Archive for May 4th, 2021

May 4, 2021

Piazza del Popolo of Rome!!

And now you know Rome has many squares and some are very popular but for us this was it the people’s square or Piazza del Popolo of Rome!! Let me update for you and me this wonderful post of our family visit to Italy. Hope you enjoy it as I.

Coming back at you about Rome, eternal Roma of all its history, architecture and beauty kept over milleniums. We went there after my several business trips to take the family and stayed in an apartment right in the city. From it ,we criss cross the region by bus and walks. One of the highlights of our trip was to be able to do much walking and visited all the major sights ,however the squares were it for us. The moment we step into one it was like wow! I like to tell you a bit about the Piazza del Popolo of Rome!

Piazza del Popolo is a large monumental square, north of the historic center of Rome. Its name, in Italian, literally means place of the people, but it is historically derived from that of poplars trees, to which the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo (see post) at the northeast corner of the square, owes its appellation of origin. The square is located inside the northern gate of the Aurelian Wall, the porta Flaminia of ancient Rome, now called Porta del Popolo. It was the starting point of the Via Flaminia, an important Roman road that led to Ariminum (now Rimini) and to the whole of northern Italy. Before the railway era, it was the point of arrival in Rome of any traveller coming from the north. For centuries, the vast square, visible to all, but situated a little away from urban life, was a place of public executions, the last time in 1826.

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The square or piazza as it stands today was conceived in the neoclassical style between 1811 and 1822 walls were drawn in two half-circles, recalling Bernini’s plan for St. Peter’s Square, replacing the original trapezoidal square, more narrow and centered on the Via Flaminia. Conceived its space in a third dimension, expressed by the construction of a ramp that leads to the hill and the gardens of the Pincio, which regulates the problem of difference between the square and the hill.

An Egyptian obelisk of Heliopolis, due to Seti I and erected later by Rameses II, is located in the center of the square. Three sides of the obelisk were carved under the reign of Seti I and the fourth side under Ramses II. The obelisk, known as the Flaminio Obelisk or Obelisk del Popolo, is the second oldest and one of the largest obelisks in Rome at about 24 meters high, or 36 meters, including the plinth. The obelisk was brought to Rome in 10 B.C. on the order of Augustus to adorn the spine of the Circus Maximus. It was rebuilt at its present location in the center of the square in 1589, as part of the urban plan wanted by Sixtus Quint.

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Looking south, three streets branch from the square to the city, forming a so-called Trident: The Via del Corso in the center; Via del Babuino on the left opened in 1525 under the name of Via Olina and Via di Ripetta opened by Léon X in 1518 under the name of Via Leonina on the right. The twin Churches of Santa Maria dei Miracoli c.1681 and Santa Maria in Montesanto c.1679, define the junctions of the streets. A careful examination of the twin Churches shows that they are not mere copies, as it would have been done in a neoclassical project, but that they are different in their details, offering a variety in their symmetrical equilibrium, quite in the Baroque style. The main street, the current Via Del Corso, is the old via Lata, which connects the old via Flaminia to the Capitol and the Forum. Via di Ripetta leads to the mausoleum of Augustus and the Tiber, whose baroque quays, called Porto di Ripetta, were visible until their destruction at the end of the 19C, during the canalization work of the river. Via del Babuino , which leads to Piazza di Spagna , takes its name from a grotesque sculpture of Siléne to which was given the popular name baboon.

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The Fontana del Nettuno stands on the west side: Neptune, with its Trident, is accompanied by two dolphins. The statue of Rome between the Tiber and the Aniene marks the terminal point of the aqueduct: the goddess Rome is armed with a spear and a helmet, preceded by the wolf breastfeeding Romulus and Remus. In the center of the square is the Fontana dell ‘ Obelisco: Four small fountains surround the base of the obelisk, each with a lion on steps. Nice

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My favorite reviews forum Yelp and former contributor myself (before blogging) has a take on the Piazza del Popolo: https://www.yelp.com/biz/piazza-del-popolo-roma-3

The Rome tourist office on Piazza del Popolo: https://www.turismoroma.it/en/places/piazza-del-popolo

This is a wonderful square and when walking and coming in it is awesome experience. As said, one of the highlights of the family in Rome was walking into the squares! Piazza del Popolo is wonderful indeed, in eternal Rome.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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May 4, 2021

Place d’Armes in Luxembourg city!!!

And this is a memorable stop for us for many years and one of the nice places to visit in Luxembourg City. I had an older post and would to update for you and me. There are many stories here with the family all fun and nicely remembered. See my several posts of Luxembourg in my blog even staying in hotel at the Place d’Armes. Again , hope you enjoy it as we do!

