to Paris.  However, that’s for another post.  For now, I hope you enjoy these photos of our stay.  More photos of our trip can be found here on the blog or here on instagram.  Are you inspired yet to take a trip to the french west coast yourself?

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FRAGMENTS_ villa cavrois

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This summer, my friend Lies and I opted for a budget holiday, driving with our tent through the North of France, exploring both architecture and nature, while ending with a bit more luxury in Paris (hello hotel panache!), where we would meet up with our friend Eline.  The first stop on this roadtrip was Villa Cavrois, an impressive modernist mansion  located in Croix, just over the Belgian border.  This “modern château” was designed in 1929 by Robert Mallet-Stevens for the wealthy Paul Cavrois (a textile industrial), his wife Lucie and their seven children.  The architect also designed the entire interior of this 2800 m² mansion, and opted for luxurious materials such as marble and precious wood, while never losing sight of functionality.  However, after being occupied by the German army during world war II and an unsuccesful architectural intervention, Villa Cavrois was abandonned and vandalized.  Luckily the French state realized the value of this building and bought the property in 2001, with the goal of restoring it to its former glory.  13 years (!) of research and 23 million euro (!) later, Villa Cavrois is restored back into its original state of 1932 and open to the public. 

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EXPLORED_ parc de bercy in Paris

parc de bercy via au pays des merveilles

After reading this description about Parc de Bercy, I couldn’t wait to explore this Parisian park.  It didn’t really live up to my expectations, maybe because I had my hopes up too high, maybe because I didn’t have much time to really discover this park since I was meeting up with Marijke later, but I did end up with some photos I’m pretty satisfied with.  Maybe next time I’m in Paris, I’ll give it another shot when I have more time on my hands!

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PARISIAN HOUSEWARMING

parisian housewarming via au pays des merveilles

My friend, who I was visiting in Paris, just moved into his new apartment a few days before I arrived.  That called for a house warming, and the boys planned this very nicely in the middle of my visit.  Here’s a little impression of what the coffee table looked like the morning after and how the apartment transformed from before the party until the morning after.  Luckily those boys know how to clean…

parisian housewarming via au pays des merveilles

all photos by me (except for top right)

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EXPLORED_ the Abbey Bookshop in Paris

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When it comes to bookshops in Paris, the most famous is without a doubt Shakespeare & Co.  But if you make the effort to walk two streets further,  The Abbey Bookshop is what you find.  This Canadian bookshop sells probably the same english literature (I am not sure since I didn’t feel like standing in line to enter Shakespeare & Co), but is much more quiet and I didn’t encounter one single tourist here…  Here you can explore thousands of books, stacked on bookshelves or piled up against the walls, while enjoying a cup of tea or coffee offered by the owners.  Definitely a must-visit when you’re a bookworm visiting Paris.

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PARIS

Paris via au pays des merveilles

After spending one week in Portugal, I took the plane straight from Lisbon to Paris.  Living in Belgium, we don’t often get the chance to fly to Paris, and I have to say landing in Paris around 11 PM has resulted in the most beautiful view I’ve ever had from a plane window.  No photos unfortunately, as I wasn’t seated by the window, but I still enjoyed the view a lot.  That being said: here’s a little impression of how I spent my days in Paris.  I was visiting a friend who lives there now, and he took me to all his favorite places.  We chilled by the Seine, had drinks at an amazing african bar slash vintage shop slash museum called Le Comptoir Général (80 quai de Jemappes) and explored Deyrolle, a wonderful taxidermy store (46 rue du Bac).  And those photos from the Louvre, you ask?  Those were taken when my friend was at work and I met up with Marijke, who you might know from the fantastic blog called Goesting.  Good times!

paris via au pays des merveille

paris via au pays des merveille

paris via au pays des merveille

paris via au pays des merveille

paris via au pays des merveille

paris via au pays des merveille

paris via au pays des merveille

all photos by me

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GOOD LIFE

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiEJlRFyf1s]
Press play to get the right soundtrack with these pictures of our trip to Worldwide Festival, in the South of France.  They’re all taken with a disposable camera, hence the poor quality, but I think they give a good impression of what an amazing trip this has been.  Here you can find some videos by “Brussels’ bearded wonder” Lefto (who did an amazing set at WF), which give a pretty good impression of the festival aswell.

On our way to the South of France.

Scary little bridge.

Our camping spot.

Théatre de la mer, this is where we saw James Blake.  (Here‘s a video of the show, I get goose bumps every time I rewatch this.)

Every night, we danced under that lighthouse.

We ate the best pizza ever on the edge of the water.

Dancing on the beach.

all pictures taken by me

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