Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Spring Parisian Culture Scene

The Spring 2015 Parisian cultural scene looks very exciting. Besides visiting the permanent collections of Musee du Louvre, Orsay and other cultural venues, here is a selection of temporary exhibits from Velasquez to Jeff Koons.  If you are in Paris for a short time, plan to book your tickets well in advance to ensure your entry and avoid queuing.

An exhibition retracing the evolution of Velasquez, the 16th century Spanish Golden Age court painter takes place at the Grand Palais from March 25 to July 13.  It retraces the development of the Baroque artist, its mastering of light and shadow (chiaroscuro), its works on  perspective and its skill in excecuting landscapes, still-lifes and portraits. His works can be viewed alongside other masters who had an influence on his works like Caravaggio, Titian and Rubens.  An exhibition not to be missed!

Roberto Longhi was an important art historian of the 20th century who was instrumental in the rediscovery of Caravaggio as well as other great primitives like Giotto, Masaccio and Piero della Francesca. The Jacquemart Andre museum offers an exhibit showcasing the artworks from  the Roberto Longhi’s Fondation and other masterpieces on loan from Italian museums such as Uffizi, Galleria dell Academia Vatican and Palatine Gallery. From Giotto to Caravaggio-  March 27 to July 21,  2015.

The Pinacotheque in Paris focuses on the brand of Art Nouveau that developed in Vienna at the turn of the 20th century, a style also known as Wien Secession.  The exhibition, In the Time of Klimt, The Vienna Secession  retraces the movement from its early development until the early years of Expressionism . Over 180 works loaned from the collections of the Belvedere Museum in Vienna, as well as from private collections are presented, notably works by Gustav Klimt, from his first years of studying until the major works of his golden age, like Judith  (1901) , and works by Carl Moll, Josepf Hoffman and Egon Schiele. From February 12  to   June 21.

Pompidou Center offers a retrospective of contemporary American artist Jeff Koons.  Partnering with  the Whitney Museum of American Art, this is the first time in Europe that a major review of the  works of  the controversial artist are presented  spanning a 35 year career.   Some 150 works of the artists are on display from inflatable toys to balloon dog and rabbit and a life-size porcelain sculpture of Michael Jackson and Bubbles(1988) .  This exhibition is a  blockbuster  as witnessed by the crowds pressing to visit it.  Hurry to visit as the exhibition ends on April 27.

#Paris, #exhibits, #Velasquez,#Klimt, #Caravaggio, #Pompidou Center

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Have an Enjoyable Trip with these Safety Tips!

Generally, vacationing in France is very safe. However, opportunists know that tourists are always going to this beautiful country, and sometimes, they can take advantage of these travelers’ unfamiliarity. This fact isn’t cause for alarm because there are very simple steps that you can take to make sure that your first trip to Paris is a pleasant one!

1. Make copies of your passport, traveler’s checks, visa and any other important documents that you are taking with you. Leave one set of copies with a friend and another in your luggage. Then, you will be able to straighten things out very quickly if you lose anything.

2. Carry your money in cash, traveler’s checks and credit cards. Keep them separate so that you will not lose everything if someone discovers one of your hiding places. You can also carry a wallet that only contains a couple of dollars or expired credit cards to trick would-be thieves.

3. Visit to find out if there is anything that you need to prepare for before you leave on your trip.

4. Make sure that your family members or trusted friends know where you are planning to go. This protects you in case you encounter a problem and do not arrive at your destination.

5. Register your vehicle with the U.S. Embassy. If anything happens while you are driving, embassy officials will have your contact information.

Utilize these easy tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable European trip!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Parisian Must-See:

Every itinerary for Paris must contain the most popular French landmarks, and one of them is, quite obviously, the Eiffel Tower. The people did not greet this little monument with enthusiasm when it was first built for the World's Fair of 1889.  However, today, people travel from all over the world to see it, and for great reason!

Check out these other "Must See" landmarks when visiting Paris.

