Thursday, September 29, 2011

Marie Antoinette in Prison and l'Arc de Triomphe

********Quilting later, here's a little bit more about my Paris trip*******

After the quilt shop, our next stop was to visit "La Conciergerie" This is the prison that held the victims of the Guillotine, so it's a pretty big part of French History. It was fascinating, but a little depressing at the same time, so I guess that's why I didn't take many pictures. Plus it was pretty dark, and it's not really nice to use your flash in places like this!

The history was really interesting, and reading the guide from our book really made it come alive to us. We could picture the troops in the large hall in this photograph, and the fireplace was like a room itself, it was so large! Downstairs we saw the cell where Marie Antoinette was kept before she was executed - and we read of her escape attempt, very interesting stuff - history is always fascinating, and it was really neat to see these places after hearing of them so often. Its amazing how actually being in these spots makes history come alive and reminds me that these were real people and not just fictional characters.

Our next conquest - l'Arc de Triomphe! I was eager to see this in person - in high school my friend and I constructed a version of this out of clay for the Foreign Language Fair. It still resides at our old high school, complete with the ribbon we won for our effort. I assure you, the real thing is much more impressive! There is an elevator here for those unable to take the stairs, but we made the climb - 284 steps here - easier than Notre Dame, the steps were larger and the sprirals not as narrow. I had learned my lesson from yesterdays climb and stopped as needed to catch my breath, along with many others. The view from the top is spectacular, as you can see there are several main avenues that lead here. You can see the Eiffel Tower on the right, and Montparnasse Tower toward the left.
And a view of the modern section of Paris, including skyscrapers and le Grande Arc de la Defense. This will definitely be on my list for the next trip! We watched a video clip of some of the history of the Arc de Triomphe while we were there, and paid a visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier there. The Arc de Triomphe was built under the order of Napolean I, but not completed until after his death. It is a tribute to all the soldiers who have served France, and the names of many are inscribed there. Famous Author Victor Hugo's funeral service was conducted here. Part of the video we saw was Adolph Hitler and his forces marching under the Arc. This must have been devastating to the French to see.

Statue of Charles De Gaulle
Looking up underneath - simply lovely detail. Looks like quilt squares, right?

After our visit here, it was getting toward dinner time, so we decided to stoll down the Champs-Elysees and perhaps find something interesting to eat, and check out all the neat shops and restaurants. We did not realize how long the street is (2 kilometers!) but we enjoyed our stroll and the chance to people watch while we walked! We eventually found a small take out sandwich shop, and purchased a couple of sandwiches on soft bread and some yummy desserts which we enjoyed on a park bench in the shade. It was a lovely summer evening and we just relaxed and enjoyed talking about all the fun things we'd seen that day, and looked forward to returning to the Louvre and exploring more.

Au Revoir - next week we will finish up the Louvre Museum!

1 comment:

Julie Fukuda said...

I loved your scrappy quilt in this weeks contest. It's always fun to see what others are up to.