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Saturday, October 29, 2011

A day out for Judi and Sharon

Well, I'm afraid this is where it all started......the slowly unfolding revelation of Judi's addiction......this was just the first time I was to see it on this trip.

Yep, a shoe fetish........there's more to come!

We had more or less set Wednesday aside to rest or venture out.......each to chose for themselves.  Judi and I decided we would get more acquainted with our neighborhood and do a little shopping.

Leaving Versailles..............

Here's Jan at the foot of the stairs coming out of the apartments.  The diamond shaped flooring (known as "Versailles pattern") was the waiting area for those wanting to see the king or queen.  They could not go up the stairs until they were summonded.

Here is Pat, Barb and Jan as we are leaving the palace.  The photo below shows one of the wings of the palace.

Ah, the golden gates.  ")   I'm sure at one time they really were covered with gold.  Finally off those cobblestones......very easy to turn your ankle on felt like we were trying to cross a creek.  Susan had to be especially careful of her ankle.

The Opera House and Chapel at Versailles

I took several photos in the Opera House, but it was so dark they didn't take.  Almost all the opera house has been reconstructed because it was so wrecked by the people during the revolution who came in and tore things out to take back to Paris with them.

I was barely able to snap this photo of the chapel as we left.  It had been so crowded when we came in that it was impossible to get a good photograph.  Now it was time for Versaille to close.

Windows, doors and art....

This was the first round window to be put into any building in France.  I love the work around  the window.

These really tall windows are as big as doors.   You know why?  Because it's so hot in Paris in the summer (esp. August) and there's no air conditioning!   It was the end of September when we were there and it was miserable.   The humidity was as high as the temps.  I'm telling you, it was a two-shower day every day.  ")

There were portraits in almost every room and paintings on the ceilings.  Everytime I tried to take a photo of the ceiling, someone would bump into me and knock me around and my picture would end up blurry.  It was incredibly crowded.  Pat has been several times and she said it didn't matter what day she's gone, it's always been that crowded.  I'm sorry, but I can't remember who the ladies are in these portraits.  I'll have to do some research and edit this post later.

This set of doors (sorry for the tilt :) was in Marie Antionette's room, but there were many sets of doors like this throught the apartment.

Gardens at Versailles

 I had really wanted to tour the gardens, but there were hardly any blooms left.  So I just took photos from the windows of the palace as I toured it.  ")
This small pond is part of the fountains when they are on...............only on weekends.......

This larger pool has numerous fountain spigots as you can easily see in the cernter of it.
 I love the layout of this pool and the longer one further down in the garden.  Louis XIII started the gardens about 1632 by appointing Claude Mollet and Hilaire Masson to work on the planning of these beautiful gardens.  By the 1660's, Louis XIV had appointed Andre Le Notre to make additions.  And then later, Louie Le Vau to plan the Orangerie, which allowed the palace to have oranges even in winter.

                                  I love this heart-shaped bed.  Too bad all the blooms were gone.  I'm sure it is quite gorgeous when all the flowering plants are in high season.                                                  

These little cone shaped trees look like little soldiers standing in a row.  Everything about these gardens are so symmetrical and so manicured.

Room at Versailles

This is the state dining room.   Kings and queens from around the world were invited here to dine with the kings Louis and their queens.

This is the bed where the kings slept.  This one is in the bedroom.  There was another bed closer to the chamber where important decisions were being made and the king could be summoned from his sleep if his signature was need immediately.

This is the bed of the queens.  Chambers for her ladies-in-waiting were close by so they could be at her majesties bidding.
 It was amazing how much gold and gold leafing was used throught the palace during the reigns of these kings. 

This is the breakfast room for the king and queen.  Naturally this room was close to their bed chambers.  Only those closest to the king or queen were allowed to enter during their meal.  The small red velvet covered seats lined up in the forefront were reserved for those invited into the breakfast room.

This is the famous Hall of Mirrors.  The windows and the chandeliers reflecting in that wall of mirros really make for a room filled with light.  The gardens seens from these floor-to-ceiling windows are beautiful to look at.  The gardens had already finished with their beautiful array of blossoms by the time we visited.

Objects of interest...............

The Bureau de Roi (the king's desk) was commissioned by Louis XV and started by Jean-Francois Oeben.  He started constructing the desk in 1760.  Oeben died before finishing the desk.  Jean Henri Riesener married Oeben's widow and finished the desk in 1769.  It is covered with intricate marquetry of various woods.  Louis XV and XVI carried out their daily kingly duties at this desk.  It was taken to the Louvre when Louis XVI and Marie Antionette when taken during the French Revolution and stayed there until the 20th century when the Louvre returned it to the Palace at Versailles.

Chandeliers such as these decorate the rooms and halls throughout the palace.  These lead crystal chandeliers were made in the north Bohemic region, known today as the Czech Republic.  Glassmaking in that area had been greatly treasured since the fourteenth century. 

This is another of the scientific inventions that Louis XIV had brought to Versaille.  It is one of the first to measure barometric pressure.

Versailles at last!

We had tickets for a 2:00PM tour.  When we finally reached Versailles, it was about 10 minutes before the hour.  We tried to get a taxi to take us up to the palace, but he refused.  Pat ran ahead (literally, and it was another of the UPHILL runs) to try to catch the tour for us and to see if they would wait for all of us to get there.  When she got there, the tour had just left.  Another guide ran ahead to stop the tour for us.  After we all got there, this lady also brought all of us a drink of water.  We must have looked like a ragged bunch!

