Bérangère's Adventures in Warsaw

BB has just returned from Warsaw to Paris. She sent us photos and tells the story of her trip:

Here are few photos of my discovery of Warsaw , where I traveled on two missions: Beata Czapska’s  exhibition of sculptures with my photos of her creation in the French embassy in Warsaw, and to bring Tomohiro Hatta’s file to participate in the famous concourse Chopin, where the pianist winner receives a prize and the start of great career.

We rented a flat in the center in a district called Zacheta (which means encouragement, stimulation), but the day before our arrival, the Polish owner forgot about our rental and we stayed in a flat which reminded me of the images of the communist East; I couldn’t say where it was located because we arrived at midnight and left this not so attractive place very early.

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Much more optimistic, the Royal Way (in Polish, “Trakt Krolewski”) is composed of three streets.  I could compare it to the Champs Elysées in Paris, with the biggest monuments and where the most famous shops are gathered.  Polish  people like to walk along on Saturday.

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Here is the view from our flat, the protestant church of Zacheta with its impressive dome and birds on the tree!!! The temperature was exceptional, it was like spring time.

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Following the Royal Way we arrive at the castle and the historical district of Warsaw, but it is a fact that every structure was rebuilt after the Second World War’s massive destruction, exactly the same than before.  It was declared a national oeuvre by the communist government, this titanic work of rebuilding summoned up all the people from 1949 to 1963.
Here is Rynek Starego Miasta, place of the old town where there is a Christmas market:

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Two guys in the market were making candles, I adore their look !

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In this district we can feel the dynamism of Warsaw, an entirely rebuilt town, and its modern  architecture is disconcerting  for a European capital (no patina)!  Since 2004 with Europe, Warsaw is booming,  buildings are growing in this district.

Palace of culture and science, this monument is the highest of Poland, built by Stalin “to the glory of of socialism” in the 1950s.  Doesn’t it make you think of another building?

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The view from the top:

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The Kurcharzy Restaurant is a marvel located in the kitchens of a palace hotel now transformed into offices; the atmosphere is very convivial, we could observe the chefs cooking …

But I was immediately fascinated by this lady’s chignon in front of me – she made me think of Tippy Hedren playing in Hitchcock’s movies.  But she was also fascinated by the people in front of her…

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Our neighbor, a Polish man who spoke very good French told us the fascinating man was Volker Schlöndorff [ed. note: director of ‘The Tin Drum’, amongst many other films] who was in town for a German film festival.

I went up to Schlöndorff, introduced myself, invited him to our exhibition, and asked if I could photograph him with his dinner companions.  It was delightful to meet one of my heroes!

He wanted to go to the exhibition right then, but it had not yet opened!

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Volker Schlöndorf stands in the middle, wearing a turqoise ring; just behind him on the left, the German Ambassador; in black, on the other side, is the head of the Goethe Institute.

And now, a couple of photos from our exhibition at the French Embassy. My photographic studies of Beata were in the form of transparencies, mounted on the windows – I was quite pleased with the effect.

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Finally, here are friends at the end of the opening:

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L to R: Gilles (Beata's ex husband), Philippe (Beata's coach), my cousin Didier, and Jacquie (another sculptor)

We very much enjoyed discovering Warsaw together, even though, on occasion, it wasn’t so easy.  Nevertheless, our adventure was graced with little miracles.

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