Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Paris

I can’t believe it is almost a year since we drove to Paris and saw the most amazing sights. I’ve written about it here, here and here. But I haven’t yet mentioned my visit to the fabulous Musée d’Orsay. It was on my list of things to see it but was not sure we would have time. It was our last day and we had a couple of hours free in the late afternoon. My friend said, “Let’s go!” I am so glad we did as it was incredible. Seeing works of art I have admired all my adult life, made my heart sing!

The building itself is a masterpiece. It’s located in the centre of Paris on the banks of the Seine, in the former Orsay railway station, built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. The building, no longer used as a railway station, was scheduled for demolition when the idea of using it to display collections of art from the period of 1848 to 1914 was suggested. In December of 1986 the museum was opened to the public.

Visitors are greeted by the magnificent decor of this former train station that came so close to being destroyed. I was gobsmacked the minute I walked through the doors.

One of the first paintings that caught my attention was Millet’s The Gleaners. I have always loved this painting of women collecting leftover grain after the harvest. Perhaps because of my rural background.

On the next wall I spotted Corot’s Le Moulin de Saint-Nicholas-lez-Arras and burst into tears. For the first ten years of my working life I was employed by a wonderful German woman who owned a gift shop in Medicine Hat, Alberta, called Ed’s Studio craft. She imported many things from Europe and was an art afficianado. She taught me so much about business, art and culture. We sold among other things, art prints and art cards. She gave me many wonderful gifts over the years which I treasure, including an art card depicting this painting. She sadly passed away at a young age.

Le Moulin de Saint-Nicolas-lez-Arras by Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot. I always wished I could step inside that painting.

Of course there were many, many more of my favourites. Here are just a few.

Claude Monet’s Poppies

Renoir’s Dance at Le moulin de la Galette

Renoir’s Dance in the Country

Van Gogh’s Starry Night Over the Rhone

Van Gogh’s The Church at Auvers

From the roof top of the museum is a great view of Montmartre with the imposing La Basilique du Sacre-Coeur (Cathedral of the Sacred Heart)

Inside, looking through the clock with Sacre-Coeur in the background

Because it was once a train station, there are a number of impressive clocks in the building to add to the atmosphere. Perhaps telling us that art is timeless and stirs emotions from the past, the present and the future.

To view these works of art in this amazing place is a must. I wished we had more time but I plan one day to return.

Have you been to Musée d’Orsay? Or any art museum that stirred your soul?

Notre Dame de Paris – Our Lady of Paris

I love visiting cathedrals, especially those full of history. They each have stories to tell and represent the culture of the area. A fascinating cathedral is Notre Dame de Paris and I was delighted to see it, inside and out, during our visit in May. The Notre Dame Cathedral, with its fine sculptures and stained glass windows, was one of the very first Gothic cathedrals and is 800 years old. It has been through so much, including being plundered during the French Revolution and used as a storage facility. If those walls could talk.

Amazing sculptures adorning the exterior. Note the intricate detail.

The rib vaults of the nave

One of many gorgeous stained glass windows

It is breathtakingly beautiful inside. I was fortunate to hear the choir singing during mass while I was there. The hordes of tourists made it difficult to get pictures inside but I managed to take a short video to give you an idea of the magnificence of the place.

The next day we returned to the area and our friends took us to a quaint pastry shop, La Maison ODETTE, where we enjoyed a perfect cup of tea and melt in your mouth choux a la cremes on the top floor. The shutters were opened and we had a perfect view of the cathedral!! A quintessential French experience I will never forget.


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Our view of Notre Dame from the top floor of Odette

Odette is located opposite the charming Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre church, one of the oldest in Paris.

Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre Church (Church of Saint Julian the Poor)

I did not see the hunchback, but I certainly understand how Victor Hugo was inspired. My dream of visiting Notre Dame Cathedral was fulfilled.

DSCN1801We had one rainy day in Paris, the trains were on strike and the traffic horrible. So we decided not to go downtown. Since the Ceramics Museum was nearby, we choose to visit it instead. I love ceramics of all sorts, my daughter is a potter, after all. It was a good decision.

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The elegant entrance into the French Museum of Ceramics

Located in Sèvres, a suburb of Paris well known for producing fine ceramics, the museum is housed in a building built in 1876 on the site of a ceramics factory which is still in operation. The museum was originally created in 1824  by Alexandre Brongniart who’s statue stands in front of the building. It was later moved to the current location.

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The museum contains one of the world’s largest collection of ceramics representing many countries, periods and techniques. I was fascinated by all categories of ceramics (pottery, faience, stoneware, porcelain, as well as enamels, stained glass windows and glass) from various cultures and time periods well displayed in the many rooms. Here are some of my favourite pieces.

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Don’t you just love the face on this item from Germany?

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I couldn’t help but admire this vase decorated with dogs, cats, and rabbits.

