7 posts tagged historic places
Paris Day Trips: Château Vaux le Vicomte
Only 55 kilometres from Paris in the Seine-et-Marne region of France, the stands. It is the largest privately owned castle in France lovingly cared for by five generations of the de Vogüé family . Built in the 1600s by Nicolas Fouquet, Louis XIV’s head of finance, the people responsible for it’s sweeping exteriors and beautiful interiors are the interior designer Le Brun, the landscape designer Le Nôtre, and the architect Le Vau.
The castle was not only the setting for one of the biggest parties of the 17th century hosting around 3000 guests, but it also served as the model for what would become the Palace of Versailles. Louis XIV spent time at the castle and there is even a dessert that was created within its kitchens by François Vatel, crème chantilly.
You may recognize the exterior of Vaux le Vicomte. That’s largely due to the fact that it has been in around 70 different films and commercials including Dangerous Liasons, Marie Antoinette, Vatel, and Ridicule.
Getting a private tour of Vaux le Vicomte by one of its owners, Count Alexander de Vogüé, was definitely . Not only is the family committed to keeping the castle maintained but they have done something rather unusual with the castle: they have opened it up to some really wonderful events creating a historic space that is both incredible to experience but also extremely welcoming to visitors.
Here is a little tour of the views and rooms:
A view of the grand entrance to the castle :
And this is the Grand Salon which sits immediately inside of the entrance shown above. The salon had its doors open to the gardens on the day that I visited the castle which gave the castle a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere:
The King’s antechamber. Alexander was super kind and let us get a close look at the textile:
A view of the ceiling of the King’s antechamber:
(Click on the Read More below to see more photos from the Castle Vaux le Vicomte…)
Paris Day Trips: The Palace of Fontainebleau
While in Paris, I was able to take a few different day trips to the outskirts of Paris to visit some truly awe-inspiring places. One of the trips was to visit the . The palace is located 55 kilometres south-east of Paris in the sub-prefecture of . I took the Paris metro to Gare de Lyon where I hopped on another train to the destination. After I got off of the train, it was just a simple taxi ride to the palace which makes this a great day trip destination.
Dating back to the 12th century, the Palace of Fontainebleau has over 1500 rooms (!) , 130 acres of land, and is the only palace that has been continuously inhabited for over seven centuries hosting many royal families. Its proximity to the large forest of Fontainebleau made it a prime location for the Kings of France.
I was able to go on a great tour of the palace and while I only saw a few rooms, I learned so much about the palace and the Kings and Queens who inhabited the rooms we visited.
Here is a little tour of the views and rooms:
This is the Gallery of Diana. It’s one of my favorite areas of the palace that I visited. The Gallery was rebuilt in the 19th century to serve as a banquet area and then a library for Napolean III:
You may recognize some of the details of this space from the Lana Del Rey video since the opening sequence for the music video was filmed here. It’s the Trinity chapel which was was built in the 16th century to replace a church in the same spot originally built by Saint Louis. Louis XV was wed in this chapel in the 1700s and Napoleon III was baptized in the chapel in the early 1800s.
Another view of the Trinity Chapel:
Located in the former medieval keep that existed on the site, this is the Second Saint Louis room. It served as the King’s bedroom until Henri IV when it served as an antechamber. Many of the paintings depict scenes from Henri IV’s life.
(Click on the Read More below to see more photos from the Palace of Fontainebleau…)
Paris - The Medici Fountain- Jardin du Luxembourg
Paris is a heady rush: the feeling you get when the earth drops out from under you when eyes meet and lips turn upwards in unison.
There is a heaviness that is etched in its architecture, a solemnity of the inevitable without any consequence because history lingers like trailed off sentences in tones reserved for late night confessions.
Paris sweeps you off of your feet: a lover so tragically beautiful on the outside while teeming on the inside with fleeting nostalgia-laced promises of a distant, yet familiar infinite.
This is the Medici Fountain in the Jardin du Luxembourg. It was built by Marie de’ Medici in the 1630s. Marie de’ Medici was the second wife of King Henry the IV of France and the mother of King Louis the XIII of France. She was embroiled in quite a bit of mistress drama with one of Henry’s mistresses, Catherine Henriette de Balzac d’Entragues, Marquise de Verneuil and ended up with a not-so-favorable view in the public eye due to various political intrigue.
This particular incarnation of the fountain came into being during the 1800s after it underwent a restoration after spending many years in disrepair. The statues in the center represent Polyphemus discovering the lovers Acis and Galatea which was a popular story represented in art throughout the centuries. It’s a tale of love and jealousy.
I came across this fountain on the last day I was in Paris. It took my breath away as so much did during my 9 day visit but I was already completely in love with Paris at that point. I fell hard within the first few days and it was a never-ending blush on the skin and butterflies in the stomach after that.
I had an interesting conversation on earlier today about the differences between Paris and NYC when it comes to initial visual and emotional impact. One of my open-ended conclusions was: “NYC is harder to fall in love with at first sight. Paris sweeps off the feet. NYC woos.” And while I think I need to think about this some more on subsequent returns to Paris, there is some truth there.
Paris does sweep you off of your feet.
