Monday, September 29, 2008

More photos trip Barcelona-Paris [Part 1]

Montseny mountains near Maresme Area

So here we are with a few more photos of my unplanned, fully improvised trip to Paris. The one above is from The Montseny mountains where everything started.

Port de La Selva sunset
Then I drove all the way from the motorway towards Costa Brava- France, although I went to Cadaques first and Port de La Selva later to stay a night. I didn't still knew I was going to get more further up.


The photo above is from Cadaqués. A nice pintoresque small village not far from the French border. I initially wanted to stay there for a day or two, and visit the small beaches [called Calas here] around, but due that it was August it was a bit over crowded so I decided to get to the next village 'Port de La Selva', which is one of the last towns before you get to France.


Leaving Cadaqués

Port de La Selva

Port De la Selva is a nice small fisherman village right in the heart of Costa Brava. The area is pretty unspoiled and it has a nice clean waters to swimm and do some great scuba diving. Cala Tamariua near the village is one of my favourite beaches. You hardly find people there and is got one of the cleanest waters I ve seen on my entire life. In fact all the area has.



At this point is where the idea to get to the french side started to go in me head. The south east coast in France is a brilliant ride, with plenty of curvy roads. In fact France has one of the best roads-motorways system of Europe. Nothing to do with the ones we get here in Spain really.

Once you cross Port Bou, last town in Catalunya, then you find all along the coast the first French Villages. Cerbere is the first we get on the 'other side' which it isnt a special place really. After Banyuls Sur Mer next village is Port Vendres and then Colliure.

French border

In Colliure I stopped to get something to eat. Its a nice village with a big castle right near the beach. By the style and architecture of this little villages you can tell you are not in Spain anymore. I couldn't tell how, but they look different.

Port Vendres, France

After leaving Colliure, my next destination was Perpignan. Once I got there I bought a french map and start looking for possible destinations.
The first option would be to carry on along the french seaside and get to Nice, Monaco or perhaps go to the Italian border.
The second option was to drive to the main land, go to Carcassone, Toulouse and go up north.
Paris sounded like a great destination. Despite having some relatives there, Its been a long time since I was in Paris last time. First option was much shorter, and second meant about 2.500 km. But what the fcuk! , on the most spontaneous way I choose to get to Paris.

Colliure. Home of thespanish poet Antonio Machado

Colliure Castle

Weather was great so far. A very important fact for motorbike riding. I checked on the local newspapers and the forecast looked pretty sunny for the upcoming days.
Once I passed Carcassone I took the motorway to Toulouse. The countryside here started to get really beautiful. There were loads of green fields and forests with beautiful Castles all the way near the roads. They were very well preserved.
I was stunned about how beautiful the French countryside is. It has really nothing to envy to England for example, in fact I believe is got more forests and trees than UK.

Toulouse and Limoges were my next destinations.

End of part 1

Friday, September 26, 2008

Exit Calm headline tour

Rugby show poster

By the time you read this I'll be flying to England to see Exit Calm performing live in their first headline tour all over the country. I am sure it will be their last warm up gigs before they go into the studio to record the long awaited first album which is expected to see the light earlier next year.
I will see them live in Rugby [Style Bar] and Oldham Manchester [The Castle] in what I believe it will be one of the last chances to see Exit Calm in small venues. Although I hope it doesn't happens for a while because when it comes to sound, proximity and good vibes, big venues or arenas will never beat the feeling you get seeing bands in small halls.

'We are on our own' new single. Oldham poster

I have been through this before with other smaller bands I ve seen on the past that have now have become major acts. And it is not the same.
But being honest I would love to see the lads playing one day in Wembley or Glasto, who knows? Time will say.
Which is sure is that they all have the quality and class to achieve that one day.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

17-19 Rue Beautreillis Paris

The Doors Live at the London Fog L.A. 1966

17-19 Rue Beautreillis Paris

Bastille Metro station, its right over the river!

