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Paris’ Arc de Triomphe rests at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle, near the western end of the Champs-Élysées, and is at the hub of twelve radiating avenues. It is a war memorial honoring those who fought and died in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. The monument is decorated with war scenes, symbols and the names of French victories and victorious Generals.
Beneath the vault rests the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (from World War I, interred in 1920). This grave was visited by President and Mrs Kennedy in 1961. Rumor has it that after JFK was assassinated in 1963, Jackie requested an eternal flame be placed at her husband’s grave in Arlington Cemetery because she’d liked the one under the Arc de Triomphe.
The design of …
Situated adjacent to the Seine in the Jardin des Tuileries, not far from the Louvre, you’ll find a wonderful museum. It’s next to the Place de la Concord and is housed in the palace’s old orange-tree growing greenhouse (orangery), a building completed in 1852. The building is lovely, with some statues outside including one by Rodin, but it’s what’s inside that’s truly special.
The Orangerie museum is a 20th century art gallery and its best know pieces are a series of Monet water-lily paintings known as the Nymphéas which occupy much of the upper floor. Eight huge canvases of lilies are hung in two galleries, all painted by Monet when he was an old man beginning to lose his eyesight to cataracts. …
A scene of every day life in an historic city.
After having spent the morning exploring the great medieval cathedral in Chartres, we finished a fine lunch before heading into the medieval city down by the River. While on our journey we came across this seasoned citizen, walking his bike up an incline. Seems he is outfitted to go to the market. Just an everyday scene in an ancient city.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge)
One of the more familiar landmarks in Paris is the gold-capped dome of Les Invalides, also known as Hotel des Invalides, and the adjoining Army Museum (Musée de l’Armée). This is a complex of buildings in Paris containing, most famously, the tomb of beloved leader Napoleon Bonaparte.
King Louis XIV, the Sun King, began the project in 1670. King Louis saw the need for a home and hospital for war heroes who had long and faithfully served their country (20 years of service were needed for residency). It was later realized that a royal chapel should be part of the complex, which was completed in 1708. During the 18th century the veterans were required to attend church every day.
The area …
One of the world’s greatest streets to explore on foot is Paris’ Champs-Elysées. A walk up or down the Champs makes for a fine day of exercise, window-shopping, sight-seeing, and eating. Champs-Elysées means “Elysian Fields” — a bit of heaven on earth. Its sidewalks are enormous and teaming with thousands of people, and the many lanes of the street are constantly jammed with traffic, especially near the Arc de Triomphe. The crowds are there day and night and the mood and ambiance change with the transition from daylight to evening. While it is in one of Europe’s most populous cities and much of it is congested, the Champs is a green tree-lined street with some charming smaller buildings, dotted by …
Known as one of Paris’ most charming neighborhoods, Montmartre sits on a hill overlooking the city’s downtown to the south. It’s a great place in which to wander, with curvy lanes that take you up and down hills, charming markets, inviting cafes and bakeries, and the crown jewel of the neighborhood, beautiful Sacré Coeur cathedral.
Montmartre has been home to artists for well over a century. Great impressionist painters like Van Gogh and Renoir frequented these very streets and lived nearby. You can still find artists struggling to make a living when you explore Montmartre today.
During our visit to Montmartre, one square in particular was lined by local artists and their work. We ended up chatting and buying a painting from …
The Orsay Museum is one of my favorite places in Paris! It has a great location, situated on the Seine River in the center of the city, across from the Tuileries Garden. The museum was built as the Orsay railway station (Gare), opening in 1900 for the Universal Exhibition. By 1939 the station’s short platforms had become unsuitable for the longer trains that were then being used and it was largely abandoned. In 1970, permission was granted to demolish the station but it was saved with the hope that it could be converted to a hotel. The need for an art museum to house Paris’ extensive collections of Impressionist art sparked the idea to convert the Orsay into a National …
Not nearly as large, well-known or frequently visited as its big sister only a few blocks away (Notre-Dame Basilica), Sainte-Chapelle was hands down my favorite church in Paris.
Sainte-Chapelle (sant-shah-pel) is a truly magnificent site, in my opinion one of the best attractions in Paris. Situated in Palace of Justice complex (under high security because it adjoins the French Supreme Court) on historic Ile de la Cite’, the island that birthed Paris, the Gothic Church was built by pious King Louis IX in the 13th century. The king had purchased priceless relics of the Passion (including the crown of thorns and a fragment of the cross) from the Byzantine emperor, and wanted an appropriate place to display these …