Archive for August 25th, 2021

August 25, 2021

The Orangerie of Versailles!!

In still in my dear gorgeous Versailles. The city needs to be seen more, my kind of town, actually did lived there for 9 glorious years! Very nice family memories. I like to tell you a bit more of the Orangerie of Versailles.   The Orangerie is one that is very nice, part of the inside of the palace/museum of Versailles but actually a different history and even before there was a castle.

The Orangerie of the Château de Versailles was built by Jules Hardouin-Mansart between 1684 and 1686, it replaces the one built by the Le Vau in 1663 , therefore before the beginning of the works of the castle!. The Orangerie is a wonderful building right in the gardens, really. and plenty of plants . See the Statue of Louis XIV in emperor garments ,made of marble done to be put in the place des Victoires in Paris ,and done by the personal fortune of Jules-Hardouin-Mansart in 1686. The bronce did not resisted the time elements and was melted in 1792 by the French revolutionaries to make canons. You can see at the Louvre the socket and decorations of these canons showing the conquered nations of Nimegue in 1678. When the new Orangerie was built in 1686 there was a perfect gallery of 156 meters long by 21 meters wide and the statue in marble found its place.

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Inside the Orangerie you will find, the most extraordinary collection of plants of all time, more than 2000 pots of lemon, grenades, laurel roses, oranges coming from Portugal, Spain, Italy, and the Vatican. During the winters these treasures were preserved thanks to the thick walls of 5 meters and the double window panning, even able to keep the Connétable de Pampelune planted in 1421!!!  You can see inside the baths or vasque octogonale done in 1674. done on a piece of marble de Rance, it is an octogonal of 3 meters wide and 1 meter deep.  It is difficult to imagine taken a bath here as it would be impossible to heat in those years. The vase took several turns in different places until finally arriving at the Oragerie in 1934!

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By retaining water and nutrients, and using pruning techniques, French gardeners were able to make citrus trees bloom throughout the year, to the delight of Louis XIV. Citrus-based motifs will become a theme in sculpture, mosaic, embroidery, weaving, paintings, poems or songs throughout history. Orange flowers remain popular as floral ornaments in weddings.  Each year at the end of November, the Orangerie floor is empty. Oranges, lemons, palm trees, oleander, pomegranates in crates are mounted in the “berlinguettes” to join their winter refuge. Access by very small doors, “flaps”. They were pierced so as not to open the big doors and prevent the cold from getting into the building. The orangerie, oriented to the south, is buried underground so no air flow , and still has the double chassis of its period mirrors. Attributes that ensure a stable indoor temperature (between 5 and 8 ° Celsius or about 45F) in winter. Indoors, all this lush, almost tropical vegetation, with these hundreds of delicate trees from Italy, Spain, Portugal, disturbs the smell. Strange and delicious sensation that the cold on the face combined with these fragrances come from the warm, sunny countries. From October to May, oranges, lemons, pomegranates and palm trees winter in this cathedral of 13 meters high built partly underground. Inside, the scents are intense or delicate.

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This building of the Orangerie is located under the Parterre du Midi ,  illuminated by impressive arched windows, consists of a central vaulted gallery, 150 meters long, flanked by two wings of  117 meters supporting the two staircases called the Hundred-Steps(cent marshes) . The walls, to keep the heat, are so thick, five meters, that they give the impression that we are cut off from the cold and the noises from the outside, disconnected from the universe Versailles. The ensemble, illuminated by large, curved windows, constricts the low floor or the flowerbed of the Orangerie. A beautiful place that I like a lot ,and I walked around a lot of times. This orientation, a thickness of walls more than 5 meters and precautions taken in winter-for example, under the old regime, gardeners came back by large chattier to avoid opening large windows doors whose joints were caulked with straw made that the Orangerie has never experienced a freezing ,the low floor is bounded on its fourth side, to the south, by a balustrade overlooking the road to Saint Cyr l’école (D10). My route a lot of time to see my boys girlfriends lol! This one separates it from the pièce d’eau des Suisses . In its center is a large circular basin, surrounded by six pieces of grass. Under Louis XIV, it was adorned with some sculptures today all at the Louvre Museum (of course…)

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The great orangerie, by its dimensions, was transformed into a prison for the Communards in 1871, and became the obligatory step between the Satory garrison, where the military judgments were held.