So bringing you back to lovely Luxembourg. One of the smallest countries in Europe and one of my favorite places to visit. If you read my blog, you will know why. We have been coming here for many years and even just to have lunch!  One of our must stop is the Place d’Armes in city center of the upper town of Luxembourg city. We always come by car so parking is no problem at all by the Place du Théatre and then we just walk all over, grand indeed!

But let’s get into the details of this wonderful small square. The Place d’Armes , local Luxembourgish language they say Plëss or Plëss Arem is a wonderful square in Luxembourg. It is located in the center of the old Town in the district of the Ville-Haute (upper town) and is an attractive point for the local people and visitors. Located generally in the center of a fortification, a place of arms is the gathering place of a small troop and a central space hosting the important ceremonies of the military life.

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A bit of history I like

After a huge fire in 1554 destroyed a large part of the Ville Haute (upper town), plans were made to lay out a square in the center of the fortified town. The Place d’Armes created under the Spanish occupation (the first of 1506-1684, followed by a second period of 1697-1713), the Place d’Armes corresponds to the square center of a district arranged according to a grid plan. Knowing that the capital has undergone phases of extension and creation of various districts in connection with the different periods of occupation (France, Prussia, Austria, Spain), this place constitutes the heart of the old town in terms of localization.  In 1671, the Spanish built a slightly smaller square at the same location. It became known as the Place d’Armes as it was used as a parade ground for the garrison. Under French king Louis XIV, it was paved with flagstones and bordered with lime trees.  On this square, on 10 September 1944 the people of Luxembourg warmly welcomed its liberators, the valiant soldiers of the US 5th Armored Division and their Royal Highnesses Prince Felix of Luxembourg and Prince John heirs to the Grand Duke of Luxembourg.

A bit more on the description of this wonderful small place d’Armes we have come to love over the years.

The Place d’Armes square is surrounded by numerous cafés and restaurants, all with pavement terraces in the summer months. Some of the interesting buildings in the square are the Cercle municipal of the city of Luxembourg, in which the first sessions of the Special Council of Ministers of the ECSC (community European Coal and steel), the precursors of the EU. The façade of this building is adorned with a scene showing the Countess Ermesinde, to return in 1244 the letter of franchise to the citizens of the city of Luxembourg ,the main building was completed in 1906 but work on the interior was finished only in 1909. At the western end of the Place d’Armes on Place Jan Pallach , there is a monument dedicated to poets Dicks and Michel Lentz (who wrote the words of the national anthem) .  The Bandstand music kiosk is very nice and quant lovely indeed, and when my boys were younger they really enjoyed the rides!. The square is surrounded by terraces of the different restaurants, shops and hotels. There is very nice quant architecture in the building’s facades in the Place d’Armes. From the first days of spring, the many terraces on the square invite the passersby, to rest, to listen during the summer weekends the concerts of the marching bands from the four corners of the country and make it a place of relaxation very appreciated, both by the Tourists than the Luxembourgish. All around is a pedestrian area of Groussgaas , where there are many shops.

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I told you above we stayed right on it and it was memorable. There is our wonderful Hôtel Français, a generous 3-star, offers on 5 floors 22 comfortable rooms, all renovated, which open to wide spaces of recreation embellished with original works of art. I take time to give you info on the hotel we always stayed in city center at 14 Place d’Armes with a wonderful family room up to 5! Recommended, webpage: https://www.hotelfrancais.lu/en/pages/home.html

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And the reason we came here way back can’t even remember was to have our pepperoni lovers pizza in the Pizza Hut here lol!!! We go for the memories of old of which my boys grew up in FL USA so we love to come here for the pepperoni lover’s pizza at Pizza Hut in the Place d’Armes! And its a ritual for my family lol! and now after my late dear wife Martine passing is a place with loads of memories.  13 Place d’Armes Pizza Hut, webpage: https://restaurants.pizzahut.lu/restaurant/luxembourg

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Other memorable ones now as far as I know closed were Chi-Chi’s and Bananas bar; here for the memories of forever. Another favorite hard to see but a memorable spot of many happy hours back in the old country before France was Chi Chi’s tex mex restaurant and darn, they had one at 15 Place d’Armes.  And Banana’s bar oh yes you can go bananas here with a great DJ and good chow over the lovely square, grand we think! It is on Monterey Ave. just a run off street from the Place d’Armes! At  9, Avenue Monterey.

