Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Les Catacombes de Paris

14-Nov-2010 (Sunday). I'm tired out by now, so today my hubby took the lead of being the tour guide. He wanted to take me to the Catacombs. It was one of my to-see places in France, but I wasn't sure if there were any in Paris, or how I would react to skulls and skeletons even though I'm pretty dark in nature :P

The great thing about the place we were staying in was that it was within walking distance to everything! (more about lodging in later entries). So we decided to walk there! It was a pleasant walk, with a light rain accompanying us. We were pretty distracted by the Sunday street markets, and the streets were just filled with people and the smell of food! Lovely as can be.

Le Catacomb took some time to locate. It's not exactly clearly marked. But if you see a long queue there, it's probably the right place. You can't really see anything at the street level, cause the attraction is underground. The entrance is pretty intimidating. You pay for a ticket, and there's a staircase that goes all the way down into the ground. The following warnings are shown as you start your journey:

Visits limited to 200 Visitors in the site (entries can be stopped temporarily)
  Duration of the visit: 45 minutes - length 2 km
  No toilets, no cloakroom
  130 steps to be gone down, 83 steps to be gone up
  Temperature: 14°
  Visit disadvised to the people suffering of  cardiac or respiratory weakness and of nervous disease.
  Visit disadvised to young children
Children of less than 14 years must be accompanied by an adult
I'm claustrophobic and don't do well in small confined places. But I really really wanted to see this, so in I went.

The first few chambers were museum like, with photos and explanation of the place. It's a kinda warning of what you're about to encounter. The photos were pretty graphic, but fear not. It has been ages since they were taken, so all that's left down there now are just bones, 2km worth of it.

This was my first encounter of human remains, and it was not just one, but thousands and thousands of it. At first I actually thought those skulls were stacked up on stones, but on a closer look, those were actually body parts! Femur, tibia, finula, you name it, you got it. You're free to touch them, which I couldn't resist.

I'm glad I visited this place. There's just something about being near the dead for me. Not rotting dead, or dying dead. But dead with ages, stone cold, silent, and peaceful. To me, death is the eternal sleep, the eternal slumber, the eternal peace. There's just something very beautiful about it to me.

Catacombs of Paris (Wiki)
Les Catacombes de Paris

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Église de la Madeleine

11-Nov-2010 (Thursday).Finally making our way to downtown Paris! I wanted to go stare at the shop windows and drool over their display, knowing very well I couldn't bring myself to buy anything expensive there. So early in the morning, off we go. We wanted to looking for a Flower Market at Place Madeleine, and I wanted to visit Hediard and Maille Mustard shops too. Well we made it to the market, but being autumn/winter season, there wasn't much to see. However there was a huge building there which we didn't know what it was, and we walked all around it before following some tourist inside. Lo and behold! It was a Church of Lady Madeleine. And it was old and ancient and beautiful!
This was the 2nd church I visited in Paris, and the entrance was free! This place was not really on my itinerary, but it should be in yours if you're visiting Paris! Cause it's a lovely church, and not many people goes there! And best of all, it's all dedicated to the feminine side of Christianity. All the saints there are women. So that made it extra special :)
Here's a nearer pix of the altar. I think the altar look so much nicer than Notre Dame :)
I'm so addicted to churches! Hopefully I'll get to visit Our Lady of Lourdes one day! Didn't made it there this time round as it was located quite far from Paris. That's on my wish list the next time I visit Paris!

We did lots of other sight seeing, eating and shopping on this day as well, but I'll write about those information at a later entry. Stay tune!

Église de la Madeleine
Mary Madeleine
Our Lady of Lourdes

Friday, June 10, 2011

Père Lachaise Cemetery

11-Nov-2010 (Thursday). It was raining. And the temperature fell till 2 to 4 degrees Celsius. This was the day I planned for us to visit our second cemetery. And before you start rolling your eyes at me, may I just add, that we were going to visit one of the most beautiful and most visited cemetery in the world? Père Lachaise Cemetery (cimetière du Père-Lachaise).
By the time we got there, it was raining, and the temperature dropped till 1 degree! Although I took a few photos with my camera, I found it difficult to keep my fingers from freezing! After a while, I resorted to purely use my phone as a camera :)
Yes. This is a cemetery. But it's a very beautiful cemetery. And perhaps I'm slightly morbid, but I totally love cemetery. There is a certain solitude, certain sadness, a certain beauty to it all. And  Père Lachaise Cemetery fits my image of a classic cemetery of my imagination. Gothic sculptures, flowers, cold and rainy weather. If it weren't so freaking cold that day, it would have been perfect!
There were a few dead people on my list that I wanted to visit. And it wasn't easy finding them as the wordings on the grave were kinda hard to read, and the "address" were jumping all over. But we managed to find them all :) There were also a few people there just grave hunting, so we kinda follow the crowd. The very first grave was the hardest to find, but as we got a hang of it, we cleared the cemetery by lunch time.

