Friday, October 11, 2013

September 14- Journees du Patrimoine

There are over 14,000 classified historical monuments in France.  One weekend each year, they are opened to the public to permit everyone to see monuments which are not usually able to see or the parts of monuments that are normally closed to the public.

Al waded through many pages of an online listing of monuments in French to choose where we would visit.  Unfortunately, it was a rainy and cold day. 

Our morning trek took us to the French Senate, which meets in the Luxumbourg Palace.   Luxumbourg Palace is located in Luxumbourg Park.  The Palace was built by Marie de Medici in 1615 to replicate her home in Italy following the death of her husband, Henry IV. She served as regent for her son, Louis XIII, until he came of age. Unfortunately for her, when her son grew up, he sent her packing to Germany. 

Today, the Palace serves as the home of the French Senate.  The French version of the CIA has offices in the basement and underneath the park.  We didn’t get to go to the basement.
Luxemburg Palace is another WOW place. Every inch is covered in gold, paintings, murals, carvings, and portraits. 

Statues in an interior courtyard.  We have pictures of the outside in a previous post.







All in the entryway.

View of the Luxembourg Garden from the Palace.

More of the Luxembourg Gardens.  The National Observatory is in the distance.  They don't do much observing anymore.  City light you know.

An interesting clock in one of the rooms.

There is a large reception hall outside of the Senate- more gold, paintings, etc. 




This couple, carved in the ceiling, seems to be posing for a deodorant advertisement.



A smaller reception room
 Senate library, which runs the length of the building.
Finally, we arrived in the Senate Chambers.

 Ceiling of Senate

Seating for senate members.  The signs designate where each party sits.

The front of the chamber

 Another balcony.
Detail of wall.

The Senate Archives.  Shelves and shelves of file folders.

The Gold Room.  Real gold.

We watched a children’s film about the Assembly- which was probably at about a 3rd grade vocabulary. We learned that the Assembly members are elected by local officials from each area, and are each assigned to serve on one of 6 committees. There are few women in the Assembly.

A walk through Luxemburg Gardens.  I liked this moss-covered fountain.


In the afternoon, we went to the Paris Observatory. Al will need to describe this because I sat and read a book while he toured the building.
The Observatory doesn't do much observing any more.  The city lights are too bright. It does have an interesting display of old instruments.  It also does frequent readings of the sun to verify the meridian line through Paris. 

The meridian line.  It is hard to see in the picture, but it is an inlaid line in the marble.


This is the instrument they now use to verify the location of the meridian.

No French building would be complete without a statue or two.

That evening I, Al, went to a rugby match.  It was the Stade Francais Paris vs. Brive.  Stade Francais Paris is one of the best clubs in France and Brive is not.  So the game wasn't really competitive.  It seemed competitive because the Parisian club wasn't really trying for most of the game.  So, not as exciting as I would have hoped.   It was rainy, and the low ranking of Brive, I think, kept people away from the match.    Yes, they do play rugby in the rain.  Still, it was fun to see a real professional match in person.   I like that Stade Francais Paris has pink as its dominant color.  Not afraid to be sissy men.  I bought a scarf with their colors.


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