I don’t normally write about traveling, but at the end of March and beginning of April I had the pleasure of taking my first trip to Europe. I got to spent nine wonderful days in Paris, France. I won’t bore you with all the details and everything I did, but here are some the highlights.
First, I want to say that I felt safer walking the streets of Paris at all hours than I ever have in any US city. Sure I kept a lookout for pick pockets, but that’s not the same.
The Eiffel tower was neat. I had a great view from my hotel room. In the evening, they make it sparkle for a few minutes each hour.
There are enough museums in Paris to keep you busy for weeks, so I had to pick and choose. In college I studied art and architecture, but seeing them in a book or a slide is nothing like standing in the midst of these creations.
The Orsay Museum had some of my favorite painters: Monet, Renoir, and Degas, along with other great impressionist.
Orangerie Museum built two rooms just for Monet’s last waterlily paintings. Each has four HUGE paintings. He was nearly blind when he made them. While notable, I still like some of his earlier paintings better.
Speaking of Monet, for me a trip to France had to include a visit to his house and gardens in Giverny. I just may need to get my paints out again.
Walking through the Louvre I got to see lots of cool sculptures and paintings. The scale of some of them surprised me. Theodore Gericault’s The Raft of the Medusa felt like I could step onto the raft. (16 feet wide x 12 feet tall) If that wasn’t stunning enough, directly opposite it in this narrow hall was Delacroix’s Death of Sardanapalus. (Also 16 feet wide x 12 feet tall)
My photos came out so distorted because there was no room to back up for the picture. BTW, the Mona Lisa is just as dull in person as it is in pictures. Rembrandt’s portraits were much more impressive.
Notre-Dame Cathedral was spectacular and sad at the same time. Most of the paintings are fine, but some are peeling from the walls. Others are so covered with dirt and soot that I didn’t realize the paintings were there until I got right up to the wall. Soot can be removed. Sadly, the peeling sections are probably too far gone to repair.
Sainte Chapelle’s stained glass was stunning but it was the floor tiles that caught my eye. Who knew there were so many wolf/canine motifs?
Want to see something different and a little creepy? Visit the Catacombs. Yes, those are real human bones.
From eating wonderful food, seeing the sites, and sitting on the banks of the Seine working on a story, I had a fantastic time.