So, wrapping up Barcelona with Sherry, having toured the Gothic part of Barcelona…
The part of Barcelona where the old cathedral is. Note the Google maps dude on the right actually MAPPING the courtyard! Seriously.
…we stopped at Park Guell, designed also by Gaudi, on the way out.
One of several entrances to the park, which has paying, controlled access to the most popular section.
Truly funky architecture.
Street entertainers were everywhere, too.
The acoustics must have been very appealing.
My friend enjoying the “concert.”
Quite a few levels at a height above the old city.
I think he was going for caves, or something.
It is very detailed. We only saw this section from a distance, because we didn’t have time to wait for our paid assigned entry time.
We finished up her trip with another visit into Toulouse, and found a classic era church, quite lovely.
A church from the 19th and 20th centuries…positively modern!
The lighting inside was perfect for the windows!
I hated to see her go, but we weren’t alone for long. My high school friend Jennifer took the extra room a week later!
Filed under France, Travel
My husband and son accompanied me and Sherry to Barcelona. My friend Sherry is a beach girl; she lived a large portion of her life in Southern California, but she’s been landlocked in recent years. I thought she would really enjoy Barcelona and the Mediterranean, and I loved Barcelona so much I wanted to revisit it and share it with her.
I made sure our hotel had easy access to the beach.
Dirty window, but that is definitely the sea.
And to the right…
And we made sure to have at least one seafood dinner on the beach. The size of my prawns was SHOCKING. Honestly, I couldn’t eat them alone. Sherry had to crack them open for me; I was just too grossed out.
Each of these things are as big as my hand. Look at those eyes looking at me!
Then we toured the most-visited site in Spain, the Sagrada Familia, designed by famous architect Antoni Gaudi. Oh my! It really was different than any other cathedral I have visited.
Our tour guide explained in both English AND Spanish, which was a nice exercise for Theo’s beginning Spanish.
Click through to follow us on our tour… Continue reading
April proved to be a very friendly month…two of my friends came to spend time with me! It takes quite a bit of devotion to give up more than a week of time and work, and a sizable chunk of weak dollars to come all the way over here to share France with me, but they did it! The first was Sherry, one of my dearest friends.
She’s here! Sheer joy! The adventure has already begun.
Her first morning with us was April First, which in France is Poisson d’Avril. This is a time of practical jokes, consisting almost entirely of children attaching drawings of fish to adults, accompanied by many giggles. Chocolate fish are also frequently given to kids at this time, invariably filled with, well, more fish.
Les petits poissons.
Sherry and I spent some girl-time visiting Arles in Provence. It was a little early for the stereotypical lavender and sunflowers, but it was still lovely. Arles was one of the dirtier, more run-down cities I’ve visited, but it was still charming, and the hunt for Van Gogh sites was a lot of fun.
Our hotel front, which would be striking in another couple of weeks.
The hotel proprietor was very friendly and helpful, and the breakfasts were great, as deluxe continentals. I didn’t take any photos from the room window, though, as I am accustomed to, because it was a very unprepossessing alley. Come visit Arles with us! Continue reading
(And why, one wonders, is worshiping spelled with one ‘p,’ but shipping is spelled with two?)
But anyway, the end of March was blessed with a ladies’ retreat of the AECM community of churches, in French. I was privileged and delighted to be a part of this, and encouraged that I was able to participate and follow a significant percentage without the printed notes this time. It is wonderful to sing and worship with so many different Christian women from all parts of France.
Friends, some of whom I carpooled with.
Our group from the Toulouse area.
Making a joyful noise to the Lord!
Creating prayer calendars
Sunday lunch, after worshiping at the church in Limoge.
Before returning to Toulouse, our carpool chose to make a visit to the ceramics museum. I get to add yet another museum to my list! I really need to make a page to collect my museum visits. I enjoy going back and remembering them.
The Museum of Limoges Porcelain, March 2014
My friend Dita in a porcelain sculpture outside the museum.
The museum, decorated with enameling.
Limoges is also known for its stained glass manufacture.
More detail of the museum.
One of many giant platters decorating the exterior wall.
You can see a few of my favorite displays here. Continue reading
Filed under faith, France
The next day was a Sunday, and found Theo still sick, and he seemed to be getting a cough. But our museum passes were all pre-purchased, and Theo still had hopes of seeing the beaches of Normandy Monday, so we decided to see if he would improve. We left him to his internet and manga and headed back to Paris, Myriah to the international service at the Cathedral du Notre Dame, and Stoney and I to Sainte-Chapelle, apparently once a royal chapel, and an amazing collection of stained glass.
The chapel is under renovation, it’s third one, I believe.
The chapel isn’t far from Notre Dame, and is the smallest church we have visited.
The difference between restored windows and yet-to-be-restored is clear. These are dirty.
The restoration process is extensive and painstaking. They remove panels and take them apart, cleaning each piece, replacing the leading, before putting the puzzle back together. It must take FOREVER.
