Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Pol Bury's fountain

It's a classic, but every time I pass by it, I can't help admiring this superb fountain, made of two sets of huge metal balls that reflect part of Le Palais Royal where it is installed (in the Cour d'Orleans, more precisely). It was made by Belgian sculptor Pol Bury, who died in 2005 at 85. I love the fuzzy couple in the background.


  1. That's a great shot, and I really like that sculpture. The colones Buren (spell?) , on the other hand ... ;)

  2. The reflections are very, very cool! This shot reminds me of the "Bean" in Millennium Park in Chicago. Isn't the Palais Royale where the little black and white "stumps" are in the courtyard, or am I confused?

  3. This is way cool, Eric! And, as usual, you pique my curiosity and leave me wanting much more.

  4. C'est joli ça (et c'est du belge, cocorico!). J'aime beaucoup toutes ces réflections. Du portal, j'ai bien cru qu'il s'agissait d'une partie de pétanque arrosée d'un petit pastis bien frais. ;)

  5. Very cool photo!! (But where is the reflection of the photographer??)

    It is very interesting and I'd love to see it with the water as well.

    Thanks for sharing!

    PS-- Thanks for the inspiration, Eric and friends--yesterday I started my own city blog! I went downtown today and there are so many things I want to share with you all, for a while it might be more than once a day!! :)

  6. Very lovely and romantic shot. The couple in the background look like they are holding hands. That water looks cold -- even so, I adore the fountains of Paris.

  7. Who doesn't love a fuzzy couple?

    What a terrific shot, Eric. Hiding on the ground again, I suspect. This is a wonderful sight in person or in your photo. I agree with Tomate about the Colonnes de Buren, however. (Kelly, I think that's what you're referring to.)

    Reminds me of the bean, too.

  8. Link didn't work. Try this:

    It's Eric's shot.

  9. I have quite a few photos "sort of" like this in my collection. Like a zillion other tourists though, it's always a self-portrait, or of someone else I'm with reflected in the balls. However THIS photo is fabulous, with the well-dressed couple in the background, and the hint of the majesty of the place with the pillars and just the buildings reflected in the balls.

  10. I love this! It's extremely unusual; and personally, I don't think we have anything quite as artistic, unusual, yet beautiful here in Dallas, Texas where I live. I will make sure to see this when I visit Paris! Je t'aime, Paris!! I'm even learning French!

  11. The Palais Royal is a great place to get away from the crowds - a wonderful photo, Eric.

  12. In my mind's eye I see almost a blending of three Claude-Nicolas Ledoux works here, here, and here.

    The contrast between the dark, column-framed "blockiness" in the background with the smooth, well-lit spheres in the foreground is eye catching.

    The fuzzy couple gives the photo perspective and a kind of human interest.

    The world needs more Pol Burys and fewer Pol Pots.

    Anyway, it sure is a great place to hang out here at PDP.

  13. It may be a classic, but it's new to me. I'll be in Paris with a group of students in a month and I hope to be able to sneak away from the Louvre to get a peak in person. Thanks for the idea!

  14. Wow! looks familiar...
    Ciao, caro Eric !
    J'étais là il y a quelques jours... donc Pol bientôt sur PPG aussi.

  15. Petrea, Thanks for the link. I remember this one too. I really liked it a lot. http://photos1.blogger.com/photoInclude/blogger/3488/872/1024/BigAchievement.jpg

    Katie, I agree totally. Those pillars do look majestic. Eric gave us a photo of these huge metal balls before with a similar reflection. http://photos1.blogger.com/photoInclude/hello/241/3707/1024/PalaisRoyalReflexion.jpg

  16. Colonnes - yes, yes - I seem to recall that word. But I still think they look like stumps. ; )

  17. Beautiful composition, Eric. Did you put the camera on the ground & set the timer? Is that why you're not reflected here? Have to agree with the general consensus here and say that the "Colonnes" are not my dead fave either -- but this is great.
    (In my imagination, the chic fuzzy couple are well-off Americans on their way to a 170 euro lunch at the Grand Vefour.)

  18. I remember my art professor teaching us that there were no good compositions to be made from circles-I always felt in my heart he was wrong & everytime I see a wonderful work with circles I wish he could see it too!I think you have a keen eye Eric. You are always inspiring.

  19. But, Saint Eric must be invisible! Or a vampire: no reflection!

  20. Couldn't resist: yes, the sculpture in Milennium Park in
    Chicago, called "Cloud", does reflect this Bury piece. I love that sculpture. I likely will see it this summer again, maybe during the Chicago Jazz Festival, if not before. Anyone going? Nice flower gardens in the parks as well as the Institute of Arts. (Planning the next trip already...)

