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

Paris Catacombs: A Walk Through the Land of the Dead

Located just below the public square in Paris, Place Denfert-Rochereau, lie the remains of about 6 million people. Opened in the late 18th century, the remains are spread through a series of renovated tunnels and caverns that used to be Paris’ stone mines.

Paris’ graveyards and mass graves began overflowing and causing hazardous sanitary conditions, so in 1786 the transfer of all of Paris’ dead to the abandoned stone mines began, ultimately taking 2 years to complete. Initially, the bones were placed into a well in the area, and then were distributed throughout the mines by workers. For years the mines were simply used as a depository for the bones, with no organization or particular placement to them, however in 1810 Louis-Etienne Hericart de Thury began renovations to turn the depository into a mausoleum.

Besides housing long gone Parisian residents, the Catacombs have a history that is deeply intertwined into the history of France. For instance, the dead from the riots at Place de Greve, Hotel de Brienne, and Rue Meslee all found a resting place in the Catacombs. The French Resistance also used the tunnels during World War II and Nazi soldiers used the Catacombs as an underground bunker.

Today, the Catacombs are open to the public where you can wander the caverns and tunnels and bear witness to a history of Paris’ dead. In this week’s featured pictures we take you into the underground burial site beneath Paris.

The unassuming initial entry into the Catacombs

After following a long gravel corridor you reach the offical entry into the Catacombs

Interesting pattern of skulls make up this wall in the Catacombs

There is definitely no shortage of interesting artwork added to the Catacombs over the years. This picture shows a gargoyle carved into the wall by an urban caver, located in the off-limits area. Picture courtesy of Loupiote.Com

Massive amounts of skulls and assorted bones are strategically placed to form walls throughout the tunnels

A single cross surrounded by Paris' dead

Bones piled high on a tunnel floor

A tiny example of the large amount of interesting graffiti within the Catacombs

If you’re interested in seeing some video footage of the Catacombs:

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