Posts tagged ‘Europe’

May 27, 2020

Vaux le Vicomte, Salon d’Hercules!

And why not staying here in beautiful beyond description Vaux le Vicomte at Maincy, dept 77 of Seine et Marne and in the Ïle de France region. One of our sentimental favorites and we know it well. Let me tell you a bit more on the Salon d’Hercules.

Located to the right of the Grand Salon (see post), you find the impertinent rodent in the Salon d’Hercules on a recently restored carpet it stands out prominently, covering the snake, emblem of its rival Colbert. The Salon d’Hercules, the anteroom of Fouquet’s apartment, is adorned with a painted ceiling of a scene representing a Hercules greeted in the Olympus by Jupiter, Diane, and Junon. The medallions and panels adorning the arch represent the twelve works of Hercules by Le Brun. In the center of the anteroom, stands the bronze model of the equestrian statue of Louis XIV that Girardon made in 1699 for the Place Vendôme in Paris, and which was destroyed during the French revolution. This model rests on the wooden base carved by Slodz, a pupil of Girardon at the gallery of sculptures in the Louvre museum!

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Above the chimney see the painting of Louis XV by Van Loo around a portrait of François de Neufville, marshal of Villeroy young guardian of Louis XV until 1722 of which will followed in the same functions the Duke de Charost grandson of Nicolas Fouquet, Louis-Philppe d’Orléans (lieutenant general of the French armies and father of Philippe Egaliteé that voted the death of cousin Louis XVI and grandfather of Louis Philippe,king of the French ). You see facing the windows portrait of Princess Palatine second wife of Monsieur (Philippe de France) the brother of Louis XIV. here you find an interesting fellow, portrait of battles of François Henri de Montmorency-Bouteville, duke and marshal of Luxembourg. He was orphan of his father ordered beheaded by Richelieu, but nevertheless a great warrior soldier winner of many battles including during the war of Augsbourg, where he took the flags of the enemy and sent them to decorate the nave of Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris, giving him the name of the tapestry master of Notre Dame!

Another impressive room you must see, well all see it, is a must when visiting the castle of Vaux-le-Vicomte. There are some webpages to help you plan your trip here as my usual information.

The official webpage of Vaux le VicomteCastle of Vaux le Vicomte

Tourist office of the area Melun val de Seine on Vaux le Vicomte in English: Tourist office of Melun Val de Seine on Vaux le Vicomte

The tourist office of the Ïle de France region on Vaux le Vicomte in English: TOurist office region of Ile de France on Vaux le Vicomte

A bit of extra information but I think is needed to be told.

The Les Amis de Vaux-le-Vicomte association has 2,500 members. For thirty years, it has been working to find, all over the world, pieces of furniture, works of art, documents that belonged to Vaux or relate to its history. Among the treasures now on display at the chateau, a portrait of Madame Fouquet by Le Brun, letters to D’Artagnan on the detention of the superintendent at Pinerolo, an extremely rare manuscript by La Fontaine. And, the eighth tapestry from the Barberini collection, found in the United States. Today 2 M € are disbursed annually for the maintenance of Vaux-le-Vicomte. The official webpage is here in French: Friends of Vaux le Vicomte association

And there you go another wonderful castle monument and gorgeous room to be dream on while visiting my belle France. Hope you enjoy the details and feel free to ask for more that I might have missed as usual in rushing these things. Vaux-le-Vicomte is waiting for you.

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

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May 27, 2020

Vaux le Vicomte Grand Salon!

Now lets get you back to my backyard. It disturb me that many link the castle with things to do in Paris!! when in fact this castle belongs to the Seine et Marne dept 77 dear to me and in the village of Maincy not far from Melun. Ok so enough for my rant; I have written several posts on it but as usual need to come back for the details.

I like to tell you a big more on the Grand Salon of the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte. 

The Grand Salon is found after crossing the vestibule, located under the dome. It is oval; an innovation for the time, which preferred the galleries. The idea is directly inspired by the Italian Baroque. The decoration planned by Le Brun is not finished, Fouquet having been arrested before. But the Vogüé family, current owner of the premises, do not despair of achieving it one day, because they have the drawings, signed by Le Brun. Le Brun had planned a vault ; the first for a private building – famous on the theme of Palace of the Sun. This was not finished and the plans are in the Louvre museum today. At its place, the previous owner Mr Sommier put 12 busts in marbre of famous personages like emperors and Romans Italian works of the 17C coming from the collection of the Prince Napoleon. However, there are 4 busts high up in the columns around the north and south doors that have never left Vaux-le-Vicomte since 1661.

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This is where Nicolas Fouquet gave the party with guess king Louis XIV on a room or salon 18 meters long by 18 meters wide was still unfinished. As it is done by Le Vau is an oval perimeter mark by 16 arches and 16 doric columns high to the windows in the first floor (2nd US). Here it is represented in arcades beautiful cariads representing the 12 signs of the zodiac and the four seasons, with below decorations of flowers, fruits and animals.

It is an impressive room and one of the highlights of the visit by many visitors. I must add I am Friends of the castle  (les amis de Vaux-le-Vicomte) for many years and help out voluntarily and financially for its upkeep.

The Les Amis de Vaux-le-Vicomte association has 2,500 members. For thirty years, it has been working to find, all over the world, pieces of furniture, works of art, documents that belonged to Vaux or relate to its history. Among the treasures now on display at the chateau, a portrait of Madame Fouquet by Le Brun, letters to D’Artagnan on the detention of the superintendent at Pinerolo, an extremely rare manuscript by La Fontaine. And, the eighth tapestry from the Barberini collection, found in the United States. Today 2 M € are disbursed annually for the maintenance of Vaux-le-Vicomte.