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Paris - A Vieux Paris d’Arcole
I have been back from Paris for a few days now and I am still in the weird twilight phase of jet-lag where I feel like my mind is suspended between sleep and dreaming yet somehow acutely in tune with all of the experiences I had in Paris. Jet-lag seems to work well for me creatively. Who knew?
Over the last few days I have been preparing my Paris photography for the gallery event at the end of the month. I will be sharing my experiences and photography over the next few weeks. I hope you will enjoy my musings and views of Paris.
There is so much to write about and share. I stayed in some truly epic hotels with fascinating histories and views and I got to meet some really amazing people. The beauty of travel is that it is something that is enjoyed multiple times: the first time while living through the experiences, and on subsequent occasions when you are able to share your experiences and fill in the memories with color, light, and emotion.
For now though, here is a photo from one of the first few days I was in Paris. I actually wrote a little bit about this spot in one of my while I was in Paris. I ate lunch there with Hugo from Rendezvous with Paris while talking about the history of the area. While the interior is fascinating on many levels, the exterior is quite beautiful.
The name of the restaurant is which was built in 1512 after the completion of the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris. It is located at 24 Rue Chanoinesse and it even contains some remnants from Notre Dame’s interior. The diocese sold it in the 1700s when it became a wine bar. As one of the oldest restaurants in Paris, it also enjoys an interesting tourist exception in that the Mayor of Paris allows the external floral decorations which adds to its beautiful medieval character.
Please check out on Facebook. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here taking photos of Paris and having the experience of a lifetime!
And I also must highly recommend . They offer passionate tours about specialized subjects as well as tours of different districts of Paris.
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New York City Adventure: Take a tour of Grand Central’s Secret Places
New York City - Grand Central - Private Tour
I had the rare opportunity to get a private tour of Grand Central’s unusual and special spots and views today. I got to climb a ladder and explore the inside of Grand Central’s huge clock, traverse a hidden staircase, see the master control room, walk around with a hard-hat on in the secret underground station that hosted secret service agents and presidents. In short, I am not sure how much can top this rare New York City experience.
Gallery Key (corresponds to the order of photos in the photo-set):
1. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor once we entered the super private glass catwalk that runs along the top floor of Grand Central. A few panes of glass were opened so that the best camera angles could be accessed and it was pretty much people-watching photography heaven for about 20 minutes. Having only ever admired Grand Central (for the most part) from the ground looking up, this view looking out and over the entirety of the main concourse is something I will never forget.
2. As far back as I can remember, I have wanted to go inside of the information booth that sits in the center of the main concourse. People who visit Grand Central or pass through daily know the information booth as the ornate booth that sits under the famous four-sided clock. It’s been my main meeting point in Grand Central whenever I meet people in the terminal and it’s been in countless television shows and movies throughout the years.
So you can just imagine how giddy I was that I got to go inside of the information booth today. Not only that but there was a pane of glass missing which was perfect to capture an unusual angle of the clock. I also got to go down the secret staircase in the middle of the information booth which led downstairs and fulfilled my early Nancy Drew-fueled dreams of traversing a secret staircase.
3.The center of Grand Central’s Information Booth also still has quite a few of the original travel advertisements pasted to the inner parts of the structure which was awesome to view. Nothing like gazing upon early 20th century travel ads for early to mid 20th century steamboat and steamship adventures.
4. A classic view overlooking Grand Central’s original light structures. I learned today that the reason that all of the light-bulbs are exposed on all of Grand Central’s chandeliers is due to the grand age of electricity. The Vanderbilt’s were extremely proud that Grand Central was one of the first all-electric powered buildings in the world and celebrated by honoring the light-bulb in all it’s exposed glory.
5. As if the day couldn’t get any better, I was treated to a view inside Grand Central’s clock tower which sits behind the massive Tiffany glass clock (the largest in the world). I happen to be extremely scared of heights which is a fear I am trying to get over. Today was definitely a milestone for me as I climbed the largest ladder I have ever climbed (major achievement) to get inside the clock tower. I am so happy I did! This is the view of Grand Central’s Tiffany Clock from inside the clock! One of the panes of glass opens allowing for some super unique views of the top of Grand Central.
6. And the view looking out towards Park Avenue South was pretty spectacular!
7. These are the massive gears and master controls looking towards the Tiffany glass of the clock from inside the clock.
8. Another view of the streets below as seen while hanging out of the Grand Central’s clock.
9. And if the clock tower and glass catwalks weren’t enough, I also got to see Grand Central’s abandoned Track 61 which I was always told was the stuff of urban legend. However, it turns out to be real! When President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was in office, he utilized a secret train line that connected Grand Central to the Waldorf-Astoria. The area even has a huge freight elevator that was used to fit his limousine allowing FDR to travel to and from New York City in secrecy during World War II. This was the train he used which still sits on Track 61.
10. And finally, another view of the Main Concourse of Grand Central from high above. I can’t get enough of this view.
I want to thank Grand Central for having me as a guest and giving me the grand tour and for my friend Lexi (check out ) who not only put this VIP tour together but helped me out in the clock tower! For news, cool events, and updates about Grand Central:
View these photos and more of Grand Central Terminal’s unusual views (click on each photo in the set to enlarge):
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