148 Photos - Jun 5, 2014
Photo: Walking through Montmartre is an experience in itselfPhoto: Sacre Coeur was constructed by the French as an act of penance for the nation's defeat at the hands of the Prussians in 1870. It contains what many believe to be the sacred heart of Christ.Photo: Photo: View from Sacre CouerPhoto: Place du Tertre - Square full of portrait painting artists - watch out for scammersPhoto: Once painted by Utrillo, La Maison Rose (the Pink House) is a charming little restaurant, and has less of the "tourist conveyor-belt" feel to it, and is a lot less crowded, than the restaurants further up the hill.Photo: Photo: The oldest bar/cabaret in Paris (founded in 1860), Au Lapin Agile was, and remains, a haunt of 'unknown' artists. Picasso, Utrillo and Modigliani (among many others) were patrons at one time. Picasso painted Au Lapin Agile and gave the painting to the bar owners who later sold it, in 1920, for US$20. It was auctioned at Sotheby's, in 1989, for US$42 million!!!Photo: Photo: Walking through Montmartre, which has its own vineyards.Photo: Since her suicide in 1987, Dalida (born in Egypt, but lived most of her life in Paris) has become something of a cult figure in France. In 1997, the corner of Rue de l'Aubrevoir and Rue Girardon was renamed Place Dalida, and a life-size bust of the singer erected.Photo: Originally a windmill which produced flour to make the eponymous 'galettes', Le Moulin de la Galette was built in 1622. It was later turned into a dancehall, and frequented (and immortalised in paint) by Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec and Van Gogh. Dalida used to sing here.Photo: Photo: Le bateau lavoir where Picasso, Matisse, Gertrude Stein and others either lived/hung out.Photo: Vincent Van Gogh lived herePhoto: Cafe des Deux Moulins (of Amelie fame).Photo: Photo: Lovers the world over come here to read 311 versions of "I Love You" written in 250 languages.Photo: One of only two remaining Art Nouveau stations designed by Hector Guimard in Paris (the other is at Porte Dauphine). Has ridiculous number of stairs going down.Photo: Day 2 : VersaillesPhoto: The grounds were even more impressive than the palace itself, and just as man madePhoto: Photo: Photo: Treaty to end world war 1 was signed in the hall of mirrors at Versailles; nearly 5 decades earlier it was where Germany had declared itself an empire. Each chandelier holds 1000 candles. It was usually only dimly lit because of smoke damage; mirrors were used to illuminate the lightPhoto: Photo: Photo: Queen's bed chamber. When I was here, I kept remembering the day that mobs stormed the palace and she had to escapePhoto: King's bed chamberPhoto: Entrance to the palace of the king's spinster sisters. The entire site of Versailles was so opulent (2 billion to build by todays standards) that people often thought they’d entered the palace when they were really only in the stables.Photo: Photo: The personal library of the two sistersPhoto: On the groundsPhoto: Photo: Grand TrianonPhoto: Photo: The prince's chariot, driven by goatsPhoto: The royal kitchensPhoto: The loo, the only one we sawPhoto: View from Petit TrianonPhoto: Petit TrianonPhoto: Cupid's TemplePhoto: The Petit Trianon grounds, where Marie Antoinette used to like pretending to be a shepherdessPhoto: Photo: I was assured these animals live happily and aren't ever used for their flesh. So in fact it's a happier life than if they were regular poultry.Photo: In Antoinette's day, lambs were taken for walks on silk leashes, cows were pregroomed, walls were fake agedPhoto: Hungry fish in the man made pondPhoto: Photo: Photo: One of the many random buildings on the grounds.Photo: Photo: Place des Vosges - Oldest square in Paris, knight jousts were held here; and later hipsters took over the space.Photo: Victor Hugo's housePhoto: Photo: Hotel de Sully, a private mansion in the Louis XVIII style.Photo: Musee Carnavalet - Hosted in an 18th century hotel, it has a nice museum showcasing the history of Paris - you'll even see a part of the original wall from Bastille.Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Marie Antoinette's TINY shoes and other belongingsPhoto: Le Palais Royal - Louis XIV lived here before Versailles. It became the HQ for duc d'Orleans, who used to host 'debating clubs' here, the precursors to political parties. Madam Tussaud's first wax shop was built here! (Read up on her part in the French Revolution - grisly). In 1781, duc d'Orleans had to rent  it to raise money - it became a 19th century mall. Today, it's a govt building, from behind which you can see the National LIbrary.Photo: Photo: Revolutionaries made the Royal academy's exhibit permanent, marking the start of the Louvre. Napoleon filled it with stuff that had to be returned after his loss at Waterloo.Photo: Walking to the LouvrePhoto: Photo: Photo: My favourite piece in the Louvre. Psyche Revived by Cupid's KissPhoto: Photo: I felt like this should have been called 'Selfie'Photo: Photo: The original walls of the Louvre fortressPhoto: Photo: Everyone pretending to hold the pyramidPhoto: Tuilleries garden - Originally built for Catherine de Medici when she moved to the Louvre, modeled after Florence to make her feel at home. Climb the elevated park by the Seine for a nice view of Paris.Photo: Photo: Place de la Concorde - 1343 aristotracts were executed here in a year, it was called the place de la revolution. The obelisk (where a statue of Louis XV originally sat and was destroyed by a mob) marks the spot where Antoinette & Robespierre, among others, lost their heads.Photo: Champs Elysees - Used ro be marsh