London and Lille, 2003

During a business trip to the UK, I had a chance to see my grandmother in France, as well as explore London a little.

Click on the small pictures to see larger ones.


I took off a day to cross the channel on the Eurostar train to see my grandmother, Mamie Lucienne, who had been seriously ill for a few weeks. It was also a chance to see my mother, who had been in France to take care of her.

I'm grateful I did get to see Mamie Lucienne then, as she died just over a week later, aged 89. She looked pretty good during my visit, but tired very easily, and so my mother and I strolled around old Lille for a little while.
Cartoon-like decorations on one of the main streets.
A ferris wheel set up in the square.
Classic French urban commercial facades.
A baroque building resplendent in afternoon sun.
In an old market.
A tower overlooking the market square.
A street vista down to a church tower.
A medieval herb garden by an old church.
More of the old: an ancient building in a commercial row.
And the new: the entrance to the Eurostar station.


An early-morning walk around Kensington, full of charming little mews and pedestrian passages, as well as classic London terraces and private garden squares.

View from my hotel room: the Tower Bridge at night.
A closeup under the Tower Bridge.
The Tower of London. The Tower was begun by William the Conqueror in 1078, on the old Roman wall, and subsequently enlarged and modified by later monarchs. The fortress was meant more to control rather than protect the city, as a potential refuge for the monarch, and was later used as a prison and an armory. It now houses the Crown Jewels.
(I must have visited as a child, but I have no recollection of it.)
Approaching from under the Tower Bridge.
View from the river side.
A closer look over the exterior wall, showing the White Tower and the mix of historical styles.
On the embankment: cannons, and a view of HMS Belfast on the South Bank.
A view of the Tower Bridge, with the lawns of the old moat in the foreground.
Our Beefeater (or Tower Warden) tour guide.
Inside at last, medieval half-timbering atop the old walls.
A door in a wall.
Inside the walls, the Tower is like a small village. Over a hundred people live here: the wardens and their families.
The White Tower, the original core of the fortress.
Yet another view of the Tower Bridge.
One of the Tower ravens. The legend goes that at least six ravens must remain here, otherwise the Tower and the Monarchy will fall. Currently there are seven, and their wings are clipped to prevent escape.
Walking around London...
More of the juxtaposition of old and new which makes London so interesting: at Billingsgate Market.
Hot chestnuts outside the British Museum.

These pictures were taken with a Canon G2 digital camera. Images were RAW-converted with Canon's File Viewer utility, then cropped, balanced, etc. with Digital Light and Color's Picture Window software.