Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wrapping Up - PARIS - Louvre, St Gervais, La Madelaine

Gentle friends today's post will wrap up my trip to France. Today there is a museum, a couple of churches and a meal or two.......  lets get started.....each morning I would fuel up at a small cafe, about a  block from my Hotel with a Pain au Chocolate and espresso....the waitress was great and spoke super English...

.... I usually sat at a small table outside with this view.....

... the Gare du Nord - and all the hustle and bustle with a train station.  Also there is a great Metro stop in the GdN so it was an easy hop from here to ...... the Louvre, I've been to the Louvre a few times on other trips and seen the "highlights" and "important pieces" of  art, but had never ventured into the the far end of the Richelieu wing  - so I made it a point to do just that this trip, go and explore the wonderful decorative things there.... that are called.... The Apartments of Napoleon III: Although he never actually lived in the Louvre, the apartment reflects the sumptuousness of the Second Empire.  Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie actually lived in the Tuileries Palace -  which was burned by the Paris Commune in 1871, after the fall of the Second Empire - but back to the apartments.....  again, sumptuous is the only word I can think of to describe these rooms with super high painted ceilings, gigantic chandeliers, towering drapes and lots, I do mean LOTS of gold and gilt do-dads!!  Here are some snaps............

a writing room/office....

.... a connecting hall......

.... a more elaborate study....

Winterhalter began an official portrait of Empress Eugénie (Eugénie de Montijo, Condesa de Teba, 1826-1920) shortly after her marriage in 1853 to Napoleon III, Emperor of France, but it was not exhibited until 1855.  

The Empress is wearing her pearl and diamond tiara.....

...... that was on display sort of in a hall space - a little history about this lovely jewel..... it was sold in 1887 when all the French Royal jewels were sold by the government in power, it was bought by Albert I, 8th Prince von Thurn und last worn by Princess Gloria in 1980 when she married Johannes, 11th Prince von Thurn und Taxis, and then sold by Gloria after the Johannes' death to pay taxes in 1992 - it was re-acquired by the Friends of the Louvre and is now on display with other jewels associated with the French Monarchy.  Here's some more info about the Tiara......"Empress Eugénie Pearl and Diamond Tiara", has a total 1,998 small brilliant-cut diamonds surrounding large pearls - both round and elongated - in the 1887 sale the tiara sold for 78,000 French Francs - in 1992 it fetched about $650,000.

...... along with the Tiara was .... the Empress Eugénie Bow Brooch..... here's some fun info...this piece was displayed at the 1855 Exposition Universelle in Paris - the diamonds were first made into a belt for the Empress - it was studded with 4,485 diamonds - the belt didn't fit the bill and was later dismantled and redesigned as this spectacular diamond stomacher - which was also was sold in the 1887 sale of the French Royal that time it was bought by Caroline Astor.  It remained in the Astor family for more than 120 years.  Eventually the family sent it to auction through Christie's in New York,  but at the last minute it was pulled from the auction and sold privately to the Friends of the Louvre who returned the jewel to France and it is on display with the other Royal pieces of jewelry.

... this last piece - a lovely emerald and diamond Tiara that was commissioned in 1819 by Louis-Antoine, the Duke d'Angouleme for his wife Marie-Therese, the Duchess d'Angouleme.  The Duchess was the only surviving child of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, while her husband was the eldest son of Charles X of France (Louis younger brother)

The Tiara was created by the famous French jewelers - the Bapst brothers, and is a real triumph of jewelry craftsmanship of the time.  It features a symmetrical design of scrolling foliage mounted with 1,031 diamonds set in silver, and 40 emeralds set in gold.  It was also sold in the 1887 sale and disappeared to England turning up in a safe at Wartski's in the 1970's.  At the time it was just a lovely emerald and diamond tiara and they were unaware of it's historical importance.  Soon, however after a little investigation the history of the piece was revealed it was put on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum.  It sat there for about 10 years, when the owner decided to sell the piece.  The V & A was unable to raise the funds to buy it and it was bought by the Louvre and came back to France.

..... the portrait of Empress Eugenie de Motijo in situ....

... the light was so harsh and bright that this was a tough picture to get of the dinning room....

...... the Grand Salon..... of the many marble staircases....

