Category Archives: travel

Musee Rodin

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In some ways the Musee Rodin was my favorite — the former Hotel Biron where Rodin actually worked, the beautiful gardens full of Rodin’s sculptures, watching people interact with the sculptures — it was all beautiful and fascinating. There’s also an excellent little garden cafe here which was very pleasant. It’s very fortunate that Rodin’s plan to save this place as a museum for his work succeeded — I think he would have been pleased at the result, watching people interact with his sculptures in such a great setting.

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The gardens are really stunning, and very enjoyable to wander through and visit with the sculptures.

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Even the Gates of Hell become beautiful in the right setting…

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More Musee Rodin photos here.

Musee d'Orsay

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Not only is the Musee d’Orsay full of wonderful art, it is wonderful art itself. The building is absolutely gorgeous.

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Something here seems to inspire the visitors to become art themselves. This girl was posed just like the statue, but I missed the shot that her friend was taking and caught her as she was getting back up. I love how the boy in the background is posed, too. The sculptures here are all so elegant, and I loved watching the crowd interact with them.

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It’s difficult to not feel beautiful when surrounded by so much beauty, though.

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Especially when so many of the lovely ladies are curvy like me!

Lots more Musee d’Orsay photos here. And here.

Cats of the Louvre

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I suppose one could go on for days posting “X of the Louvre” posts… eldest son has a thing for the big cats, though, especially tiggies, so I’m now drawn to them when I see them and ended up photographing lots of kitties. And dragons for younger son, but in France most images of dragons involved killing them which I thought was just wrong.

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These are Delacroix’s tigers which are just stunning.  Delacroix is an amazing artist, who I think is often overlooked. Fortunately the French are crazy about him, since he pretty well documented the French Revolution, so they have a lot of his work on exhibit. I must post the picture hubby took of me taking the picture to give you the size scale, though. Hubby’s other Louvre photos are here. Many of Delacroix’s works are just huge, far larger even than this.  The Louvre is chock full of huge paintings, though, since a lot of these works were done to fill large palace and church walls and rich people’s mansions. Artists were supported by the church or royalty or wealthy patrons, and mostly did commissioned works for them. So they are BIG.

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Delacroix seemed to really have a thing for cats — they show up in a lot of his work. And they are beautiful, always. The detail is fabulous, too.

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This last little guy was one of my favorites. The big googly eyes just made it for me. And he’s really ancient, too!

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Statue of a lion
Beginning of the second millennium BC
Mari (Tell Hariri), Syria
Beaten copper; eyes inlaid with shale and limestone
H. 38 cm; W. 70cm; D. 50 cm
André Parrot excavations, 1937
AO 19520, AO 19824
Near Eastern Antiquities

Ladies who Louvre

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Well, obviously the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo and Winged Victory are the most famous ladies of the Musee de Louvre.  They weren’t the ones I enjoyed the most, though. The Mona Lisa is very difficult to even get close to, with the crowds, and poor Winged Victory stands in the hall with people rushing by her everywhere. Poor Venus is damaged, of course, as is the Winged Victory, and that limits their enjoyment a bit for me. I cringe at the very thought of anyone damaging such magnificence, or letting it deteriotate due to age and neglect. It makes me sad, even understanding how ancient they are.

The ladies I enjoyed much more were those of the gardens, the lesser known works, and the gorgeous, stunning nude sculptures that are just about everywhere. This one had so much power and energy, I just had to copy her pose.

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Grace, elegance and beauty, and with dogs, too!  The hound under her leg on the back was a nice touch.

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The ladies who were painting, copying the masterpieces of the Louvre, were intriguing, too.

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The Louvre is an exhausting place to visit — we were glad to go on a day when it was open late into the evening, and took a break mid-day to stroll the jardin de Tuileries and get sorbet:

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visit the Musee de l’Orangerie, and wander some nearby streets looking at the haute couture shops, visiting Pierre Hermes and Michel Cluizel and just enjoying the beautiful day. Even so, we were quite worn out trying to take in as much as we could.