The official webpage of Vaux le VicomteCastle of Vaux le Vicomte

Tourist office of the area Melun val de Seine on Vaux le Vicomte in English: Tourist office of Melun Val de Seine on Vaux le Vicomte

The tourist office of the Ïle de France region on Vaux le Vicomte in English: TOurist office region of Ile de France on Vaux le Vicomte

This is dear castle of mine and very much a must to visit while in my belle France. Hope you enjoy as we do and you too can help maintained it as beautiful as you see it by donating to the Amis de Vaux le Vicomte webpage here: Friends of Vaux le Vicomte association

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

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May 26, 2020

Victoria & Albert Museum, London!

And here is another jewel that was left in the closet and not told in my blog. This is a great omission as it was one of if not our favorite museum in London. The place is very chic, nice, we love it and came back twice during our family stay there. Oh this is the Victoria & Albert Museum or V&A of London. Let me tell you a bit briefly on it, hope you enjoy it as we did. For all its avant garde collection!

The Victoria and Albert Museum, often abbreviated “V&A”, is a national art museum located in London, in the district of South Kensington. It is the world’s largest museum of applied and decorative arts and design, as well as sculpture, housing a permanent collection of more than 2.27 million objects. It was founded in 1852 and is named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. It is a fabulous museum to visit !!!

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The V&A museum was conceived in the aftermath of the Universal Exhibition of 1851, it first bore the name of South Kensington Museum then was renamed of its current name in 1899, after fifty years of work. First element of Albertopolis, a set of museums and educational institutions which aimed to bring education, industry, science and art together in the continuity of the ideas developed during the Great Exhibition of 1851, it was built on land acquired thanks to profits made during this last event. Dedicated mainly to industry and craft products, it was also in charge of a didactic mission with English artists and decorators, at the time when the Art & Craft movement was developing The collections of the India Office were integrated in 1880, to extend the interest which had been expressed around civilization and Indian art as it was presented in the gallery of India at the Crystal Palace in 1851 and – above all maintain the adhesion , then particularly enthusiastic, of the British to the imperial project.

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The V & A covers 5 hectares and has 145 galleries. Its collection covers 5,000 years of art, from Antiquity to the present day, from cultures of Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa. The ceramic, glass, textiles, costumes, silverware, ironwork, jewellery, furniture, medieval objects, sculptures, prints and engravings, drawings and photographs are among the largest and most complete in the world.  The museum notably has the largest collection of post-classical sculptures in the world, the collections of Italian Renaissance objects being the largest outside of Italy. The collections from East Asia are among the best in Europe, with particular strengths in ceramic and metalwork, while the Islamic collection is among the largest in the Western world.

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It is a huge place to see it all and like I said we came back twice and still not seen it all. I will tell briefly the sections below, you need to see it, period.

The art collection from Asia of the V&A has more than 160,000 objects, one of the largest existing. The V&A contains more than 19,000 objects from the Islamic world, ranging from the beginning of the Islamic period 7C at the beginning of the 20C. The Museum’s South and Southeast Asian art collections are the most complete and the most important in the West. They include nearly 60,000 objects, including about 10,000 textiles and 6,000 paintings, and the diversity of the collection is immense. The collections of the Far East include more than 70,000 works of art from Asian countries mainly China, Japan and Korea. The collection includes approximately 1,130 British and 650 oil paintings from Europe, 6,800 watercolors, pastels and 2,000 British miniatures, of which the museum holds the national collection. The V&A sculpture collection is the most comprehensive collection of post-classical European sculptures in the world. The collection consists of approximately 22,000 objects covering a period ranging from approximately 400 to 1914. It has the largest and most complete collection of ceramics and glass in the world, with more than 80,000 objects from around the world. Each populated continent is represented. The jewellery collection, which has more than 6,000 objects, is one of the most comprehensive jewellery collections in the world. It includes works from ancient Egypt to the present day, as well as drawings of jewellery on paper. The museum houses the National Art Library, a public library containing over 750,000 books, photographs, drawings, paintings and prints. It is one of the largest libraries in the world dedicated to the study of fine and decorative arts.

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In 2004, the V&A and the Royal Institute of British Architects opened the first permanent gallery in the United Kingdom, covering the history of architecture with exhibitions using models, photographs, elements of buildings and original drawings. The costume collection is the most complete in Great Britain, containing more than 14,000 outfits and accessories, mainly dating from 1600 to the present day. This collection of over 45,000 works includes decorative ironwork, forged and molded, in bronze, silverware, armor, pewter, brass and enamel ,including many examples of Limoges enamel. The textile collection includes more than 53,000 copies, mainly from Western Europe, although all the populated continents are represented and which dates from the 1C AD to the present day. It is the largest collection of this type in the world. The collection contains more than 500,000 images dating from the advent of photography, the oldest dating from 1839.

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As you can read , it has beautiful collection in many domaines and most are the best in the world at least Europe. It is very educational for the customes and arts all over and during different periods. My whole family enjoyed it very much and it is in our agenda for a future visit.

The main webpages here are the official Victoria & Albert museumVictoria & Albert Museum of London

And the tourist office of London on the V&A MuseumTourist office of London on the V&A Museum of London

And there you go folks another dandy in London, UK, a wonderful city to visit and another dot in my world map. We enjoy the V&A museum and hope you enjoy the post enough to make you come to see it too. For us , its a must in London.

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

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May 26, 2020

Imperial War Museum, London!

And why not stay in cosmopolitan London. We spent our time well there and saw plenty , all wonderful family souvenirs. I am amazed that I have left these beautiful monument out of my blog for so long. Anyway, this is make up time. I like to tell you a bit more on the Imperial War Museum of London.

