Saturday, September 11, 2010

Happy Birthday, Nisha

Nisha and her mom, my dear friend, Danielle, were in Paris several years ago on the day one of the Harry Potter books was published and scoured the city for this English edition. (And, because Micah also loves Harry, and because Danielle indulges my children's every whim, they brought home a French edition for Micah, who wanted one though she speaks not a word of the language.) Today, I want to wish sweet, beautiful Nisha a special day. She's in California, a college freshman, getting ready to study theatre at USC, and I want her to know we're thinking of her. Sweetie, because you're so far away, and we miss and love you and want to celebrate your day in a fitting manner, we're going to Anthro and I'll encourage your mom to spend beaucoups on "a little happy", as my mother used to say, to put in a post-birthday care package. Spoil yourself on your birthday! xoxo
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Monday, September 6, 2010

Hotel L'Academie

Situated in Saint Germain des Pres, the hotel's location could hardly have been better. I looked at a lot of hotels online and chose this one because, for one thing, I liked the look of these cozy rooms and, best of all, the website said it's the former home of the duc de Rohan. .. The interior has been gutted and renovated and, besides, I read somewhere that it had actually been the home of his guardsmen, but no matter. It was close enough for me.
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We got very attached to this place!
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Our hotel was about four blocks from the Seine and the bridge to the Louvre.
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Paris AND a thunderstorm

This was my lucky day. Two of my favorite things.
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Every time we walked across the bridge over the Seine and approached the arched entry of the Louvre courtyard, my heart sped up. This entrance led to so much. The first day, we went to the Louvre but, on subsequent days, we took the same route to Place de Concorde, Champs de Elysee, Tuileries Gardens and other destinations.
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The Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David

To prevent the detail from getting even less clear than this, the painting has been cropped. Only the center is shown. The painting in the Louvre is 30' x 16'. David painted himself into the gallery. He also included Napoleon's mother (top left in chair) who refused to attend in protest to a family squabble between Napoleon and his brothers. Napoleon is shown preparing to place the crown on Josephine's head.



A self-portait of Madame Elisabeth-Louise Vigee-Le Brun with her daughter. She was Marie Antoinette's favorite portrait painter.
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Dining Room of Napoleon III in the Louvre

Now that the ancien regime was no more, how did the people feel about the opulence of the Napoleons?
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Saturday, September 4, 2010

We were enjoying an omelette when we realized that our clock was wrong and it was really two hours earlier than we'd thought. Lucky for us, a short ride on the RER and we were among the first through the gates of Versailles.
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It didn't take long for this courtyard to fill up and by late morning, when we left, the line to get in was at least several hours duration.
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The Royal Chapel at Versailles

The site of Marie Antoinette's and Louis-Auguste's marriage.
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Versailles Chapel

This upper tier was reserved for royalty and persons of honor.
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That's my girl

Micah, in one of the windows of the Hall of Mirrors. From the look on her face, I can see that she gets it.
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Dauphin Louis-Ferdinand

Louis XVI was third in line for the throne and only through the premature deaths of his father, Louis-Ferdinand, and elder brother, Louis, duc de Bourgogne, did he make the ultimately unfortunate accension to the throne. Louis-Ferdinand looks a little like Johnny Carson here, doesn't he?
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Louis XVI

When I saw this painting in Versailles, I stood and stared for a long time, then actually got teary when I had to leave the room to see the rest of the palace. I just felt like I was abandoning him and wished he could know that there are still those who appreciate the person he was, care about him, and are sorry for all he went through. Exactly the kind of craziness Micah had to deal with. A free trip to Paris isn't all fun and games.
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By Vigee Le Brun


My favorite portrait of Marie Antoinette, with her children, Marie-Therese, Louis-Charles, and Louis-Joseph, pointing to the empty cradle of baby Sophie, who had died during the time period in which the portrait was painted. And, now I've seen it in real life.
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Who the heck are all those people?

I was in such a transcendental state that I was surprised, when I looked at the pictures afterwards, to see such a crowd of people. I was in my own little world. I really wanted someone as obsessed as, but more knowledgeable than, I, to be there to talk about all I was seeing. I went back to the hotel, afterwards, and sent an email to a total stranger, who has an amazing blog, and whom I know to live right across the water in England, to ask her a question. (Exactly where was Marie Antoinette held in the Tuileries? See post below.) I was sorely tempted to offer to pay her way over to Paris, to give me a tour. It would've been worth it, but she might've found the offer a little creepy, seeings how she doesn't know me from Adam. And, besides, what more could I want than a trip alone with Micah, even if she's not a
F R/M A fanatic. Check out www.madameguillotine.org.uk.
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Mary and the boys

My sister, Mary, and her boys, when they lived in Paris. Looks like Denton's had enough sightseeing.
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Yep, it still looks the same


Postcard, featuring Notre Dame, from my great-aunt, Marnie, to her family back home, when she visited my family in France, the year I was born. A long, long time ago. I've changed considerably, but the cathedral looks just the same.
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