Fenton & White Wowed By Monets

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THANKS TO READERS WHO HELP MAKE THIS BLOG BETTER

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A quick note of thanks to a keen-eyed reader who noticed that my fingers had switched two vowels around and incorrectly spelled Sacre Coeur and Charles de Gaulle in previous postings.  I can’t make corrections on the emails you have received, but the blog site and facebook postings have been corrected.  Thanks for reading with such a detailed eye.  Now onto the next set of adventures … a stroll from The Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe.

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THE TREES TOWER ABOVE THE PEDESTRIAN AVENUES IN THE TUILERIES GARDENS

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We made our way to the western exit of The Louvre and walked into the Tuileries Gardens which extend 1.5 kilometers from The Louvre to the Place de la Concorde (a large public square).  The gardens got their name from the tile factories which once stood on the site; a place where Queen Catherine de Medici built the Palais des Tuileries in 1564.

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PETE ENJOYS A LARGE TARTE AU CITRON WITH A SQUARE OF CHOCOLATE ON TOP

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The Tuileries Gardens make up one of the oldest parks in Paris and on a sunny day, it is an ideal spot to sit with a baguette, some Perrier and a pastry purchased from a nearby patisserie.

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THE GOLD AT THE TOP OF THE LUXOR OBELISK GLEAMS IN THE SUN AT THE CENTRE OF THE PLACE DE LA CONCORDE

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At the end of the gardens, one comes to the Place de la Concorde, and in the centre is the 3000 year old Luxor Obelisk which once stood outside of Luxor Temple in Egypt.  This granite column came to Paris in 1833, but was without its gold cap.  The government of France replaced the cap with a gold-leafed pyramid in 1998 which brightly reflects the sun’s rays.  We took a quick look and then turned around to enter a rather unique museum  just below the square called the Musee de l’Orangerie.

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THE COLLECTION ON THE LOWER LEVELS OF THE MUSEUM FEATURES 146 PAINTINGS INCLUDING LOVELY WORKS BY HENRI MATISSE

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This small museum features the Jean Walter – Paul Guillaume collection with works by Renoir, Cezanne, Gaugin, Matisse, Modigliani (to name a few) on the lower level, but the big draw is upstairs in the oval galleries which feature 8 large murals painted by Claude Monet.  The Water Lilies murals  are immense in scale and took twelve years to paint.  To get into these rooms, you pass through a small anti-chamber with signs that ask patrons to admire the paintings in silence.

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A CLOSE-UP OF A SMALL SECTION OF ONE OF THE PANELS

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PETE GETS THE FULL PICTURE

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EACH MURAL HAS ITS OWN TONE AND MOOD, WITH FOUR DEPICTING THE WATER LILIES AT DAWN, AND FOUR DEPICTING THE WATER LILIES AT DUSK

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THE SCALE OF THE WORK IS STAGGERING

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THIS AMAZING PANEL IS OVER 6 FEET IN HEIGHT AND STRETCHES OVER 40 FEET ALONG THE CURVED WALL

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Between 2000 and 2006, a major renovation to the building  was undertaken, but the canvases were too large to safely move.  As a result, they were sealed in reinforced boxes on the walls where they had been originally installed in 1926 .  Specially designed alarm systems monitored heat, humidity and vibration to ensure that the paintings remained undamaged until the unveiling of the renovated building in 2006.  A visit to the Musée de l’Orangerie can last for 30 minutes to an hour if you want to quickly browse through the collections, or many hours if you want to stare into the paintings for long periods of time to admire their intricacies.  We had been at The Louvre in the morning and were a bit sleepy from our time in the park in the sun, so spent 30 minutes enjoying the collections on the lower floor and 30 minutes taking in these breathtaking panels.

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THE AVENUE  DES CHAMPS-ELYSEES BOASTS ALMOST TWO KILOMETRES OF SHOPPING

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After taking in our quota of art for the day, it was time for a stroll along one of the most famous shopping areas in the world … the Avenue des Champs-Elysees.

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FLAGSHIP STORES ALONG THE AVENUE DES CHAMPS-ELYSEES ARE LARGE … THIS IS THE INTERIOR OF THE ABERCROMBIE & FITCH STORE

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We entered only a few stores along the way, but were drawn in by the Renault dealership which featured the electric-powered Twizy.  We saw many of these miniature vehicles being driven around the Paris streets during our trip.  We noted that almost every high end store required you to go through a security check  requiring either a bag search, going through a metal detector, or being checked with a metal-detecting wand.  Large amounts of money change hands at these stores and security is high.

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FOR A MERE 7000 EUROS, THIS RENAULT TWIZY COULD BE YOURS

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As indicated earlier in our blog, in general we were planning on doing two attractions from the Museum Pass each day, and then spending the rest of the time eating and strolling. We cheated a little bit and did three items from the pass on this day because our stroll along the Avenue des Champs-Elysees was going to finish at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe.

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THE ARC DE TRIOMPHE STANDS 164 FEET TALL AT THE CENTRE OF THE PLACE CHARLES DE GAULLE AT THE WESTERN END OF THE AVENUE DES CHAMPS-ELYSEES

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The Arc de Triomphe is an iconic monument which honours those that fought for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.  At the base of the monument is the tribute to the Unknown Soldier with an eternal flame that burns for those that perished in World War I.

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paris-2016-154 YOU CAN CLIMB THE 284 STAIRS TO REACH THE TOP OF THE ARC DE TRIOMPHE

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The Museum Pass includes admission to climb to the top of the monument.  The spiral staircase takes you almost all the way to the top .  Patrons with weaker legs can take an elevator part way up, but to get to the very top, there is still another set of  sixty stairs to climb which doesn’t have an elevator.   The view is definitely worth the effort.

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THE ARC DE TRIOMPHE IS AT THE HUB OF 12 AVENUES, EACH WITH A DIFFERENT VIEW

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LOOKING TOWARDS THE BASTILLE DISTRICT WHERE THE OFFICE TOWERS ARE

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IN THE DISTANCE, SACRE COEUR RISES FROM MONTMARTRE

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On our second full day in Paris, we had toured The Louvre, had a picnic in the Tuileries Gardens, seen the amazing Monet Water Lilies canvases, walked the Avenue des Champs- Elysees and climbed the Arc de Triomphe.  It was time to head back to our neigbourhood and find a cafe to relax at prior to our evening culinary adventure.

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Tomorrow … Montmartre at night.

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Fenton & White

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