Tuesday, April 08, 2014


These pictures don't go with my other pictures of Paris somehow - random moments snapped on the street of humans and animals going about their day in a Paris of grey streets.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


In building my new portfolio website for my writing work (oh yes I did) it became apparent that I have tens of thousands more pictures of Paris than I know what to do with, or could even begin to categorise and edit into a cohesive collection. I'm beginning to organise them and certain themes have begun to emerge - if you know me, you'll be able to guess what those are instantly... Eventually I'll have a rotating gallery on my site, but until then I'll post little collections here on the blog now and then. First up, in honour of spring - flowers and florists.

{© Claire Oldman}

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


I was recently invited to a special preview screening of The Two Faces of January, the directorial debut of screenwriter Hossein Amini, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival last night. The film is an adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith novel of the same name. which will invite inevitable comparisons with The Talented Mr Ripley; but this is a tighter, more subtle film that plays on the tension between the performances of Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Isaac.  It's the relationship between Chester and Colette Macfarland (Mortensen and Dunst) and Rydal (Oscar Isaac) under the blazing sun of Greece and Turkey which drives the film. Any other characters are incidental.

It's the summer of 1962. First we see Chester and Colette as wealthy vacationing Americans, singled out by the shady small time con-man Ryder, who works as a tour guide, short-changing pretty American tourists. As the story unfolds, the position of who is not to be trusted changes places between Chester and Ryder several times, with the complication that Ryder is now implicated in Chester's much darker crime, and the Macfarlands are indebted to him for helping them flee Greece and the police. Eventually the action becomes a straight battle of wits between the two men, each desperate to escape, but unable to disentangle themselves.

The costumes by Steven Noble hit just the right spot - again, subtle. Viggo Mortensen's white linen suit's deterioration from pristine to crumpled follows the story arc to a T. Kirsten Dunst only has three or four costumes - all pitched perfectly. The backdrop of bright Greek sunshine and holiday resorts to what is essentially a film noir is a great contrast - also highlighting the Greek tragedy elements of the story.

{Released in the UK on 2 May 2014}

Monday, January 20, 2014


It took me so many years to finally visit the Musée Nissim de Camondo, but it was worth the wait.
My favourite part of the house was the kitchen, where I could happily have spent all day/the rest of my life.

Less happy was the fate of the Camondo family. Moise de Camondo had the house, which faces into Parc Monceau, built in 1911, which he then filled with his collections of tapestries, furniture, porcelain and art. His son and heir Nissim was killed in the first world war, so Moise changed his will to bequeath the house and all its collections to Les Arts Decoratifs in his honour. The house opened as a museum after Moise's death in 1935. During the second world war, Camondo's daughter and her family were all taken to Auschwitz where they were killed, meaning the family line died with them. I imagine that if the house had not been in the possession of Les Arts Decoratifs already, then it may have been seized by the occupying German army and who knows what would have happened to it. It has always been preserved in its original condition as a family home, which is what makes it unique.

The area around Parc Monceau is not one I have reason to visit often. So after visiting the house, we walked in the bright winter sunlight of Parc Monceau, where piles of Christmas trees being chipped scented the air with fresh pine. Then I insisted on going to the cafe in Place Saint-Augustin and sitting in the same seat as Frédéric in L'Amour L'Apres-Midi, famously shown in this scene. Neither the cafe (or its menu!), nor the exterior view of Place Saint-Augustin seemed to have changed at all.

Thursday, January 09, 2014


If I have a resolution for 2014 apart from to cull quell(!) anxiety, or deal with anxiety better, or be less crippled by anxiety please, it's to get my camera fixed or get a new/old camera that I'm happy with. If I'd done that I would not be presenting these dreadfully awful phone pictures of an intensely amazing moment.

We were wandering the streets of Paris, commenting on various architecture, looking at trees, wandering past the Cirque d'Hiver, which I've never paid much attention to and actually always thought was an old circus that was now only used as a theatre / venue.

Crossing into the little Place Pasdeloup I turned my head to the side and looked straight into the eyes of a tiger. A real, full sized adult tiger who batted his eyes at me like a cat, from his green room cage across a yard behind railings. Tied back tarpaulin curtains framed him. We had a long silent communion and I tried to zoom in enough with my iphone to picture the moment. Mostly failed on that. After about ten minutes I wandered off in shock and later couldn't stop telling everyone about the tiger, including a four year old boy who wouldn't believe me and thought I meant a statue of a tiger, until I showed him a blurry photo as proof. When we passed by again later the curtains were pulled shut.

I feel uneasy about the existence of circuses in general and wouldn't go to one for entertainment. Though from the little I saw, the animals seemed content and well looked after in their yard. The next day I just so happened to conveniently pass by again at around the same time and my friend was waiting there, curtains open - this time putting on a Lola worthy display of flirting, paw licking, stretching and yawning. Fortunately there were several layers of bars between us - not because I was scared; I felt no fear at all - but because I would have been so tempted to crawl in and nestle into the beautiful fur of his belly.

It was a genuinely magical happening. Things that are dear to me are not what I usually share with the internet anymore sadly - the nature of the beast, one might say. But I think this incredible creature, hiding in plain sight in the centre of Paris, is larger than life enough to be a spirit animal to me and anybody else who cares to pay him a visit.

Monday, December 23, 2013


It seems I haven't photographed any of the picturesque things I did this month. Lack of available light might be to blame, so I'm craving the sweet light of the Normandy coast on a quick overnight trip there in November. Taken on a disposable camera.

p.s. The cat and dog were best friends...