You get more info in english on the Orangerie from the Château de Versailles: https://en.chateauversailles.fr/discover/estate/gardens/orangery#the-building

The city of Versailles tourist office on the gardens in general: https://en.versailles-tourisme.com/the-versailles-gardens.html

There you go folks a must to see while in Versailles, it will take you more than a day to see it all , I would give it 3 and that is just the Domaine of Versailles. Need more to see the rest of the city wonders. Enjoy it as much as I do; Versailles is going to the soul of France!

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

August 25, 2021

Château de Versailles :Salon de Mars !!!

And why not come on in to the Palace/Museum of Versailles. Let me update this post on one of the beautiful rooms inside. This is a place that needs no introduction, as it is world famous, and lately crowded.  Unfortunately, 98% of visitors only go to the palace/museum and missed on a lot to see in the city of Versailles. I am making my humble apport to change all that a bit. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

Nevertheless, the fame is such that I need to showcase some areas of it that I think merits more from the palace/museum better known as the Château de Versailles. And more as the Domaine de Versailles if we includes the vast park of which you find the trianons, farm, orangerie, and vast gardens on either side of the Grand Canal! I like to take just one room I like that is the Mars room or Salon de Mars! Picture below view from it to the garden!

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The Salon de Mars is a room of the Château de Versailles, and part of the King’s Great Apartments, this room decorated with the theme of Mars, the god of Roman mythology, served as the Hall of the Guards of the time of king Louis XIV.

A bit of history I like

The Salon de Mars, which follows the salons of Venus and Diane,(see posts) was a function of the guard hall. It marked the real entrance to the King’s apartment, giving access to the salon de Mercure (see post). At the apartment evenings get together were arranged by king Louis XIV, the Mars room was first devoted to games. There were several tables for card games and other games of chance. Around 1685, the king pierced the two walls on either side of the chimney and arranged two grandstands supported by columns for the musicians (Italian musicians see post). The Mars room is then devoted to music and dance. King Louis XV made these grandstands disappear in 1750.

The wonderful Mars room is elaborate decorated and just plain gorgeous a must to see. As the function of the Mars room imposes, the iconography of the ceiling is devoted to the god Mars and to the works of warriors. A   gilded cornice is supported by helmets of all models such as Romans, Turks.etc. The central composition represents Mars on a chariot pull by wolves. It is framed by two other compositions, the victory sustained by Hercules followed by Abundance and Bliss and terror, fury and fright seize the powers of the Earth.  The paintings of the covings, in Camaïeu d’or, illustrate the achievements of great warriors of ancient history such as the vaults of Julius Caesar passing his legions in review, Cyrus haranguing his soldiers, and Demetrios Poliorcete taking a city by assault. The Triumph of Constantine, Marc Anthony rewards an officer,and Alexandre Severus, degrades an officer.

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These shades are linked together by natural compositions forming a frieze representing warrior loves such as the spandrels, treated in bas-reliefs of gilded stucco, realized according to drawings of Le Brun and illustrate the military supremacy of France over the European powers: The Allegory of the victory of French troops on the Turks during the Battle of the Saint Gotthard, allegory of French supremacy on the sea, allegory of the supremacy of France over Spain and Holland and allegory of France’s supremacy over the Empire.

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Again is part of the itinerary of seeing the palace/museum of Versailles, but it merits a bit of time to observe all the above. Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The official palace/museum of Versailles on the King’s Grand Apartments including the Salon de Marshttps://en.chateauversailles.fr/discover/estate/palace/king-state-apartment#the-diana-room

The city of Versailles tourist office on information desks in townhttps://www.versailles-tourisme.com/nos-points-d-informations.html

The city of Versailles on the palace/museumhttps://www.versailles.fr/ma-ville/decouvrir/chateau-de-versailles/

There you go folks, a beautiful Mars ‘ room or Salon de Mars. One of the must to see inside the Château de Versailles, and do come early the world is already there! Again ,hope you enjoy the post as I.  And remember happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!

August 25, 2021

The Hameau de Marie Antoinette in Versailles!!!

