Category Archives: France

Last day in Lille

A walk around Lille this morning to take a photograph of the fish restaurant (sadly now closed) with wonderful mosaics, and the truncated cathedral. Also the Flemish-style Old Bourse, in whose courtyard I was delighted to discover plaques commemorating French … Continue reading

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Louvre-Lens

The Louvre-Lens museum is barely there: almost transparent and treading very lightly on the ground (that fear of subsidence again). It rests on the site of a former pithead and is now surrounded by landscaped gardens. It’s all very clean. … Continue reading

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Lens

I had an upstairs seat on the Lille-Lens train this morning – almost as satisfying as sitting at the front upstairs on a bus. It didn’t make the scenery any more inspiring, though. It’s not just the flatness: there’s something … Continue reading

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Gare de Lille Flandres

I’d forgotten that the station façade originally fronted the Gare du Nord in Paris. That accounts for the fact that it’s at an angle to the railway tracks . . . but makes for a perfect view down the rue … Continue reading

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La Piscine, Roubaix

As a swimming pool, La Piscine must have been a haven for workers living and working in Roubaix’s textile factories. It echoed Mallet-Stevens’s call for light, sport and hygiene, but much lower down the social scale. It’s a different kind … Continue reading

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Villa Cavrois

“Hilversum town hall” was my first thought. Indeed, Mallet-Stevens took M. Cavrois to Hilversum before starting work on this family home. It’s a Gesamtkunstwerk again, but on a bigger scale than any of the other Modernist houses I’ve visited. The only … Continue reading

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Lille this morning

When I arrived yesterday afternoon it was wet and gloomy, and my glimpse of a lighted upper window made me feel that domestic coloured glass brings much-needed brightness to northern streets on winter evenings. The sight of it was enough … Continue reading

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