.All Trips / Europe / France

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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.All Trips / Europe / France

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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