This is hugely gratifying to update in my blog. Many memories of walking by it , after a round of jogging in the gardens of the Domaine of Versailles! Many family trips living not far from it! And this is my beloved Versailles, a city I lived for 9 years!!  I have to give you a full description  and even then condense of this wonderful facility which is a must to visit while in my belle France. Let me bring you in to the Hameau de Marie Antoinette in Versailles!!!

The Hameau de la Reine ( hamlet of the Queen)  was born from the imagination of Marie-Antoinette. Bored by the Versailles court, she wanted to build a farm by bringing animals and peasants not far from the Palace of Versailles, to teach nature to her children. But this secret garden will finally be destined for walks and sumptuous receptions, to which she invites her loved ones. Of the vine, a farmhouse and its farmyard, cottages, and a mill surround an artificial lake.  If the exterior looks rustic and simple, the interior is glitzy. To reproduce the atmosphere faithfully, some rooms have been refurnished and beautifully renovated. The royal prestige is found in the decoration of the Maison de Marie-Antoinette, with its golden lanterns with fine gold which are now electrified.  The hamlet of the Queen is a dependency of the Petit Trianon located in the park of the Palace/Museum  of Versailles;  this hamlet of pleasure was commissioned during the winter of 1782 – 1783 by Queen Marie Antoinette  with the nostalgia for a more rustic life, in a decor of nature inspired by the writings of Rousseau, a small paradise where the theater and the feast would make her forget her  condition as Queen. This rural place, which was also a farm, marked the influence of the ideas of the physiocrats and philosophers of the Enlightenment of the aristocracy of the time.

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The construction was entrusted to the architect Richard  Miqué on the inspiration of the hamlet of Chantilly and the drawings of the painter Hubert Robert. This fashion was a reflection of the Rousseau cult for simple rural life and the reminder of the ancestral virtues.  Launched during the summer of 1783 by the Queen, construction began with rustic houses. King Louis XVI had given, in order to establish the hamlet, a plot located to the northeast of the English garden, between the allée de  Saint-Antoine  (my entry point best to the domaine) and the  Allée de Rendez-vous and the Bois des Onze Arpents forest. To the northeast of this small wood was the hamlet of Saint-Antoine-du-Buisson, whose church depended on the parish of Chesnay (nearby town and my boys school!). The main work was completed in 1786.  Around an artificial pond for carp and pike fishing, it was erected twelve wood-framed cottages, of Norman or Flemish inspiration, in the northern part of the gardens, on the outskirts of the Petit Trianon and in the extension of the English garden.  A farm to produce milk and eggs for the Queen, a tower as a lighthouse, a dovecote, a boudoir, a barn, a mill, a house for the guard were thus built, each building being embellished with a vegetable garden, an orchard or a flower garden.

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The most important of these houses is the Maison de la Reine (House of the Queen) in the center of the hamlet, which divides a river crossed by a small stone bridge. The beds were planted with Milan sprouts, cauliflowers, artichokes, black beans, peas, strawberry, raspberries, gooseberry, plums, pears, cherry , peaches, apricot and walnut trees. More than a thousand vegetables were planted in the garden. The lake was also populated by 27 Pikes and   2K carps. The Queen had hoped that in the spring of 1787 all the houses would be filled with flowers. During the winter they were busily cultivated in greenhouses specially fitted for the occasion. And by the end of the summer, bunches of grapes were hanging from the pergolas. It was found that the flow of the basins, and in particular the clover, was insufficient to feed the lake and the streams. It was then necessary to work to bring the water from the plain of Les Chesnay, going up to the stream of Chèvreloup. The work, begun in 1784, was extended until 1789, with some 20 workers working daily to dig wells and aqueducts.  During one of his visits to the hamlet, King Louis XVI decided to create a triumphal arch at the entrance to the estate, at the edge of the Bois des Onze Arpents, at the north end of the Allée de Saint-Antoine; The construction of this new Porte Saint-Antoine (my entry gate to the domaine) ended in June 1787 and was ornated with a lion’s body, emblem of the King.The place is completely enclosed by grates and ditches; It enters from the Trianon either by a covered and sinuous road, which allows  to discover with surprise the smallest houses, either by the edge of the Bois des Onze Arpents  and a meadow with light slopes forming tiny waterfalls, which offers a plunging view on the main house and the village of Saint-Antoine.