Here are the graves of the people on my list that day:

Oscar Wilde - Writer/Poet.Play writer (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900)
Yes, those are lipsticks and graffiti on his tombstone. And yes, that is his tombstone!
Chopin - Pianist/Composer ( 22 February or 1 March 1810 – 17 October 1849)
  My favorite piece from him

And lastly, Jim Morrison from the Doors - Singer ((December 8, 1943 – July 3, 1971). I have no idea who he was, but I promised a friend that I would take a photo of his grave for him.
Père Lachaise Cemetery wiki
Père Lachaise Cemetery virtual tour
Oscar Wilde
Jim Morrison

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

MDL - Overdose of Jesus

10-Nov-2010 (Wednesday). I'm not a religious person. But I do like religious related art pieces as it sometimes shows the dedication of the followers to their religion. However, I must say, this is the first time in my life that I got an overdose of Jesus. He was just everywhere! And especially so in MDL! Paintings after paintings of him! From the time of his birth, till the time of his death!
There were also art pieces of him.

And portraits of him. This one was one of my favorite.

Jesus! Jesus was everywhere!


Monday, June 6, 2011

MDL - Paintings

10-Nov-2010 (Wednesday). It is almost impossible to see everything at MDL in one day, but you can give it your best shot on a Wednesday when they stay open late. And I'm making a guess here that most people miss out a whole floor of paintings during their visit due to exhaustion. I mean, I myself was ready to drop dead by 7pm as my legs were feeling rather wobbly by then. But there was still a whole floor of paintings to look at!

Here's an example of what the display halls of painting look like. These are just two rooms. There are rooms after rooms of these!
 There are even paintings of the what the hall of paintings look like at MDL! And they weren't too different from the real thing as there were halls just filled with paintings from floor to ceiling! The painting shows the time they first started setting up the MDL and the halls of painting....Check out the clothes they were wearing!
And did I just mention paintings on the ceiling? I mean literally. I know these are no Michaelangelo, but it stills wow me!
Lastly, one of my favorite painting - The Death of Marat. I used to have a postcard of this painting and like it so much! Sure there was the Mona Lisa at MDL. But I like this one better :)
The Death of Marat
Mona Lisa

Saturday, June 4, 2011

MDL - Stained Glass Part 2

10-Nov-2010 (Wednesday). As promised, here are three of my favorite stained glass. I'm old fashion and I like my stained glass either based on religion or myth. These three stood out the most from my collection of photos. Do click to view the detail of the art work.
And here's another mega piece made up of 3 photos:
Sigh. There are just so many more I wish to share! But I think I'll stop here or we'll never reach the end! Hope you've enjoyed the art pieces so far!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

MDL - Stained Glass Part 1

Sorry for the 5 month's break on the Travel-Europe thread. Was rather busy with life lately. But I'm back! And I'll be updating this thread with a vengeance! Cause seriously, it's already more than 6 month past my trip! This is unacceptable! People are hungry for information!Anyway, let's carry on.

10-Nov-2010 (Wednesday), We're still at Musée du Louvre the last I checked. Let's continue with one of my favorite art - Stained Glass! You may find it hard to believe, but all the following photos are of Stained Glass, and all of them can be found at MDL! I tell you, that's one hell of a deal for Euro9.50 to see some of the finest art in the world!

Do click on the photo to view the detail. I tried to keep the images as big as possible to preserved the details of the glass.
 Some of the glasses were so huge that I had to take a couple of photos and paste them up. Here's an example of one made up of two photos.
They came in all shapes and sizes. Here's a collection of round Stained Glass:
I took so many photos of stained glass that I need to break this blog entry into two parts! LoL. Stay tuned to the next entry where I'll show you some of my favorites stained glass in the museum! Yes, you heard right. The collection on this entry (amazing as they are) are not the best that I have to offer :)  Stay tune :)