The Imperial War Museum is a national British military museum established in 1917 during the reign of George V, King of England. and today consists of five sites, including three in London. The Imperial War Museum London is the network’s main and most visited museum and is located in the central part of the former Bethlem Royal Hospital. It concerns WWI and WWII, it also shows the horrors of Nazism.

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Originally housed in the Crystal Palace at Sydenham Hill, the museum opened to the public in 1920. In 1924, the museum moved to space in the Imperial Institute in South Kensington, and finally in 1936, the museum acquired a permanent home that was previously the Bethlem Royal Hospital in Southwark on Lambeth Road. The hospital consisted of a range of buildings 580 feet long with a basement and three storeys, parallel to Lambeth Road, with a central entrance under a portico. he original hospital building is now largely occupied by corporate offices. The 1966 extension houses the library, art store, and document archives while the 1980s redevelopments created exhibition space over five floors.

An anecdote is that with the evacuation of British forces from Dunkirk in May/June 1940, the British Army’s shortage of equipment saw eighteen of the museum’s artillery pieces return to military service!!. While closed to the public the museum’s building was used for a variety of purposes connected to the war effort, such as a repair garage for government motor vehicles, a center for Air Raid Precautions civil defence lectures and a fire fighting training school. In 2011, the museum rebranded itself as IWM, standing for “Imperial War Museum” .In April 1984, the Cabinet War Rooms were opened to the public as a branch of the museum.

There are eight departments responsible for the various aspects of the Imperial War Museum’s collections: The Department of Documents, The Art Department; The Department of Exhibits and Firearms; The Department of Printed Books; The Film and Video Archive, The Photograph Archive, The Sound Archive, and The Department of Holocaust is in the History of Genocide (Department of Holocaust and Genocide History). A bit more into them below

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The Imperial War Museum’s original collections date back to the material amassed by the National War Museum Committee. The present departmental organisation came into being during the 1960s as part of Frankland’s reorganisation of the museum. The museum’s documents archive seeks to collect and preserve the private papers of individuals who have experienced modern warfare. The archive’s holdings range from the papers of senior British and Commonwealth army, navy and air officers, to the letters, diaries and memoirs of lower-ranked servicemen and of civilians.

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The Imperial War Museum’s art collection includes paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, and works in film, photography and sound The museum’s Film and Video Archive is one of the oldest film archives in the world The archive preserves a range of historically significant film and video material, including the official British film record of the First World War. he museum’s Photograph Archive preserves photographs by official, amateur and professional photographers. The collection includes the official British photographic record of the two world wars

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The Imperial War Museum’s exhibits collection includes a wide range of objects, organised into numerous smaller collections such as uniforms, badges, insignia and flags (including a Canadian Red Ensign carried at Vimy Ridge in 1917, a Union flag from the 1942 British surrender of Singapore, and another found among the wreckage of the World Trade Center following the September 11 attacks), as well a piece of the towers; personal mementoes, souvenirs and miscellanea such as trench art; orders, medals and decorations (including collections of Victoria and George Crosses); military equipment; firearms and ammunition, ordnance, edged weapons, clubs (such as trench clubs) and other weapons, and vehicles, aircraft and ships

The Imperial War Museum’s library is a national reference collection on modern conflict, and holds works on all aspects of warfare, including regimental or unit histories (such as 789 rare German unit histories from WWI technical manuals, biographical material and works on war’s social, cultural, economic, political and military aspect. he museum’s Sound Archive holds 33,000 sound recordings, including a large collection of oral history recordings of witnesses to conflicts since 1914. The IWM has an online database, listing the various items which make up the IWM Collections. In some cases, there are images of the item, or contemporary photos, which can be shared and reused under a Creative Commons Licence.

A wonderful must place to visit me think, and let me give you some webpages to help you plan your trip here

The official Imperial War Museum’s :Imperial War Museum’s

The tourist office of London on the Imperial War Museum’s: Tourist office of London on the IWM

Like I said, my family really enjoy the visit here, and we recommended to all. If you follow history, this is library like no other on wars perils. The Imperial War Museum is an educational must place to visit for all. Hope you enjoy as we did

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

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May 26, 2020

Big Ben, London!

So here I am taking you across the Manche and into jolly England and its capital city London. I have some posts on the city which I have visited on business trips several times and once with the family. It has souvenirs for all of us.

One of the symbols we look for it was Big Ben and I like to tell you a bit on it with our pictures.

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Big Ben is the nickname for the 13.5-ton large bell on top of the Elizabeth Tower, the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster, which is the seat of the Houses of Parliament in London. It is a symbol of the city of London. Only people who live in the UK can visit the clock tower after obtaining permission (so was told never tried to go up). The building faces the Thames, between Westminster Bridge and Westminster Abbey . Initially, the name of this bell was The Great Bell. The origin of the name Big Ben is uncertain.

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The first bell was manufactured in 1856. To be able to transport it to the clock tower, it was installed on a carriage drawn by 16 horses. It split a few months after its installation, a second bell was then molded in 1858. In October of the same year, the bell was moved 61 meters to the belfry of the bell tower in 18 hours. On May 31, 1859, the famous clock entered service.

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The frequency of the pendulum is adjusted to 2 fifths of a second per day, by adding (to accelerate) or removing (to slow) old 1 penny coins dating from the time when the British monetary system was not decimal. The sound of the Big Ben bell is due to the fact that it also cracked in 1859, barely two months after its official installation, which gives it a very distinctive tone. For technical reasons, the bell is oriented so that the hammer does not strike at the location of the crack. The famous chime air that marks the hour is called Westminster Quarters.

