Last Day…heading home! Au revoir, Paris!

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Today was my last day and I am ready to go home. Everybody thought it would be fun if I went in the mail, just as I had come to Lawrence.

All my still existing parts were found and I was put in an envelope and headed for Kansas. We all feel really bad to be separating as we have been together so long but I have to go back to Norton and go to school.

Au revoir, Paris, Linda, Lance, and Julie…I had a great time!

Scary deal…we had to find our way home on the subway.

The crazy bus driver skipped our bus stop because of the traffic and dumped us out somewhere we had no idea where we were. So, in all our wisdom we decided to take the subway and find our way back to Montparnasse where we were staying.

No idea where we were or where we were going, really…just the general idea. Well, needless to say that was a bit stressful, but we made it.

Avenue des Champs-élysées…and other points of interest.

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Finally a tour bus ride! We were running out of time as Julie was so obsessed about looking at the art none of the rest of us were going to get to see the famous land marks of Paris so we caught a tour bus, sat on the upper deck and took it all in. These are my pictures of the ride, remember I am sometimes only a shadow on the side of the picture as I wanted to be sure you could see what I could see.

The Arc de Triomphe honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. French victories are inscribed on it’s walls. The French Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from WW I is beneath it’s vault. Remember our Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, which is part of the Washington DC area where we were two weeks ago.

The unusual garden wall coming up in these pictures is a wall of the nearly completed  Quai Branly Museum. This entire outside of the building is covered with living plants, as well as many walls inside. Theses walls are the design of famous world-trotting botanist, Patrick Blanc. This museum houses African art.

Don’t forget to scroll across my pics for more information.

Musée d’Orsay…once a train station…

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The Musée d’Orsay building is quite unusual and could be called the museum’s first piece of art.  It was originally constructed as a railway station for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. It has a beautiful arched glass roof with art deco decorations. That alone was stunning. The Musée houses a collection of art from 1848 to 1914, the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist periods. Some Impressionists names you might recognize are, Degas, Renoir and Monet. Post-Impressionists you might have heard of are Van Gogh and Gauguin.

We were not allowed to take pictures in the museum so we only have two.

We were fortunate enough to see the Degas special exhibit. Even though everything was beautiful beyond words, very memorable was a little sketch book about 7″ by 5″. It was in a glass case and contained ink sketches made by Degas that he drew to help him remember a figure he was planning to paint. It was so amazing, no matter where you had seen this little book of sketches, or where you might have looked at it you would always know it was Degas.

Meeting Nicholas and his Flat Stanley from New Port Beach, California

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On our way to the d’Orsay to see the Impressionist Art we stopped to talk to a family from New Port Beach, California. As it seems all Americans in Paris are all asking each other questions about how to get somewhere. We heard a lot of “Do you speak English?” And said that phrase several times ourselves. Anyway, their little boy had his Flat Stanley with him so we met right there in front of Esplanade des Invalides. The Esplanade des Invalides is one of the more open spaces in Paris. It is a popular picnic and soccer game area, used much like a city park in the US. It is bordered by the famous Champs-Elysées. However, now that the picture is attached I see we were really on the back side of the building, the dome in the background is really the front side. You might also notice how bad I am looking. Both my arms are off and my one leg is on the bridge. Well, as I have said before traveling is very hard on the body. New Port Beach Flat still looks fine but he was laminated. But, if I had been laminated I would have missed a lot, I needed to be rolled up and held with the camera and constantly on alert.

I left my leg…some people leave their heart…well, I left my leg.

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After we left Notre Dame we walked across the Pont de Archéché bridge on our way to a bistro for lunch. Apparently this bridge is where lovers and families attach a lock to express their love for each other and for Paris Well, since I have been traveling all these days and miles with Linda, Lance and Julie and we have all become quite attached to each other, we all thought it appropriate to leave a part of us with a lock on the famous Paris bridge. As none of them had anything to leave, they decided I could leave a leg….WHAT??? So I did.  I have several pictures of the locks and bridge and one of my now missing leg.

