Les Invalides and the mausoleum of Napoleon, Paris

The front of Les Invalides is pretty impressive. There's a line of cannons and a moat. I'm told some soldiers still live there.  Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day.
The front of Les Invalides is pretty impressive. There’s a line of cannons and a moat. I’m told some soldiers still live there.
Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day.

This was three blocks from our hotel in Paris. It’s officially known as L’Hôtel national des Invalides and is now a military and armaments museum. It is also the burial site for some of France’s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.

The building was constructed by order of Louis XIV in 1670 as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers. He later added a chapel for the veterans and one for himself. The stunning private royal chapel has a gleaming gold dome (Église du Dôme) inspired by St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.  It is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture.

Inside the museum:

How did the horse carry a man and all that armor?
How did the horse carry a man and all that armor?
There were weapons and battle dress from many countries and time periods. These were Asian.
There were weapons and battle dress from many countries and time periods. These were Asian.
This is an Oliphant--an ornate horn made from an elephant tusk.
This is an Oliphant–an ornate horn made from an elephant tusk.

Hotel des Invalides & Napoleon tomb, Paris, July 2015, 129And The Dome:

This is The Dome. Huge and impressive. In the center are the remains of Napoleon.
This is The Dome. Huge and impressive. In the center are the remains of Napoleon.
The dome, from inside. The interior of the dome (107 meter high) was painted by Le Brun's in the Baroque style. The painting was completed in 1705.
The dome, from inside. The interior of the dome (107 meter high) was painted by Le Brun’s in the Baroque style. The painting was completed in 1705.
Many important French military figures are interred here, such as Ferdinand Foch (1851–1929), Marshal of France, Allied Supreme Commander in the First World War.   There are also at least 9 hearts kept here, while the rest of the bodies are somewhere else.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_Foch
Many important French military figures are interred here, such as Ferdinand Foch (1851–1929), Marshal of France, Allied Supreme Commander in the First World War.
There are also at least 9 hearts kept here, while the rest of the bodies are somewhere else. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_Foch
And there's Napoleon!  Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821). Napoleon was initially interred on Saint Helena, but King Louis-Philippe arranged for his remains to be brought to France in 1840, an event known as le retour des cendres. Napoléon's remains were first buried in the Chapelle Saint-Jérôme in the Invalides until his final resting place, a tomb made of red quartzite and resting on a green granite base, was finished in 1861.
And there’s Napoleon! Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821). Napoleon was initially interred on Saint Helena, but King Louis-Philippe arranged for his remains to be brought to France in 1840, an event known as le retour des cendres. Napoléon’s remains were first buried in the Chapelle Saint-Jérôme in the Invalides until his final resting place, a tomb made of red quartzite and resting on a green granite base, was finished in 1861.
So much marble is not only impressive, but cool on a hot day.
So much marble is not only impressive, but cool on a hot day.

Louvre, Paris

Don't forget that the Louvre was a palace long before it was a museum. The place is stunning. While I was impressed with the art, the building held most of my attention.
Don’t forget that the Louvre was a palace long before it was a museum. The place is stunning. While I was impressed with the art, the building held most of my attention.

What can I say about this amazing place that hasn’t already been said? I only had four hours–that’s my art attention span–but you could spend a lifetime. This important museum is best visited in small bites over several days. If only I’d had several days. Maybe next time…..

While I like how these pyramids let in light below, they just don't fit, IMHO.
While I like how these pyramids let in the light below, they just don’t fit, IMHO.

Louve, July 2015, 3

The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel is technically at the edge of the Tuileries park, just beside the Louvre.
The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel is technically at the edge of the Tuileries park, just beside the Louvre.
Jesus turns water into wine. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wedding_at_Cana
Jesus turns water into wine. The Wedding at Cana.
Grande Odalisque, also known as Une Odalisque or La Grande Odalisque. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grande_Odalisque
Grande Odalisque, also known as Une Odalisque or La Grande Odalisque.
Napoleon crowns his queen. The Pope just gets to look on.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Coronation_of_Napoleon
Napoleon crowns his queen. The Pope just gets to look on.  The Coronation of Napoleon.
Surprisingly, this important statue was on a stairway landing--and the crowds blocked access. I've seen photos of the Winged Victory of Samothrace for decades, but never realized it is placed atop a huge stone "boat."  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winged_Victory_of_Samothrace
Surprisingly, this important statue was on a stairway landing–and the crowds blocked access. I’ve seen photos of the Winged Victory of Samothrace for decades, but never realized it is placed atop a huge stone “boat.”
This most impressive hall didn't need any more art. My neck hurt just from looking up all the time and I'm sure I missed several paintings and statues. But the crown jewels at the end were a nice addition.
This most impressive hall didn’t need any more art. My neck hurt just from looking up all the time and I’m sure I missed several paintings and statues. But the crown jewels at the end were a nice addition.