On three occasions, the Big Ben bell was rung for national mourning, at the national funeral; 68 times for the funeral of Edward VII in 1910, 70 times for that of George V in 1936, and 56 times for that of George VI in 1952. Each sound of the bell represents a year of their lives. Technically, Big Ben strictly refers to the largest bell on the clock, while the clock itself is the Great Westminster Clock and the tower was renamed in 2012 Elizabeth Tower on occasion of the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.   Since August 21, 2017, the tower is under renovation until 2021.

Here is my usual webpages to help you plan your trip here even if just to look at

Big Ben clock in the palace of Westminster, House of ParliamentBig Ben at the Parliament of UK

Tourist office of London on Big BenTourist office of London on Big Ben

As said ,this is one of the main attractions of London and a must to see at least once. Afterward it loses its magic a bit me think. Hope you enjoy the post and do see Big Ben at London

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

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May 25, 2020

Saint Louis Cathedral, Invalides!!

Ok I admit do not know how to tackle this monument. I past by it many times and my office lately is not far , I even eat my lunch nearby restos; but so far only briefly mention in my blog. I will do my best to tell you a bit more on the Saint Louis Cathedral, Invalides, of course Paris.

The Saint-Louis-des-Invalides Church or Soldiers’ Church attracts many visitors. It is even one of the most frequented churches in Paris. This is due, of course, to the presence, nearby, of the dome of the Invalides, created by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, which hosts the tomb of Napoleon I. It is also due to the presence of the Army museum in the buildings that surround the magnificent courtyard. The Church of Saint Louis des Invalides is under the responsibility of the museum, it houses the burial of Napoleon I, his two brothers,Joseph and Jérome; his son (the Aiglon), which in December 1940, the ashes of his son known as the king of Rome or Napoléon II or the Aiglon (English) were transfered from Vienna in a funerary urn by an adviser to Hitler and the govt of Vichy (collaborator) as Paris was in occupied zone. As well as the queen of Westphalia and other members of the Bonaparte family. Marshals of France , Vauban, Turenne, Ferdinand Foch, Hubert Lyautey, Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque, Alphonse Juin, , the generals Robert Nivelle, Charles Mangin, Pierre Auguste Roques, and Henri Giraud, and the admirals Boué de Lapeyrère ,and Gauchet.

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The Saint-Louis des Invalides Church has the most traditional classical style architecture, like many of the churches and buildings erected at that time. The first architect draws up the general plan of the Invalides and ensures the realization of the buildings as well as that of the Saint-Louis Church. In 1676, Jules Hardouin-Mansart designed the famous dome and ensured its construction; the Dome rises to 101 meters The notable feature of the Saint-Louis Church is to have a series of flags, taken from the enemy in the 19-20C, suspended from the cornice, on both sides of the elevation.

The Saint Louis des Invalides Church and the dome, where the tomb of Napoleon rests, in fact constitute a single building with the nave; the dome and the choir. In the Grand Siècle, the high altar was common to attend the service, Louis XIV returned by the dome, the disabled soldiers returned by the nave. Today the separation is ensured by a large glass roof through which we can see, among the reflections, the tomb of Napoleon. Visitors cannot go from one to the other as entry to the church is obviously free, the visit to the dome is with admission. Let me add that all of these imposing buildings created in the 17C, surrounded by green spaces, constitute one of the most chic districts of Paris. There are ministries and many private mansions all over.

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A bit on the construction Architecture I like

The nave is punctuated by semicircular arcades which separate it from the aisles. In keeping with the classical style, the pilasters are topped with Corinthian capitals. On the second level of the elevation, the large grandstands open onto the nave by a series of arcades with basket handles. There is no side chapel. Only two side altars, without projection, break the monotony of the aisles. The choir is surmounted by a triumphal arch which, in the Grand Siècle, gave access to the choir of the old church. Finally, the barrel vault is enriched with fine double arches decorated with royal crowns, fleur-de-lis and rosettes. This beautiful set offers an impression of great artistic coherence.

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And some anecdotes on the Saint Louis des Invalides Church.

The boundaries of the two world wars in the fore-nave and in the right aisle are placed two stone posts. The first dedicates the Sacred Way of War 1914-1918 . You can read the inscription: “In tribute to their sacrifice, there is enclosed in this marker a parcel of sacred land from the battlefields of 1914-1918”. The second stone post consecrates the Way of Freedom in 1944. The inscription at the bottom recalls that it contains plots of land from American cemeteries in France.

The grandstand organ was built between 1679 and 1687, and restored several times since. The buffet dates from 1683. Note that the first representation of Berlioz’s Requiem was given at the Saint-Louis-des-Invalides Church in 1837.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and is a must in Paris are

Official Army museum on the Saint Louis des Invalides Churcharmy museum on the St Louis des Invalides Church

The tourist office of Paris on the Saint Louis des Invalides Church : Tourist office of Paris on the Saint Louis des Invalides Church

The official Diocese of the Armed Forces on the Saint Louis des Invalides Church (they recognise as Cathedral of the armed forces) in French: Diocese of the Armed Forces on Saint Louis Cathedral of Paris

Here you can surely have an apero or lunch at Le Vauban just facing the Church/Cathedral. And my favorite hangout in the area Le Café de l’Esplanade just off the side seeing all the canons of the army museum! great service and glorious food.

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There you go a wonderful monument in my eternal Paris , that for some reason, left it untold until now. See my previous posts on the army museum and Invalides in general. Hope you enjoy the visit to the Saint Louis des Invalides Church! 

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

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May 25, 2020

Musée du Louvre, Paris!!!

