Wednesday, September 15, 2010


View from our hotel.

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe, Detail

Arc de Triomphe, Detail

Arc de Triomphe

Lunch: French Onion Soup. Oh So Good!

My brother getting his pose on at our hotel.

Heading out for dinner.

Area where we were staying.

The Louvre

Richard and I at The Louvre

Me at The Louvre

Winged Victory of Samothrace, 190 BC, Marble
Depicts the Greek goddess Nike (Victory). The sculpture was created to not only honor the goddess, but also to honor a sea battle. It conveys a sense of action and triumph as well as portraying artful flowing drapery through its features which the Greeks considered ideal beauty.

Winged Victory of Samothrace

Madonna of the Rocks, Leonardo Da Vinci, 1483-1486, Oil on Panel
Two versions of this painting exist, the one at the Louvre and one at the National Gallery in London. The paintings seem to draw on a legend of the meeting between the baby Jesus and John the Baptist on the flight into Egypt. According to the standard interpretation of the paintings, they depict the Madonna in the centre ushering John towards Jesus, who is seated with the angel Gabriel.

The Raft of the Medusa, Théodore Géricault, 1818-1819, Oil on Canvas
This work depicts a moment from the aftermath of the wreck of the French naval frigate Méduse, which ran aground off the coast of today's Mauritania on July 5, 1816. At least 147 people were set adrift on a hurriedly constructed raft; all but 15 died in the 13 days before their rescue, and those who survived endured starvation, dehydration, cannibalism and madness. The event became an international scandal, in part because its cause was widely attributed to the incompetence of the French captain acting under the authority of the recently restored French monarchy.

Liberty Leading the People, Eugène Delacroix, 1830, Oil on Canvas
This famous painting commemorates the July Revolution of 1830, which toppled Charles X. A woman personifying Liberty leads the people forward over the bodies of the fallen, holding the tricolore flag of the French Revolution in one hand and brandishing a bayonetted musket with the other. This is perhaps Delacroix's best-known painting, having carved its own niche in popular culture.

La Grande Odalisque, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, 1814, Oil on Canvas
Ingres transposed the theme of the mythological nude, whose long tradition went back to the Renaissance, to an imaginary Orient. This work, his most famous nude, was commissioned by Caroline Murrat, Napolean's sister and the queen of Naples. Here, Ingres painted a nude with long sinuous lines bearing little resemblance to anatomical reality. It depicts an odalisque, or concubine. This work attracted wide criticism when it was first shown for its lack of anatomical realism.

La Grande Odalisque, Detail

La Grande Odalisque, Detail

Hercules Battling the Hydra, Louvre
In Greek mythology, the Lernaean Hydra was an ancient serpent-like chthonic water beast that possessed numerous heads;the poets mention more heads than the vase-painters could paint and poisonous breath. The Hydra of Lerna was killed by Heracles as one of his The Twelve Labours.

View, Notre Dame in the background

Notre Dame

Stain Glass, Notre Dame

Saint Michel, Latin Quarter

Latin Quarter

Rue de Buci

L'Assemblee National

Storm coming

Les Invalides

Losers posing and taking pictures of themselves in front of the Eiffel Tower.

La Tour Eiffel!

La Tour Eiffel!

To quote the words of Cole Porter (as best sung by Ella Fitzgerald):

I love Paris in the springtime
I love Paris in the fall
I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles
I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles
I love Paris every moment of the year...

... and boy did it drizzle during our visit (my brother and I). Hmm, what is there to say about Paris that hasn't already been said? After my very first trip to the city on the Seine it certainly managed to surprise and enchant me.

Here are some of my favourite moments:
*Enjoying an afternoon cafe creme at a nearby cafe and watching all the beautiful parisians pass by.
*Seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time.
*The Louvre. Finally seeing so many of the beautiful works of art I studied in school. And yes, the line-up to get in IS worth it.
*Eating the most delicious ice cream with my brother in the Latin Quarter
*The stain glass inside the cathedral of Notre Dame
*Walking through the streets and different arrondissements and window shopping the mouthwatering fromage and wine shops, patisseries and boulangeries.
*Getting caught in a torrential downpour with my brother in front of Napolean's Tomb.
*Walking until my feet felt like they were going to fall off.
*The 'ah-ha' moment of realizing that in order to get to the Arc de Triomph, which was located in the middle of an eight car deep round-about of angry parisian drivers, you had to use the underground passage. I would have looked like the biggest tourist if I would have tried to make a run for it.

Shortly after we arrived home from Venice, Dennis and I were back on a plane – he was flying back to work (currently South Korea) and I was on my way to Paris for a days to meet up with my brother, Richard. I arrived in Paris a few hours ahead of him, so I decided to head for our hotel, The Residence Foch, to get checked in. The hotel was great, on a beautiful street in a good location. The staff were great, very helpful. Like all hotel rooms in Europe, ours was small. I didn't stay there long before I was out the door again to check out some of the sights, the Arc de Triomph (our hotel was only a few minutes away) and grab some lunch at a nearby cafe (very tasty bowl of french onion soup). Richard arrived shortly after I got back, we had a good visit about his trip so far and then we got ready and headed out for dinner.

The next day we were up early and out the door by 8:00am in order to try and see as much as we could in one day. We set out on foot and managed to hit a good number of major monuments: the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Latin Quarter, the Invalides and Napolean's Tomb, the Ecole Militaire, the Tour Eiffel and the Palais de Chaillot. It was a lot to pack into one day, the soles of my feet were ready to fall off by the end, but it was well worth it and we had such a fantastic time. I can't wait to do it all again in October when my mom comes to visit. Mom, bring good shoes! They should be comfortable but also stylish.