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Showing posts with the label France

Toulouse - The Bull and the Martyr

Rue Saint Taur The history of Toulouse is deeply entwined with the martyrdom of its patron saint, Saturnin (Sernin), who was martyred in the third century.  According to the legend, Saturnin, the first bishop of Toulouse, was chained to a taur or bull that dragged him down Rue du Taur. The Church of Notre Dame du Taur is standing on the exact spot where the corpse of Saint Saturnin was detached from the bull as it rampaged down the street. Façade of Notre Dame du Taur The Church of Saint Saturnin was renamed Notre Dame du Taur after the Basilica of Saint Sernin was built to accommodate the vast numbers of pilgrims who stopped by Toulouse on their way to the Church of St. James in Santiago de Compostela in Spain.  The genealogy of Jacob, Notre Dame du Taur This 14th century fresco of the genealogy of Jacob was one of the highlights of my visit to Toulouse. Jacob was the son of Isaac and Sarah and the grandson of Abraham. The 12 Tribes of Israel traces its lineage to Jacob. Joseph,

Bordeaux, the City by the Garonne

Forest bathing in Bordeaux Bordeaux, dubbed the Pearl of Aquitaine, seems to have everything. It has a historic center which is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. It has bold, new architectural spaces juxtaposed with soaring 15th century bell towers and Gothic cathedrals. It is one of the great wine producing regions in France that has quenched man’s thirst since the Roman era. It has expansive squares and gardens with flourishing trees that cool down the summer heat. There’s much to see, taste, smell and learn in this old and “new” city in southwestern France. Church of St. Croix (Holy Cross) There was a church on this spot since the 11th century and it was modified over time. The current asymmetrical façade of Saint Croix is from the 18th century renovation when a new tower was added. Identical  columns frame the second to fourth floors of the towers but the arched windows are of different styles and count. An  interesting sculpture of St. George slaying the dragon play

Nice la Belle

Promenade des Anglais Though I had been to Nice several times in the past, I saw a different Nice in 2019. Gone were the familiar scenes with the exception of the Promenade des Anglais and the pebbly beach. How these people in the photo embrace the sea! For there lies the key to relaxation and a “happier, healthier, more connected” * mind. *Blue Mind, Wallace J. Nichols. Basilica Notre Dame de Nice It was a sad day when the Notre Dame de Paris burned down in April 2019. I remember attending a special prayer at the Notre Dame de Nice on Avenue Jean Médecin when all of France was mourning after the devastating fire that consumed the spire and roof of the 800-year old Gothic icon of Paris.  House of Adam and Eve Bas-reliefs of Adam and Eve in the old town of Nice was a surprising find. This former private residence dates back to the late 16th century and the reliefs are said to be of Adam and Eve. But there’s another story about these reliefs that attributes the figu

Off Grid Paris 2019

No matter how often I return to Paris, I am still making new discoveries. Paris seems to have an inexhaustible number of delightful things yet to be revealed. On my recent visit, I found unique architectural gems like the McDonald's restaurant and the newly installed artwork, Bouquet of Tulips, by Jeff Koons. The Bouquet of Tulips is a monument to the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015. It was recently installed near the Petit Palais and was immediately greeted with disapproval and negative criticisms including comparing the tulips with anuses. The monument was vandalized shortly after its installation. These colorful tulips are made of polychromed bronze, aluminum and stainless steel. Metro: Champs Elysees Clemenceau Lines 1 and 13, RER C Invalides, RER A Charles de Gaulle-Etoile This Neo-Baroque Italo-Spanish motifs of the right wing façade of École Massillon is enough to stop anyone and pay attention. Quai des Celestins and Rue du Petit Musc. Metr

Inside Albi Cathedral

The austere brick exterior of the 13th century Sainte-Cécile Basilica Cathedral of Albi (or Albi Cathedral) reveals nothing about its opulent interior with its painted vaulted ceiling and columns, the Gothic lacy stonework in the Choir, the exquisite rood screen, and the 15th century mural of the Last Judgment under the monumental organ by Christophe Moucherel. The altar of the Church of the Canons within the Cathedral. The Choir of the Canons is hidden behind the rood screen which divides the Cathedral in two.  It is decorated with a host of angels, the twelve apostles, the Virgin Mary, St. John the Baptist and St. Paul. The statue of Sainte Cecile, the patron saint of the Cathedral, is at the center of the screen below the crucifix. The figures of the emperors Charlemagne and Constantine face one another above the north and south entrances to the Choir. The ambulatory around the Choir is decorated with carved figures from the Old Testament. Notice the painted columns.