I decided during this limited period to rev up my blog a bit. One major monument building that I am Friends of the Museum is the Louvre in Paris. I have written a more historical post on it but feel not do a good job. Indeed, the Louvre merits more time and posts.   Oh well my creativity definitively do not belong in the Louvre lol! I like to give you a fresh new update now. As well as photos not published before…

One of the greatest and by many THE greatest museum in the world, including me!. Its a huge fortress that grew up from about 1190 by king Philippe Auguste occupying the south west side of the current Cour Carré. The treasures of France were kept here since 1317   put together from the wealth of the orders of temples and hospitals by king Charles V. The museum was given idea on about 1793 under the French revolutionary government under the name of Museum Centrale des Arts de la Republique. it was later change to Museum Napoleon under the Empire before coming back to its current name. The idea was to centralised all the works in one national museum.

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It has about 160 000 square meters of space of which only about 60 000 are use for works open to the public. The idea has long been to expand the space and provide easier and more numerous access to the public. The annex of Lens, Pas de Calais dept 62 of the Hauts de France region , webpage in English here: Louvre museum at Lens

And the newest opened in Abu Dhabi UAE as here:  Louvre at Abu Dhabi

The idea of all these annexes are to done a window of opportunity not only for more revenue but also to display more works of arts instead of piling them in the basement and other depositories I know such as the basement of the Chartres Cathedral. The Louvre is to the world !!!

One must know the museum is closed on Tuesdays, open every other day. Open from 9h to 18h and on Wednesdays and Fridays open to 21h45 . Open until 21h45 the first Saturday of each month, the wing or  aile Richelieu with prior reservation only .Admission is free on the first Sunday of the month and on National Day July 14. The best entrances are on the quai François Mitterrand, passage Richelieu,  99 Rue de Rivoli, and the Porte des Lions at the end of Pavillon Flore next to the Seine river to avoid as much as possible the crowds. The best days to visit are Mondays and Thursdays are these are full days of work in France. Weekends everybody is here, plus Wednesdays afternoons and Fridays are rest period for many workers in France. Be early on opening time for any day or late nights opening days. The metro line 1 and 7 Palais Royale/Musée du Louvre , Tuileries, close by is Pyramides on line 14, and all these bus lines get you here : 21, 24, 27, 39, 48, 68, 69, 72, 81, and 95. Also, on a quaint stop do come by Batobus  stop Louvre at quai François-Mitterrand. Plan ,plan ahead, read ,read ahead, its a huge place, on average visit the museum claims it to be 3h15 but most visitor do not appreciate what is there;  it really needs three days to see all well.  Or as I did , plan your itineraries and come back a second or third or…time. First timers for each new area better get an audioguide, and get a map of the place (as below) , buy your ticket ahead of time, and settled on the areas you want to see first, narrow it down if your time is limited. The Sphinx, Mona Lisa (joconde), Napoleon III apartments, Venus, some of these need to be seen on your first trip. One of every two visitors are first timers. You can advance purchase tickets at many stores in Paris before arriving at the museum such as FNAC, Galeries Lafayette, Au Printemps,BHV, Carrefour, Auchan , andLeclerc supermarkets. As well as the official Louvre Museum ticketing : Ticketing in advance for the Louvre Museum

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This is a very good pdf file on a map of the Louvre Museum, you are better to print it at home before coming for the visit; it can done in several languages I have it in English: PDF map of the Louvre museum

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Paris

You have sections such as my favorite Egyptian antiquities, then Etruscan/Roman antiquities, Greek antiquities, Oriental antiquities, Oriental relating to the art of Islam, interior and exterior architectures marvels (especially the apartments to Napoleon III), Graphic Arts, First arts from Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas, Object d’Arts from all over the world, Paintings of the masters as English, Spanish, Flemish, French, Italians, other Europeans, European sculptures, French sculptures, and Italian sculptures. All marvels too many to mention here.

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Paris

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You have guided tours as well as workshops to participate on, the official site will tell you.  A wonderful auditorium for concerts,   expositions, exhibits, and movies showcasing the arts in all its form as well as temporary exhibits covering many subjects.

Next door you have the wonderful Jardin des Tuileries my lunch hangout for many years. The Musée des arts décoratifs on the pavillon Marsans facing rue de Rivoli will keep you here for weeks ! An splendid boutique store for your shopping even online where you can find luggage bags and coats valet service at  underneath the Pyramide (Hall Napoleon) and the porte des Lions from 9h to 18h45 and to 21h45 on late night openings.

You have several choices for snacking and eating ,drinking inside the complex such as   Goguette, Starbucks, Café Diane, Café Mollien, Comptoir du Louvre, Paul, Denon and Richelieu counters, Terrase de Pomone, and Amorino ice cream, all detail in English here : Official Louvre museum cafes and restaurants

An splendid boutique store for your shopping even online where you can find many nice souvenirs and support for the museum with your purchases. For your shopping even online here : Boutique des Musées on the Louvre

And this is the official site of the Louvre museum in English: Musée du Louvre

As well as the city of Paris tourist office on the Louvre museumParis tourist office on the Louvre museum

Just my touch, the webpage of the Friends of the Louvre museum; many benefits you too can help out: Amis du Louvre

Again, one post,2 3 4 will not do justice to this marvel of our world, I did my small part in sharing it with my readers, firends and family. Hope you enjoy the Louvre museum or Musée du Louvre as we do. Always looking forward to be back!

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

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May 25, 2020

Church Saint Gervais-Saint Protais , Paris

In walking around my eternal Paris I often wonder how much time will take to catalog it all! I have an extensive library at home on architecture, history, and things to see in Paris in addition to around 100K pictures in cd roms ,external hard drives etc. However, each time I go out amazing things comes to view. A while back , walking the streets around the Hôtel de Ville I saw this church. Mind you, I know what it is but never had the time or effort to stop by. Until then,and now will like to tell you a bit more on the Saint Gervais-Saint Protais Church , briefly….

The Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais Church, located opposite the Paris City/Town Hall,across La Poste (post office) would benefit from being better known. It is indeed one of the most beautiful in Paris, with remarkable Renaissance stained glass!. Conceived by the wardens of the parish as a recasting and an extension of a previous consecrated church in 1420, it took almost one hundred and fifty years to build it. The chapels of the choir were first erected to the north, that of the axis, then those to the south. It was then refitted the central vessel of the choir. The western facade, where the three classical orders are imposed, was not completed until 1621. This facade served as a model for other Parisian churches. During the French revolution, Saint-Gervais will remain closed for a few years. It is reopened under the Directory and will suffer little from the turmoil. In 1802, it regained its status as a Catholic parish.It should be added that the church underwent extensive restoration at the start of the 21C.

The architect of Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais Church remains unknown. Anyway, the Saint-Gervais-Saint Protais Church has a narrow nave, marked by a very studied slenderness effect. Saint-Gervais is part of the history of Renaissance churches in Paris, in the flamboyant Gothic style. The 19C it has adorned its numerous chapels with murals that the exiguity of the architecture or the reflections of the light do not always allow to appreciate in good conditions. In the choir of the 16C stalls will delight the visitor with their variety of scenes from everyday life and small trades on the mercies. On the second level of the nave and the choir, magnificent and large canopies from the 16C illuminate the church. The stained glass windows of the Chapel of the Virgin and the famous stained glass window of the Wisdom of Solomon in a chapel south of the ambulatory. Note that the old white glasses of the lost canopies have been replaced by creations by modern artists. As for worship, since 1975, the Saint-Gervais-Saint Protais Church is no longer parish, but assigned to the monastic liturgies of the Fraternities of Jerusalem.

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The exterior of Saint-Gervais-Saint Protais Church shows the church is almost entirely hidden by so-called perimeter-Saint-Gervais buildings. To the south, a narrow passage runs along the wall without the possibility of retreating. There remains the apse and the facade. Fortunately the facade is worthy of praise. It is the first erected in classical style in Paris. It is 1616 and this facade is an addition to the already built church. The architect therefore attaches its facade to the Gothic nave by creating an additional span. The two ends are closed by a chapel in an ogival quarter circle. The discerning eye immediately sees there the three classic orders: Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. The first level accommodates four pairs of columns. These pairs are repeated on the second level, only enriched by two niches housing the statues of the two legendary Saints Gervais and Protais. The Ionic order of the second level is crowned by Saint Matthew and Saint John. The elegance of the facade would only be a word without the beautiful slenderness of the third level. The Corinthian order occupies only the central part. Two pairs of columns surround a large canopy, the whole is surmounted by a curved pediment, hollowed out in its center. The facade of Saint-Gervais, which will serve as a model in France and Europe, heralds the arrival of the Baroque!.

Some details of the interior beautifully architecturally done that I like are.

The baptismal font Chapel dates from the beginning of the 17C. Its existence is due to the creation of the west facade, built from 1616 to 1621 in front of the church. There is a Chapel commemorating the catastrophe of March 29, 1918. At the beginning of 1918, the Brest-Litovsk armistice enabled Germany to launch a vast offensive in the West. The Germans were approaching Paris. Towards Laon, with cannons installed on rail, they began to bomb Paris. On March 29, a large caliber shell fell on the nave of Saint-Gervais. The church, where the Good Friday Mass was to begin, was packed. The shell punctured part of the vault which collapsed on the faithful, killing 89 people and wounding 90 others. The base of the main altar houses a copy of the Dormition of the Virgin. This work, dating from the 13C, is located in the base of the altar in the north side Chapel of Saint-Laurent. On both sides of the altar take place the two wooden statues of Gervais and Protais, carved around 1620.

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The stained glass window of the Wisdom of Solomon c.1531; it is one of the most beautiful Renaissance stained glass windows in Paris .The state of conservation of this stained glass window is so exceptional that experts from the 20C took original pieces for 19C restorations. The Judgment is spread over four lancets and consists of only one scene. It is a so-called unified canopy and, in 1531, it was even one of the first unified canopies posed in Paris. The author of the stained glass rest unknown.  The Chapelle de Brégy chapel , apart from three large murals , the Brégy chapel houses the fragment of the funerary monument of Michel Le Tellier, a 17C work designed after the drawings of Jules Hardouin-Mansart. Nearby, you can also admire three prayers: those of the Potier family, husband, wife and son. The two windows are modern. The artist Sylvie Gaudin made a total of five very futuristic representations of the major themes of Christianity (Nativity, Crucifixion, Pentecost, etc.). The Chapelle de la Piéta is on the north side, very well lit by two white glass windows, offers a very beautiful Pieta surrounded by two angels in adoration. also chiseled a beautiful Ecce Homo, rich in draperies. Finally enriched the walls with four beautiful murals including The Works of Mercy and Jesus and the Evangelists showing the Evangelists writing under the inspiration of Christ. One of the two windows has a remnant of Renaissance stained glass in the tympanum. It illustrates the martyrdom of Saint James.

The Chapelle de la Vierge with great depth, the chapel of the axis of Saint-Gervais-Saint Protais Church was completed in 1517. The chapel of the Virgin is an artistic center of the Church of Saint-Gervais-Saint Protais. The Renaissance left the overall architecture and stained glass there, the 19C enriched it with paintings, an altarpiece and a statue of the Virgin. The three axial canopies, dated 1517, year of completion of the chapel, and which illustrate scenes from the life of the Virgin, 19C paintings illustrate scenes from the life of the Virgin as well as virtues. Let me add that the stained glass windows to the north show a remnant of the Tree of Jesse from the 16C with the Virgin and the patriarchs Isaac and Abraham. This Tree was partially completed in the 19C when David, Jacob and Solomon were added. The keystone of the Choir bears the date of 1540. The large canopies therefore had to be put in place after this date, that is to say around the year 1550. The large canopies of Saint-Gervais in the nave and the choir of Saint-Gervais offer, in their upper parts, a magnificent panorama of stained glass windows from the Renaissance period.  The gallery organ of Saint-Gervais-Saint Protais Church is a unique specimen in Paris of organs from the 16C and 17C. First built in the south transept in 1601, the large buffet dates from 1601. It was decorated in 1759.

