Tuesday, June 15, 2010

View from Centre Pompidou, Paris 1

We saw this view from Centre Pompidou. I wondered what the tall white building was. It is the Montmartre, more specifically Basilique du Sacré-Cœur. It appeared to be the tallest point in the city of Paris.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

070709 quaking aspens 4
Originally uploaded by lynpgz
This is the beautiful creek where I played as a little girl with my sisters - and my mother played when she was a little girl - and in just a little while, my granddaughters will play. My life and my memories are imprinted here on the trail

070709 quaking aspens creek
Originally uploaded by lynpgz

This is where our family is vacationing for 4 nights. Quaking Aspen meadow is beautiful, and just a short walk outside our cabin. To the right is a little creek that is hidden among the forest. Deer come in the early evening. I can't wait!

Friday, June 11, 2010

I keep my watch on Paris time ;-) and I am reminded that right now (7:40 AM PST) Paris is getting ready to get on the Metro and go home. We were on the Metro one evening during rush hour. I couldn't believe how many of us packed into such a small space!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

View of the maze from the top


floor plan&audio guide
Originally uploaded by hsili
Looks simple enough. You have a map. You have an audio guide. All you have to do is punch in the number and listen....NOT!

Each one of those floor plans has SEVERAL levels, twists and turns and the items (although numbered) aren't organized in reasonable fashion with obvious markers.

This electronic guide would be a video players dream by just making it through the maze. It was a challenge. Like in a video game - my whole goal was just to get there. I was often worn out/stressed out by the time I actually found an item. And who KNEW what I wanted to see. (How does one decide with an incredibly huge number of items to choose from what I actually want to see?)

I call this the TOYS R US of Museums. WAY too much to see to make any sense or good choices.

The GOOD - it was a great exercise for my brain that is not used to having to pick up what seemed like obscure clues. Another few days and I think I would have had it nailed :-)

Sunday May 30, 2010: Ron's friend Karl from Paris suburbs - met me this morning to take me to the oldest American Church in Paris. First, of course, croissant & cafe olet. Julie slept in a little and went to her own cafe and walk. Much synchronicity going on at the church service for me. Several of my morning devotions dovetailed with the theme/songs/ reenactments. It was like Jesus was at my shoulder reminding me clearly that he was with me on this trip - and loving me through some of my concerns. It was very nice to be at HOME with the language and the form of worship. VERY nice. Worshiping with Christians in France was part of my Paris dream.

Little Guys

Smart Car Parking
Originally uploaded by DCDaveBrad
Lots of small cars in Paris. Delivery trucks were the only large vehicles. Cars were usually black or gray - sometimes blue and occasionally red.

Originally uploaded by wck

LOTS of motorcycles/mopeds in Paris. This is a typical photo-shot. Streets were often lined with motorcycles.

Berthillon ice cream cone
Originally uploaded by maki

Berthillon Ice Cream

Top of the list of food in Paris for me? THIS ice cream. The flavors are incredible. I had a chocolate ice cream. And later an apricot. If you were in heaven and were able to get the true taste of chocolate and apricot in ice cream - Berthillon has the recipe. Serioiusly. If you EVER go to Paris - find this ice cream. My friend Karl in Paris told us about it - and it became one of our treasures to find. Wonderful.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Monet's poppy field, Giverny

Giverny, Monet's Path with Iris

Monet's house and garden

Originally uploaded by dalem

Monet's Japanese Bridge

Monet's Japanese Bridge
Originally uploaded by Bunny8907


Originally uploaded by herons

Tourist in Paris

A FRIEND! Ron met and got to know Karl Clark this last fall in a class Ron facilitated, “The Artist's Way.” Karl returned to Paris where he has lived for the past 20 years with his Parisian wife. He gave Ron’s group an open invitation if they should ever come to Paris to look him up – and I did. We emailed each other before the trip and he met us the first morning of our Paris visit.

It was WONDERFUL to meet someone the morning of our first day in Paris that spoke English – AND grew up in Bakersfield. Karl was charming and incredibly hospitable – showing us how to use the metro and taking us around Paris, on a boat ride on the Seine, and treating us to a lunch outdoors in beautiful weather. Karl gave me a wonderful introduction to Paris – releasing some of my tension and fears about travel. Seeing a friendly face who knew the ropes and who was in touch with us throughout the week , was incredibly helpful. THANK YOU KARL!

