CHRISTMAS MARKETS IN COLMAR, FRANCE / ALSACE REGION

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December 12, 2016,  Second Stop

Second stop of the day after Riquewihr, Germany  was Colmar, France in the Alsace Region.   Colmar is another picturesque  town full  of 15th and 16th century half-timbered buildings.

The Christmas tree is believed to have originated  in   Alsace in the 16th century when it was part of Germany.  The Christmas Tree  custom spread to other countries by way of marriage.   The Christmas decorations were everywhere!!

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These buildings were in  an area called  Petite Venice in Colmar.

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Birds of the day…

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Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

Strasbourg, France – Christmas Markets 2016

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December 13, 2016

Strasbourg, France, a beautiful city  dating back to 1262,   was the destination for today.  Also the last of  the Alsace Region for this trip.  A spectacular  day it was as Strasbourg has so much to offer.  Beautiful buildings,  many different Christmas Markets, and holiday trimmings everywhere I look.

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Half-timbered buildings mixed with…

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different styles and  architecture …

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many  festively decorated for the season!

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La Petite France is a  particularly  scenic area in Strasbourg.

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Traditional  guild signs  hang from many of the retailers.  Alsace pottery  is beautiful, comes in all kinds of colors and patterns and largely consists of endless sizes of  casserole dishes and accessory  pieces.  Casserole is actually a French word.  A merchant in one of the shops told me that Alsace was the home of the first “crock pot”!

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Mazipan, tempting  in all shapes and sizes can be found in  patisserie  windows.

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Nutella is dressed up also for the holiday !

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Storks are migratory birds that return to Alsace to nest every year and are much loved in the area.  Their now empty nests  remaining in the  trees are huge!

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Cute  Christmas Market huts were lined up in a rows.

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Better watch out – Santa has a look out on one of the huts so he can  see who is naughty and who is nice.

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Fashionable  holiday  window decorations  are a must – after all,  this is France.

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Fashion comes in  many ways..

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Gingerbread men are always a favorite.

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Their is no limit to our love of gingerbread men.

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Traditional trimmings along with…

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the imaginative were plentiful.

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When darkness fell, the city lit up with the magic of the season.

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Strasbourg’s Cathedral, which is 472 feet tall,  looked incredible.

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May your Christmas and every day in the future,

sparkle with happiness and new surprises.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

RANDOM PHOTOS OF PARIS, FRANCE

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Eiffel Tower

May 22, 2014

Dedicated to all of you happy travelers  who delight in the same addiction as I do…here are my final  photos of my April 2014 trip to  Paris, France.  Such a beautiful city with so much to enjoy.

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 Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel – built in 1806 to commemorate Napoleon’s military victories.  It stands on the sight of the former Tuileries Palace ( yet another palace for the kings).

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Tuileries Garden:  Queen Catherine de Medicis created  the garden of the Tuileries Palace in 1564, it was  opened to the public in 1667, and became a public park after the French Revolution

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The Louvre ( a small portion of)  – also a former palace of the kings and now an art museum where the Mona Lisa resides.

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Winston Churchill sighting at the Grand Palais :  The Grand Palais was built for the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris  as an exhibition hall. During WWI it was used as an military hospital , than during  the France Occupation by the Nazis, they used it as a truck depot and later  to house propaganda exhibitions. Again, this building is huge, has three separate entrances and this photo only captures a small section of it.

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Les Invalides – Built in 1670 as a  military hospital and  home for war veterans, Les Invalides  is a  now a complex of buildings  with museums, monuments and burial vaults all relating to France’s military history.

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Statue inside Notre Dame Cathedral.

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Bird Watching in Paris –  window shopping in Paris can make you hungry!

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Macaroons are everywhere.

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  WONDERFUL  PATISSERIES  ARE ALSO EASY TO FIND.

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Umbrella Store

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Lastly, neighborhood fruit stands are so Paris!  Love them!!

Jusqu’à ce que je retourne…….

 

THE CONCIERGERIE & MARIE ANTOINETTE, PARIS, FRANCE

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May 21, 2014

Marie Antoinette was beheaded via  the guillotine  on  October 16, 1793, approximately 8 months after her  the execution of her husband, the former King Louis XVI of France.

The reasons behind the  French Revolution and  how  the King and Queen lived  shamelessly  extravagant  makes for  very interesting reading.  Simply put,  in the end, revolutionary forces  captured Louis and Marie-Antoinette during their attempt to flee  the country,  monarchy was abolished, and Louis and Marie-Antoinette were condemned for treason.