Some webpages to help you enjoy this wonderful church are

Fraternity of Jerusalem of St Gervais, Paris in French: Fraternity of Jerusalem on the St Gervais St Protais Church

Catholic Paris on Ch St Gervais St Protais in French:  Catholic Paris on St Gervais St Protais Church

The tourist office of Paris on St Gervais St Protais Church in English: Tourist office of Paris on St Gervais St Protais Church

And there you go folks, another wonderful monument to visit while in Paris, the list is endless but I am working on it, hope you enjoy it and follow me along! The St Gervais St Protais Church of Paris is commonly just call the St Gervais. And I know need to work on those pictures ::)

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

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May 24, 2020

Thanksgiving Americana in Paris!

So this is a revised old post of mine as traditions are meant to be kept. We do the best anywhere we are and one nice tradition we took as ours is Thanksgiving. As immigrants of the world we do give thanks. Hope you enjoy the post and plan ahead you never know these days….

Often I have been asked about American celebrations in France. I have done this piece in December 2010 in my blog, one of my first posts as began the blog in November 26 2010. The idea like any immigrant group and I should be an expert with four passports, that we carry our traditions wherever we go regardless of the new ones we pick up. One that really comes on top is Thanksgiving. Do we have it here? Is it the same at the table? Are you giving stuffings? Cranberry sauce? How, Where, can one enjoy this wonderful tradition while away from home and in Paris France.

The answer is very simple, YES, its alive and well with many places offering caterings for groups and restaurants offering a set menu. In Paris ,you can follow all is the melting pot of Europe at least. However, once you move to the provinces or countryside the choices are limited or none. In my new area I have no restaurant set menu or catering even thus we go out to get the turkey for at home celebration. After all we are celebrating immigrants coming to a new country! You have the usual way of getting American goods in Paris, and do it yourself at home. There were two places to get American products but unfortunately as told before Thanksgiving store/resto has closed. There is still one The Real McCoy

The Real McCoy grocery store, 194 rue de Grenelle, 75007 Open 10h-20h contact tel +33  (0) 1 45 56 98 82, metro Ecole Militaire.. They have a Facebook page here: facebook page of the Real McCoy Paris

I have done too is to partake with the French-American community at Joe Allen restaurant 30 rue Pierre Lescot 1éme arrondissement very near Metro line 4 Etienne Marcel. Tel contact  +33 (0) 1 42 36 70 13 Facebook page here: facebook page of Joe Allen Paris

I like to add, spent many nights at Joe Allen and still stop by once in a while visiting Paris from the Morbihan breton!

Another popular place is at Breakfast in America, yes you can do that too home style but on Thanksgiving they give away for the traditional meal at Breakfast in America; 17, rue des Ecoles, 5éme. Tel.Contact + 33 (0) 1 43 54 50 28. webpage: Breakfast in America Paris

La Grande Epicerie 38 Rue de Sévres 7éme or 80 Rue de Passy 16éme you can buy American products and pre order as well on special dates. More info here: La Grande Epicerie Paris

You can order online base in Toulouse, My American Grocery ,but never ordered from them. They claims to be the No 1 US product online store in France: more info here: My American Market Toulouse

And an American in Rennes , created the My Little America, and you can order on line too, maybe Thanksgiving stuff but again never use them. More info here: My Little America at Rennes

In addition to these diehard places I have enjoyed over the years, you can ask the US embassy American Citizen Services in Paris   for organisations where the event is held. Often , organisation organize this event in Paris and you are all invited for a fix price. Contact org like the Association of American Residents Overseas, (AARO) , Association of American Wives of Europeans (AAWE) , American Chamber of Commerce (L’AmCham France) , American University Clubs of France (AUC), or the Paris Alumni Network (PAN) as some I know…

The latest for me was the Thanksgiving at Les Arches du Marais, 11 rue de Braque,(one way street) , 3éme arrondissement; metro Rambuteau line 11. This is on the back of the Archives National hotels a very nice quaint area of Paris. This event was organised by the AUC/PAN org. Les Arches du Marais located in the heart of old Paris, in a unique historic setting with exposed stones and vaulted cellars. Offer four connecting reception rooms located in the heart of old Paris, near the Georges Pompidou center. In the basement of Les Arches du Marais, the adjoining vaulted cellars accommodate a hundred people for a cocktail party on approximately 80m². This was while still in Versailles in 2010 as I left for the Morbihan Breton in June 2011.

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I found a nice promotional video on it from abcsalles and dailymotion that show it better.

I have read lately that the noise especially from the place has started a chain of complaints against the Les Arches du Marais and even ask for its closure. At the moment, it is still open. Maybe is that in addition to have the place rented for events it has a regular programming such as from Monday to Friday noon and every Tuesday evening in Dinner / Concert / After Work Jazz Club & More mode ..from 19h30. to 24h midnight. on Tuesday evening: Soul – Jazz & More .- After Work above: Music & Drinks / Diner (concert from below broadcast live on a giant screen in all rooms)  Dinner concert downstairs facing the concept stage. A magical and relaxed setting, good cocktails, very good wines, quality catering all accompanied by great jazz … & More !!! So they said. And for contact them here in French: ABC Salles Les Arches du Marais

And there you go, it is possible to keep your traditions at least in Paris. Otherwise, buy your ingredients and do it at home. Hope you enjoy the post as I do bringing back nice souvenirs.

