Monet Earlier Years – Paris

A few years back I had the luxury, and yes I will call it luxury, of visiting the sublime Musee de l’Orangerie in Paris.  It was a trip highlighted by Mr. Claude Monet first at Giverny, then at Musee Marmonttan Monet and finally at Orangerie.  Monet felt Paris needed a little cheering up after the war and gave them a place of peace and sanctuary to observe and be with his massive water lilies.  (I think that is a beautiful sentiment some of us could use even now.) Since this visit I have been hyper aware of all things Monet counting the days until I can visit the tulips at Giverny again.  Why am I writing about this now?  Well, I recently visited an exhibit of late Monet works in San Francisco which I will post about in short order and I thought it would be fun to see early works flanked by later works soon. Stay tuned friends…


Notre Dame

An alert on my iPhone said it was burning. It’s just a building but I dropped what I was doing at work to look for additional details hoping it was just a small fire. How could a church made of so much stone burn? Surely it must not be bad? Text messages from a French friend and German friend start to come in. “Are you watching?” Disbelief and frantic searching for photos on my phone and in my computer to jog my memory as to how much of the facility was wood. People of Paris start to gather and the world watches. This church doesn’t only belong to the French. It belongs to the hearts of everyone who has visited, read about it, seen photos, or practiced it’s teachings. Hearts broke as the tower fell. Please don’t let it be terrorism. I couldn’t take that and was saddened that my mind even went there. All of the relics. The glass work. The lamps. The ORGAN.  The woodwork. There would be no way to save the woodwork. Please please save the magnificent front doors. Later stories of heroism emerge along with stories of waste and politics like usual. And now it rains and it is in danger again. I look back at photos and remember the service I took there while last in Paris where I heard the unmistakable sound of the organ paired with Gregorian choir making a sound only the heavens could create. A beautiful noise. Now, I only hope it will be restored so I can take my son to see it some day and with any luck hear the original organ and view the original woodwork, flooring, etc. It has survived this many years and I am confident it will rise proudly again for the people of Paris, for the people of France, and for the rest of the world who it belongs to in spirit.

Père Lachaise Cemetery – Paris

A good travel partner can be hard to find.  When you have a good one you stick with them.  My German friend Manuela and I have been traveling together since we met taking a college class in Dublin in 1999.  And sometimes, you have to take one for the team.  She insisted on taking me to see a cemetery…in Paris.  I wasn’t terribly interested in visiting a bunch of dead people when I had only 9 days in Europe at first.  But, the photographer in me won out and looked forward to the photo opportunities creep factor or no.  And a cemetery originally built in 1804 would surely have some great things to capture.

The weather cooperated despite the cold, very cold weather and periodic rain.  It afforded me time to visit: Oscar Wild (whose grave had been broken sadly only days before by overzealous visitors), Edith Piaf (whose voice transcends her death), Amadeus Modiliani (who like many others only achieved fame after death), Eugene DelaCroix (whose work I only became familiar with while I was visiting Paris), Jim Morrison (I later saw the hotel where he passed away in Paris), Eloise & Abelard (One of the most interesting love stories I have heard in a long time), and various moving shrines to Jewish people who lost their lives in concentration camps from WWII.

The cemetery is huge something like 100+ acres! One could spend all day wandering through its roadmap. If there is anyone in particular you desire to see take a map or you will surely waste your time and get lost.  Avoid the tour guides who accost your ear, come out of nowhere, insist on taking your money, unless you want to make quick work of the cemetery in order to make haste to a cafe or bistro. 

Be aware if you choose this place as your final resting place, unless you are famous, you will be dug up and cremated after 100 years to make room for more!


This post is submitted as part of Cee’s Odd Ball Challenge!

Paris – Doors Part Cinq

This will be the last set of Parisian doors for this trip.  I hope you have enjoyed the doors I have chosen to share on this Thursday Door tour through Paris.  They are a beautiful source of inspiration and happiness for me.  And many thanks to Norm for his challenge which provides me an excuse to share them with you.


The wisteria was just beginning to bloom while we were in Paris which attracted me to all sorts of gates.  If only it had been this lovely in Giverny…


Imagine the history this door has seen.


I love this worn knocker.


Something like this would be blight where I live but it is living art and not to be messed with elsewhere in the world. Doors like this keep me traveling.

Check out some of my previous doors from France and all over the world by clicking here.

Thanks to Norm 2.0 for inspiring me to share my doors!

Postcards from Paris – Republic Square

While I was in Paris protesters began by peacefully protesting labor law changes in Republic Square.  I walked by the square when it looked like this and had to leave because there was an air of violence.  I don’t know how to explain it other than my spidy sense was telling me to get out of there.  So, we left and went on to doing beautifully Parisian things.  That night, protests erupted in to violence, which led to looting, cars burning, smoke bombs, injuries, and police forcing people to leave.  Thankfully, I was not party to or witness of any of this.  (You’re welcome Mom.)  However, the city was tense for a few days especially considering the already tense terrorism related concerns.  Things were fine for the rest of our trip with relatively few sightings of military or police until the day I left, Labor Day.  I read in the news when I got home that further protests became violent that evening.  I was very sorry to hear this and hope things are coming to a peaceful resolution since my leaving.

Before I left many people asked me if I felt comfortable flying to Paris in light of the bombings there and in Brussels.  I did feel comfortable.  I never would have expected internal rioting while I was there.  But, stranger things have happened when I traveled.

Have you ever been in the wrong place at the wrong time when you traveled? (I was just listening to an interview of some South American kids visiting Orlando during the nightclub shootings and can only imagine travelors in Dallas recently…)