land & fields, rent's now at over 1.25m a year per 1000sqm. It's the 2nd richest street in the world.Photo: Photo: Arc de Triomphe - Built in 1836, a lamp's lit daily at 6:30pm at the Tomb of Unknown Soldier monument, honoring the 1.5 million Frenchmen who died in WWI. Original architect wanted a giant bejeweled elephant but Napoleon stepped in.Photo: Grand PalaisPhoto: Petit Palais - This free museum boasts a collection from the 1600s to the 1900s, including pieces by Mary Cassatt, Monet & Courbet. It's also an impressive building in its own right, with a pleasant garden.Photo: Photo: Photo: My favourite piece in the museum. Louis Ernest Barrias' Les Premieres Funerailles (1883)Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Orangerie - Once the greenhouse in the Tuilleries gardens, now a museum with Impressionist works  Monet's pieces, in particular, stun.Photo: Orsay museum - When artists, including Manet, were rejected from the Louvre in the 19th century, they opened up this place in what used to be a train station. Ha. They showed the Louvre alright. The top floor has the big names.Photo: Photo: Inside the Orsay, behind the huge clockPhoto: View from the OrsayPhoto: Midnight galettes became a daily tradition. This was my go-to galette monsieur.Photo: Midnight cheese fix.Photo: Quai d'Anjou, once home to Voltaire, Cezanne, and the Three Mountains Press, edited by Ezra Pound, which published Hemingway's works (#29)Photo: Memorial des martyrs de la Deportation had the most evocative display of Jewish culture in the ghettos that I've ever seenPhoto: Holocaust memorial with 200k pebbles for each deported French citizen. Near the exit, there's a sign ‘pardonne. N’oublie pas.’ – forgive, don’t forget.Photo: Notre Dame - Originally a Roman temple to Jupiter, a cathedral was ordered in 1163. Gothic architecture was believed to have started here. Joan of Arc was tried for heresy here.Photo: During the revolution it became a ‘Temple of Reason,’ which is ironic because the revolutionaries thought the King of Judah was related to French aristocracy and decapitated him. Post revolution, Napoleon was crowned here. It fell into disrepair & was a donkey stable till Victor Hugo came along.Photo: Shakespeare & Co - Most famous for printing Ulysess, considered too risque by the Brits & Americans. All other stories I've heard seem to be more myth than fact. There's a nice library overlooking the Seine on the 2nd floor. It's a great bookstore to go to (note this one isn't the original which is close by and which shut down).Photo: Photo: The love letter I left at S & CoPhoto: Baker's demoPhoto: Laduree's flagship store, with a huge crowd outsidePhoto: Macaroons at the flagship Laduree storePhoto: Another, far less crowded, Laduree storePhoto: Further chocolate shopping at Maison Georges LarnicolPhoto: Inside Le Bon Marche, the oldest department store in Paris, created by Eiffel, who also built... guess what? :) Expect to find the exotic, the exorbitant, the over-the-top.Photo: Photo: Photo: Book shopping by the SeinePhoto: Photo: Marche aux fleurs - flowers & bird marketPhoto: Marché Place Monge, my all time favourite market.Photo: Photo: Marche au Puces de Saint-Ouen, Clignancourt Flea Market. The biggest flea market in the world.Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Saint Germain of Pres - The oldest church in Paris (present one's from the 11th century), built to hold holy relics looted from Jerusalem. Ironically, the revolutionaries plundered it on their way to Bastille and re-looted a lot. They killed 186 priests when they stormed it the second time. Rene Descartes' heart is buried here.Photo: Photo: Picasso & Hemingway used to hang out at this fancy cafe (not together). From the Surrealists to the Existentialists, everyone who's anyone has been here.Photo: One of the oldest & most prestigious coffee houses in Paris, it's hosted many French greats in the years following the war, like it's rival, Les Deux Margots.Photo: Photo: Invalides - Hospital & retirement home for veterans in 1670, it still serves the same purpose. The Eglise du Dome inspired the US Capitol. If you'd like to see Napoleon's tomb and a lot about military history, visit the museum as well.Photo: Photo: Everyone probably knows it was built on the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution, to represent the spirit of the Industrial Rev. Here are some things I find interesting: Guy de Maupassant and several other French artists protested its being built, calling it an eyesore. Its creator had a fear of heights. The French knocked out the elevator when the Nazis stormed Paris, so they couldn't enjoy the view. Most took the stairs. Hitler never went to the top. The Germans went on to hang the Nazi flag from the top. When the Allies liberated France, they were allowed to go to the top for free.Photo: Photo: Views from the Eiffel TowerPhoto: Photo: Watching the sun set over ParisPhoto: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Entering Pere Lachaise cemetery, one of the biggest in the worldPhoto: Oscar Wilde's buried here.Photo: Photo: Gertrude Steine's gravePhoto: Holocaust memorialsPhoto: Photo: Photo: Photo: Pont des Arts - Famous for lovers' locks today, originally famous for being the first iron bridge in Paris. By the way, officials now remove the locks, because too many weigh down the bridge and are a very real safety hazard.Photo: In the distance is Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris; originally the city center when it was built in 1607Photo: Photo: There are locks, literally, everywherePhoto: I left my own, very tiny one