Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Flowers from France

On Thursday, May 25, I’ll be doing a program for The Clarkesville Garden Club about the gardens that I got to explore on my trip to France. The meeting is at the Clarkesville Library at 9:45. After that, if the weather is nice, we’re planning to go across the street the Mauldin House garden (where I work) so that people can ask me questions about the garden. The meetings are open to the public. Y’all are welcome to come!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Home Sweet Home

Paris is absolutely amazing, and I had such a wonderful time there, but it is great to be back home!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Bones, Paintings, River & Pizza

Beneath Paris are limestone mining tunnels. Around the mid- 1700s Paris was having problems because of overflowing cemeteries.
The decision was made to transfer the remains from the cemeteries to the mining tunnels.
Today we got to walk through those underground tunnels. Only a portion of the Catacombs of Paris is open to the public, but I read that the remains of more than six million people are in these tunnels.
Walking through there was definitely a very interesting experience.
Today we also visited the Orsay Museum.
There were a lot of different kinds of art created by a lot of different artists.

Much of what we saw were impressionistic masterpieces by great artists such as Monet and Van Gogh. It was really cool.
The Orsay Museum's building was once a railroad station. Here is an overhead view of the museum.
We took a relaxing walk by the Seine River and enjoyed observing how beautifully the sun shined on the buildings and shimmered on the water.
Dad took this really neat panoramic shot of the Louvre during our walk. He also took a lot of the other photos that I used in today and yesterday's posts.
For dinner we went back to that pizza place that we liked so much, but this time we also had dessert. It was great!

Dad's favorite part of today: Walking along the Seine River.

My favorite part of today: Walking along the Seine River.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Seeing The City In Another Light

We started the day at a little breakfast café and then headed to Notre Dame. Last time we were there we didn't make it to the treasury, so that's why we went back today. I don't know how to read French, so I wasn't sure what all I was looking at, but it was obviously all very grand.
One thing that I was able to figure out is that this is the box (or whatever it should be called) that it is said contains the actual crown of thorns that Jesus wore.
After shopping and lunch we rode a bus to the Louvre. One would think that I'd be used to seeing huge fancy buildings by now, but I'm not.
The Louvre is very grand and ornate.
There were lots of antiques and sculptures, but we were more interested in seeing the paintings, so we spent most of our time with them.

After the Louvre we walked around the Jardin des Tuileries and enjoyed ice cream. For dinner we stopped at a really neat little restaurant and had an excellent dinner served in courses.
The whole day was wonderful, but for me the best part came at the end. We took another boat ride down the Seine, only this time at night. It was a whole different experience from doing it during the day. We saw the lights of Paris on the banks and then again reflected in the water. I particularly enjoyed going under the lit up bridges, but the best part was getting a close up view from the water of the radiantly glowing Eiffel Tower. "Wow. That's astounding," Dad said. I couldn't agree more.

Dad's favorite part of today: Seeing night come to the ciy.

My favorite part of today: Seeing the Eiffel Tower lit up.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Top Of The Tower

The Eiffel tower looks very delicate and dainty on postcards, but it is really quite a strong and massive structure. It holds several gift shops, restaurants and lots of visitors. However, the crowds were really not bad today. It seems we came just enough ahead of the main tourist season. Waiting in long lines hasn't really been a part of our trip. 

We climbed 704 steps to get to the middle level. From the middle level riding an elevator is the only option, so we took that to the top and this was our view.
After admiring all of the different views from all of the different tower levels, we came back down and enjoyed a nice picnic in the park which surrounds the tower.
Then we took a walk through the Rue Cler, a traditional Paris market street. It felt like being in a painting. The beautiful street was lined with shops that specialized in things such as cheese, chocolate, clothes, fruit, meat and flowers. I visited the ice cream shop.
I was really torn as to whether or not it was worth taking time to visit the tomb of Napoleon l at the Army Museum. It turned out that I was really glad that we decided to go. I had no idea that the building that the late emperor's coffin is in was so extraordinary and elaborate. The place is much bigger and grander than my pictures show.

After that we went through the museum and saw many interesting things. To me the most interesting things were Napoleon's horse, which has been preserved by taxidermy, and the paintings of Napoleon, which were much larger than I had pictured. But of course, Dad's coronation was the crowning moment.
Dad's favorite part of today: Picnicking by the Eiffel Tower after just having climbed up and down it.

My favorite part of today: Enjoying coffee ice cream while strolling down the Rue Cler.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Flowers -- Lots!

First thing this morning Dad and I caught a train that took us out of Paris and into the much smaller town of Vernon. From there we went to Giverny to see Monet's garden.

I don't think that I'll ever forget that moment when I caught my very first glimpse of Monet's botanical masterpiece. There were flowers everywhere! My excitement became even greater when I found my first purple section. After seeing that I began noticing the way that single-colored patches gracefully blended into other single-colored patches, and what a large but subtle role that plays in giving the garden such an artistic and magical feel.

The garden is divided into two main parts: the part in front of Monet's house and the part surrounding his famous water lily pond. Both areas were exquisite, but Dad and I both slightly favored the pond area.

Monet's house is really neat too, but we chose to spend most of our time in the garden.

It's  not really a huge garden, but we spent three hours looking at it. I had no idea that seeing this garden would touch me so deeply, and I didn't know that gardens like this could be found on earth. Today was definitely my favorite day in France, and one of my favorite days ever.

As if seeing Monet's garden and exploring the beautiful town of Giverny wasn't enough, we had an excellent dinner after returning to Paris. We ate pizza in a cool little pizza place. We sat by a window with a view of the street, but if we looked the other way we could see the chef preparing our pizzas and baking them in the fiery brick oven. Best of all, there was a cat that lives in the restaurant. They offered to get it away from us, but we told them that we liked the cat.

Dad's favorite part of today: Taking pictures of the part of Monet's garden with the pond.

My favorite part of today: Seeing the way that the garden's different color sections blended together.