One of the rooms I wanted to see was the Galerie d'Apollon - Apolo Gallery - which is famous for its high vaulted ceilings and painted decorations.  I took the above snap to  show just how large a space this is.....

a little history......the room was originally called the 'Petit Galerie" of the Louvre and was decorated by the artists of the second School of Fontainebleau for Henry IV.  After a fire destroyed much of it on February 6, 1661, it was necessary to rebuild this part of the Louvre.  The architectural work was entrusted to Louis Le Vau, who carried out reconstruction between 1661 and 1663, while Charles le Brun was assigned the painted decorations.  The sculptor Francois Giradon was responsible for the Stucco sculptures.  This was the first Royal Gallery for  a young Louis XIV, which served as a model for the hall of Mirrors at the palace of Versailles.  It was recently restored and is just gorgeous!!

......after the Louvre I headed to the Marais and some lunch....

... I had read of this shop on line as the place to get a great sandwich - and they were so right!!!!!  the sandwich they are kind of famous for is a heavenly combination of lean spice beef, a layer of smoky eggplant spread, another layer of spicy (but not too spicy) red chili paste, thinly sliced pickles, cucumbers and tomatoes, all layered on a soft onion roll!!!
Sacha Finkelsztajn 27, rue des Rosiers, 75004

.... my sandwich...

... snaps of some baked goods....

.... more treats and some lovely bread....

..... just down the street was a shop I had on my radar, as I wanted to pick up some seasonal Christmas tea....

.....  I was told it was far too early for Christmas tea so I picked up a big ole can of...

....Anastasia tea, it really is one of my all time favorite teas!!... and I can not buy it in these big cans over here.

Next up is St Gervais.... this church is one of the oldest in Paris.  Dedicated to Gervasius and Protasius, the church was formerly the seat of the powerful brotherhood of wine merchants.  The present church was begun in the Gothic style in 1494, the chapels of the apse were finished in 1530 and the transept in 1578.  The doorway of the church was built in 1616-20 by Claude Monnard in the classical style.  the current facade was built in about 1620 an is really exceptional - as it has three levels with the 3 different capital orders represented - Doric at ground floor, Ionic on the second floor and Corinthian at the third floor.

..... a super Pieta with angels....

.... a really super, modern stained glass window....

.... the memorial in the Chapel of the Great War dead.....

.... the stained glass window in the chapel....

......  this is a memorial piece put here to remember ...... that on March 29, 1918, a German shell, fired by the long-range "Paris Gun", fell on the church, killing 88 people and wounding 68 others; the explosion collapsed the roof when a Good Friday service was in progress.  This sculptural monument sits under the window in the photo above - the light was too bright when I was there to get a photo with everything in so you just have to imagine..... this piece with window surrounding...

.......  from here I headed back over to Odette to meet up with Michelle and her friend Lisa.

... here we are...  we sat around yapping about our trips, it was so nice to see Michelle again and take a break from just running around!!

... I needed a snack so I ordered some more choux and an espresso....


The last church I visited was another one had I had never visited....  La Madeleine...

a little history......The Madelaine Church was designed in its present form as a temple to the glory of Napoleon's army.  To the south lies Place de la Concorde.  two false starts were made on building a church on this site.  The first design was commissioned 1757, with construction beginning when King Louis XV placed the ceremonial cornerstone on April 3, 1763 - the construction was halted in 1764.  Another start later on was again interrupted by the French revolution in 1789, however only the foundations and the grand portico had been finished; the choir of the former church was demolished in 1797, but work was discontinued while a debate as to what purpose the building night serve in Revolutionary France: a library, a public ballroom, and a marketplace were all suggested.

In 1837 it was briefly suggested that the building might best be utilized as a train station, but that was nixed.  Finally in 1842 it was consecrated as a church.

The Madeleine is built in the neo-Classical style and was inspired by the Maison Varee in Nimes - a wonderfully well preserved Roman Temple.  It's 52 Corinthian columns, each 20 metres high, encircle the entire building.  The pediment sculpture of the "Last Judgement"in the tympanum is by Lemaire.

..... looking south towards the Place de la Concorde,

... this is the back of the church, a little less ornate, but still beautifully proportioned.....

..... a lovely alter to Our Lady....