  21. But Eric, how do you know they're a "fuzzy couple"? Did you touch them?

    Marti - don't sneak away. It's just across the street from the entrance to the Louvre, so bring them all by to see. Then as Alexa really wanted to suggest, have them forget their baguettes and splurge on a meal at Le Grand Vefour!

  22. These balls are beautiful, and if it weren't for the couple in the background it would have been a very science-fiction-like photo, so it's great they're in.

    Christie congrats on your new city blog. I'll certainly go and see your photos every day.

  23. This is just dazzling! I am entranced by the reflections!

  24. belicima, eric!!:)
    christi, congrats on your blog...do let us know what its called so that you can share it with us.

    And, as Eric knows it well by now..I've started one myself:)
    Guys, check it out and let me know -


  25. I love this fountain too. I was annoyed with myself for not getting a really good shot of this site when we went to Paris last year. I plan to rectify this next time! Eric, I reckon that picture would also look good in black & white.

  26. Tomate Farcie
    Congratulations on GF. I have stopped trying. It is so difficult these days.

    You should have saved this shot for the unlikely event of metal been voted Theme of the Month.

    Indeed, how does he know?

    Suzy and Marie
    Agree with you 100%..I was entranced too and I definitely want some more!

  27. The fuzzy couple look like they're about the scramble over these huge balls, tiny as they both are. Maybe it's a scene from a new 'Borrowers' film.

    I like the fountain very much though i see no water.

  28. about to, not about the. Oh dear. Out of bed too long... :/

  29. I love the reflections when I blow it up!

  30. Hello Lynn, happy to see you. The water is on the ground, water drops are in the air and on the balls.

  31. Good news! The full length video of the picnic interviews is finally available! Here it is (39 minutes in total, I don't have the time to index all scenes but you can easily fast forward the clip if you're bored!)

  32. I can't play the full lenght video.
    Does any one else have problems ?

  33. Yes, I am! None of the videos are working for me! :´(

  34. It seems like something isn't working; I'm just getting a black screen.

    Sounds like Eric is running and doesn't have time right now?

    Don't worry about it Eric, we have patience. Take your time.

  35. Grrrrrrrrrr! I hate Google video!! Here is the direct link to the video. It should work!

    Thank you for your understanding Lois ;)

  36. The rest of the video is great Eric.

    PHZ-CDG is the nicest person in the entire world. The video doesn't reflect 1/1000th of her real personality.

    That scene with Michael and the others waiving her back and forwards, threatening to throw
    Guille in the Seine was so funny.

    Marie would make a great reporter, wouldn't she?

    I promise you guys, even though Arnauld smokes he is a really nice (lol sorry Arnauld, couldn't resist it)...

    Please guys...be there next year!

    Eric, what happened to Corinne and Andy's interview?

  37. Err, I'm sorry to bring up the previous post in this post, but according to Eric a beginning teacher in France makes 18,744 euros a year, and, according to Michael, this is before taxes, which would be at least 40%, right? That would leave the teacher with around 11,246 euros. How is it possible to live on that in France?


  38. The video is fantastic. What fun. Thanks again, mon ami. The picnic was amazing. Remember to watch the first part from the link on May 8!

    Now I just need to figure out how to download and save them! Hmm. Copyright infringement? It'll be a hot seller on e-Bay!

    Lucio: well done. Your comment is the punctuation for yesterday's post.

  39. That was a good video. I really liked the ending. The quiz was funny -- it was great to see it since I had heard so much about it.

  40. Jeff: Did you mean to credit Luggi? (It's three in the morning here, and my eyes are bleary from all the reading I've been doing over the past week, so I may be confused...)

    Or it might be that I'm still a little groggy after laughing my way through the PDP picnic footage. PHZ-CDG, I chortled hardest when you shushed everyone while struggling to finish my "comment" (more of an essay, really) during the quiz - warning them I'd be angry if they didn't let you get to the end! LOL!! I wouldn't have been, of course. That said, I couldn't help but be both surprised and delighted by how eloquent my words sounded when spoken by you on the banks of a certain river, in the middle of a certain city, among a certain group of people. (Yes, there was a tear or two.) I must try to cultivate an American accent...

    Love to all.

    PS I haven't the time to go through all the comments posted over the past few days, but I do hope you're up and about again, Lynn.

  41. I'm glad it finally worked!

    A couple of answers:

    Rose : Eric, what happened to Corinne and Andy's interview?
    Well, simple... They were on the first tape which broke... I lost Thib, Michael, Andy, Livio, Anissa (the lady who was on the bench at the Hungarian center) and the beginning of Guille's interview. Am I furious? Yes, very!