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Despite its idyllic aspect, the hamlet is a veritable farm perfectly managed by a farmer designated by the Queen, with its vines fields, orchards and vegetable gardens that produce fruits and vegetables consumed by the Royal table. According to the Queen’s instructions, farm-reared animals came from Switzerland whose animal breeds were reputed to be the most authentic, which often gives  the name of the Swiss Hamlet. The Queen invited her guess upon her request only and many were jealous to be left out; some of the regulars were the Count of Vaudreuil, the Baron of Besenval, the Countess of Polignac with her daughter Aglaë de Guiche and her sister-in-law Diane, and the Count of Esterhazy . The Prince of Ligne does not missed an opportunity to visit the hamlet or, at the very least, to keep abreast of the news of the palace.  The Queen appreciates the company of her sister-in-law, Madame Elisabeth, (see post) and the Princess of Chimay. Madame Campan, first maid, and Countess of Ossun, Lady of D-Atous, accompany the Queen on all occasions ; the children also benefit from this relative simplicity: even Madame Royale, judged by her mother (Marie Antoinette)  too imbued of her rank, is sent to pick up with the other children of the hamlet the eggs of the hen house, in a nice basket . It is rare that King Louis XVI goes to the hamlet, the freedom of tone is therefore only easier: the meals are lighter and simpler than at the palace, and you have fun during only a few steps away, in an empty castle of any courtyard animation, the nobility maintains hatred and jealousies.

The Queen’s house  (Maison de la Reine) is located in the center of the hamlet. Its picturesque appearance is reinforced by the originality of its structure: a double body of non-aligned buildings and simply connected by a walkway covered with a round tower, outside staircases supported by wooden poles and roofs of various inclinations. It is the only one, with the cleansing dairy, to be covered with tiles. Its decoration is simple but elegant, far from the flamboyant luxury of the palace. It is made of two floors, comprising at the top level an antechamber in the form of a Chinese cabinet, the small living room, also called  Hall of the Nobles, and the large living room with a stretched panel of Swiss-style tapestries embroidered with wool and basketry. Of the six crossings of the room, the Queen can easily control the work of the fields and the activity of the hamlet. In the center of the room is a harpsichord on which Marie-Antoinette loves to play. The access to the floor is either by a large staircase inside, or by the round tower, stopping at half-height and followed by a footbridge and then a volley of ten steps reaching the outer gallery. On the ground floor, the building features a backgammon decorated with a chessboard and a simple white stone-paved dining room with the cut corners making way for small black squares. The chairs, in the backrest lyre in solid mahogany and garnished with green Morocco leather.

Another building is connected to the Queen’s House by a gallery of olive-green wood embellished with trellis and hundreds of pots of flowers in earthenware of St. Clement, marked in blue by the Queen’s figure, in a medallion suspended from a ribbon surrounded by Roses, which reminds the Queen of her Habsburg-Lorraine ancestry. An   eighty-foot garden  along the gallery allows you to grow flowers and grow up to the roof of climbing plants. A spiral staircase accessing it by the left is originally wrapped around a poplar present before the building. Upstairs, above the large billiards room, flanked by two wardrobes, is a small apartment, which seems to have been inhabited by the architect of the hamlet Richard Miqué and which includes five rooms including a library. Despite the rustic appearance of the facades, the furnishings and interior design are luxurious.

The boudoir was originally dubbed the Little House of the Queen. Its dimensions are modest, 4.60 m by 5.20 m; It’s moreover the smallest construction of the hamlet, of very simple construction in apparent millstone. Marie-Antoinette withdrew alone or with one or two of her relatives, in the square living room which composed most of the place, at the fireside of a white marble fireplace decorated with twigs of ivy. The walls alternate embedded mirrors and drapes of tapestry cloth, which participate in the intimacy of the place. The woodwork was originally of mahogany-colored Holland oak, but they were replaced in the Second Empire (Napoleon III). The windows are in Bohemian glass. the roof is covered in reeds. This cottage upholstered with a virgin vine is preceded by a small geometric garden, rather made up of flowerbeds than of cultures and surrounded by thickets. The small stream that runs along the boudoir marks the separation of the cottages for the Queen’s use.