Louve, Paris, July 2015, 32

This is just a detail of one small section of ceiling.
This is just a detail of one small section of ceiling.
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Venus de Milo
Now that's evil.
Now that’s evil.
The Caryatid Hall is impressive without all the additional art. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caryatid
The Caryatid Hall is impressive without all the additional art.

Louvre, Paris, July 2015, 26

I could spend hours just looking at the ceilings.
I could spend hours just looking at the ceilings.
Did I mention that the Louvre is crowded? On the far wall is the Mona Lisa. Good luck getting close.
Did I mention that the Louvre is crowded? On the far wall is the Mona Lisa. Good luck getting close.
This could be an amazing painting, but I simply never got close enough to it to be able to give a personal opinion. And it's behind so much protection that you can't look at it closely, anyway.
This could be an amazing painting, but I simply never got close enough to it to be able to give a personal opinion. And it’s behind so much protection that you can’t look at it closely, anyway.

Flame of Liberty, Paris

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I’ve been working a lot of hours. Now that Ramazan is over, new classes are starting and we are suddenly short on teachers. I’ve been schedule 40 teaching hours a week–not counting prep time or office hours. All I’ve done is work and sleep. So it’s taking a bit to post my Paris photos.  

This is the Flame of Liberty (Flamme de la Liberté), located along the Seine, near the northern end of the Pont de l’Alma, on the Place de l’Alma.  It’s a full sized, gold-leaf replica of the flame from the Statue of Liberty in the New York Harbor, a gift from France. This torch was a gift to the city of Paris in 1989 by the International Herald Tribune.

The flame has became an unofficial memorial for Diana, Princess of Wales after her 1997 death in the tunnel just below.  It’s become a tourist attraction for her and probably most people think the torch was put up in her honor. 

Lady Di's Torch, Paris, July 2015, 7

You'll find locks like this everywhere along the Seine, but especially on bridges. Lovers lock them and throw the key into the water, signifying their unbreakable love.
You’ll find locks like this everywhere along the Seine, but especially on bridges. Lovers lock them and throw the key into the water, signifying their unbreakable love.

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Notre Dame

That's the back of fellow teacher Shelley. I think she was my good luck charm on this trip!
That’s the back of fellow teacher Shelley. I think she was my good luck charm on this trip!

So last week, I finally made it to Paris. Yeah, those who know me are surprised that it was my first visit. I’ve probably been to 30 countries in my life, but not France.

OK, technically, I’ve been to France a few times, jf you count Charles de Gaulle Airport. I don’t.

The reason I’ve put it off so long is simple: All of my worst travel stories involved a rude Frenchman, Charles de Gaulle Airport or AirFrance. Some of them involve all three. There’s the time it took 27 hours to fly from Dublin to Atlanta on AirFrance–and 11 of the hours were spent sitting on the tarmac. There’s the time in the security line in Charles de Gaulle when security confiscated my money belt–with a credit card and $120 in it. They refused to return it. There was no one to complain to. Security officers are gods. Or devils. Another time, I was pulled out of line for a “special” security search. They have you spread your arm out, so it’s hard to react quickly, but before I knew it, the officer had put her hand down the front of my pants and into my underwear. I couldn’t stop myself from striking her in the face. I’m surprised I got to leave the airport, but she didn’t even flinch. Probably it happens to her all the time.

So I’ve avoided France. But I decided to give it a try. Luckily, Shelley, another teacher here in Istanbul, agreed to go, too. It’s a lovely city. And as long as the French are not in line with you (or work for security or AirFrance) they seem to be good people.

One of the highlights was Notre Dame. Enjoy!

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Notre Dame, Paris, July 2015, 33