So leaving Pére Lachaise cemetery, I walked down to 'La Bastille' station.
CLICK HERE If you want to read about my visit to Pére Lachaise cemetary in Paris where is Jim's grave site.
La Bastille is a quite big square, and going by one of the streets that ends there, about 4 or 5 crossroads I found Rue Beautreillis. 17-19 It is a small narrow street, pretty similar to many streets we can find here in some cities in Spain. I couldnt avoid thinking how it would feel like for an American citizen used to live in Los Angeles that was then living in Paris.

At the start of the street we can find a liquor store. I thought to meself that it probably was very handy for Mr. Morrison considering his regular and very often drinking habits.

Rue Beautreillis street

Jim Morrison A rare photo in 1965

Right at the middle of the street we can find the house itself. The main gate looked different from the old photos I've seen on the internet before.

The block looked posh to be honest, being on city center I guess it wasnt a cheap flat to rent.
I think the place was lend to him from a local french model at the time called Zozo.

Not much else can be said about the street really. I took some shots on the main gate and I also saw some people getting in, some looked like residents I guess and some others looked like if they worked there on an office. I think Morrison flat was the 2nd on the left

The door was open, you only had to push and get inside, but to be honest I wasn't really bothered. I assumed that people there was a bit pissed off about tourists and peepers lurking around.

This street plate was few yards beside Jim's block lol

Some stories came recently about the strange death of the Rock n roll star. Until the date the most convincing theory said that Jim was found on his bathtub one summer morning by his all time girlfriend Pamela Courson. But this year the landlord of a well known club on the 70's called 'The Rock 'n Roll' circus' Sam Bernett, where Jim Morrison used to hang around, said that he overdosed on the bar toilets the night before and therefore they carried the dead body and through a rear gate they took it to his flat in Rue Beautreillis where they tried to reanimate him with a hot bath, which is apparently the thing you do when someone overdose with Heroin.

One of the last shots from Jim Morrison in Paris early June 1971 taken by his mate Alain Ronay

This guy seems has kept quiet until now because the french law cant re open files after 20 years have passed.
There are so many people this last decades trying to cash in writing books with some Morrison stories, which makes hard to believe any other new conspiracy theories.

Rare early photos late 66 early 67 perhaps

To be honest I don't think we will never know the whole truth and thinking about it I doubt its relevant anymore.

Links :

If you want to read about Jim Morrison visit to Granada in Spain few months before he died click  HERE

Saturday, September 20, 2008

My visit to Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris

Jim Morrison circa 1965

Before my visit to 17-19 Rue Beautreillis I wanted to visit Jim Gravesite first.
CLICK HERE to read my full review with some photos of Jim apartment in Paris.

Pere Lachaise cemetary Paris

Pere Lachaise graveyards

Père Lachaise is one of the most popular cemeteries in Europe. I think it was set by Napoleon at the start of the XIX century, and it was the last one allowed to be built inside the city of Paris.
It is located on the 20th arrondissement which I guess means in french district or neighborhood.

The place is quite big, and it has a few different entrances. You can get there with the tube and is got a couple of close metro stations, one named as the cemetery itself
The Doors playing live at The London Fog circa 1966

There are about 300.000 bodies there but Père Lachaise is known for some of the famous people we can find there like Balzac, Chopin, Maria Callas, Delacroix, Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, Miguel Angel Asturias, Honoré de Balzac and Bizet amongst many others.

Pere Lachaise Gardens

One morning this August while I was getting my motorbike chain fixed in a garage in Paris city center I decided to pay a visit to the place. I couldn't really be arsed to see the other personalities mentioned before.

All I wanted to do was visit Jim Morrison grave.

For a long time now I have always being interested to read biographies of the 'ol Jimbo.
I haven't been a big fan of The Doors music really, I don't even believe there was much virtuosity on their music, although I like a bunch of their songs [Riders on The Storm and Strange days amongst my favorites], but I always have been more interested on what the band and more particularly the singer did represent on a baby boom days and very conservative America back on the mid 60s.