I bless Karl for making a mistake on the Metro. We had to get off and on again I think because we passed our stop. If someone who lived here for 20 years could goof up – then I had permission to goof up with grace as well. THANK YOU KARL.

Paris Metro tickets
Originally uploaded by Cian Ginty

Paris Museum Pass
Originally uploaded by northerncontinent

Purchasing museum pass/ Metro tickets

This was done fairly easily. We bought a 3 day Metro pass and 4 day Museum pass from the travel store at the end of the street from our hotel.
Finding the museum
1. Locate the place on the map
2. Locate the Metro lines that led to the place
3. GO!

Metro Sign, Paris
Originally uploaded by ny156uk

Métro à Paris
Originally uploaded by lode.rummens

Walking through a museum
Usually this meant showing your museum pass, having your bags checked, picking up a map/brochure/guide and deciding on whether to get an audio tour or just walk through. I usually got an audio tour – Julie usually walked through

Sometimes walking through meant trying to follow a map (Louvre) which could be daunting. Louvre was daunting.

Walking through meant looking at an artifact, sculpture, painting – deciding if you liked it, what you liked about it, and reading or listening to someone’s description. Only the most important items were described. In a room of 50 objects in the Louvre, maybe only 5 objects were described. Sometimes the audio would give you a general description of the room you were entering – but often I was so disoriented and looking around for objects that listening to the guide (at the Louvre) was minimally appreciated.

Experiencing the art, the presentation
Two things allow one to appreciate art or a museum piece. Knowledge and a suspension of time to absorb and enjoy. I wish I could say that experiencing the art was incredible. My enjoyment of the art pieces was affected by the most banal thoughts: Finding the object, being hungry, thirsty, needing to go to the bathroom, what time was it? and when did I meet Julie? Something of my appreciation was an act, or going through the motions. I would go to a piece of art – look at it – and decide, “Do I like this?” mostly my head was filled with too much business to become timeless and enjoy.

However, with all those distractions going on - there was some art and some museum pieces that held me and glistened in my heart and eyes.


Orsay museum Paris
Originally uploaded by dthomas9678

There was a sculpture in Orsay which I loved. The Dance. It was a group of women and children I think, in motion – with such expressions of joy on their faces that you could not help but smile. This sculpture captured my attention. Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux – La Danse 1808

There were two pieces of impressionistic art that caught my attention – different artists but similar scenes. At night in the park lit up by street lights. The picture was quiet, empty of people, and full of the peace and wonder of evening. It felt safe and like a sanctuary. I loved these pictures.
A Park at Night, circa 1892-95 by Jozsef Rippl-Ronai
Nocturne Dans Le Parc Royal, Brussels by William Degouve De Nuncques

THE LOUVRE was a contest. Could I find what I wanted to find and actually get there? Four levels, each which comprised of several levels themselves, with continuous twists and turns. It was SO EASY TO GET LOST. Once you were in the Egyptian section – you might not ever get out. The key word to my experience in The Louvre was, LOST! My goal at the Louvre became not so much to enjoy art – but to see if I could actually go where I wanted to go when I wanted to get there. I met Julie for lunch only 30 minutes after the appointed time. VICTORY! I found Napoleon III apartment on the 3rd floor and got back in time to meet Julie: VICTORY! I think people who are used to video games and finding treasures in incredibly complex mazes would be more comfortable at the Louvre. Julie and I both spent a great deal of time figuring how to get out of a place. Seriously.

I enjoyed the Egyptian part the most. To see all the artifacts and sculptures and mummified bodies was fascinating. I kept thinking as I walked through that Moses, and even Joseph and Mary had experienced this Egypt. I felt more in touch with the incredible determination to produce something beautiful and practical. The patience and timelessness that had to be present in doing such work. I envy that ability to set aside everything else except eating and sleeping to create.

Going to the museums served to create new interest and desire to learn more. Three dimensional history was a catalyst to know more.