The tower of Marlborough, built with the appearance of a vaguely medieval lighthouse, is originally called Tour de la Pêcherie. Of the three floors of the tower, only the hexagonal base is of verge stone, to ensure its strength.  The tower is used to store boat fishing tools  in its basement. A narrow hallway allows you to go from the dairy to this circular room. From the foot of the tower, you climb up and down a wooden oak boat painted in grey, for walks on the Great Lake or fishing for carp or pike. The upper part is painted wood of a decoration imitating the stone and serves to communicate by signals with the castle.  The name Marlborough is a reference to the lullaby Marlborough going to war, written in 1722 but brought to the use of the day in 1782 thanks to Beaumarchais and its resumption to the court by the nanny of the Dauphin, Geneviève Poitrine.  After the French revolution, the tower was one of the most damaged building.

The wind mill (Moulin) is one of the most picturesque cottages, with a pictorial charm reminiscent of the role of the painter Hubert Robert in the creation of the hamlet. The four facades of the building each have a different appearance and décor, although in harmony. The wheel driven by the brook derived from the Great Lake is only a decoration element and no mechanism or millstone was installed in this factory.  The ground floor room seems to have served a time of exhibition gallery for the first models of the hamlet. At this lounge is attached a small closet, serving as wardrobe. A small hallway provides access to a side entrance door. The square room on the first floor, four meters apart, is a small dining room or room, which is not known if it ever served. It is accessed by an outside complex of  staircase of two flights of stairs. On the front, a half-timbered cabinet is constructed as an outgrowth over the brook and is connected to the first-floor room by a walkway allowing access below.  The interior of the building received a sober but neat decoration. A tile is laid in all the rooms and the two main rooms each have a chimney in marbre. A molded cornice and painted faux mahogany wood panels complete the décor. The mill has a fenced garden in the south of hedges  and a pergola. A wash house is also attached to it, at the edge of the brook.

The réchauffoir (warming room)  is indented, about a dozen meters from the back of the Queen’s house, masked by bushy shrubs. It includes the premises necessary for the service: a large kitchen, a bakery, a lumberjack and a pantry, but also linen and silverware. The interior is made up of  stones and is illuminated by three windows. The food can be warmed up from the great common. Originally intended to be only a warming room, it actually cooks dishes intended for dinners given by the Queen in her house or at the mill. A large   furnace of twenty-two fires, painted in faux-brick decor, is surrounded by a bread oven and a roasting-pan. A closet is intended to keep the royal dishes, porcelain and silver. A two-meter-high oven keeps the dishes warm. A beech table is placed in the center of the room. Running water is provided in the yard by a tank above the preparation dairy. A small adjacent house is designed to accommodate the workers.

The tradition of planting a dairy (Laitérie) in a Royal property is old . Marie-Antoinette ends up following the trend of her time, but preferring elegance and simplicity, far from any extravagance.  Originally, there are two dairies in the Queen’s Hamlet: the Dairy of preparation, in which creams and cheeses are produced, is located north of the tower. The milk is creamed from the cow and the butter is beaten. A stone table is surrounded by consoles on which are stored tin utensils. Pasteurization is carried out in a small adjoining room. The water, which also feeds the close houses, is stored in a tank cleverly concealed in the attic This building is  from 1783, but with another destination: composed of two rooms and a cabinet, it is originally a bakery,which the furnace is leaning against the facade. The Queen comes to taste dairy products in the second dairy, named Dairy of Cleanliness, on tables of veined white marble arranged around  the room and supported by fourteen sculpted consoles. They are served in milk terrines, jugs, cups or butter in porcelain; made in the Queen’s protected manufacture, rue Thiroux in Paris. The floors are also covered with blue and white marble. In order to maintain the freshness of the room, a trickle of water flows into a central channel and four niches have been arranged with vases adorned with carved dolphins. The walls are adorned with a trompe-l’oeil decor. The dairy of cleanliness is, with the House of the Queen, the only thatched cottage to be covered with tiles, because of the fragility of the vault with painted caissons one builds even a small hangar simply equipped with two benches of stone, at the end of a wall pierced by two arches.

