Home for 6 nights - a little 6th floor studio just off the Champs Élysées on the Rue Marbeuf
THURSDAY 29 - Air France to Paris
Travel day and moving into our Studio for the next 6 nights. We soon found the Carrefour Central Market just around the corner. After the Scenic Cruise we just wanted some plain old home cooking. Colleen made a beautiful Spaghetti Bolognaise ( a la Arrabiata).
Our little Studio looks like the top levels in the photo. There is a skylight and two skylight type windows which can open manually. They do open with a remote control and have electrically operated shutters. I finally mastered the use of this.
The lift operates to the fifth floor. Unfortunately, we are on the 6th floor. We enter our front door on the 5th floor and struggle up 18 steps of a narrow spiral staircase to our landing.
FRIDAY 30 December. - A day at the Musee Le Louvre
The Louvre or the Louvre Museum is the world's largest museum and a historic monument in Paris, France. A central landmark of the city, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the city's 1st arrondissement (district or ward). Nearly 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited over an area of 72,735 square metres.The Louvre is the world's second most visited museum after the Palace Museum in China, receiving more than 10 million visitors.
The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace, originally built as a fortress in the late 12th century under Philip II. Remnants of the fortress are visible in the basement of the museum. Due to the urban expansion of the city, the fortress eventually lost its defensive function and, in 1546, was converted by Francis I into the main residence of the French Kings. The building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace. In 1682, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles for his household, leaving the Louvre primarily as a place to display the royal collection, including, from 1692, a collection of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture. In 1692, the building was occupied by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres and the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, which in 1699 held the first of a series of salons. The Académie remained at the Louvre for 100 years. During the French Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum to display the nation's masterpieces.
The museum opened on 10 August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, the majority of the works being royal and confiscated church property. Because of structural problems with the building, the museum was closed in 1796 until 1801. The collection was increased under Napoleon and the museum renamed the Musée Napoléon, but after Napoleon's abdication many works seized by his armies were returned to their original owners. The collection was further increased during the reigns of Louis XVIII and Charles X, and during the Second French Empire the museum gained 20,000 pieces. Holdings have grown steadily through donations and bequests since the Third Republic. The collection is divided among eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; Prints and Drawings.
We thought Friday may have been a quieter day. How wrong we were! Throngs pushed and shoved to get a view of the Mona Lisa.
Here are some views from the Louvre including some of our favourite artists.The Veronese is the large painting on the opposite wall to the very very small Mona Lisa.
Some photos of the Greek treasures include Aphrodite - Venus de Milo, sculptures from the Temple of Artemis and much more.
Here are some photos taken around the Louvre.
The Champs Élysées
SATURDAY 31 DECEMBER - The Flea Market at Clingancourt and Sacre Coeur, Montmartre and Pigalle.
The Flea Market was reached through one change of subway. It was hardly worth the effort.
Next was the Metro to Abesses with one lift and many staircases.
We went to see Sacre Coeur at Montmatre. This area around the Cathedral is very arty.
This is the hard way up to Montmarte with more than 100 steps.
The easier way was the way we went on the Funicular.
Here are some street scenes around Montmatre.
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, commonly known as Sacré-Cœur Basilica and often simply Sacré-Cœur, is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Paris, France. A popular landmark, the basilica is located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city. Sacré-Cœur is a double monument, political and cultural, both a national penance for the defeat of France in the 1871 Franco-Prussian War and the socialist Paris Commune of 1871 crowning its most rebellious neighborhood, and an embodiment of conservative moral order, publicly dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was an increasingly popular vision of a loving and sympathetic Christ.
The Sacré-Cœur Basilica was designed by Paul Abadie. Construction began in 1875 and was finished in 1914. It was consecrated after the end of World War I in 1919.
Here is the stunning view over Paris from the steps of Sacre Coeur Basilica.
Naturally, there is an Irish Pub close by.
Our nearest Metro station on the Champs Élysées is Franklin D Roosevelt. The police had closed down the roads within two hundred metres. Police tow trucks hauled away any cars parked near the taped off areas.
NEW YEAR'S DAY - 1 JANUARY 2017 - A walk down the Champs Élysées and two art galleries - The L'ORANGERI and MUSEE D'ORSAY
We thought we would walk down the Champs Élysées this morning at 10.00 am to see the parade. If there was one then we missed it. The Police had closed off the whole Avenue.
The Metro and buses were cancelled we walked down to the Place Concorde. This is where the Egyptian Obelisk is sited. The Obelisk was taken as booty by Napoleon on his Egyptian campaign. The Luxor Obelisk is over 3,000 years old and was originally situated outside of Luxor Temple, where its twin remains to this day. It first arrived in Paris on December 21, 1833, having been shipped from Luxor via Alexandria and Cherbourg, and three years later, on October 25, 1836, was moved to the center of Place de la Concorde by King Louis-Phillipe. It was gifted to France by Muhammad Ali, Khedive of Egypt.
During the French Revolution the statue of Louis XV of France was torn down and the area renamed Place de la Révolution. The new revolutionary government erected the guillotine in the square, and it was here that King Louis XVI was executed on 21 January 1793. Th site of the guillotine is right in front of the Obelisk.
We visited the L'Orangerie. The Musée de l'Orangerie is an art gallery of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings located in the west corner of the Tuileries Gardens next to the Place de la Concorde in Paris. Though most famous for being the permanent home for eight Water Lilies murals by Claude Monet, the museum also contains works by Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri Rousseau, Alfred Sisley, Chaim Soutine, and Maurice Utrillo, among others.
Water Lilies (or Nymphéas, French) is a series of approximately 250 oil paintings by French Impressionist Claude Monet (1840–1926). The paintings depict Monet's flower garden at his home in Giverny, and were the main focus of Monet's artistic production during the last thirty years of his life. Many of the works were painted while Monet suffered from cataracts.
