USO Soufflenheim

Last week little outing in France was to Haguenau and Soufflenheim. Soufflenheim is a very cute little village. You will find pottery and their store all over town. If one wants to buy pottery, one will find it here. Tones of different color, pattern, texture.
Here is a little history about the town.

The Emperor Barbarossa granted Soufflenheim’s potters the right to extract their clay from the Hagenau forest, a right that persists to this day. In 1837 Soufflenheim still had 55 Pottery Businesses, which employed about 600 people. In 2006 there was only a third of those left.
The Pottery Artist make lots of “Useful” pottery made for Traditional Alsacien meal (Riesling Roster, Baeckeoffe (means “baker’s oven.” It is a mix of sliced potatoes, sliced onions, cubed lamb, beef and pork which have been marinated overnight in Alsatian white wine and juniper berries and slow cooked in a sealed ceramic casserole dish. Leeks, thyme, parsley, garlic, carrots and marjoram are other commonly added ingredients for flavor and color. Traditionally, the women would prepare this dish on Saturday evening and leave it with the baker to cook in his gradually cooling oven on Sunday while they attended the lengthy Calvinist church services once typical to the culture.

The baker would take a “rope” of dough and line the rim of a large, heavy ceramic casserole, then place the lid upon it for an extremely tight seal. This kept the moisture in the container. On the way back from church, the women would pick up their casserole and a loaf of bread. This provided a meal to the Alsatians that respected the strict Calvinist rules of the Sabbath. Part of the ritual is breaking the crust formed by the rope of dough.), Kougelhopf (Gugelhupf consists of a soft yeast dough which contains raisins, almonds and Kirschwasser cherry brandy)

USO Paris Express

This past weekend was the 8th of May and I had a Paris Express tour with the USO to escort. For the French the 8th of May is a holiday and commemorate the end of World War II. So as we normally do in our guided bus ride in Paris, The Champs Elysees were OFF limits because of preparation for the Parade and passing of our “dear” president Mr. Sarkozy.It was PACKED with Security, Police people all over! I think it was the first time I saw so many policemen/women in Paris. I once went to the 14th of July parade and they had security, but not Police. The CRS were out and military people. So… It was something new… Maybe this is the changes that happen under Sarko. 😉 Paris France – Google Maps

Anywhooo

I was really wanted to go and visit the temporary exhibition on Holy Russia Holy Russia exhibition at the Musée du Louvre and it had been a LONG time that I didn’t visit any museum in Paris, so I thought… why not. We did the Louvre Museum for a bit, so we cruised by the exhibition on Holly Russia (sorry I know, cruising isn’t appropriate for such gorgeous art effect. BUT, the gallery was PACKED and we couldn’t even see any of the information’s panels, we could admire the object/books/icons from 2 yard away, but so many people in between that I got sick of waiting for my turn to read everything and translate for Morgane. So I bought the book on the exhibition instead! LOL! After coming out of the gallery, I asked Morgane if she had ever seen the “Mona Lisa” she told me she saw it on pictures. So we headed toward her.

Now for those of you who are fortunate enough to have gone to the Louvre, you might help me here: “HOW on Earth can you even find your way around?” I had the map, I followed the map, and I totally got lost (not that I have to complain since you discover painting/statues or something else that will just amaze you) BUT my feet hurt, I was already walking for the past 2 hours and then got lost in the galleries! WTH?? LOL. AND I had a daughter who was saying EVERY other minutes how tired she was… Oh I would want to see how she handled being left in the Louvre with my mother. AH!! That would be hilarious!
There was also another temporary exhibition on the teaching of Tao Exhibition “Tao, Another Way of Being” : Galeries nationales, Grand Palais, (en) in Paris [Rmn] that I was wanted to see, but after 2 ½ hours in the Louvre and STARVING, we decided to skip it. (I really wanted to go see it, but with Morgane, I wasn’t sure I could handle it. Beside it is still going to be open until the beginning of July and I will go back twice in Paris in between and hopefully I will have time to go visit it)

We found a little Pizzeria (morgane didn’t like the other choice: “Sushi”) and rested our feet for a short hour. Then, I told her we could go to the “Galleries Lafayette”, she asked what it was and I said, well, I think it is some kind of Mall with tones of different stores. (I will turn 40 soon enough and I (frenchie) don’t even know exactly what is inside the “Galleries Lafayette”. Does it seem WEIRD to you??) Well, when I stepped in the “mall” I understood why I never went there! LOL! OMG!! Are you kidding me?? Who can afford ANYTHING in the Galleries?? I saw the CUTEST rings from a French designer. Over 70000 EURO!! Yes you read it right, 70 THOUSAND! WTH, really if you can afford a ring that cost that much, then I hope that you are giving back to your community or world organization that need help!