Napolean III Apartments
Originally uploaded by ToddSF

Did opulence and gold engender the same enthusiasm in design that a completely different style (like simple cottage style) does in others? Was there a sense satisfaction, peace, excitement? Or was it more a statement - "I spent a lot of money, I have a lot of power?" This simple American is unimpressed.

Mona Lisa
Originally uploaded by ToddSF

Smile baby, SMILE!

The Winged Victory of Samothrace, also called Nike of Samothrace, is a marble sculpture of the Greek goddess Nike (Victory).

The Victory is considered one of the great surviving masterpieces of Greek sculpture from the Hellenistic period, despite the fact that the figure is significantly damaged, missing its head and outstretched arms. By an unknown artist (presumably Rhodian in origin), the sculpture is thought to date from the period 220 BC - 190 BC (though some scholars date it as early as 250 BC or as late as 180 BC).

This winged sculpture captured my attention. Sitting on the stairs near her feet - I sensed greatness and beauty.


Cupid and Psyche
Originally uploaded by ToddSF


The trip. This was our first trip outside of Paris on Saturday. The night before Julie plotted out our destination and the Metro lines and RER train that we would use to get there. Thank you Julie! We got up, ate breakfast, and were off!

The weather: The weather was cloudy and somewhat cold. VERY cold if you were caught in the wind (which happened at the top of the hill in the garden). There was also some rain. Weather affected our stay. We did not stay around because we were cold.

AUDIO GUIDE: This was the ONE time that the audio guides (Free this time) were truly helpful. It was a room by room guide and all we had to do was put in the number and listen. The actual information was listened to with mild interest that sometimes leaned to non-interest. Julie and I sometimes pushed on before the audio was finished.

The Castle: Immense. Art and creativity mixed in with opulence and greed and politics, mixed in with a theology of divine right rule. I wonder , in the years to come, when they walk through our gardens and buildings what will be obvious to them about our time and our beliefs. I also wonder – how much does right and wrong interfere with art? And does it? Did artists get lost in their creative productions – or were they resentful or angry at having to produce something? What about the craftsman who did the gold carved molding around the walls in the King’s bedroom? Did he feel passionate and blessed by God? Or did he feel enslaved? Or stressed at pleasing the king? I don’t think art cares much about politics. So many artists at so many levels during this time. Do we have artists like that? I don’t think so. We have become much more simplistic – puritan.

The Garden: Incredibly huge – geometric, beautiful with simple lines. I couldn’t imagine the use of the gardens. How were these gardens used on such an immense level? Did the queen have her enclave that went to a certain part of the garden (well hidden from other parts) to party with her friends? I know so little about this life of King’s Gardens and their purpose and use. I want to know more.

King Luis XIV: This man I learned a little bit – and I want to know more. He seemed intelligent and driven and incredibly educated. I learned a little bit about his history – but paragraph descriptions were hardly sufficient. I want to k now more about this man and his rule.


I think we went to Rodin on our 3rd day with the Museum Pass. That would have been Friday. The day was beautiful. We spent lots of time in the garden – enjoying the blue skies and the sunshine more than the art. It seemed odd to see so many of sculptures in beautiful garden about people in misery. Sculptures of 5 men and their expressions just before they were hung. It was interesting to see the different expressions of determination or despair on their faces. The Inferno – was one of the major pieces – with individual pieces concentrated on throughout the garden.

I wondered about “The Thinker” – So objective, so withdrawn from scenes of misery. What would you be so calmly thinking about? “The Gates of Hell was based on Divina Commedia (The Divine Comedy) of Dante Alighieri, with each statue representing one of the main characters. The Thinker was originally meant to depict Dante in front of the Gates of Hell, pondering his poem. In the final sculpture, a miniature sits atop the tympanon, pondering the hellish fate of those beneath him. The Thinker was exhibited in its original size (71.5cm) in Copenhagen in 1888.” My other question about “The Gates of Hell” - WHY WERE THERE CHILDREN and BABIES in the sculpture?

The most beautiful piece that I remember is a sculpture of two hands – which Rodin saw as nature’s cathedral. There is another piece of art the caught my attention and I cannot find it in the catalog of pictures. It was a bust of a woman using different mediums, different colors of clay and even newspaper. I was intrigued. If I find it I will include the picture.