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

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May 24, 2020

Fort Boyard!!!

Ok so have you ever saw a show on TV on a wonderful idylic place and wondered if you can go see it? Well, my family liked to watch this show on TV which was pretty popular in France. And alors, one day my oldest son got  a semester hotel/restaurant studies in La Rochelle, and from there we decided once visiting him to take a look at this place. What is it? well is Fort Boyard. 

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Let me set up the scene on this fort in the middle of the Atlantic ocean!

Fort Boyard is a fortification located on a high bottom originally formed by a sandbank, called the longe de Boyard which is discovered at low tide and is located between the island of Aix , the island of Oléron, with the island Madame and the island of , belonging to the Charente archipelago. The Longe de Boyard is attached to the cadastre of the town of Île-d’Aix, in the department 17 of Charente-Maritime, in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region.  Fort Boyard is an integral part of the Rochefort Maritime Arsenal which stretches along the Charente estuary. It is the property of the departmental council of Charente-Maritime since 1989.

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At first, the designation on 17C Dutch maps of this sandbank under the name Banjaert Hollandis suggested a Dutch origin of this name. The oblong shape of the fort is located 2,900 meters from the island of Aix and 2,400 meters from the island of Oléron. It measures 68 meters long in the axis by 31 meters wide, for a surface area of 2,065 m2 and a total of 2,689 m2. The inner courtyard is 43 meters long in the axis, 12 meters wide and its surface is 565 m2. The surrounding walls culminate 20 meters from the foundations. The fort was built to protect the Rochefort arsenal. At the end of the construction of the arsenal in 1666, the need for protection was mentioned with Boyard’s lanyard as a basis for construction, but after the various surveys, Vauban presenting the project to king Louis XIV, ironically said “ Sire, it would be easier to grasp the Moon with your teeth than to attempt such work in this place”. This first project will therefore remain there.

In 1801, taking advantage of a short truce in the war which had pitted France against England for 9 years already, Bonaparte, 1st consul, approved a new project which aimed to build a fort measuring 80 by 40 meters. worked began in 1803, Napoleon, on site in August 1808, revised the project downward – the project was reduced to a dimension of 40 meters by 20 – and work resumed in 1809. The Battle of the Isle of Aix, called The Burns of the Isle of Aix: in early April 1809, a squadron of 11 French line vessels and 4 frigates was assembled in the harbor before the mouth of the Charente, under the orders of Vice-Admiral Zacharie Allemand, with a view to setting sail to bring reinforcements to the Antilles, despite the blockade maintained by the English. The French squadron lost 4 vessels and a frigate. Thus are ruined the hopes of reinforcements for the threatened colonies in the Antilles. And finally, in June 1809, the construction of Fort Boyard, to close the harbor, was permanently suspended.

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We had to wait for the reign of Louis-Philippe and the renewed tension between the French and the British for the project to resume. In 1841, it was redefined downwards and new credits were released and in 1857 the construction of the fort is completed with the second floor and the first cannons are put in place in 1859. This marks the end of the construction of the fort as a whole; the minutes announcing the end of all the work was signed on February 6, 1866. Its military use is never what it should have been, and finally, in 1913, the army separated and the guns were sold to scrap dealers. In 1869, work was carried out on the north jetty of the barachois and, in 1873, the tide gauge was transferred from Fort Enet to Fort Boyard. On August 11 of the same year, the first observations of sea level were made. It will operate until 1919. During WWII, it served as a training target for the Nazis. Finally the fort was put on sale before definitively selling off in November 1988, The game production company of Jacques Antoine, who acquired it, then immediately sold it to the General Council of Charente-Maritime for a symbolic franc. In exchange, the department undertakes to carry out the rehabilitation works and ensure the exclusive operation of the site at JAC (Jacques Antoine et Cie, third French producer of television games at the time). From then on, the monument became the filming location for a television program bearing his name: Fort Boyard

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Maritime access to the fort from Fouras is by chartered speedboat during the filming season for the game show; the Baron Gourgaud in 1988 and 1989 of the Inter-Islands cruises, then by speedboat, the Bacman between 1989 and 2003 then the Sea Surfer from 2004. In 1990, the building, freshly bought and rehabilitated, became the filming location from the program Les Clés de Fort Boyard, renamed Fort Boyard the following year. The show was set as a team of candidates, surrounded by more or less strange characters, must overcome a certain number of physical and intellectual tests (calling on agility, speed, endurance, strength, memory or logic) as well as overcome their fears, in order to be able to collect the keys giving access to the treasure room of the fortress and guess the code word of the day with clue cartridges to seize the gold coins called boyars, in a limited time , which fall into a round cage, and pour them into a cauldron which will then be weighed.

A nice integral video on the Fort Boyard show from youtube videos in French!

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here or see from the islands is worth the views are

The Tourisme Charente Maritime dept 17 on Fort BoyardAtlantic Cognac tourist office on Fort Boyard

The Ïle d’Oléron tourist office on Fort Boyard in English: Oleron island tourist office on Fort Boyard

The Rochefort tourist office on Fort Boyard in English: Rochefort tourist office on Fort Boyard

And there you go a nice adventure trip by boat to a popular French spot on the ocean surrounded by beautiful island views; hope you enjoy the photos and maybe come to see the Fort Boyard. It is no longer on, but a new redesigned program call Boyard Land!! version amusement park ,not on the Fort, with many of the same participants and co hosts, but not the same unfortunately.  Hope you enjoy it.

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

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