See some of the results, and our visit to the MO, by clicking here. Continue reading
Our first day, having left Theo surfing the net on his iPhone in the hotel room with meds at hand, we began (via metro) at the Arc de Triomphe. We saw it from across the street, where plenty of people were congregating, yet saw no way across the exceedingly busy round about. We did see people darting across the round about, and opted to view from afar. We later found there is an underground access, for future reference.
The Arc de Triomphe…bigger than I thought.
Thus begins a very broad, very long road to the Seine, the Champs-Élysée. On it we passed a store my younger daughter would have enjoyed visiting.
Louis-Vuitton. The Sun King would have shopped here, I’m sure.
We passed through many Christmas shop stands and landmarks, re-entering the metro at the Jardin des Tuilleries, after the Egyptian obelisk.
I can’t even remember what this post is, but I liked it.
Christmas comes with roasted chestnuts.
A close up of that roof.
Coming up on the garden…
And the Egyptian obelisk…actually brought from Luxor.
With Egyptian writing.
And from here we began our day at the Louvre. Click on through to join us… Continue reading
Glitter and glint are EVERYWHERE at Versailles. I mean, you hear that the Sun King was a liberal fan of gold, but wow. This was extreme.
Stoney halfway down the long promenade to the Chateau Versailles.
Even in the distance, on a rainy day, the chateau gleams with gold.
My family joining the crowd.
Gold at the gate.
A tiny, less ornate, slice of this enormous castle.
A close-up of the glint we saw in the distance.
Suffice it to say that this theme was continued indoors. Doorways, mantles, fabrics, ceilings, stairways, well…everything was covered in its fair share of gold. By the time we reached the end, I was actually tired of it. Some things are special and lovely because they are rare. To me, gold is pretty garish when it’s not an accent, but the main palette.
Also by the time we were finished, Theo had grown quite a headache. We took the metro back to our hotel and began dosing him up with decongestant and Advil. The next day he wasn’t really better, so we went into Paris with just Myriah. Coming up, the Louvre.
Filed under France, Travel
The day after Christmas 2013, we packed up and headed for an adventure in Paris. Theo wasn’t feeling so hot, but truly, he had had some sort of cold or bad allergies since before Thanksgiving, so we just pressed on. We stayed at a Hilton at Orly Airport, which was pretty cheap with big rooms, but very, very tired and nothing like picturesque. However, the breakfast was good, it had great access to the metro, and kept us from having to drive into Paris traffic.
It’s best feature is size.
That night we took the metro into Paris, and our first view of the Eiffel Tower was at night (quite fitting for Christmas).
Sort of like a Christmas tree.
An up close view. We went back in the daylight so Stoney could see the engineering, of course.
We took a boat tour aboard the Bateaux Mouches, although we didn’t go past Notre Dame, due to the Seine River being so high it affected our clearance. The night was quite cool and damp, but the boats were heated.
The Christmas Spirit, Paris-style.
What would become my favorite museum, the Musee D’Orsay.
Lights at night
The Paris lady liberty
…and up close.
After the tour we had a delicious dinner at an Italian restaurant nearby. And yes, all the French folk in Paris seem capable of a functional English. Tomorrow, Versailles.
Filed under France, Travel
Our last tourist trip this summer was to Albi, this time a daytrip date without Theodore. It was a really lovely city, and as clean as anything in Switzerland. It is also home to the Toulouse-Lautrec museum, so I have another to add to my collection. I was quite surprised at how much of his work was on, essentially, cardboard panels. Much like my sound-suppression paintings at the apartment, only studies for great artworks. Or not even studies! Starving artist isn’t always a cliché.
At the entrance to the Toulouse-Lautrec museum.
Coming up on Albi’s centre ville.
The cathedral here is supposed to be the largest brick cathedral in France. Apparently most are made of stone.
Stoney going in.
It may also be the gaudiest interior in France, although my sample size is rather small still.
Albi’s cathedral and T-L’s museum were next to the Bishop’s home (actually, I think the museum was in the bishop’s home), and you could tour his garden. It was a little marvel.
The other side of the city in the distance.
People lining the walkway.
We considered a river boat tour, but I chickened out at the last minute.
We were actually there on a holiday weekend, so there were some shops closed in spite of its touristy nature. One was the bookstore pictured, which I would totally have LOVED to see! We did manage, for dinner, an interesting wood-fire cooked pizza, in which the mushrooms were served large and entire. The pizza shop was right across from the carousel. Fun date!
The evening’s entertainment.
Filed under Art, France, Travel
In all fairness, this park is quite large, with a whole lake and a zoo and more, and we only visited the botanic garden near the hotel. But I look forward to sharing some of what we enjoyed, just the same, and consider it a glimpse into Lyon’s lovely gardens! I am quite excited to try painting some of these images. Click on any to see them larger, then again for greater detail.
Follow the link to more photos of this lovely French garden…