Musee Grevin: History in Comical Wax Form

Yes, you definitely need to check out the Musee Grevin while in Paris because over 400 celebrity wax characters is something not to be passed up. The wax likenesses are absurdly accurate and lifelike, and who wouldn’t want to get an up close view of such greats like Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin, Celine Dion, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, and much, much more?

We’ve got a little treat for you in this featured This Week in Pictures, though it’s nothing like seeing them in person. Enjoy!

Wax Celine Dion

 

Wax Albert Einstein

 

Wax Jackie Chan

 

Wax Arnold Schwarzenegger

 

Wax George Clooney

 

Wax Bruce Willis

 

Wax Harrison Ford

 

Wax Marilyn Monroe

 

Wax Ray Charles

 

 

 

 

 

The Gardens of Paris

Among the many beauties Paris has to offer are well crafted and gorgeous gardens scattered throughout the city. Take a tour with your significant other through the romantic Luxembourg Gardens, or stroll through the famous royal Versailles park, take a gander at the Tuileries Gardens while on your trip to the Louvre, among others. These gardens offer a breath of fresh air amongst the hustle and bustle of busy Paris.

Right outside the Louvre lies the Tuileries Gardens. Beautiful, well groomed, and bursting with color during spring time.

The Luxembourg Gardens are often crowded, as they are a Parisian favorite, however they are absolutely worth seeing - especially in front of the backdrop of Luxembourg Palace

Versailles Park is a sight to behold. Perhaps one of the most well layed out and extraordinary gardens Paris has to offer.

The stunning roses at the Bois de Boulogne garden are reason enough to visit

The Bois de Vincennes gardens have a wonderful French countryside sort of feel

Our Lady of Paris



Gracing the skies high above Paris, casting its enormous reflection in the ripples of the river Seine, stands the ominously beautiful Notre Dame cathedral. Notre Dame de Paris translates into Our Lady of Paris, and is one of the most magnificent examples of Gothic architecture in the world. With beautiful arched supports and gargoyles dotting the exterior, expertly crafted stained glass filtering in light, a rich history, and playing a starring role in Victor Hugo’s renowned book The Hunchback of Notre Dame, it’s no small wonder the cathedral holds a powerful draw for visitors the world over.

In this edition of This Week In Pictures, we take you inside the Notre Dame cathedral. Enjoy!

The Notre Dame, shown here resting on the river Seine

Rising high above Paris, the Notre Dame certainly demands attention.

Notice the curved support arches that give the Notre Dame an elegantly curved shape

One of the famous Notre Dame gargoyles looking out over the city

Intricate wood carvings tell a story inside the Notre Dame

Stunning and intricate columns and ceilings

Statues of Christian apostles adorning the stone walls of the cathedral

Stained glass featuring the Madonna

Gorgeous and intricate stained glass window

The cathedral looking elegant in the night sky

Take a Cruise Down the Seine River



Taking one of the available cruises down the Seine River gives one of the best views of Paris. Depending on which river boat tour you take, the cruise can last anywhere from 1-3 hours and is a really inexpensive way to experience some of Paris’ extensive beauty.

Tours are offered between March and November and are generally pretty inexpensive, with fares for children starting at only$5.20 and adults at only $10. Sun decks, bars, and even restaurants are found on some of these boats. The boats that have the restaurants generally offer dinner tours as well, which can be especially inspiring – viewing Paris at night is spectacular. Be sure and wear your dinner jackets and ties, men, if you take one of the dinner tours

The Seine river, which flows through the center of Paris, used to be a the main form of transportation for the city and provided added protection. The Seine is such a beautiful river that it has long been revered in the art world and has been the subject of many paintings. When you take a cruise down the Seine, you’ll be able to see beautiful old bridges, old homes gracing the river, and get a unique perspective on historical landmarks such as the Notre-Dame Cathedral.

For more information and to schedule your tour, here are 2 of the most notable river cruise company’s:

Bateaux-Mouche Tours

Phone # 01-40-76-99-99

Website: www.bateaux-mouches.fr

 

Paris Canal

Phone # 01-42-40-96-97

Musee Picasso



The Musee Picasso is located in a beautiful 17th century mansion called Hotel Sale. Located on rue de Thorigny in the Marais district, the Hotel Sale is was built between 1656 and 1659 for a “tax farmer” who became wealthy off his collections of taxes on salt, and is considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the district. The mansion changed ownership through the years, when it finally settled on hosting the artwork of Pablo Picasso in 1976 and was converted and restored by architect Roland Simounet after he outbid 3 other contractors.

The Musee Picasso houses over 3,500 paintings, drawings, ceramics, wood sculptures, metal sculptures, and sketchbooks.Most of the pieces of art were donated by family members or from Picasso’s personal collection, of which he always said “I am the greatest collector of Picassos in the world.”, however a great number of collection was also either purchased from or donated by miscellaneous collectors. Also included within the museum are artworks by other artists such as Degas, Matisse, and Rousseau, which were in Picasso’s personal art collection.