    Luggi: "Err, I'm sorry to bring up the previous post in this post, but according to Eric a beginning teacher in France makes 18,744 euros a year, and, according to Michael, this is before taxes, which would be at least 40%, right? That would leave the teacher with around 11,246 euros. How is it possible to live on that in France?

    No, income taxes are very progressive in France: Someone who is single (you pay more taxes if you're single than if you're married) and makes that amount of money would pay an income tax of 1 085 € per year, so he/she would get 17,659 at the end of the year(that almost 1500 € per month).
    Which is, you're right, very little to live on, especially if you live in Paris or a big city in which the cost of housing is high (ie, 500 € for a small one bedroom apartment).

  42. Where is your reflection Eric?! Where are you?

    I realized that it was a fountain after having looked at it for 10 minutes... I thought it was petanque balls!!I don't know this fountain.

    I was sooooo glad to see the video!!! Everybody looks nice and so open-minded it's amazing.
    I want an other picnic. Now.

    Okay, I've thousands of books to read now, I have to go. This blog is very addictive!! LOOOL

  43. Like Guille, I too thought "petanque" when I looked at this cool-angled photo. Nice man! Am late to comment because last night we were out with friends of ours from Chartre who are visiting for a few weeks. Wow, I realized how rusty my french has gotten. Great to hear the language though; it reminded me of how much I miss France. Have a great week all; I'm off to an English dept member's retirement party! :-)

  44. Ohh, too bad the first part is gone. My buddy Craig was on that one. And, yes, more Guillemette is always better!

    Yes, let's have another picnic. Come to my house party on May 31 and we'll spread out a blanket with wine and cheese! Or maybe in Chicago later this summer? It's not the Seine, but Lake Michigan is like being on an ocean.

  45. Thanks Lucio, not quite up and about yet but soon i hope!

    Yes Guille i wondered where Eric was hiding too.... the answer is, as always, i'm sure, on the ground! Aiming his camera for the best complete shot but keeping himself beneath view. I'm guessing the installation is elevated, of course. If it isn't, then Eric is a magician.

  46. Coltrane_lives, do you speak French? (Maybe you're French and my question sounds stupid.).

    Jeff, I'll be there. To sip with you. ;)
    Trust me, too much Guille kills the Guille (adapted French saying ;)).

    Lynn, don't even ask. Eric IS a magician.
    But seriously, I don't find him!!

  47. I still can't see the video, not even with the direct link. I can see about 6 - 7 minutes and then it goes black.
    I'll just try again tomorrow.

  48. Oh yes....I have always had a curious fascination with this sculpture also. I love Le Palais Royal and always dream what it must have been like in the past..or when Colette lived there and would wave to Jean Cocteau who lived in an apartment across from her.

    Michael...A "splurge" at the Grand
    Vefour??? Just a meal in a simple restaurant would be a splurge!! The state of the dollar is pathetic! I was looking at a website for a little cafe/restaurant near a friend's apartment in the 11eme and I realized a simple "Steak Frites" would cost $31.00!! Oh well...c'est la vie!! I hope things get better before my next trip, which most likely won't be until 2009!!!

  49. Does the architectural beauty of Paris ever end? Seriously! Do you find yourself constantly finding new (man-made) things?

  50. Thanks for all your work with the video, Eric - I know a lot of hard work went into it! It is really appreciated and it was well worth the wait. I wonder how big the next PDP picnic will be??

    Bettina: I had some trouble too before I turned my firewall off; you could try that maybe. Good luck!

    (I don't know if this comment will be quite coherent since I'm very sleepy, but oh well.)

  51. Lynn, Jeff... ". I'm guessing the installation is elevated, of course. If it isn't, then Eric is a magician."

    I simply used my zoom... So I was far away from the metal balls. I don't it's disappointing when you know the truth...

  52. Thank you for saying it, tonton flaneur. I wanted to joke that there are no longer any wealthy Americans and stereotype needs to go! But I was afraid I'd sound cynical instead of funny.

  53. Guille..."Do I speak French?" Je parle un peu. Mon francais n'est pas aussi bon que votre anglais. J'ai estudie le francais depuis deux ans dans l'universite de North Texas mais cela etait il y a plusieurs annees. Bon chance avec votre education.

  54. Lovely! I, too, love this sculpture and spent quite a lot of time making photos here when I visited 2 years ago. Welcome home, by the way.

  55. Coltrane, you speak French! And it's a good French trut me.
    Merci pour les encouragements.