You can spent a whole day walking around this area with the beautiful quant buildings, and wonderful shops as well as the above establishements of our souvenirs of  Luxembourg. And to boot, the Duchess Maria Theresa is Cuban born lol!!  Always looking forward in going back for more…

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The city of Luxembourg on the place d’Armeshttps://www.luxembourg-city.com/en/place/monument/place-d-armes

The Luxembourg tourist office on shopping info in Luxembourg city: https://www.visitluxembourg.com/en/what-to-do/shopping-luxembourg/shopping-in-the-cities/shopping-a-luxembourg-ville

The Luxembourg tourist office on restaurants in Luxembourg city: https://www.visitluxembourg.com/en/eat-sleep/restaurants?locality=luxembourg&locality_autocomplete=Luxembourg+City

There you go a small magical place awaits you and it is a lot more the the city of Luxembourg, check out my previous posts on it and the country in my blog! Enjoy the Place d’Armes in Luxembourg city as we do!

And remember, happy travels , good health, and many cheers to all!!!

May 4, 2021

St Michael’s Church, Luxembourg City!

And here I take you back to one of my fav countries in Europe and one we have been many times all over. We love it in Luxembourg and the picturesque little capital city of Luxembourg city. I like to update this older post for you and me and show you a bit more of the St Michael’s Church. Hope you enjoy as I.

And continuing with our wonderful quant Luxembourg and doing our usual walks in the city we come again to another often off the beaten path site in the city. We love to walk it. The St Michael’s Church is another perfect example of nice historical, architecture to boot and on a nice quant section of the city. It is a very nice Church again in a very nice area of Luxembourg city, and me think worth a detour.

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A bit on the history I like

In 987, Archbishop Egbert of Trier consecrated the St-Sauveur Church in the Old town. It is probably not the first high sanctuary in this place. The title of St-Michel appears in the 13C, probably after a reconstruction which still bears witness to the walled side portal and some windows in full hanger. It is one of the oldest places of worship in the city.

Most of the current late Gothic-style building dates from 1519. The Dominicans who served the parish from the 17C added two bays to connect the church to their convent. Many times destroyed and rebuilt, modified and enlarged, the Saint-Michael Church knows its present appearance only since 1688.

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The portal to the arms of the kings of France refers to the restoration work carried out following the French bombardment of 1683/84. Outside, take time to observe the stone statue of the Archangel Saint Michael but also above the portal, the arms of the flower of lys in memory of the king of France Louis XIV. The latter having actively contributed to the restoration of the Church. In the 19C, the refectory of the former convent was transformed into a lateral nave.

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The interior is a museum of sacred art because of the richness and quality of its furniture gathered here after the revolution. From the original furnishings remains only the altarpiece of Our Lady of the Rosary c. 1717 with its deep niche in perspective and the Virgin of Pity offered in 1690. The painting depicting the Virgin of the Rosary dates from 1672. The master altar,comes from the Trinity. The painting of the assumption was painted an 1642. The 17C organ was at the Church of the Cordeliers (now gone) a remarkable monumental baroque wooden organ . The stained glass windows go back to the 1960’s.

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Inside, the intimate atmosphere of the Church is conducive to meditation. Because of its many changes, it brings together elements of various architecture, ranging from Romanesque to Gothic, to Baroque. Located at Rue Sigefroi not far from the Casements du Bock.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The city of Luxembourg on the church: https://www.luxembourg-city.com/en/place/church/st-michael-s-church

The Luxembourg city tourist office on the church: https://www.visitluxembourg.com/en/place/misc/st-michael-church

You will enjoy the walks in this area and a nice visit to the St Michael’s Church is in order. Again our cinderalla country and city of Europe , Luxembourg will always bring nice souvenirs to us. Hope you enjoy it as we do.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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May 4, 2021

Church St John the Baptist of Grenelle in Paris!

And let me update this memorable visit of an older post. I was by here visiting some friends and got to the area earlier in order to do some walking sightseeing. While doing this came upon this Church St John the Baptist of Grenelle, a nice offering once again in my eternal Paris. Hope you enjoy it as I.

I will talk about something off the beaten path in Paris if you can believe it.  I was asked once in a travel forum now extinct from someone who had visited Paris 20 times according to him, and asked me for any places in Paris with no tourists!!! Haa well for a city that is No 1 in the World with more than 32 million visitors according to the WTO-UN statistics (2018) this is hard to do. Sure there are places less seen but never, do not believe it. And you know me about Paris already!

