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The Reclining Buddha

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The Reclining Buddha or Phra Buddhasaiyas is 46 meters long and 15 meters high (150 ft by 49 ft). Sihasaiyas refers to the sleeping/reclining posture of a lion.  

Phra Vihara, the hall of the Reclining Buddha was built in 1832 during the reign of Rama III. The figure is made with lacquered and guilded stucco over a brick-based corpus.

The Buddha’s head rests on two box pillows inlaid with glass mosaics and is supported by his right hand.
The feet of the Buddha is 5 meters in length and 3 meters in height (16 ft by 9.8 ft). Notice his toes which are all even in size and height.
The soles of the Buddha's feet are inlaid with mother of pearl and have 108 panels showing the auspicious symbols with which he is identified. These auspicious symbols can be grouped into three categories: symbols of fortune and prosperity such as the lotus, attributes of greatness of the king such as the throne, and religious cosmology such as the ocean and heavenly forest. There are two circles, one on each fo…

Marc Chagall Museum in Nice

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In 1966, Marc Chagall donated the group of paintings collectively known as “Biblical Message” to the French State. These paintings were exhibited at the Louvre and became the inspiration for the Musée National Marc Chagall in Nice which was inaugurated in 1973 and attended by the artist himself. This biblical series of 17 large scale paintings form the core of the exhibition. 250 works were initially donated by Chagall. Aside from the paintings, there are sculptures, bas reliefs, a ceramic piece, lithographs and copies of his illustrated books. A mosaic wall called, The Prophet Elijah, presides in the courtyard.

Every Chagall painting has more than one story to tell. I learned to watch for the little vignettes scattered throughout his canvases so I wouldn’t miss the rich narratives that define his works.

The Creation of Man, 1956-58 An angel carries Adam from the ocean where animals thrived prior to the creation of man. The rays of a swirling sun evoke the artistic style of Delaunay (who…

One Enchanted Evening in Carcassonne

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It was a cool evening in mid-April when I first laid eyes on La Cité, the fortified medieval village of Carcassonne. I was on the Pont Vieux with a few other souls enjoying the view of the illuminated citadel. Looking up at its outline against the darkening sky was like stepping into a fairy tale.
The new bridge and its reflection on the Aude river added a romantic ambiance to the crisp night air.
Daylight gave La Cité a different presence. Stone cold walls and watchtowers rise above the Aude whose banks were wrapped in green and early spring blooms.
La Cité has a double set of fortifications. The inner walls were built during the Gallo Roman era and the outer walls which can be seen from the image above, were constructed during the reign of Louis IX in the 13th century. La Cité was in decay in the 19th century prompting the French government to order its demolition. The outcry from the residents brought about the extensive renovations made by the architect, Eugène Viollet le Duc, who wa…

Notre Dame de Paris (after April 15, 2019)

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I was traveling in southern France when I heard of the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral from my cousin in the U.S.  I turned on the television to verify the news as I didn't believe her. And the news wasn't good. Notre Dame was burning and I saw how the spire toppled, weakened by the fire that rose up into the sky. It was heartbreaking to watch. Thousands of people were singing and praying in the streets of Paris as the fire continued to raze Notre Dame into the night. 
A special mass and prayer service was held at the Notre Dame in Nice the following day as it was in many churches across France. It was a prayer of faith and hope for the restoration of one of the most loved churches in the world.
When I returned to Paris after a couple weeks of exploration, I went to the Cathedral and was relieved to see that the twin towers were unscathed as was the rose window. This view of  a spireless Notre Dame is from the Left Bank.
Behind the rose window, a hint of the extensive damage to the…

Les Nabis and the Decorative Arts

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At the recently concluded exhibition, Les Nabis et Le Décor, decorative works by the Nabi group of artists including Maurice Denis, Bonnard, Vuillard, Sérusier, Ranson and Vallotton, were on display at the Musée Luxembourg in Paris. These works of art were intended for “contemporary interiors in reaction against the aesthetics of historical pastiche that were in vogue at the end of the 19th century”.

The painting above, Arabesque Poétique ou L’Echelle dans le feuillage, is by Maurice Denis from 1892.


This wool tapestry is entitled, La Baigneuse ou La Vague. It is the work of Aristide Maillol during the period 1896-1899.

There are Japanese influences in the decorative works of the Nabis as shown on this screen, Passage Vallonné by Marguerite Sérusier from 1910. The Japanese ukiyo-e style of painting with its simple forms, vibrant colors and decorative themes appealed to the Nabis.

Most of these works were commissions by friends or patrons and themes about women and nature and spirituality …

The Café Culture in France

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The Shades Club are out in force here in Montmartre.

It’s pure delight to sit and drink a fine red Bordeaux while contemplating on this sculpture by Jaume Plensa. Bordeaux offers many outdoor cafés for watching the world go by while enjoying their famous canelé pastry.
In Nîmes, the best seat for a cuppa is right beside the Roman amphitheater that was built at the end of the first century.

In Nice, orange chairs and hanging laundry provide a colorful backdrop for these outdoor cafés.

In the medieval hilltop village of St. Paul de Vence, there’s always time to join friends for coffee and conversation at the outdoor terrace.
“And the idea of just wondering off to a café with a notebook and writing and seeing where that takes me for awhile is just bliss.” J. K. Rowling
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Images by TravelswithCharie


Island State-of-Mind

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When your visit to a tropical island is extended, you develop an island state-of-mind. You wear flip flops from morn till bedtime, your shades are comfortably resting on your head on the ready, lunch of seafood on the beach is frequent and your hat is in the bag. But the hat has now been replaced with an umbrella as monsoon season is upon us bringing afternoon showers with it.
This is my view while eating lunch. My favorite here is the grilled tanigue fish and the Hawaiian pizza. When it rains, the island is shrouded in mist. So I go again to the Wayfarer when the forecast calls for a clear and sunny day.
The sweetest mangoes are from the island of Guimaras. And I was lucky to have received a few during the month of June when the market was flooded with mangoes.
Driving around the coastal towns is my favorite pastime. The coves of Ivisan are  so picturesque. And there’s dried fish to buy along the road.
Basiao Beach Everyday is beach day!
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Images by TravelswithCharie

Posting Soon to TravelswithCharie

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Marc Chagall June and July have been busy months for me. Haven’t had the time to write much. There are so many travel articles that I would like to post soon. Here’s a preview of what’s to come. 

Bordeaux Marc Chagall Museum in Nice
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Toulouse
Bordeaux
Notre Dame de Paris
Carcassonne 

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Stay tuned!
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Images by TravelswithCharie