..... inside, the church has a single nave with three domes over wide arched bays, lavish gilded in a decor inspired as much by Roman Baths as by the Renaissance artists.  At the rear of the church, above the high alter, stands a statue by Charles Marochetti depicting St Mary Magdalene being lifted up by angels.  The sculpture took 22 years to make from 1835-1857.

... a great Joan d'Arc...

.. the Baptismal font was sculpted by Francois Rude and called "The Baptism of Christ"

... behind La Madelaine was a shop I had to go to that sold only honey produced in France, La Maison du Meil....  a really super place with very helpful staff, they'll let you taste and try any and all the honey you want.... I tried quite a few before settling on this honey gathered from Fir trees in the Alsace region.....


For my last dinner in France I headed to a brasserie close to the Hotel and started off with some nice foie gras...

......  then some mussels and frites...

....  ending with a piece of apple tart - that I just couldn't finish, just far too much food for one sitting!!


The next day I headed to the airport to catch my morning flight back to SF and in the airport was a macaroon shop, probably one of the more famous ones in Pairs, Laudree....  so I picked up some....

.....  and brought them home to Rico!

There you go - my trip to France, I do hope you enjoyed all the info and snaps.  I do thank you for stopping and commenting.  Tomorrow dos top by as I will be having another great Gift-a-way!!

Take care,


  1. Merci Edgar for the fabulous trip. Why is it food in foreign countries always look so scrumptious?

  2. "traveling" with you has been wonderful--have so enjoyed your snaps and descriptions of places. Ahh the food--I think I have gained five pounds just looking at the photos

  3. Thank you so much for taking us on your trip. I am always in awe of the Second Empire (and others) interiors, but they certainly don't scream "warm and homey" do they?

  4. WOW! Fantastic trip! The royal jewels were something to see photos of. Loved everything you got to see. The tea tin and Laudree's packaging are beautiful.
    How incredible that you met Michelle in Paris:) Such beauty you got to see on your trip Edgar.

  5. Thank you for taking me on your trip Edgar. I really enjoyed all the pictures. (Most) of the food looked yummy. Some I wouldn't be brave enough to try. lol


  6. I really enjoyed this lovely trip
    Thank you for sharing dear x

  7. Hi Edgar, I have been a long time reader of your blog and just wanted to say how much I've enjoyed reading your recent trip posts and seeing all your beautiful photos. France is on my dream destination list, one day! best wishes, Katrina in New Zealand

  8. Thank you for an absolutely gorgeous picture tour.

  9. Third time trying. Sorry if they all worked. Laduree exists in nyc. You can buy macarons shipped from France there. Sooooo good. Thanks again for sharing your travels with us!

  10. Thank you for sharing your lovely trip photos! You must have had a really great time!

  11. Thank you so very much for sharing your trip experiences with everyone - it was such a lovely break from day to day stuff to share a bit of your adventure with you!


  12. The last day was wonderful. I hate to see the trip end. Thank you so much for sharing your vacation with us. I'm looking forward to seeing photos of your stitching again.


  13. I've really enjoyed reading sbout your trio to Frnace. I'd course the photos are lovely too!

  14. You are a wonderful travel guide!! Wish I'd seen as much as you when I was in Paris!!!

  15. I recall sitting on the ledge of the window in Napoleon's bedroom and just inhaling the lush atmosphere. Thank you, Edgar, for reawakened memories. Your
    tour is a tour de force...You could write a book .....and you
    even supply dining....!

  16. Thank you so much for sharing. The time and patience you exhibited in posting and editing is certainly appreciated by those of us who aren't able to travel to these places. I have lived vicariously through your travels.

    Best wishes--drRuss

  17. Thanks so much for sharing your amazing trip with us!

  18. Thank you for the wonderful pictures. I am sure you a had a great time. It's time for me to go to France again and Paris.... well long ago.

  19. OMGosh! Fabulous travelogue and then some. I have plans to go to Paris in late Feb, never the best time but that's when DH has a long biz trip there, and you've given me a new list of "must sees". Thanks so much for sharing!

  20. I, too, am so pleased to have shared your journey I most enjoyed the churches, then the food, but with this post I was delighted that all those amazing jewels found their way home. Thanks for sharing everything with us!

  21. Edgar I want to travel with you. You love to go through such interesting things and learn the history of places you visit.

    I also, love that you will experiment and try different foods.

    Thank you for a great journey.