The Conciergerie is where Marie-Antoinette was imprisoned during the  final days of her life. The building was originally a royal palace but in 1391 it  became the Parliament of Paris  and  a portion of it used as a prison. 

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The Conciergerie

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If you were imprisoned and had no money,  your accommodations consisted of concrete walls, straw on the floor and a bucket.

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If you had money to pay, you could possibly  have a little nicer stay.

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This was a re-creation of the cell Marie-Antoinette was kept in. She is dressed in black since she was mourning the death of her husband.  She was also had two  guards with her at all times. 

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Lists of the  2780  people who were executed by the guillotine .

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The Hall of Men-at-Arms proves the building is not all doom and gloom.  The architecture inside is beautiful  with the way the light bounces around.  This room used to be the dining room for the guards. 

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  Lastly, this beautiful clock  hangs on the outside of the Conciergerie.  It is the oldest clock  in Paris dating back to 1535.  Granted, it has been restored more than once, but it still works.  Just for grins, check the time against your smart phone……….

 

    

 

 

OPERA GARDIER IN PARIS, FRANCE

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Le Grand Foyer

May 1, 2014

Another sensory overload in Paris is the Palais Garnier ( Opera House in Paris).  There are two Operas in Paris, the newest is a modern building and the original, The Opera Garnier, was built from 1861 – 1875 and it is BEAUTIFUL!  Other than it’s beauty, it is also famous for being  the setting of the Phantom of the Opera book, written by Gaston Leroux in 1910.  I, however, did not see any  Phantom during my visit. 

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This  is the best shot I could get of the front of the Opera Garnier due to…………..this:

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Typical of the streets and traffic of Paris.  Not conducive to getting the best photos  without risking life and limb. 

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Painted ceiling of the Opera Auditorium by Marc Chagall  with a 340 light chandelier that weighs 8 tons. 

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Inside of Auditorium seats almost 2000.

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The Lobby

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Statuary in Le Grand Foyer

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One of the paintings  on the ceiling of Le Grand  Foyer. 

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Doorway of the outside balcony off  Le Grand Foyer (which looks out onto the previous photo of the busy streets of Paris).

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Close up  of “Liberty ” Pegasus roof sculpture.

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Close up of “Apollo, Poetry and Music” roof sculpture.

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Before you leave, in the gift shop, you can buy your very own Opera chair souvenir  for only 1595 Euro. 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

MEANDERING THROUGH PERE LACHAISE CEMETERY IN PARIS, FRANCE

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April, 29, 2014

A cemetery  is many things. It can be  a place of grief or of peacefulness.  A gentle and crowded reminder that none of us are going to get out of this world alive.  The Pere Lachaise Cemetary  was an interesting place to wander aimlessly on a beautiful Paris day during my recent visit.  There are numerous  notables buried among the 70,000 graves, such as Jim Morrison of The Doors, Frederic Chopin, Oscar Wilde, and  Sarah Bernhardt .  The cemetery, established in 1804 by Napoleon, was named after  the Jesuit priest, Pere Francois de la Chaise, who was the confessor for  King Louis  XIV.  Come meander with me a bit………

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Jim Morrison’s Final Resting Place

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Frederic  Chopin’s  Final Resting Place – his fans still bring him flowers…..

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Necropolitaine – city of the dead / cemetery

Le Memoire – the memory

 

 

 

 

 

 

POMPIDOU CENTER in PARIS, FRANCE

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April 22, 2014

Posting from home now.  All wonderful trips must come to an end and I’m now back to reality – not everyday can be  spent in Amsterdam or Paris.  But I do still have a lot to share…..such as the…

Pompidou Center !  A crazy looking place and how fun that can be!  It contains  the Modern Art Museum  ( Musee National  d’Art Moderne) and even if you  are not a fan, you should walk by  and check out the “exoskeletal” building. All the functional parts are on the outside, so they say.  I loved the fountains (free) that are adjacent to the building ” Homage to Stravinsky” .

Btw, Word Press seems to be cutting off some of my photos if you are viewing them on a large screen – please bare with me as I’m trying to find a solution. : )

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Back of the Pompidou Center, or is this the front?

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I’m pretty sure this is the front, but maybe it’s the back? ??

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Close ups of  my favorite pieces of the fountains.

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This church  and the building with the “shhh” mural sits right beside the Center.

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Gotta Love Paris!!!  Hope this made you smile.

Thanks for reading!

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