Louis XIV was well known for his patronage of the arts and that especially included the sciences.  There are many scientific examples in the palace at Versailles.  This clock not only told the time but also the month, day of the week, and the year.  The globe on top also showed the phases of the moon and the astrological signs.

this is a close up of the date mechanism.  Notice all the gold?  Wonder why there was a revolution?

Off to Versailles!

 We finally made it onto the RER (trains going out of Paris).....after many, many steps in the Metro to get to our designated platform.  I've never seen so many stairways!
Susan and I were often behind.....the last little duckies in the line.  ")  She has had ankle surgery and I have COPD.   Needless to say, some of the walking uphill and up and down so many stairs was exhausting for us.

Jan also looks very happy to have made it on the train!  LOL   These photos are courtesy of Barb Wenkel.  Thanks, Barb!
Well, this ride only lasted about 15 minutes.......there was an accident and they shut down the RER for several hours.  We had to backtrack to find a Metro line that would take us all the way out to Versailles.

AND THE WINNER IS................................

..............Jan White!!!  Jan has won the copy of Stampington's newest magazine:  MINGLE!  Congratulations, Jan!  This magazine will be coming to you in the mail next week.  Thanks so much to you and your friends that participated in this contest. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Street Artists in Monmarte

The artist at this stand (in the grey striped shirt seated behind the display) did lovely pen and ink drawings and then watercolored on them.  They were very pricey (100s of euros).  So, I found some in a shop (copies of course) and bought them and will watercolor on them......eventually.  :)

I was not particularly fond of this artist's mono  colored cityscapes, but thought he had some nice store fronts canvases.  But they were 300-400 euros.  I may have to try to enlarge those and try my hand with some acrylics to see if I can come up with something similiar.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

More at Sacre Couer...

 There were so many steps left to climb that we ended up taking the cable car to the top. 
And the first thing we saw was this carousel...... and a double-decker at that.  ")   all the carousels we saw in Paris were two levels.

Going to Montmarte

I didn't think we would ever reach Sacre Couer!  We just kept climbing stairs!  When we would get to the top of that set, another one awaited us!

As close as this looks, there are still hundreds of steps to climb.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A little fun at the flea market...

Judi had seen this purse at one of the vendors just outside the Puces St. Ouen and the man tried to sell it to her for 15euros.  She put it back and we went to mail our postcards.  When we came back, she looked at it again.  He was not at the table when we walked up, but saw her from another booth.  He came running up and said, "Ah, you came back!"   She began to haggle with him, trying to get him down to 10euros.  Finally he said, "Oh, poor African man" and Judi said, "Oh, poor American woman"!  He finally gave in and let her have it for 10euros.  ")

Jan had been looking for a beret and found this at one of the vendors outside the market.  She had fun trying on the hats.

Letters home.......................

Judi and I mailed our postcards home on Monday before we left Clignancourt.  I have a thing about postcards and gone a little crazy buying them..... some to send home and some to put in my collection.  I think I ended up writing and sending about 40 postcards (2 to my honey ").  That was a lot of writing!   But I love to write and was writing in my travel journal every night, too.
Notice the graffiti on the post box. 

More from Puces St. Ouen flea market (Clignancourt)

We had lunch at the flea market.  We had been told that there might be gypsies entertaining us at this cafe.  (The guide book I used also had that bit of information.)  Our floor show was  this lady who crooned away while we ate our lunch and then tried to hawk her CDs while we were finishing up.  ")

Clignancourt flea market..............

Barb took this photo of Jan and I digging through these trays of brass charms.  Our hands were black when we finished!  We did learn very quickly though to read the difference in centimes and euros!  We thought many of these were 50cents and they were 5euro apiece!   So we had to go back through everything we thought we wanted and dwindle down our haul.  We found some really nice bicycle and fan charms.  I ended up with a beautiful clown face.....can't remember who found that one  (Judi or Jan?).  These were some of the greatest times we had......digging through boxes or piles of items to find things to add to our artwork.  ")

Monday, October 24, 2011

Clignancourt......the largest flea market in Paris...............

Jan, Judi, Barb and Pat at the stalls in the flea market.  We actually walked past several vendors set up on the sidewalk outside the flea market.  This is actually one row after another of storage units......some have even installed glass fronts to make their stall look like a little store.  These rows are not in military order...........they are haphazard and the alley ways between them are numbers to keep you from getting lost.  There is also a map for you to use.  ")

Here Judi, Jan and Barb are searching the little boxes for any treasures they can find.  Lots of goodies here, but most were very expensive.

I thought this little row of Donald Ducks was so colorful.........and the cycle bands were a perfect color to pair with them.

The Antique Books market

This antique book market was held at a park (Brassens?) was under two separate covered areas with a space in between where people came to sit and watch their children play and ride bikes.  This is another market that we visited twice.  The first time I found two small books:  Van Gogh (not too old....1950) and a postcard book of the art of Toulouse-Lautrec (C.1990).....not antique books, but little treasure for me.  ")

The Flea Market at Vanves

We rode the Metro and then walked several blocks to get to the Vanves flea market.  It was basically up and down both sides of a sidewalk........a very long sidewalk.  ")  We saw everything there....and it is not nearly as large as Clignancourt.  We visited this flea market twice and ended up with such a variety of goods.  The first trip we found a lady selling really old postcards (and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE postcards......postcards were the bulk of my purchases in Paris.....old and new postcards).  I passed up buyin an old book of poetry and some of the others passed up things that we all later wished we had bought.  Thus, the second trip.  ")

Here we are waiting at the corner for Jan and Barb who are taking our photo.  (Fiddle!  I thought you could see the street sign pointing to the Vanves flea market :(        ).     It was HOT standing out there in that sun!  LOL   The humidity was horrible while we were there......most days were "two-shower days".   ")