Sunday, July 20, 2008

Life on the Rive Gauche


Yet another gorgeous day in Paris! We took full advantage and had another action packed day of sightseeing. The Metro system here is full of stairs but it is simple to navigate, cheap and offers no more than a 3 minute wait until your next train arrives. We've been able to criss-cross the city several times in comfort due to this masterpiece of engineering!

Arc de Triomphe

First stop was indeed the Arc de Triomphe

 This landmark is surrounded by a huge, crazy roundabout.

History

Commissioned by Napoleon to commemorate the French victory at the Battle of Austerlitz in 1806, it is dedicated to the glory of all French armies. It has seen triumphant entries into the city by French heroes like Charles de Gaulle in 1944 and enemies like the Nazi army in 1940. This even serves as the finish line for the last leg of the Tour de France bicycle race later this month!

Famous French Generals for $100 please.

If the general's name seen here is underlined it means he died in battle.

A Stroll Down the Champs-Elysees

This is the grandest boulevard in all of Paris and is a straight shot down from the Arc de Tiomphe.

Wide and inviting, it offers great shopping, delicious food, fantastic people watching and a nice park to sit and rest your feet for awhile. 

Is $900 for a purse really that good a deal?

Laurie bravely fought off the temptation and we were able to get out of the Louis Vitton store unscathed.

It was tough because I know that she felt a disturbance in "The Force" from Koreen's long distance prodding to buy!

Laurie's reward for "Bravery in the Face of Shopping"

Laduree is a combination tea salon, restaurant and pastry shop.

Macaroons

Laduree's is famous for these tasty little desserts that are nothing like American coconut macaroons. We bought a small box of these to go. They were expensive but a steal as compared to those purses a few minutes ago!!!



Even the pigeons live large on the Champs-Elysees

If you want ANYTHING to make you smell or look better,
THIS IS THE PLACE!

The end of the Champs-Elysees brings you to this Place de la Concorde.

The 3,300 year old Obelisk of Luxor you see here is where the guillotine stood to do it's work of making you "a foot shorter on top" during the French Revolution. During the 1790's this was known as the Place de la Revolution."

The Orsay Museum

Having an Elephant to greet us was a nice Parisian touch.

As were the statues of these topless women

This museum picks up where the Louvre ends, art from 1848 to 1914. My main interest was the Impressionists. Up until the beginning of this era, painting had been used in attempts to accurately depict people, usually of wealth or power, and things. The invention of photography meant that this form of artistic expression was no longer as important. The result was Impressionism which allowed artists to focus on common people and their lives.

Here are some of my favorites.

Cezanne's "The Card Players"

van Gogh's "The Church at Auvers-sur-Oise"

About 10% of the people had their cameras focused on my shirt.

Monet's "Cathedral of Rouen"

Renoir's "Dance at the Moulin de la Galette"

Whistler's "Portrait of the Artist's Mother"

Even the restaurant was a work of art

As was their gigantic clock


Sainte-Chapelle

St. Louis IX built this to house the supposed Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus Christ

It was built in an incredibly short 8 years! There are 6,500 square feet of stained glass with over 1,100 scenes from the Bible.

I like the Rose Window style of stained glass presentation the best.

Laurie asking for a good year for the New Orleans Saints.

Is the guy in the green hat the same guy in the Monty Python "Quest for the Holy Grail" movie who taunted the English knights by yelling that
"I fart in your general direction"?

Cool Columns

Another photo op across the street from Sainte-Chapelle


The Conciergerie

Kings used this building to torture and execute prisoners.

The leaders of the French revolution did likewise. There is a tower in the building nicknamed "The Babbler" because of the painful wails that people could hear as they walked by it.
 
A list of all the people beheaded during the French Revolutionary Tribunals

Laurie was searching for possible relatives, her maiden name was Gardner.

Marie Antoinette was held prisoner here before her execution.

The Women's Courtyard

This is where they assemble the prisoner's who were about to be executed by the Revolution. They would assemble groups of 12 prisoners at a time for the cart ride to the Place de la Revolution about a mile away through jeering crowds of bloodthirsty citizens.

THE EIFFEL TOWER

Built in 1889 for the for the Centennial World's Fair 100 years after the French Revolution.

The Tower dominates the skyline of Paris and is a MASSIVE structure indeed!

The view of the Seine from the Second Observation Deck 400 feet above the ground.

Notre Dame Cathedral is in the distance.

From the First Observation Deck, a mere 200 feet in the air, people still look awfully small!

We took this picture ourselves, TRES ARTISTIQUE!

2 comments:

DPLassen said...

If only 10 percent of those at the museum had their cameras focused on that shirt, I'm assuming the other 90 percent were stumbling into things, having been blinded by the glare.

I can't imagine why the French think we have no fashion sense.

George said...

Hey! I'm the very soul of cutting edge Hawaiian fashion!