The farm (Ferme) of Marie-Antoinette is created, slightly away from the hamlet, to be a real exploitation. The various buildings that comprise it are built from 1784 to 1789, with numerous modifications during the construction: barns, a sheep barn, a pigs, hutches and a hen house.  The farmer designated by the Queen to drive the farm but also the dairy. He arrived from Touraine (Loire) with his family. Their residence, built in 1787 and composed of three bedrooms, a kitchen and a dining room, is, like all the houses of the hamlet, decorated in the rustic taste. A dairy boy and a cattleman come to assist them in the farm. In 1787, the construction of a new barn in the farm enclosure allowed the first to be transformed into a ballroom. A bridge over the ditch allows access from the rendezvous aisle, thanks to a large awning door. The farm courtyard has a water trough and a well. In the direction of the hamlet rises another portal in masonry and stones , topped by two big balls.

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Also close to the lake, the House of the dovecote (maison de colombier)  houses a dovecote, in its attic, and poultry house, on the back. The House of the Guard (Maison de la Garde),  is located on the edge of the estate. The house is in the center of a cultivated enclosure, made up of small plots. During the creation of the hamlet, a barn is built between the preparation dairy and the dovecote, and shows the Queen’s desire to be close to the peasant life.  On the other side of the barn is the two-window bedroom, which is accessed by a staircase of about fifteen steps overlooking a bin garnished with pots of flowers. Above it is a small attic used to preserve the seeds. The whole is covered with a very complex roof, straw, reed or even tiles, alternating the right and nested pans, which gives its charm to the building. The garden of the barn has the peculiarity of being completely enclosed of hedges and gates. It is accessed   by three main entrances. A wide right path to the West is covered with a cradle of climbing plants and allows to go to the farm.

Reservoirs at the back of the belvedere flow from thin, cascaded streams in the middle of a low-slope meadow: the Cascatelles, designed by Richard Miqué, to fill the great lake. This one,dug in 1785, forms, in its outlines, small bays and peninsulas. Its largest dimension does not exceed 130 meters. A first river escapes to get lost in the outer ditches. It is equipped with a small stone bridge connecting the Queen’s house to the dovecote, decorated with a cornice in modillions. Another arm flows in front of the mill, in a narrow half-meter deep groove, after feeding the wash-house .

But it is the afternoon of October 5, 1789 , summoned by a messenger of the king while she is in her cellars, she casts a last glance towards her hamlet that she will not see again.   Abandoned after the French revolution, the hamlet of the Queen was the subject of three major restoration campaigns: One led by Napoleon I from 1810 to 1812 represents the bulk of the present base. The second was achieved through the sponsorship of John Rockefeller Jr. , in the  1930’s. Finally, the hamlet was renovated from the years 1990, under the impetus of Pierre-André Lablaude, chief architect of the historical monuments, and it was opened to the public in 2006 within a space named Domaine de Marie-Antoinette. The House of the Queen as above  as well as the Billiards were reopened to the public in May 2018 after five years of restoration!!!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip to this wonderful spot in the Domaine de Versailles are:

The official Château de Versailles on the Queen’s Hamlethttps://en.chateauversailles.fr/discover/estate/estate-trianon/queen-hamlet

The city of Versailles tourist office on the Domaine of Marie Antoinette: https://en.versailles-tourisme.com/visit-and-explore-versailles-the-royal-town/palace-of-versailles-visits/come-and-visit-marie-antoinette-s-estate

There you go folks, a hugely beautiful place to visit anytime and is a must while in France This is the Hameau of Marie Antoinette in Versailles ,glorious. Beautiful , wonderful, magical, and just gorgeous after all the nice restorations. Again a must.

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

August 25, 2021

Memories of Chile and Colombia!!

Ok so feeling nostalgic again and so sorry could not find any pictures! These were the times I traveled from Florida USA to the Americas, and pictures are very few if any as in those times I was into post cards collection (4K+ 76 countries). Once I stop the collection, pictures took over on popular travel forums and then explosion over to my blog.

Therefore, just for memories’s sake on my black and white series,no pictures let me tell you a bit about Bogotà, Colombia, and Santiago, Chile Hope you enjoy it as I did bringing back these memorable moments of my early travels in our world.

