Desmond Bear 1

Hello.  Here is the  first article from my trip to Lille, in northern France. Pauline Conolly helped me, but not very much. Dr Bob Conolly  took the photographs.  I hope you like our work. Editor Des.  xxx







In 1932 an architect from Lille called Monsieur Albert Baert built a most fabulous  municipal swimming pool in the nearby town of Roubaix.  It was the best  complex in the whole of France, an Art Deco treasure. Next door to the baths was an old textile mill, and today these two buildings house a very special museum.

It only costs 5 euros  to get in. They put a little sticker  on your hand with the day of the week  on it, so you can’t sneak in for free  next day.  My paw was too furry  for it to stick though.

Oddly enough, the  original  swimming pool was left in place, and is surrounded by sculptures. Some famous artists are represented,  such as Rodin, Joffre and Bugatti. I’ve only heard of Rodin to be honest.  The crowning glory of this part is Ms Baert’s superb fan window. The glass  has radiating  shades of golden yellow, like the rising  sun.

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All the little shower cubicles and dressing rooms  now contain collections of ceramics,  textiles,  jewellery and items of fashion; including  avant-garde clothes and accessories. In the upstairs galleries there are  showcases  of textile pattern books.  Pauline said some of the designs reminded her of William Morris.


We  spent quite a while looking  at all these things and then we walked around lots of other rooms to see the paintings. Pauline loved the  picture below because she used to be a cow herder when she was little (yes, truly!) . She wanted me to sit down with her and study it .  So I did;

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The first thing I noticed was that  Pauline  was wearing similar clothes to the girl in the painting. That’s a bit weird don’t you think?

My favourite artwork  was what  is called an installation. The artist Monsieur Daniel Marteau must have a very interesting brain!  His work  is called Girafe Observant une Taupe. That is French, and means  ‘giraffe observing a mole’. Ha ha…how on earth  did he think that up??

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Do you know what? Moles are  grey-brown  so that’s where the colour  called taupe comes from!

Of all the paintings in the museum  Pauline said she liked one called La Tasse Bleue (The Blue Cup)  the best. It’s by Jules Boquet, who died in 1932.

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There was another interesting one with ladies working in a woolen mill. Pauline worked in one once….she has  had a very chequered background! She told me the ladies were getting the wool ready for weaving.  Sorry, I forgot to write down who painted this one.

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Dr Bob sneaked off and later we found out he had taken a picture of a naked lady!  Pauline looked a bit annoyed.  Dr Bob said  the lady was about to go swimming, so that’s why she didn’t have any clothes on. I think she was just showing off, though!

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There is a very nice tearoom and a  restaurant  with a terrace and  a garden, but we had eaten too much at the market in Lille that morning.  Instead, we  sat on the big stone ‘seats’ in the courtyard  and ate some fruit.

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When people leave the museum they take off their stickers and put them on the gate, so Pauline and Dr Bob did it too.  It’s sort of vandalism, but not really because the gate looks like a work of art;

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One day someone might steal the gate and enter it in a competition, or auction it off.  I really enjoyed my visit to the Piscine Museum.   It was our landlady in Lille who told us to go there, so thank you dear Monique.   If you would like to leave me a message, write in the box underneath here, then do the little sum.  See you again soon, Editor Des. xxx

  1. Well done Editor Des. I loved the tour and please congratulate Dr Bob on the quality of his photographs – even the naked lady one! A nice piece of writing and well illustrated. I do think though young Des, that if you’re going to tempt us with interesting pictures, you must take more care to note ALL the artists for the benefit of your readers. And in addition, I was very surprised you’d not heard of Joffre or Bugatti. Has Miss Pauline or Dr Bob never taken you for a ride in one of Bugatti’s rather wonderful cars; it must have been a day you got left behind again for bad behaviour. Shame!

    • Pauline

      Thank you Miss Marcia. Dr Bob bought me a notebook and pen yesterday so I can write things down properly and not leave out important details! I am still only an apprentice, but am learning very fast. xx

  2. My Dear Des
    I must congratulate you on your article. It is very well written and so very interesting. Tell Dr Bob that his photography is wonderful too.I love the photo of you and Pauline sitting side by side admiring the painting of the cow and the girl. I agree the girl does look very much like Pauline.
    I am looking forward to reading about your next adventure.

    • Pauline

      Thank dear Godmother Vonnie, I am taking my work very seriously now, so I can impress a publisher re my biography on Pauline, xx

  3. What a lovely time you’ve had. How much better things are when you’re not trying to annoy each other. Glad you’ve settled down. Do you think that’s a kind of cow-minder’s uniform that Pauline’s taken to wearing?

    • Pauline

      Hello Mike
      Well it’s never me that does the annoying but yes, we did have a lovely day.
      Pauline has been wearing some very odd things lately. One minute she is dressed as a dairy maid and the next she in a denim hat and lairy striped socks. I never comment….best not to! x

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