The set up of the museum follows a chronological sequence for the most part, however there are a few rooms dedicated to certain themes. Also found within the museum is a great collection of photographs, newspaper clippings, manuscripts, and other things all relevant to Picasso. One room of interest also contains the caricatured work of period artists displayed. Special exhibitions are also held from time to time on the museums 2nd floor.

Unfortunately, the museum is currently under renovations and will not re-open until 2013 (you can view their memo here). However, they did organize for a series of pieces to be displayed around the world in the meantime. The show you can still catch this year is:

Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto Canada – April 28 – August 23, 2012

Over 200 works are also on loan to several museums in Paris and surrounding areas. These museums include: National Museum of Modern Art – Centre George Pompidou, Orangerie Museum, and Museum of Modern City Art Paris.

 

 

A Look at Monet

Claude Monet was the founder of the French Impressionist style of painting, and is probably one of the most recognizable and memorable painters in history. Born in Paris in 1840, Monet attended art school, studied under great artists, and then set to work identifying his own style – a style that would set him apart and define and inspire artists to this day. Today, we pay homage to this bold and talented artist by taking a look at some of his greatest works.

"Port-Goulphar, Belle-Ile Painting" - Translates to "Rocks at Port-Goulphar, Belle-Ile.

This next series of pictures is of various areas in Monet’s gardens in Giverny, which were precious to him and appeared in quite a few of his paintings.

Monet's "Weeping Willow", painted in 1918.

Monet's "Water Lily Pond and Weeping Willow", painted between 1916 and 1919

Monet's "Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lilies", painted 1899

Monet's "Nympheas", painted 1915

Monet was also fond of painting his wife and family. This theme is displayed in the paintings below.

Monet's "The Woman In the Green" was of his wife Camille, painted in 1866

Monet's "Jean Monet on His Hobby Horse", painted in 1872

Monet's "Woman With A Parasol", features wife, Camille", and son, Jean, painted 1875

Monet’s paintings were mostly of outdoor scenes. Take a look at some of his most well known below.

Monet's "Argenteuil", painted 1875

Monet's "Rue Montorgueil", painted 1878

Monet's "Street in Vétheuil in Winter", painted 1879

Paris Fashion Flashbacks

Paris is undoubtedly the fashion capital of the world, but has it always been? Looking back, France has always seemed to set the style trends – whether it was the class centered styles of the 1700’s or the more laid back styles of the 1800’s. This week we take a look back into history to see what those stylish Parisians were up to and how they influenced the fashion world throughout time.

1700’s

Derived from the French term for coat "manteau", the Mantua was considered high fashion for women in the 1700's, and was made from fine silks and fabrics.

 

The robe à l'anglaise was a closed-bodied gown and a less formal version of the mantua,

 

Mens fashion in the 1700's did not change much from the 1600's - everyday and formal attire typically consisted of a coat, waistcoat, breeches, buckled shoes, and a wig.

 

1800’s

Womens fashion in the 1800's resembled that of long and flowing Roman and Grecian style dresses. Though simpler in design, women expressed their individuality with unique pieces of jewelry and other accessories.

 

The 1800's saw the end of frill and lace in mens clothing, and most importantly the white wigs. Instead, trousers became popular, along with simple coats, and tall hats. Emphasis on tailor quality was placed on their clothing by allowing the clothing to be simpler, thus showing off expert stitching.

 

1900’s

In the early 1900's, womens fashion changed pretty drastically through the decades. One thing that stayed the same - more shoulders and legs were shown. Before we hit the 1980's and 1990's fashions we're all familiar with, one popular style introduced in the 20's was the "flapper" dress.

Mens suits in the 1920's more resembled the suits popular today. Wider trousers and double breasted vests were also popular.

During the wartime era of the 1940's, womens dress was of simpler design and fabric. Skirts and dresses worn generally coming to right below the knees.

Suits with wide shoulders, thick padding, and fedora style hats were a widely popular fashion for men in the 1940's.

In the 1950's, womens fashion was all about celebrating femininity - the skirts and dresses were a bit longer, but the shoulders, breasts, and arms were accentuated and tiny waists were shown off.

Fashion in the 1950's for men ranged from tailored suits, to trousers with button up shirts or sweaters, to the "greaser" style clothing which included jeans and leather jackets.

Dresses and skirts were shorter once again in the 1960's, but we also saw the popularity of pants being worn by women increase.

Fashion for men in the 1960's included tighter jeans, tighter shirts, and lots of bell bottoms.

The 1970's were all about pants, feathered hair, lounge suits, mini skirts, and platform shoes.

 

The "disco look" that was popular for men in the 1970's was definitely an unforgettable style - tight and flared pants and brightly colored shirts made up this fashion look.

 

April 2012 Hotel of the Month: Hotel Cardinal Rive Gauche

Location: 20-22 Rue Pascal, Paris, France   75005

Size: 36 Rooms

Rating: 3 Stars

 

Sometimes staying in a smaller, quieter, hotel is the best way to enjoy your stay in Paris and truly get a feel for the city. The charming Hotel Cardinal Rive Gauche is tucked away in Paris’s 5th district and offers you a true “home away from home” feeling while also not sparing any of that Parisian flair. The hotel is convenient to many of Paris’s main attractions as well, such as the Eiffel Tower, The Notre-Dame Cathedral, Champs Elysees, The Louvre, the Botanical Garden, and much more!