Here are a few of our favourite paintings from this collection.
We walked over the Seine to the Musee D'Orsay. The Musée d'Orsay is a museum in Paris, France, on the left bank of the Seine. It is housed in the former Gare d'Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900. The museum holds mainly French art dating from 1848 to 1914, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photography. It houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces in the world, by painters including Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin, and Van Gogh. Many of these works were held at the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume prior to the museum's opening in 1986. It is one of the largest art museums in Europe.
Here are some of our favourites from this Museum.
Our Metro at Franklin D Roosevelt was still closed so we travelled on to George V and walked back to Rue Marbeuf.
The Champs Élysées was a beautiful sight at night.
MONDAY 2 JANUARY 2017 - The big sleep in and the afternoon at the National Monument, the Pantheon.
A church had been built on this site since 507.
The Panthéon is a building in the Latin Quarter in Paris. It was originally built as a church dedicated to St. Genevieve and to house the reliquary châsse containing her relics but, after many changes, now functions as a secular mausoleum containing the remains of distinguished French citizens. It is an early example of neoclassicism, with a façade modeled on the Pantheon in Rome, surmounted by a dome that owes some of its character to Bramante's Tempietto. Located in the 5th arrondissement on the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, the Panthéon looks out over all of Paris. Designer Jacques-Germain Soufflot had the intention of combining the lightness and brightness of the Gothic cathedral with classical principles, but its role as a mausoleum required the great Gothic windows to be blocked.
The inscription above the entrance reads AUX GRANDS HOMMES LA PATRIE RECONNAISSANTE ( "To great men, the grateful homeland"). By burying its great people in the Panthéon, the nation acknowledges the honour it received from them. As such, interment here is severely restricted and is allowed only by a parliamentary act for "National Heroes". Similar high honours exist in Les Invalides for historical military leaders such as Napoléon, Turenne and Vauban.
Foucault's pendulum is located in the nave. The first public exhibition of a Foucault pendulum took place in February 1851 in the Meridian of the Paris Observatory. A few weeks later, Foucault made his most famous pendulum when he suspended a 28-kg brass-coated lead bob with a 67-m-long wire from the dome of the Panthéon, Paris. The plane of the pendulum's swing rotated clockwise 11° per hour, making a full circle in 32.7 hours. The original bob used in 1851 at the Panthéon was moved in 1855 to the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers in Paris. A second temporary installation was made for the 50th anniversary in 1902.
Among those buried in its necropolis are Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, Jean Moulin, Louis Braille, Jean Jaurès and Soufflot, its architect. In 1907 Marcellin Berthelot was buried with his wife Mme Sophie Berthelot, the first woman to be interred. Marie Curie was the first woman interred based on her own merits. Marie Curie received two Nobel Prizes - Physics and Chemistry 13 years apart. Geneviève de Gaulle-Anthonioz and Germaine Tillion, heroines of the French resistance, were interred in 2015.
TUESDAY 3 JANUARY 2017 - Hotel des Invalides, Musee de L'Armee and the Arc de Triomphe
Les Invalides, commonly known as Hôtel National des Invalides (The National Residence of the Invalids), or also as Hôtel des Invalides, is a complex of buildings in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, France, containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building's original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l'Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d'Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the Dôme des Invalides, a large church with the burial site for some of France's war heroes, most notably Napoleon Bonaparte.
Louis XIV initiated the project by an order dated 24 November 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The selected site was in the then suburban plain of Grenelle (plaine de Grenelle). By the time the enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres (643 ft) and the complex had fifteen courtyards, the largest being the cour d'honneur ("court of honour") for military parades. It was then felt that the veterans required a chapel. Jules Hardouin-Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant's designs after the elder architect's death. This chapel was known as Église Saint-Louis des Invalides, and daily attendance of the veterans in the church services was required. Interestingly, the architect was only twenty years of age.
Shortly after the veterans' chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature (see below). The domed chapel was finished in 1708.
The Dôme des Invalides (originally Chapelle royale des Invalides) is a large former church in the centre of the Les Invalides complex.
The dôme was designated to become Napoleon's funeral place in a law dated 10 June 1840. The excavation and erection of the crypt, that heavily modified the interior of the domed church, took twenty years to complete and was finished in 1861.
Inspired by St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, the original for all baroque domes, the Dôme des Invalides is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. Mansart raised its drum with an attic storey over its main cornice, and employed the paired columns motif in his more complicated rhythmic theme. The general programme is sculptural but tightly integrated, rich but balanced, consistently carried through, capping its vertical thrust firmly with a ribbed and hemispherical dome. The domed chapel is centrally placed to dominate the court of honour.
The most notable tomb at Les Invalides is that of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821). Napoleon was initially interred on Saint Helena, but King Louis Philippe arranged for his remains to be brought to France in 1840, an event known as le retour des cendres. Napoléon's remains were first buried in the Chapelle Saint-Jérôme in the Invalides until his final resting place, a tomb made of red quartzite and resting on a green granite base, was finished in 1861.
The Musee de L'Armee is one of our he biggest in the world and featured weaponry, uniforms etc from Louis XIV through to the modern day.
Here are some pictures of Napoleon's personal items. These include his uniform, satchel, hat and his hand guns.
We took the a Metro back to Charles de Gaulle Etoile - the Arc de Triomphe. The second photo shows the limousines outside the State of Qatar Embassy just across from the Arc de Triomphe. Diplomatic Plates on a brace of Mercedes Benz S500s, an Audi A8 L and a big Beemer.
Farewell to Paris in the morning when we fly Air France to a Rome for three nights then an Eastern Mediterranean Cruise then back to Rome for two more days.