Friday, October 28, 2011

Planes, Trains and Automobiles - Paris and Beyond

Le Train Blue Gare de Lyon Paris
Photo Karen F. Rose

Getting there

One of the highlights of our trip was taking the high speed train (TGV) from Paris to Avignon. The restaurant Le Train Blue is located in the station and was built as part of the 1900 Paris exhibition (same as the Eiffel Tower) and was located at the Gare de Lyon to showcase the best of Paris... The ceiling has 41 paintings of places you visit by train. 
Look closely, can you catch a glimpse of Coco Channel, Brigitte Bardot or Dali seated at one of the tables? They were once frequent patrons of the this restaurant. 


Fast forward to the Avignon TVG station where I saw no paintings hanging on the walls, but the station is a work of art itself, with sleek modern high speed trains that will spirit you to Paris at speeds of 185 miles per hour.


Travelers at TGV Avignon
Photo Karen F. Rose
Automobiles
May I just say that part of the art of driving in France is mastering roundabouts....? For those of you who live in the Midwest, where there are wide streets and large avenues and may not be familiar with this free flow of traffic concept, let's just say that instead of a four way stop you enter the outer lane of the circle and pray that someone will let you exit when you need to!!!
I think in Provence, there were roundabouts at every intersection.
Concept Car Art
photo Karen F. Rose
Automobiles
Much to my husband's regret, this was not our rental car while we were traveling but is a work of "car art" in a Paris showroom.


Planes - Waiting to board a plane in Jacksonville International airport, you notice the large mural at the end of the terminal, 
Art at the Jacksonville International Airport
Terminal
Photo Karen F. Rose


Can't help wondering, "That guy must be flying first class cause he will never fit in a coach seat. Don't you just love that image!
Must also say the art in the Atlanta airport international terminal that welcomes you as you come back to the states and head into customs and passport control is magnificent. What a Welcome Home!


My birthday trip was so memorable and as promised, if you are a subscriber to my blog and made a comment on these Paris and Beyond posts, I will put your name in a "beret" and choose a winner from all the names as a thank you to you for "contributing to my blog". So don't forget to subscribe!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rose Valland, a Heroine for Art

Plaque on the Jeu de Paume in Paris
Photo Karen F. Rose
As you walk around the Tuileries in Paris you can't help but notice the beautiful fountains and flowers, but on this day I was in search of a special piece of history.
On a wall outside the Jeu de Paume in the Tuileries Garden in Paris is a plaque honoring the art historian, member of the French Resistance and perhaps one of the most heroic French women during World War II, Rose Valland.
To honor Rose Valland

I had often asked, "How did the great works of art survive the destruction and the ravages of World War II"?  
The spellbinding documentary The Rape of Europa  and the book The Monuments Men by Robert Edsel tell the heroic story of Rose Valland and the Monuments Men. The plaque on the Jeu de Paume is in honor of Rose.


During the war, the Nazis stole art works from museums and private collections and stored them in the Jeu de Paume, and all the while, Rose secretly kept records.


Wikipedia says that, "For four years she kept track of where and to whom in Germany the artworks were shipped and risked her life to provide information to the French Underground and about railroad shipments of art so that they would not mistakenly blow up the trains loaded with France's priceless treasures". 

Watch this video clip. Click  HERE 
Chambord
Photo Karen F. Rose
Chambord is the location where, as the Nazis advanced toward Paris, Leonardo Da Vinci's painting Mona Lisaand the ancient Greek sculpture Venus De Milo, as well as hundreds of other priceless works of art were taken from the Louvre museum and secretly stored for safekeeping.
Venus De Milo
Louvre Museum
Photo Karen F. Rose
 
When you see the actual film footage of this story unfold, you too will forever remember Rose Valland and the Monuments Men.
An amazing story.



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Midnight In Paris, Not the Movie but the Experience

The Eiffel Tour viewed from a boat ride on the Seine
Photo Karen F. Rose
Passing under the Napoleon Bridge
Photo Karen F. Rose
Part of the joy and adventure of my trip to France was a birthday gift my daughter gave me, a boat ride at night on the Seine. The weather was perfect for seeing "The City of Lights".
Locks of Love on the Pont Des Arts bridge in Paris
Photo Karen F. Rose
Walking from the Louvre across the Le Pont des Arts, a pedestrian bridge, to the boat ramp, I was surprised to see thousands of locks covering both sides of the bridge. Hundreds of people were sitting, chatting and picnicking on the bridge. The locks glistened in the night air almost as if they were ornaments on a Christmas tree.

Being curious, I just had to ask. "What's this adornment of the bridge all about"?
I was told that people "who are in love" come to the bridge and afix a lock to the bridge as a testiment to their everlasting devotion to each other then throw the key into the Seine.
Well. such an event is not without controversy. Government officials were concerned that all these locks are defacing a national monument, a French treasure. So, one night in 2010, in the middle of the night. government officials removed all the locks.
Just as quickly as they disappeared they reappeared again.
Ah love is always in the air in Paris, I guess.

How would you feel if thousands of people wrote love messages on one of our Vermont covered bridges or placed padlocks all over the Brooklyn bridge? I am curious to hear your thoughts.

In my next post I'll introduce you to a French woman, an art historian
who I've wanted to meet, if only in spirit.

If you have not already done so, I invite you subscribe to my blog. Who knows, you might be the winner of a little something from France I am giving away at the end of my Paris and Beyond posts!


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Blanche Nuit in Paris, October 1, 2011

Blanche Nuit in Paris October 1, 2011

Art Walk, Gallery Hop whatever you call it in your town, the French have one night a year, usually in October, and they celebrate contemporary art from 7 PM until dawn in Paris.
Blanche Nuit, white night in Paris is a huge event where tourist attractions, museums and libraries, galleries host art and cultural events.
The Mayor of Paris says, “The most creative and most innovative work on the French and international scenes will be here for one night”.
To explore the night's festivities visit the official web site. Click HERE