Upon arriving at the hotel, you’ll immediately feel in good hands. The staff is attentive, informative, and completely focused on your needs. You can even get excellent restaurant and sightseeing recommendations.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised on the spacious guest rooms and large windows here, given the fact that the hotel is rather small. All the guest rooms are nicely decorated in a French countryside style, painted in soothing colors and with beds inviting you to fall into them. When you awake from your restful slumber, be sure to grab a delicious bite to eat from the hotel restaurant before hitting the town.

The guest services offered here are basic but well provided, and the staff will ensure you want for nothing.

Amenities Include:

  • Air Conditioning
  • Cable TV
  • Safe Box
  • Pets Allowed
  • Phone/Fax
  • Wi-Fi
  • Laundry Services
  • Luggage Room
  • Restaurant

For more information and booking, visit http://www.hotelcardinal.com/

The Holy Chapel

Sainte-Chapelle, which means Holy Chapel, is a gorgeous gothic-style church located in the heart of Paris on Ile de la Cite. King Louis IX commissioned the church to be built in 1239, and it was completed in 1248 and is the last remaining building of the Capetian Royal Palace. The original intention of its construction was to be a treasury for a collection of holy relics owned by King Louis IX. Included in this collection was the crown of thorns, a piece of the “true cross”, and 30 other odd pieces.

The chapel played an important role during the reign on King Louis, as it was not only used as a place of worship, but also played an important political role by displaying the King’s artistic and architectural abilities, thus contributing to his position as the highest powered monarch in western Christian kingdoms. A large reason that the Sainte-Chapelle was considered such a triumph, and a point King Louis was sure to point out, was its major resemblance to Chalemagne’s temple. Another unique aspect the king enjoyed was the ability to quickly and secretly travel from his palace into the Sainte-Chapelle.

Throughout the years, and especially during the French Revolution, there was significant damage done to the chapel. Some of the relics were also lost or moved elsewhere, such as to the Notre Dame de Paris. Between 1803 and 1855 restorations began, however, and were considered exemplary in their careful execution under the lead of Eugene Viollet-le-Duc.

The Sainte-Chappelle is considered a true masterpiece of its time and is one of the greatest examples of “Rayonnant”, or gothic architectural style, the world has ever witnessed. The stained glass featured in the chapel is regarded as some of the most beautiful in existence. Only about two-thirds of the stained glass you see today is original, but the replacements pieces are expertly crafted.

So remarkable is the chapel, that in 1323 a local scholar Jean de Jandun, paid tribute to the building he considered one of the most beautiful ever built in his writing ”Tractus de laudibus Parisius”. His excerpt about the Sainte-Chapelle is as follows: “That most beautiful of chapels, the chapel of the king, most decently situated within the walls of the king’s house, enjoys a complete and indissoluble structure of the most solid stone. The most excellent colors of the pictures, the precious gilding of the images, the beautiful transparence of the ruddy windows on all sides, the most beautiful cloths of the altars, the wondrous merits of the sanctuary, the figures of the reliquaries externally adorned with dazzling gems, bestow such a hyperbolic beauty on that house of prayer, that, in going into it below, one understandably believes oneself, as if rapt to heaven, to enter one of the best chambers of Paradise.”

Today, you can visit the Sainte-Chapelle, located near the metro station Cite in the heart of Paris. Admission for individuals is about €5.50, and group tours are about €4.50 per person.

March Featured Paris Hotel of the Month: Hotel Castille

Location:  33-37 rue Cambon, 75001, Paris, France

Style: 108 rooms, contemporary and classic elegance

Price: From US $289 a night

The décor of this hotel alone is worth the price, which really isn’t too bad for all it offers. Located in the center of Haute couture Paris, and just a short distance from attractions such as the Opera Garnier and the Louvre, this hotel is right where you want to be. This particular area is also interesting for its beautiful merging of both Italian and French themes, which you can experience at the Hotel Castille in both its splendid décor and its restaurant L’Assaggio. C’est Magnifique!

The history of the building the Castille is located in actually dates back 300 years! Originally it was the home of Marechal du Luxemburg and eventually becoming what it is today. An interesting feature of this hotel is that it is divided into 2 wings: The Opera Wing and The Rivoli Wing. The Opera Wing features a more black and white contemporary style, while the Rivoli Wing features a classic elegance tone. Whatever your taste, The Hotel Castille Paris can accommodate it!

 

Amenities include:

  • 24 Hour Room Service
  • Wi-Fi
  • Fitness Centre
  • Meeting rooms and conference facilities
  • Safety deposit boxes
  • Hotel restaurant and bar
  • Babysitting service
  • Pets allowed
  • Baby beds
  • Smoking and non-smoking rooms
  • Sauna
  • TV