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A fabulous wall of ceramic plates

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This was one of my favourite pieces. I love the colours.

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And not just because it matched my nail polish perfectly!!

The rain doesn’t ruin your plans, it just gives you an opportunity to do or see something you hadn’t planned!!

I found Paris to be delightful and loved every minute I was there. A special treat was a drive around the city at night. Here are a few pictures of what we saw. The quality of the photographs may not be great, but, it was nighttime and I was in a car for the most part.

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Monsieur Eiffel’s tower, amazing by day, exquisite by night.

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The Champs-Élysées going toward the Arc de Triomphe

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Arc de Triomphe

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Avenue des Champs-Élysées going the opposite direction

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Paris street scene at night

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The Opera House, is the phantom lurking behind one of those windows?

 

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Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris on top of Montmartre

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Sacré-Cœur Basilica

It was a drizzly evening so the view from Montmartre, the highest point in Paris, was not great, but it was still exciting to see this vibrant city at night.

I hope you enjoyed my night time views of this fabulous city.

Have you been to Paris at night?

Hola! Dot here. Mom said I could write this post. It’s my first try so I hope it will be OK. Two years ago Mom and Dad came to Malaga to pick me up from my foster home and we drove a long way back to my forever home. I was eight months old and hadn’t ever been on such a long drive. I think it was five hours. But it was fine because they stopped a few times and let me have walks and bathroom breaks.

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I didn´t make a sound on the five-hour car ride to my new home. two years ago.

So when Mom and Dad decided to drive to Paris and take me along I was fine with that. It was fun. Even though it was a long drive, we stopped lots at cool places that had different writing on the signs. So now I know a little bit of French. We stayed at dog-friendly hotels along the way. I’m glad I was with mom and dad as I don’t like sleeping in strange places.

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Mom got excited when we passed signs showing we were going to places she has always wanted to visit. Dad and I think she gets excited about the strangest things.

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The countryside was pretty from what I could see from the back seat. Mom took loads of pictures. We passed castles and cows in the fields. She took the pictures through the car window so they aren’t that great.

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French Charolais cattle in the fields

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Driving by a castle in the distance

 

When we got to Sèvres, near Paris we stopped at my friend Havane’s place. I was so glad to see her again and we had tons of fun playing together and running in the forest.

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Dot and her friend Havane.

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Dot playing ball in the forest.

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Havane protecting her ball from Dot.

I had a comfy bed to sleep on and I brought my teddy so I was happy.

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Dot feeling at home in France.

I didn’t get to go into Paris, which is OK as I don’t like busy cities with traffic and lots of people. I stayed home with Havane. But mom said they saw dogs there. One even stood on his dad’s shoulder while he played his guitar for money. I hope they made enough money for dog food.

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Busker in Paris with his dog.

Here are a couple of videos of me and Havane at her home and in the forest. Watch how I always get the ball.

 

Au revoir mes amis!

Dot the dog.

We are back from our wonderful time in France. It was a driving holiday and Dot came along. She proved to be an excellent little traveller and was happy to see her Spaniel friend in France. The French countryside was lovely and I finally got to see Paris! It was everything I dreamt of and more. So much history, culture and great food. Our friends were the perfect hosts and tour guides. They made sure we saw everything possible in the time we had. More dreams came true for me. Here are just a few of our special memories.

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Our first view of the Eiffel Tower. Loved that families picnicked on the lawns.

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Even someone having a nap by the tower.

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The impressive Arc de Triomphe at the end of the Champs-Élysées

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The Famous Opera House (no phantom in sight)

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The Seine and one of the many bridges to Île de la Cité

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The Louvre, Palace Royal

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The Louvre Pyramid

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Musician at the Louvre

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The Seine with Notre Dame Cathedral in the background

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Notre Dame Cathedral (no hunchback either)

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Napolean in front of the Miltary Museum

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The Dôme des Invalides which houses the tomb of Napolean

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Place des Vosges, a palace built by Henri IV in 1605, now a trendy shopping area with cafes and art galleries

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Victor Hugo resided at Place de Vosges, a fashionable square to live in during the 17th and 18th centuries.

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Shakespeare and Company, a well-known bookstore featured in a few movies, at Kilometer Zero, the point at which all French roads begin.

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Of course, I bought a book!

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Place Colette, a typical Paris street scene

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Many wonderful cafes and restaurants. I think I found the hunchback!

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Liberty, Equality, Fraternity on all the government buildings.

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The other Statue of Liberty

There was so much more, like the Musée d’Orsay, the Ceramics Museum, Monet’s house and garden and the Palace of Versailles. But they will have to wait for another post or two!

“He who contemplates the depths of Paris is seized with vertigo.
Nothing is more fantastic. Nothing is more tragic.
Nothing is more sublime.” 
― Victor Hugo

 

 


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