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I came here to meet a group of friends that decided to come to the place Etienne Pernet in the 15éme arrondissement for some drinks at the resto chain of Charlie Birdy( now gone but an Au Bureau bistro is replacing it). While walking around before the meeting I came upon this church took some photos and decided to learn about it. It is indeed a nice story on a surely off the beaten path of my eternal Paris.  So let me tell you a bit more on something just little touch in my previous posts; the Church Saint John the Baptist of Grenelle, 15éme arrondissement or district of Paris!

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The Church Saint-John the Baptist of Grenelle is in the 15éme arrondissement of Paris. The steeple above the Church, of medieval neo-Gothic style, contrasts with the ancient inspiration of the rest of the Church and gives it its singular allure. The Church is located at the end of the Rue du Commerce, and  corner with the Rue des Entrepreneurs at 23, place Étienne-Pernet. Closest Metro Commerce or Félix Faure line 8.

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A bit of history I like

At the beginning of the 19C, the Church that preceded was the Church of St. Lambert proving to be too small in view of the increase in the population in the neighbourhood. A new place of worship was built nearby between 1828 and 1831. It was Saint-Jean-Baptiste-de-Grenelle. It was located in the plain of Grenelle and the donor of the land was named Léonard-Jean-Baptiste, hence the dedication of the Church. It is in the heart of the new village of Grenelle. The first stone was laid in 1827 by “Mademoiselle”, granddaughter of King Charles X.

The Church St John the Baptist of Grenelle or l’église Saint Jean  Baptiste de Grenelle is adorned with four murals: in the transept, the vault of the crusader and the arch of the axial chapel. Unfortunately it is quite difficult to admire them in good conditions because the interior is dark: All the windows have pretty opaque yellow stained glass, done in 1930. The yellow colour, which spreads in the nave, is the symbol of the resurrection. The lack of light obscures the painting of the vault, and almost completely the two paintings of the transept.

The architecture of the Church St John the Baptist is reminiscent of the Roman basilicas, with a nave chanted with arches in full hanger, circular pillars surmounted by a rather fine stone tailor. The cradle vault is pierced with glasses. Finally, one will notice the protruding cornice which surrounds the Church and which clearly separates the two levels of the elevation, thus breaking the height view. Stained-glass windows with a strong opaque yellow allow little light to pass through. The façade is opened by a full-hanger gate topped by a statue-shaped niche and a triangular pediment. A square-plane steeple topped by an arrow is placed above this façade on the top of the roof. The side walls are pierced with windows in full size.

The murals paintings were started in 1928, during the expansion of the église Saint-Jean-Baptiste-de-Grenelle, the embellishment of the Church were given to do by the painter Henri Nozais. It used oil painting supported by a thick waterproof coating for the decorations of the dome, choir and transept. These paintings illustrate episodes of the Life of John the Baptist: The mystical lamb, the birth of John the Baptist, his preaching, his ascent to heaven and, finally, Salome bringing to his mother the leader of the precursor. These paintings date from the years 1928 and 1930. The Church is on two levels of elevation with large arcades and high windows, and is covered with a semicircular vault resting on columns with Doric marquees.  The Church is raised on a Crypt, the present Saint-Etienne Chapel.

The Choir of the Church Saint-John the Baptist of Grenelle has an apse, illuminated by artificial light,that lets you see the two of Henri Nozais’s mural paintings, dated 1928:   There are the medallion on stained glass of Saint John, in the Choir ; the medallion of Saint Leo , and the medallion of the Holy Bishop all from 1930. The marble altar in accordance with tradition, this altar was executed with fragments of an ancient altar of Notre-Dame Cathedral of Paris. The   medallion of a stained glass of the choir also from 1930 of the parents of Saint Teresa of the Child-Jesus one reads above the medallion the quotation: “We get of Christ just as much as we hope”. The modern organ is from 1988, and was renovated last in 2003-04.

There are no tourist spots for it so will tell you a bit on the parish Church site and the mayor’s office of the 15éme arrondissement of Paris.

The official parish Church St John the Baptiste of Grenellehttps://www.sjbg.org/

The city of Paris 15éme arrondissement or district on religious buildings such as the church: https://mairie15.paris.fr/pages/culte-catholique-13149#paroisses_2

The city of Paris 15éme arrondissement on its history/heritagehttps://mairie15.paris.fr/pages/un-peu-d-histoire-13160

There you go only for the lovers of things to see in Paris off the beaten path, Church St John the Baptist of Grenelle, and its lovely area to walk. I had even a get together with a group from Australia from the travel forum VT now defunct at the nearby Café du Commerce! And show them around the area including passing by this Church. Enjoy my eternal Paris and it can be yours too!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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