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Les Invalides (and the Army Museum), Paris

les-invalades1

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 relics, …

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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!

 

Karl on | Comments Off on “Pic of the Week”, December 25, 2014: Madonna and Child, Chartres Cathedral, France
.All Trips / Europe / France

Gustave Eiffel, Iron Man of Paris

Eiffel #5

”Swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, run 26.2 miles- BRAG FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. ”
– John Collins, IRONMAN Founder
 We’re all familiar with the famous Ironman race, whose amazing challenges are outlined above in the quote by John Collins.  Only rare and talented individuals have what it takes to be an Ironman.

Today I want to discuss a different Iron Man — someone whose accomplishments are monumental and they are all crafted of iron.  A friend, PHeymont, in a recent blog post, highlighted the pragmatic but beautiful work of Gustave Eiffel around the globe.  I recommend you read his article, which made …

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A visit to Normandy: exploring the D-Day beaches

D-Day Beaches 2013-001a intro

True to its history, our visit to the coast of Normandy was cool, windy and wet — but that’s how it’s been for thousands of years.  Many an armada was delayed in leaving or landing on these shores because of inclement weather, including the D-Day attack which had to be postponed one day to June 6, 1944 because of poor weather conditions.

We spent two days exploring the D-Day sites, not an exhaustive visit but enough time to gain a perspective of the region you can’t get from books or films.  Our goal was to see the different fronts of the invasion and gain a first-hand understanding of the scale of the largest naval assault in world history.  And we came …

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