Back to Europe 2005


  Monaco Pictures We arrived in Monaco the day before the Monte Carlo Grand Prix.  Most of the streets were closed for the time trials and we were not able to go to the Casino and the Harbour.  Instead, we went up to the Palace and the Cathedral and walked around the old town     


  French Riviera We were in Cannes on Saturday, the final night of the Cannes Film Festival and were able to watch the "beautiful people" on their way to the after-parties.  As well, there was a spectacular fireworks display on the beach across from the hotel where the "War of the Worlds" movie was showcased. 

On Sunday, we went up into the hills above Nice for lunch and a view of the harbour.  We finished with a visit to St. Paul de Vence, a Medieval walled town, which is an artist community and full of galleries.  I almost bought a painting.

  Beaune   Beaune was once home to the powerful Dukes of Normandy and is the centre of the Burgundy wine district.  The building with the beautiful tile roof is the Hospice de Beaune Hotel-Dieu which was built in 1443 as a hospice for the poor.  The hospice was funded by its own 57 hectare vineyard.
  Avignon   Avignon is famous for two things:  the ruined bridge of the French folksong and for having been the Popes' home in the 1300's.

The bridge was once the only bridge across the Rhone River.  It was built in 1184 and destroyed in a siege in 1226.  It was rebuilt several times but finally destroyed in a flood in 1668.  Today, only the four columns from the original bridge remain.  The folksong dates from the 1500's.

In 1309, the Pope moved his court to Avignon.  It remained there for several Popes but in 1377 the Pope returned to Rome.  When he died and an Italian Pope was chosen, the French didn't like him and elected their own Pope, creating a schism in the church which lasted until 1415.

    Churches We visited a number of churches in Paris.  The main ones were Notre Dame Cathedral, Sacré-Coeur on Montmartre which is visible from much of Paris, Saint Suplice (which is mentioned in the Book "The Da Vinci Code"), and our favourite, Sainte Chapelle which was built in 1246 to house the Crown of Thorns (now in Notre Dame).
Buildings This grouping includes:  Hotel des Invalides which was built by Louis XIV (the Sun King) as a military hospital but is now the Army Museum and features Napoleon's tomb; La Conciergerie which was the King's administrative headquarters from the  1300's on and was used as a prison during the Revolution: the Opéra House, built in 1860 under Napoleon III, and the Panthéon, built in 1764 and modeled on the Roman Panthéon, it is a civil temple to the nation's famous dead including Voltaire, Victor Hugo and Marie and Pierre Currie. 
Musée Rodin The Rodin Museum is situated both in a house and in the surrounding gardens.  Inside were the plaster molds of his most famous statues while the statues themselves were mostly in the gardens.  He made some of them in multiple sizes depending on where they were being used.  For example, several, including The Thinker, were done in half size for The Gates of Hell and full size as stand-alone sculptures.
The Louvre We visited the Louvre twice, once on the tour and again by ourselves.  Even so, we only saw a small portion of the galleries and exhibits. 
D'Orsay The Musée d'Orsay is located in an old train station.  It was converted into an art gallery in 1986 and now houses the Impressionist collection from the Louvre.  It was more impressive than the Louvre because it has so many pictures that are very familiar to us.
    Versailles Versailles was built by Louis XIV and he moved his court here in 1672 to strength his control over them.  However, by 1789, the court had totally lost touch with the conditions in Paris.
    The Rest of Paris   Here are scenes from around Paris including Montmartre, our cruises on the River Seine, views from and of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, assorted buildings and statues around the city and some pictures of the Moulin Rouge where we enjoyed a memorable evening.

Back to Europe 2005