Bogotà is the capital of Colombia and also that of the department of Cundinamarca. It was founded on August 6, 1538 by the Spaniard Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada , The city is composed of 20 districts, Bogota became the capital of Greater (Gran) Colombia until 1830, when the dissolution of that state gave birth to what are today Ecuador, Venezuela and Colombia, as well later Panama proclaimed independence in 1903.

The presence of numerous museums, theaters and libraries contributes to offering the city a situation of great cultural interest. The city is nicknamed “South American Athens” , Bogotà is located at an altitude of 2,640 meters above sea level, in the Cordillera Oriental of the northern Andes mountains. Guadalupe and Monserrate cerros or hills border the Bogotà savannah to the east. On the Cerro de Guadalupe is erected a small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe and a statue 15 meters high. On the Cerro de Monserrate is built a basilica, the Basílica del Señor de Monserrate.

Thanks for fellow blogger comments it remind me did went to the Catedral de Sal or salt cathedral in Zipaquirà just outside Bogotà; I was taken there taking a train from Bogotà and then taxi if I recall.  Now there is a bus I am told that takes you here. Memories fading but great ones to share and add to this memorable post. official webpage in Spanish: https://www.catedraldesal.gov.co/ParquedelaSal/Paginas/Mapa.aspx

Ah there you go I went by train de la Sabana at the time and still running!! more in their official webpage: https://www.turistren.com.co/?page_id=147

I always came here by air landing/and out at the El Dorado International Airport, located in Fontibón, webpage: https://eldorado.aero/

I stayed always at the Travelers Suite Obelisco (it was called Gold then) located at Calle 115 ,no 11 A-27 , and always there by car pickup by the attorney for the orphanage financed by singer Shakira ! Webpage : https://www.travelers.com.co/es/obelisco

I of course, ate out a lot but unfortunately do not recall the names as this was from the 90’s until 2001. This is the sad part of not keeping pictures in those days, memories are fading. Hopefully, this post will keep the remainder for me one day to be back and seek them out. Bogotà is one pin in my world map. I ,also, took side business trips to Cali and Medellin, staying in same hotel chain as above.

The Colombia tourist board on Bogotàhttps://colombia.travel/en/blog/tourism-bogota-city-experiencing-culture

The city of Bogotà on its historyhttps://bogota.gov.co/mi-ciudad/historia-de-bogota

And now let me tell you about a lointime country I used to visit regularly almost every month as well as above sometimes in combination trips. This is Santiago de Chile, let me tell you a bit on my memories there.

Santiago de Chile is the capital of Chile, It is located in the Central Valley, It has been the Chilean capital since colonial times. The city boasts of a city center with neoclassical architecture and winding streets, notably dotted with Art Deco and Neo-Gothic styles. Santiago’s urban landscape is formed by independent hills and the city is crossed by the Mapocho River, dotted by elegant parks such as Parque Forestal. The imposing Andes mountain range is visible from many places in the city. Urban activity has caused the development of pollution clouds, especially during the winter months. The city is surrounded by vineyards , such as the Concha y Toro winery that I visited with local friends and nice tastings and a shirt on Sunrise brand which I kept for several years! and Santiago remains a few hours from the mountains and the Pacific Ocean.

The city of Santiago encompasses its agglomeration which forms the Gran Santiago and which is made up of 34 towns such as the 32 towns of the province of Santiago, plus the towns of Puente Alto and San Bernardo, belonging respectively to the provinces of Cordillera and Maipo. The city is dominated by the Andes cordillera and is located at the foot of Aconcagua , nice thermal baths here that was taken to, I remember! (highest peak of the Andes marking the border with Argentina) and to the west, it gradually approaches the cordillera de la Costa which separates Santiago from the Pacific Ocean and the region of Valparaíso. Santiago is located 102 km from Valparaiso, the transport system is called Transantiago, I always came by air and pickup at the airport Arturo Merino Benitez,webpage: https://www.nuevopudahuel.cl/

A bit of history I like tells us that Santiago was founded on February 12, 1541 by the Spaniard Pedro de Valdivia, who gave it the name of Santiago de la Nueva Extremadura in memory of the Spanish apostle Saint James and Extremadura. The founding ceremony of Santiago was held on Huelén Hill (later renamed Santa Lucia de Santiago Hill). One item I like and visit is that Santiago is the birthplace of Chile’s greatest football/soccer teams. And my favorite there was founded on April 19, 1925, the Club Social y Deportivo Colo-Colo has a long tradition and has played regularly among the elite since the creation of the Primera División (first division) in 1933.