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris….

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Notre Dame is considered the finest example of French Gothic architecture in the world. The first period of it’s construction began in 1163. This structure was among the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress. A flying buttress an arched exterior support that allows the building to have higher thinner walls. This structure was essentially complete by 1345. Remember to scroll across my pictures for my information.

Next Stop…The Louvre

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The Louvre was the actual palace of the royal family until Louis XIV moved the court to Versailles. Then the Louvre became a place to store the royal collections.

The once controversial glass pyramid designed by architect I.M. Pei was beautiful. This is a picture of part of it. The glass pyramid was designed to become the modern day entrance to the Louvre, as over 8,000,000 people visit the Louvre each year.

I was astonished at the beautiful pieces of art and at the unbelievable beauty of the Louvre itself.

 The Mona Lisa is the most famous piece of art in the world. The Mona Lisa was painted by Leonardo da Vinci about 1503. The Mona Lisa was painted in Florence, Italy. Since I have just been to Florence where I saw The Adoration of the Maji that da Vinci painted and several other beautiful and magnificent things that he painted I am feeling rather smug and knowledgable. The Mona Lisa is protected by a glass covering and a vault that she slides down into when not on display. The Mona Lisa is 21inches by 30 inches.

The Mona Lisa is said to be the “best known, most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, and the most parodied (most made fun of) work of art in the world.” After what I have seen of other works of art by da Vinvi I must say I really don’t understand why this particular piece is found to be so mysterious and intriguing. I was somewhat stunned as we climbed the stairs on the way to see Mona Lisa to be standing in front of the Winged Victory of Samotrace. Then I remembered where I was. I think this was the greatest moment of my trip.

The Winged Victory is thought to have been created in 190, remember that would be the second century. Even though no longer complete, in no way did this diminish her beauty.

The Venus de Milo was discovered on the island of Melos in Greece in 1820. She was thought to be sculpted between 130 and 100 BC, that would make her the oldest piece of art we have seen. The Venus is made of two blocks of marble that were sculpted and then fitted together. I found that interesting when I remembered Michaelagelo’s David was sculpted from one huge 18,000 pound piece of marble. Venus is 6′ 8″ tall and remember David is 17′ tall.

We stopped to look out the window of the Louvre at another wing of the beautiful building. The Louvre is HUGE!

La Tour Eiffel…The Eiffel Tower

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Our next stop, the Eiffel Tower.

The Eiffel Tour was erected for the Paris Exposition of 1889.  It is an immense tower of exposed iron latticework. It is 984 feet tall.  When it was constructed it was the tallest structure in the world.  It remained the tallest structure for 40 years until the Empire State Building in New York City was built in 1929.

The Eiffel Tour was named after the structural engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel whose company designed and built the tower. It was built to celebrate the science and engineering achievements of the age. Others were also responsible for this magnificent structure although Eiffel gets all the credit. They were Architect, Stephen Sauvestre and structural engineers, Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier, just to keep the record straight.

Eiffel’s company was also responsible for the wrought iron structure inside the Statue of Liberty.

Paris…here I come…First Stop the Palace of Versailles

It feels like we have walked a million miles and looked at entirely different worlds, which I guess we have. Our first adventure in the Paris area is a visit to Versailles.

Versailles was the Chateau of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Originally a hunting lodge for King Louis XIII, his son Louis XIV, made it into the grand chateau we are viewing today. At one time 3,000 people lived here as the King, Louis XIV wanted to have control of everyone that belonged to his court so he made them all live with him.

I have a lot of pictures of the beautiful, very outrageous, Versailles. Enormous shimmering mirrors and crystal chandeliers sparkle in the Hall of Mirrors. The Hall of Mirrors is located in the center part of the Chateau. This great hall was originally named the “Grande Galerie”. It is 240 feet long and every part of it is beautiful. Many impressive parties were held in this room but history remembers it as the place where the Treaty of Versailles was signed.  The Treaty of Versailles marked the end of World War I.