Sunday, 8 July 2012

Sab's Top Ten Stellar Paris Sundials: No.1 ~ "Surrealist Shadows"

POSTED IN:  ~ PlacesTop 10 ~ Sundials

Sab's Top Ten Stellar Paris Sundials
No.1: "Surrealist Shadows" ~ Introduction 
by Sab Will,  wannabe offbeat Paris street guru

Although I only have about four in mind at the time of writing, I know Paris won't let me down.

I know for a fact that Paris will offer me at least ten wonderful sundials to share with you and then some.

How can I be so sure? Because I know Paris and know what it's capable of.

There's something magical about the sundial, something heathen and primitive. something mysterious.

Plus the fact that most of them never seem to make sense of the hour, but let's put that down to daylight saving time and other concepts beyond my meagre comprehension and not worry about it here.

The sundial, in all its variations; refusing the light and reflecting designers' and artists' imaginations down the ages. That's enough, it's dawn, a golden orb is rising and I've got hours of writing and photographing ahead before dusk steals in once again... 

Sab's Top Ten Stellar Paris Sundials
No.1 ~ "Surrealist Shadows"

I'll start like I mean to go on: intriguing. And if anyone's going to know about that, it's going to be Dali.

According to the date, it's from one year after my birth, in 1966. I wonder if anyone will be reading this post 46 years from now at the age of 47 and be able to say the same thing...

And according to various sources it was done for friends who owned the shop on the corner and is reputed to be in the shape of a coquille Saint-Jacques, or Saint James scallop, which indeed it seems to be.

It's a bit disappointing that there's not actually any sun (or any shadows, at least) in my picture, but I'm sure I'll be able to bring you a bit of a brighter picture of this beauty in due course.

Another intriguing aspect of this special sundial hasn't actually got anything to do with it. Some moron has thrown some red paint at the wall just above it which has dripped down onto the masterpiece itself. Sacrilege.

Except that in a strange twist of fate it's dripped down a groove in the forehead, run along the top eyelid and continued its downward journey looking like nothing less than blood dripping from the corner of a bloodshot eye. Very Dali indeed.

The Dali sundial's appropriately situated above a latin-american restaurant called El Sol & La Luna (the sun and the moon), which suddenly makes me wonder if they have moondials too, as I've never heard of them. I guess not, or if so they'd have to be used for some arcane purpose by an exotic cult of moon worshippers, but I'm rambling.

It's also just around the corner from Michael's 'Teatime = Talktime, a legendary meeting place for expats and locals alike who want to meet up and chat (and drink tea), including a somewhat bizarre number of attractive Ukranians, but I'm digressing.

I'm already excited to bring you more of Paris' sublime stellar timepieces, in various states of upkeep and extraordinariness.

So I'll leave you with a close-up of this rather tragically blood-weeping eye, and wonder if the genius who launched the offending substance will ever spot the irony and admire his handiwork. Or regret it.

In the meantime, feel free to let me know about your favourite Paris sundials and I'll add them to my Top Ten Stellar Paris Sundials, and you to my top ten Paris insider informers with my everlasting gratitude. Time to go!



* Sab Will runs Photo and Curios Tours in Paris, and also manages a variety of Paris and photography-themed sites and blogs. He writes an illustrated Paris Chronicle every day, runs a Meetup group for Paris lovers, interviews Paris personalities and reviews Paris books (on this blog), and even contributes to the city's street art (shh), so feel free to browse some of the links below and in the right-hand column to find out more about what he gets up to out there...

© 2012 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Suggestions, questions, requests and offers always welcome!

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