Many more Louvre and Musee de l’Orangerie photos are here.

Oh, and the Paris Museum Pass is the way to go here — skip all the lines for tickets and walk right in. With the two-day pass we skipped the lines the next day at the Musee d’Orsay and Musee Rodin too!

Tour Eiffel

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Nothing really says you’re in Paris like a view of the Eiffel Tower. It appears in your sights all over the city — I took a lot of pictures with it popping up in various places throughout the city. But your first view should be, well, spectacular. So, we waited until the first evening we were there (after hubby took a brief nap, in fact) and then took the Metro over to the Trocadero. That way you come up on the tower from around the side of the large exhibit buildings and suddenly there it is, all magnificent. Especially in the last light of the day, in that full on Paris evening blue sky.

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It’s tough to take any shot of the Eiffel Tower that hasn’t been taken before. It is such a classic image. But still fun to see what you actually capture of it. We decided not to go up the tower — crowds were large and lines were long and we were very tired after a long travel day and sightseeing already. So we just walked around and enjoyed the views and the crowds, more observing the tourists than being one. I have an aversion to doing touristy things anyway, and the hawkers of small junk were particularly obnoxious here, shoving their wares in your face, which greatly annoyed me. So we got out of the immediate tower area pretty quickly, walking on down the Champ de Mars and enjoying the crowds. It seemed a lot of the younger crowd was hanging out here, drinking and playing soccer and waiting for the tower to go into “glitter mode”, as we called it, where twinkling lights on the Tower send everyone into seizures for the first five minutes at the top of every hour at night, which set everyone to cheering and singing. They were a happy crowd.

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After that, we stumbled on through the streets to find a metro stop to take us back to the hotel and crash for the night.

Jardin du Luxembourg

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“Fountain of the Observatory”, also known as the “Fontaine des Quatre-du-Parties-World” or the “Carpeaux Fountain”, for its sculptures by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux . It was installed as part of the development of the Avenue de l’Observatoire by Gabriel Davioud in 1867.

After we got our Berthillon glaces at the lovely little cafe, we walked on up the boulevard towards the Jardin du Luxembourg. The Fountain is the first thing you see as you enter the garden from the south. The sculptures are magnificent, as are so many of the sculptures around the city — one of the things that I found most beautiful in Paris, with so much art everywhere.

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figures

In the large garden itself, there are so many people playing, lounging, walking, playing tennis, children on the playground equipment, walking, eating, shooting wedding photos, or riding bikes with dogs in their baskets. We met this ex-pat with his dog “Yoyo'”, I kept calling the dog Toto for obvious reasons.

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This was the couple having their wedding photos done. The ex-pat and I and several others were also taking their picture as well as their photographer.

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So this was just the start of our first afternoon in Paris — wandering around this beautiful garden, seeing how the real Parisians live their lives and enjoying it the way they do. Paris is full of these wonderful parks, this one being the biggest and one of the most beautiful. There are more Jardin de Luxembourg photos in the gallery pages.

Berthillon Glaces

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As much as everyone raves about Berthillon, it’s important to remember that it really is that good. The first day we were in Paris, I had the chocolate and mango glaces at Le Cafe Gourmand near the Jardin de Luxemborg. The last full day we were in Paris, we went to the Berthillon near Notre Dame, and I had to have the mango again, but with the amaretto praline. And a sugar waffle. It was amazing, again.

Later in the day, we went to Amorino, to compare the gelatto. I had their mango, which was very good, but didn’t really compare to the exquisite taste of the Berthillon. But still a very good treat!

Paris jewel thief takes $8m haul

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Taste test comparison between Michel Cluizel and Pierre Herme macarons. Pierre Herme wins big…

As noted by my husband, we have an alibi for the robbery yesterday, as we had already left the country by then. However, we were in the Place Vendome area last Friday, though, and walked around there in between sessions of our marathon tour of the Louvre on its late-evening day.

