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What’s that small thing everyone’s staring at? Arguably it’s the world’s most famous painting. If you want a closer look, you’ll have to push your way through the crowd at Paris’ Louvre to get to it. And be sure to lock your valuables somewhere on your person because the room is well known as a den of thieves. Pickpockets rule here, and signs everywhere warn you to be careful.
One of my most anti-climatic moments as a traveler came when seeing the Mona Lisa for the first time. I’d read and heard so much about it — one of the great Leonardo da Vinci’s few paintings, and of a mystery woman (possibly Lisa del Giocondo) with such an unusual smile. …
Many consider Auguste Rodin to be the greatest sculpture since the Renaissance. It’s a point that’s hard to argue with as Rodin was a highly imaginative and successful artist, still well known a century after his death.
Probably the best place to see his work and learn more about his life is in Paris’ Rodin Museum. Most pieces in the Museum’s collection are located within the Hôtel Biron, a classic 18th-century mansion, very close to Les Invalides (where Napoleon’s tomb is located). To a large extent the Rodin Museum is park-like, with seven beautifully landscaped acres dotted with sculptures by Rodin. It’s a lovely relaxing place to be, within the heart of the city but removed from the busy …
Everyone loves the Eiffel Tower! In today’s post I wanted to talk a little about the transformation that takes place at the Tower with the setting of the sun.
As the glow of the sun fades, the Eiffel Tower shines! Plus it’s a good time to view the Tower as it’s not very crowded. The views in the gallery below were taken from the Park Champ de Mars southeast of the tower. It was a pleasant atmosphere — many people sitting on blankets and enjoying the sights.
Beyond the regular lights that illuminate the tower, there’s a twinkling show of lights that lasts for five minutes every hour on the hour. There are apparently some 20,000 strobe lights on the tower, installed for …
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 …