National Geographic : 1950 Jul
Home Life in Paris Today National Geographic Photographer Willard IR. Culver To Adorn Costume Jewelry, Golden Sea Horses Swim in Plastic Seas A shop on the Avenue de l'Opera features sea horses in metal and plastic bracelets, medallions, and clips (page 70). Artists love the bizarre outlines of this little fish, which abounds in warm seas throughout the world. With prehensile tail like a monkey's, the sea horse clings to waving marine grasses, while through a tubular beak it sucks in minute shellfish. Father sea horse receives eggs from the female into an abdominal pouch, from which young hatch later. Both sexes utter monotonous drumming noises. 47, 55). The majestic buttresses of Notre Dame Cathedral soared in carved stone against the sky (page 56). We made a pilgrimage to the Louvre to introduce our little girl to the original Nike of Samothrace, after whom she was named (opposite page). We chose to go on a special night when the statue would be theatrically lighted. Winged Victory stood at the top of a regal staircase, floodlighted, then back-lighted, then bathed in the glow of a strange light in which she mysteriously looked exactly as if she were riding the prow of a ship, her draperies wind blown above the waves of the sea. Once I joined a crowd a solid block long, six abreast, in the arcade that led to the en trance of the Musee Grevin. We were all awaiting the afternoon opening of the wax works that rival Madame Tussaud's in Lon don. My first thrill was the realization that the bay-windowed old Burgundian, asleep over his newspaper on the visitor's bench, was made of wax! The figure of Serge Lifar, the dancer, looked as if he had just alighted from a leap, and his ballerina partner was absolutely life like, to the real runs in her pink tights! Scenes from the French Revolution were de picted with terrifying authenticity, each one staged in a dungeonlike cubicle. A rare treat was visiting the looms that pro duce the exquisite Gobelin rugs and tapestries. Hundreds of French and foreigners each week crowd the ateliers to watch the artists manipu late the dozens of colored bobbins that leave a trail of living pictures on webs of strong linen. Some of the "painters in thread" followed their patterns by mirror, weaving from the underside. When finished, each figure looked as if ready to speak, and each flower was modeled so delicately we could almost enjoy its fragrance (page 60). Window-shopping in Paris was a perennial delight. At times the merchants would agree on a single theme for displays. Roses bloomed in the show windows on the Avenue de 1Opera for two solid weeks in June.