Thursday, June 05, 2014

Scenes of Marseille & Montpellier

The James Baldwin: Transatlantic Commuter conference at the Université Paul-Valéry, Montpellier, has begun, and I'll post some photos from it tomorrow, but here are a few photos from Marseille, into which I flew yesterday, and Montpellier, where the conference is taking place. I'll note about the journey only that the plane I was to fly on from JFK was struck by lightning as it was arriving in New York, which meant that before we could take off it was grounded for hours until the repair crew could assure themselves and the pilots that everything was working well. That meant a horribly delayed flight into Toronto, sprints across two airports to make flights, and so on. Not for the faint-hearted.

But so it was, and I got to Marseille in one piece, took the train to Montpellier, settled in, and began the conference this morning, excited to be among the Baldwinophiles. It has been an excellent experience so far, especially meeting new people and seeing old colleagues, hearing Baldwin's famous biographer, David Leeming, offer personal anecdotes about the writer, and noting the smart, contemporary scholarship on one of America's greatest writers. Amidst this academic conversations I also got in a quick walking tour (to get a plug adapter) across Montpellier's old city, a visit to the Jardin des Plantes, and dinner one of the liveliest art gallery-tapas restaurants, located in a former pharmacy school, that I've ever set foot in. Well, it's the only art-gallery-tapas restaurant I've set foot in, but I'm glad I did. Some photos:

On the plane: Mike Tyson's Undisputed Truth
screening under "Avant Garde" films! 
Marseille from the sky

Marseille from the highway
At the train station
Arles, Van Gogh's and Gauguin's
one-time home, along the route from
Marseille to Montpellier 
Montpellier's aviary-church-like
main rail station 
The ancient gate leading to
the Rue de l'Université
The former Ursuline Convent, now
a center for dance 
One of the numerous old,
winding streets of Montpellier 
A protest facing the Préfecture 
Soft sculptures in a
A colloquy 
L'Opéra Comédie
On a Montpellier street
Église St. Pierre 
An allée of cypresses at the Jardin des Plantes
A statue honoring the founder
of Montpellier's Jardin des Plantes
A bamboo thicket in the
Jardin des Plantes 
A lily pond in the Jardin des Plantes 
A greenhouse (closed), housing
cactuses and succubuses 
A tree of wishes
(it was quite full of them)
The tram line
The roofs of Montpellier 
The St. Pierre Church from on high 
Ubiquitous graffiti
Wall art (graffiti)
A tunnel-like street

Night life

Out and about

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