Sacre-Coeur (Sacred Heart)
Builders needed 46 years to complete this fantastic architectural gem that was built in honor of those killed in the Franco-Prussian War (1870). It sits on top of Montmartre hill, a picturesque neighborhood in the northern section of Paris with a tradition of attracting artists and bohemian types.  This Romanesque-byzantine style basilica is built from travertine stone quarried just south-east of  Paris in Chateau Landon. The stone exudes calcite and as it ages, it gets whiter.  This makes the  Basilica gleam under  a sunny sky and is  particularly stunning as the sun sets.

The Cathedral of Notre Dame (Our Lady)
Maurice de Sully, Bishop of Paris, began to build this timeless cathedral in 1163. Its first stone was laid in the presence of Pope Alexander III. Craftsmen needed 170 years to complete the project. When you venture inside this magnificent building, its magnificent stained-glass windows will dazzle you. Did you know the largest organ in France rests within its walls?

The famous Musee du Louvre is impressive for exactly 35,000 reasons because this is the number of priceless masterpieces that will delight your eyes as you walk the halls of this museum. Notably, the Musee du Louvre is the only place where you will have the pleasure of seeing the world’s most famous painting: Mona Lisa.

Arc de Triomphe
The French constructed the Arc de Triomphe to commemorate Napoleon’s 1805 victory at the Battle of Austerlitz.  When the Emperor's remains were returned to France in 1840 from the island of Saint Helena, the funeral procession made a point of traveling underneath this arc as they transported the former Emperor’s body to its final resting place at the Invalides .

Plan your visit of Paris with 

#Paris, # eiffel Tower, # Louvre, # Arc de Triomphe, # Sacre Coeur

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Chenonceau-Chateau des Dames

In celebration of International Women Day I would like to place the spotlight on the Chateau des Dames – Chenonceau.  This magnificent castle in the Loire valley owes its construction and survival over the centuries to a few women.  In 1513, Catherine de Briconnet supervises its construction in the Renaissance style; Diane de Poitiers, the favorite of King Henri II, later owned it.   When the king died, the chateau was promptly appropriated by his widow Catherine de Medicis who expulsed Diane to the fortress of Chaumont.  Catherine de Medicis had the Grand Gallery built over the Cher.  In the 18th century Madame Louise Dupin who owned Chenonceau was instrumental in having the chateau spared from destruction at the time of the French Revolution.  In 1864 Madame Pelouze acquired the chateau and engaged in major renovations. Today, the castle is an enduring gem. Privately owned it is continually restored and maintained for the pleasure of visitors around the world.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Bicentennial of Napoleon's Return From Elba

Napoleon leaving Elba
This year marks the bicentennial of the  return of Napoleon Bonaparte to France after nine  months of exile on the Island of Elba, off the coast of Tuscany, that was  imposed by a European coalition of nations.  All through the year, there will be commemoration of this important event that marked French history.

Route Napoleon
On March 1, 1815 Napoleon  landed on the shore of  Golf Juan (on the coast of the French Riviera).  In the next  20 days,  accompanied by a thousand of his loyal men he secretly made his way up  north  to Paris going through  the Alps and avoiding arrest by the troupes of restored King Louis XVIII.   They advanced on horseback, mule-back and on foot during the day and bivouacked at night in places like  Mougins, Grasse, Castellane, Sisteron and Gap . Today this scenic mountain road is known as "Route Napoleon" and runs 331 km from the Mediterranean coast to Grenoble crossing the mountains of Hautes Alpes and Isere.

Napoleon returned triumphantly to  Paris on March 20 displacing  the reigning king.  His  return to power will only last a hundred days until his defeat at Waterloo  and his subsequent abdication on June 22 .  The Emperor was once again sent to exile,  this time in faraway Saint  Helena, an island on the Atlantic Ocean and over 1000 miles from the coast of Africa.  He was  never to return to France alive.

A program of commemorations including re-enactments will take place in the different locales where  Napoleon stopped on his journey  back to Paris.  For a custom itinerary retracing the footsteps of the Emperor contact Enchanted France.

#France, #vacation in France, #Napoleon, #Route Napoleon #Bicentennial Napoleon # French Riviera