|Sorry,we don't have any photos
yet from Day 2, because we didn't have the digital camera along. If you
want to know, we visited the Eiffel Tower, the sewers of Paris (yes,
Virginia, you can tour the sewers of Paris, and it's fascinating if
you're Victor Hugo or a wastewater engineer), Notre Dame and the
crypt beneath it, and the Louvre. In typical tourist fashion, we had
only an hour and a half or so to spend at the Louvre, so we hit the
highlights: classical sculpture and Italian Renaissance artists.
Naturally, that means the Venus de Milo, the Mona Lisa, and
Michelangelo's The Dying Slave. However, we'll let you in on a
little secret: Both Winged Victory and a Greek figure of Athena
have it all over the Venus de Milo, and Caravaggio's The Death of
the Virgin is ten times better than the Mona Lisa. Your mileage, of
course, may vary.
On Day 3 we took a bicycle tour that started at the Eiffel Tower and hit most of the important sites in downtown Paris, including the Ecole Militaire, les Invalides, Napoleon's tomb, the Rodin Museum, the Alexander III bridge, the Pont Beaux Arts, the Tuileries, the Assemblie Nationale, and the aforementioned Notre Dame. Afterward it was on to the Musee d'Orsay, where the Impressionists and post-Impressionists just go on and on. Plenty of Monet, Manet, and Sisley, but I think we were more impressed (ha!) with Degas and Renoir. Not to mention Seurat and his ilk, Gauguin, and last but not least, our buddy Vince. I saw The Bedroom at Arles at the Chicago Art Institute a while back, but now it's in the Musee d'Orsay. That painting is just following me around the world... We wrapped up the evening at dinner with Sarah's friend Lynn.
|Statue of somebody outside the Ecole Militaire.||The Ecole Militaire. Napoleon studied here and graduated last in his class.||The modern memorial is the Peace Wall. Very Maya Lin-esque. Naturally, the Peace Wall is located on the Champs de Mars (Fields of War), right across from the Ecole Militaire. It was a particularly appropriate time to visit the Peace Wall. The Arabic word for peace is salaam, in case you were wondering.||Napoleon's tomb is inside this domed church.|
|Another statue behind Les Envalides, which was built as a hospital for wounded soldiers. I don't know who this guy is, but you can't throw a rock in Paris without hitting a statue.||Sarah listens in as John, our bicycle tour guide, talks about a colleague of his who took off all his clothes and had his picture taken with Rodin's The Thinker.||American flag at half-staff outside the U.S. Embassy. I don't know whether you noticed, but the French flag atop the Ecole Militaire was also at half-staff.||Statue in Tuileries gardens, where we ate lunch.|
Charlemagne himself, right next to Notre Dame du Paris.
We're told that equestrian statues follow a code: both front legs up means the rider died in battle; one front leg up means he was injured in battle; both front legs down means he died peacefully. In case you're wondering, all the horse statues we saw were anatomically correct.
|And here's Notre Dame. It's on an island (the Ile de la Cite) in the middle of the Seine. Beneath it are ruins dating back to the time of Christ, when the Parisi tribe of Franks first settled the area. You can actually go underneath the square and see some of the ruins, but frankly, they're not as interesting as the cathedral.||Small glimpse of altar statue and windows, through one of the front doors of Notre Dame.||Carving detail from a Notre Dame doorway. Eve chows down on the apple while Adam and the serpent look on.|
|Saint Denis kept the faith, but lost his head.||The Last Judgment, from another Notre Dame doorway.||Detail from the
Last Judgment. An angel and a demon weigh souls and choose up their
We didn't go inside today, because we had been inside the day before.
|The Pont du Beaux Arts, the oldest and reputedly the most romantic bridge in Paris. I think that's the Academie Francaise in the background, but I was too busy thinking about Sarah to pay attention to the tour guide. I don't know why ... must've been the bridge.|
|More flags at half-staff outside the Assemblee Nationale.||Inside the Musee d'Orsay, here I am with the Florentine Singer by Dubois. I don't envy his mandolin (I have a few of my own), but that is a very nice codpiece.||Poppies by Monet.||A Renoir that I didn't catch the name of.|
|One of Degas' famous ballerina paintings. He's known for his demure and innocent dancers, but the Musee d'Orsay also has a good collection of his pastels, many of which are extremely racy nudes.||Another famous Degas, the Blue Dancers. Speaking of blue, did I mention his nude pastels? I did? Oh. Sarah thinks Degas might have been a peeping Tom.||Another Renoir. His ladies are always demure, and if he did any nude pastels, they're not at the Musee d'Orsay. I don't know of any other painter who used light the way Renoir did. You can't appreciate his technique unless you actually see the paintings; so much of it just doesn't translate into reproductions.||If you saw Bean, the feature film with Rowan Atkinson's annoying little Mr. Bean character, you might have been fooled into thinking Whistler's Mother is in England. It ain't.|
|Recognize this guy?||Recognize him now?||Here's a Van Gogh I wasn't familiar with.||Here's one I was familiar with. I seem to recall taking a picture of The Bedroom at Arles, but apparently it didn't turn out.|
|A famous Gauguin.||A famous Seurat.||A pointillist rendering of Notre Dame; I forgot the name of the artist. It isn't Seurat, but was done in his style.|