Jewellery worth more than 6m euros (£5m, $8m) has been stolen from an exclusive Paris store in broad daylight by a lone gunman, reports say.

The suited robber entered Chopard on Place Vendome and threatened staff into handing over 15 pieces of jewellery, a police source told Reuters.

He calmly walked out of the store after the hold-up, which happened just before 1500 (1300 GMT).

Chopard jewellery is worn by stars at the Oscars and Cannes film festival.

Place Vendome is an elegant old square known for its luxury hotels, and is also home to numerous jewellery stores as well as the French justice ministry.

In December, armed robbers stole jewels worth at least 80m euros ($102m) from a store near the French capital’s famous Champs-Elysees avenue.

As many as four robbers, two disguised as women, raided the Harry Winston’s store and stole nearly all its valuables.

via BBC NEWS | Europe | Paris jewel thief takes $8m haul.

ViedeMerde and FMyLife

The Parisian attitude towards life really is a lot like this — riding on the Metro you could simply see the long-standing suffering in the looks on the Parisian faces, the men standing with their pointy-toed elf shoes that must have been killing their feet, and the women with their beautiful scarves and jackets who didn’t give the least hint how overly warm they actually were on the Metro, just suffering patiently even as I would bail out of my jacket or take off my scarf and stuff it in my bag or whatever. The exception to the ever-tolerant suffering attitude was the young lovers, who were really cute, but even then you could often see young couples arguing very dramatically with scorn on their faces.

Viedemerde.fr (VDM) is a French site devoted to the truth that life is suffering. Vie de merde means — well, use the Babel translator. In the French way, VDM is devoted to offering the truth of suffering as short, tight exemplary narratives that are classified by subject — Amour, Argent, Enfants, Sexe, Travail and my favorite, Unclassable.

Viedemerde often has a rueful or droll touch:

Today I brought my lingerie home from my boyfriend’s place and found some that did not belong to me.

Today I had a big argument with my girlfriend who accused me of being narcissistic. Leaving home, I decided to write a text message to get her to forgive me. Lapse or inattention? I signed off with “I love myself.”

When you post on VDM it is rated with a little benediction: “It’s true it’s a VDM, it’s confirmed.”

Since Americans wanted to celebrate the Buddha’s dark diagnosis of the human condition in their own language, FMyLife.com arose. FMyLifes are postcards from Delusionville, narratives of failed hope, more emo and histrionic than Viedemerde.

Sometimes FMyLife is a miscellany of simple complaints, but the ideal post depends on a mapping problem, an irretrievable misreading of a situation:

Today, I was waiting in the car while my mom went into a store to get beer. A few minutes later, some random guy was knocking on my window telling me to open the door. I started cursing him out, thinking I was getting attacked. Turns out he worked there and was putting the beer in the car.

Today, my brother came out to our family as being gay. My mother starting crying because “She wanted grandchildren.” I told her that I was planning on having children. She started crying harder.

Today, I was on the bus home and on the phone with my best friend discussing my sex life with this new guy I’m seeing. I was telling her all sorts of raunchy sex things we’ve done until someone taps my shoulder and says “I’m sure he doesn’t appreciate you saying this in public.” It was his mom.

The site is intended to prove and even relish the idea that the cards are against you and your life really is a soap opera.

FMLs are rated by clicking on the message, “I agree, your life is f***ed,” which is perhaps taken as empathy, or clicking on “You deserved that one.” FML provides a dose of despairing chaos in case that is what you need to tune your day, your job, your mind. You could say FML’s purpose is consolation by diagnosis — Things are out of whack, dude, which is the first noble truth of Buddhism.

via Shambhala SunSpace » John Tarrant’s “Escape Arts in Delusionville”: My Average Life.