“Pic of the Week”, May 18, 2018: The Orangerie Museum, Paris

02 Paris Orangerie

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.  …

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“Pic of the Week”, September 8. 2017 : Old man with bike, Chartres


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)

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Les Invalides (and the Army Museum), Paris


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 …

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A walk up Paris’ grandest boulevard, the Champs

22 Paris 05-2013.  Strolling down the Champs (65)

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 …

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“Pic of the Week”, August 1, 2015: Artists in Montmartre

12 Paris 05-2013.  Montmartre (65)

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 …

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Paris’ amazing Orsay Museum

16 Paris 05-2013.  A day at the Orsa

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 …

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Saint Chapelle: A Kaleidoscope of Colors

02 Saint Chapelle

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 …

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“Pic of the Week”, December 25, 2014: Madonna and Child, Chartres Cathedral, France

2014 51c Dec 26  Chartres

Today’s highlighted photo(s) come from one of the finest Gothic cathedrals in Europe, Chartres, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.  Chartres was built in the 12th century and is unique because it was constructed and furnished in only 66 years, a remarkably short time in an era when it often took centuries to complete such massive projects.  As such, the building has a harmony of architecture, stained glass and decor that represent the values of the time.  It’s long been a site of Christian pilgrimage.

In the spirit of Christmas, today’s highlighted photos are scenes of the Madonna and child.  Enjoy these historic artworks!

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance)

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