Jim Morrison 1966 promo shot for their 1st album

Lets say the rebel side of the famous singer and lets say his personal struggle to fight the back 50s-60s establishment and conservative society.

Wandering around a ....err...cemetary

I believe the fucker was punk rock 10 years before it was invented!

He had a story to tell and I believe he certainly achieved the goal.

Jim Morrison was The Doors.

I've been in Paris a few times visiting my family but never had the chance to go to Père Lachaise before. To be honest I understand graveyards aren't a common placed to visit when you are traveling abroad, are they?

Love what It said there

check out the skulls!

But I personally always loved graveyards, mainly for photography purposes. Wherever country I traveled to before, like in Scotland or Ireland for example.

I've read some stories about the place before. Jim Morrison grave in Père Lachaise is apparently one of the most popular tourist destinations in Paris. Due to the big amount of visitors it seems like there is normally a french police officer there to try to keep the place quite.

Also the grave itself is surrounded by metallic fences.

I was expecting to find loads of people there and even more considering it was summer holidays.

Near the cemetery there are flower shops where you can purchase a map where they tell you the exactly location to find the celebrities. I find it a bit stupid when you can get free maps inside.

Once you are in you can tell the graveyards are very old. Some were pretty cool.

The place is split in different sections [Divisions] and I knew I was looking for the 16th one.

There are also nice streets with very big trees around. It was like a small village, but instead houses there were tombs.

That was a massive grave!

I felt a good atmosphere to relax walking and enjoy a nice smoke. To be honest the place remained very quiet and not much people was seen around.

Pere Lachaise has streets inside, its huge

The weather was great, we had a fantastic blue skies, pretty different of how is Paris during other times of the year, lets say more grey and cold.

It didn't took me too long to find the exactly place where Jim was located, after asking a couple of visitors there. Once I found Jim's graveyard the first thing that shocked me was that it was a bit hidden behind other bigger graveyards. Not very easy to see it.

Jim Morrison grave

Metallic fences around and no one to be seen...mmmm...

There was only a few people there, mainly American tourists I guess and the tombstone was indeed, as I've heard before, surrounded by metallic fences.

I thought it was a funny thing. All your life singing about 'Break on through' and freedom and you end up like this for the rest of your days.

And the best of it, no police was seen on the area at all.

Aside of the simplicity of the graveyard itself I noticed that it was too small and short, even more for a 6 foot bloke.

I stayed there for about 5 minutes and when I saw that all the few people who were there was leaving I thought to meself 'Fuck fences' so I decided to jump.

so Break on the other side

'Jim Jim, what did you died for?' And Jim says 'Nothing at all'.

'I am interested in anything about revolt, disorder, chaos-especially activity that seems to have no meaning. It seems to me to be the road toward freedom... Rather than starting inside, I start outside and reach the mental through the physical.'

Isn't it the grave too short?
'This is the strangest life I've ever known.'

'All our lives we sweat and save, building for a shallow grave.'

Well, thats probably one of the most accurate Jim quotes taken from 'The Soft Parade' lyrics.

On the grave plate we can read 'Kata Ton Daimona Eat Toy' which in greek means something like 'True to his own spirit', but I think the meaning changes a bit depending if it is new or ancient greek. I ve heard Demons can be changed by spirit. I think his dad made the plate.

Sometime after it was time to go, after a few photograph shots I felt I already accomplished what I wanted to do.
So then I got out through the main entrance and nearby I saw a bar-restaurant decorated with Jim posters on the outside. It was the better place to relax and have a beer.

It said 'Brasserie' on the plate and the street was called 'Rue du Repos'. Proper name really

Inside the bar

I'm aware there are The Doors fans gatherings there from time to time, but mainly the 3th of July the day Jim died.
Once inside I asked the bar man if he knew the tube station where Jim Morrison lived in Paris. He gave me some directions and explained me how I could get there.

It wasn't really too far from there and due that I had still some time off left I walked towards 'Rue Beautreillis' which it was pretty near like I said. I only had to go to 'La Bastille' square about 15-20 minutes walking.

But that belongs to the next chapter.