On the other hand, only a few historic buildings from the Spanish colonial period remain, because in Santiago, as in the rest of the country, earthquakes regularly strike the country. The existing buildings include the Colorada House (1769), the San Francisco Church (1586), the Santo Domingo Church (1747-1771) and the Posada del Corregidor in (1750). The cathedral in Plaza de Armas has a view to the Palacio de La Moneda, the presidential palace. Also, the colonial Colorada house (1769), which houses the Santiago Museum. There is also the Municipal Theater , built in 1857, Not far from the theater are the manor of Subercaseaux and the National Library of Chile, one of the largest libraries in South America. the National Museum of Fine Arts of Santiago ;and National Museum of Natural History of Chile are fine places to visit.

My favorite hangouts that I can remember were at the Plaza de Armas It is located in the quadrant surrounded by the Catedral and Calle Monjitas , Calle 21 de Mayo and Calle Estado, Calle Compañía and Calle Merced, as well as Paseo Ahumada and Paseo Puente . Under the square is the metro Plaza de Armas for lines 3 and 5.

Another popular walk that I remember now was the Paseo de Ahumada. The Paseo Ahumada is of pedestrian use located between the Plaza de Armas and Avenida del Libertador General Bernardo O’Higgins (Alameda), it is the road with the highest pedestrian flow in Chile! Since the founding of the city of Santiago, the alley that connected the Plaza Mayor with the San Francisco gorge was known as the block of the Ahumada family, because the councilor Juan de Ahumada had his residence there. In this way, it is the only street that has kept the name of one of the Spanish conquerors since its origin. A pleasant moving spot in Santiago to this day.

My apartment was at Avenida Providencia corner with Avenida Ricardo Lyon no 100, below was /is the Paris dept Store branch, at Ave Providencia 2221, right by metro Los Leones line 6, and my office was at Calle San Diego, which I took the metro couple times but mostly went there by car; this is closed long time ago almost after my last visit in 2001.

I remember visiting the shopping mall of Alto Las Condes in Avenida Presidente Kennedy and shop in the Falabella dept store (our client!) ,webpage featuring the store : https://www.altolascondes.cl/tiendas/falabella-0

I have great long distance memories of the Mercado Central visiting and eating in it, This is a wonderful place even if now I am told has become very touristic, still for the ambiance is worth a visit me think, The market is a large metal structure in galvanized iron, the elements of which were melted in England. Completed in 1868, the building was inaugurated on the occasion of the National Exhibition of 1872. Today, the ensemble includes a large number of small premises where you can taste Chilean specialties, or buy handicrafts. See the Chile tourist office video on the Mercado Central : https://santiagochile.com/mercado-central/

Also, the restaurant Ocean Pacific Calle Ricardo Cummings 97 with a glass floor and great seafood, glad remembered it and still there! Watch the video and see what I mean! webpage : https://www.oceanpacifics.cl/

From Santiago I took bus rides into Viña del Mar (passing by the building of the music festival!) and Valparaiso as well as a friend took to eat at his restaurant in the hill by Artilleria o museo naval of Valparaiso by car ! The view to the port was awesome, I was able to visit on brief business trips to Puerto Montt, Arica, Iquique, and Temuco.

The Santiago de Chile tourist office : http://www.santiagocapital.cl/categorias/home/lugares-tipicos/

The city of Santiago de Chile on its history/heritage; https://www.munistgo.cl/historia-2/

The Chile tourist board on Santiago de Chile : https://chile.travel/en/where-to-go/central-area-santiago-and-valparaiso/santiago

There you go folks, nice memories for me and maybe for you. Share your stories on these two countries and be glad you remember. Maybe help me remember more of them. Bogotà and Santiago de Chile are two spot in our world dear to me, part of my travel history, which now glad firmly in my blog.

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

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