Thursday, December 15, 2005

Behind the photo....

The Pantheon (Latin Quarter) in Paris is perhaps one of the most easily recognisable buildings in Paris other than the Arc de Triomphe and the ubiquitous Eiffel. It's a place that I just have to keep going back to because it has so much historical and spacial character. The spaces and buildings around tip their cap to the large domed behemoth, with a spacial hierarchy that channels views upwards and towards the structure whilst surrounding buildings respectfully keep their distance. To the east (I think) Rue Cardinal Lemoine hooks up via a beautiful but lightly formed square (I have the picture on my wall) with the Rue Mouffetard; which is a hub of activity, with the hustle and bustle of the market stretching for over a mile down the gentle gradient.
The Pantheon from the Jardin du Luxembourg
Back to the Place du Pantheon there is also a wonderful church in the north east corner. It is called St. Etienne du Mont and it has a curious welding of Gothic nave with a classical Baroque west front.
Saint Etienne du Mont
Now to the picture. Just opposite Saint Etienne du Mont there is a little English Pub called the Bombadier. On a beautiful day early in the Spring a couple of years ago my Dad and I had a costly couple of pints whilst watching the Rugby, and afterwards whilst standing on the grand steps of the Pantheon under the enormous Portico all that feng shui, architectural gusto and spacial heirarchy (and a couple of lagers) enthused my Dad to proclaim that 'This is the best day of my life'. Considering that Dad only says such things several times a year, it was a relatively rare event, and one that will make sure that I will be back amongst the curtilage of Pantheon, Le Mont, Lemoine, Mouffetard and Bombadier once again.

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