Anyway, needless to say that I felt under dress and like I didn’t belong. LOL they do have GORGEOUS thing there though. LOL!! However even if you can or cannot afford to shop in this store, go check it out. The building is just amazing, it has a Art deco décor with stained glass ceiling. (see the picture) AND you can take your McDonald to the Top floor and eat your Hamburger admiring a view of Paris that you can’t see anywhere else. LOL
As usual here are some of my pics, hope you enjoy them.
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Bella Italia Sto Arrivando

43d12-img_9267For those of you who KNOW me! You understand that I have some kind of connection with the Italian culture. I just LOVE Italy, LOVE the culture, the history, the landscape, the food, the weather, the language, the cars and of course going there and being called “Bella” is a Huge bonus! LOL
So when my friend Charmie told me that she was going TDY for 4 days around my Birthday, I jump on the possibility and said: “Can I come with you?”
She said: “OMG!! Sure!! Are you sure??” OF course I am SURE! Are you kidding me?? I am sure about nothing BUT the fact that I can go in Italy and enjoy everything that I can about Italy!! 😉
I am so excited, so we are leaving tomorrow morning… WHOHOO!! And coming back on Thursday (sometime in the afternoon) but there is always the possibility that we will get lost and will HAVE to stay there of course, we will (Obviously) try our best to find our way back, but you know all the road lead to Rome. So I might be able to send a postcard from there too! LOL!

Can you see on the map, Venice, Vincenza, Padova, Rovigo, and Verona. Of course we will be going around Verona, so all those big cities might only be a dream to visit one day. But I sure am going to try to get around as much as I can! I will keep you posted on what, where, how and you know me, my HTF (Happy Trigger Finger) is delighted.

Ciao

Second Celebration of my 20th birthday!

On May 17th 2010, I was celebrating my 20th Birthday for the second time. 😉

I like BIG number. With it comes: “Experience, Wisdom, Intelligence, Maturity, Responsibility….” Bla bla bla

So now that I am 40 years young. (The new 30 right?) I can think of what that came with it.

Experience: Yes, definitely. I do believe I got that checked out of my bucket list.

Wisdom: Not so much… Or at least I don’t think so! So… Still working on that one!

Intelligence: well, let see, sometime I do believe I got some, and sometime I am definitely not as smarter as a 5th grader. LOL But, I do consider myself “stress sassy” so…. I guess in my own way, I am smart! LOL

Maturity: hmmmmm!!!!! Well obviously with the age comes maturity after all the definition is: mature state: the condition of being ripe, fully aged, or fully grown, especially mentally or emotionally BUT, I will have to say that I still have to checkmark the mentally and emotionally. Oh wait! Maybe not since 40 is the new 30! LOL!

Responsibility: well I think I am pretty responsible. I have 3 kids and cats to take care of, I don’t think they are considered maltreated. So… in that case I am responsible. However, I know that I need to work on that. So still uncheck!

So looking back, out of 5, I only have 1 fully checked one! That is BAD, don’t you think??

Anyhow. Now that I made a fool out of myself and showed the world that I am just a weird silly irresponsible young adult at heart. Let me tell you about my birthday day.

I was in Italy as you could have guess from the previous post, and my friend Miss Charm went to her conference leaving me on my own for the day. You can see what my day was on my previous post: Hills are alive
So on the late afternoon after the conference,
Miss Charm and I went to the little town that I drove through during the day called: Desenzano del Garda. Very cute little Italian town next to the lake. Gorgeous view of the Alps Mountain and the water. Old villas and typical fountains and gelato! Did I mention I LOVE Italy? 😉 So we park the car and walked around.

Took tones of pictures (you know my HTF right) and had a very nice meal looking at the sunset over the lake over the mountains. MAGNIFICO!

The only downside of the day was that I wasn’t with my family. I would have loved to have them with me, but the I thought that once in a while I could go and enjoy one Birthday without them, and since it was in Italy, how could I NOT go?

OH, and I found the PERFECT Villa for retirement! LOVE IT!!!

O Solé Mio, Venezia Italy

AWWWW, How I LOVE Venice!! When Miss Charm and I realized that we were only over 1 hour driving distance to our hotel we jumped on the possibility to go and see this GORGEOUS town.

So on our last day in Italy and with the opportunity that Miss Charm’s conference was letting people leave early (before Noon), off we went. With all the excitement we did a few turn around with the car, did take the wrong direction on the bus to Venice and finally ARRIVED!! WHOOHOO!!!
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First sight was the water,

the gorgeous blue lagoon color. The Turquoise reflection of the sun on the Terracotta colored wall of the city.

I just continued my love affair with this beautiful city. I still continue loving it!! Oh how I love you Venizia…. You will always be the number 1 for me!
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When I first visited Venice in 2000 with my husband, kids and in laws we didn’t stay long enough for my taste. I only had a short time to have an after taste of not enough. Since that first visit I promised myself to come back! Matt on the other side didn’t find it to his taste (oh well, too bad for him, cause I will go back with or without him (sorry Honey!!) 😉

We took the bus ferry to the “St Marco Plaza” It was super busy, but what to expect in Venice? We asked a few Gondolier how much a ride would be. One of them said 120 euro, we thought: OMG!! And decided to look around. He did chase us and told us that the long ride would be 120 and the short one 80 (just for us) and it was PER PERSON (Just for us as well) AH!! We told him we will keep him in mind but just arrived and wanted to walk around first. I am pretty sure that he was cursing at us as we left him, but oh well! We weren’t ready to pay that much each! 😉
img_9964So off we went to the discovery of Venizia and its gorgeous street and sights! I couldn’t stop taking pictures, I remember of my last visit and I did take tones of pictures and it was on film at the time. (And now that I have a digital)… My “Happy Trigger Finger” was in the “don’t come up again” mode. For those of you who know me and have seen me with my camera, you can picture it right?? LOL!!
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We cruised the little street full of shops and while there Miss Charm saw a beautiful Chandelier with Tulips all over. It was gorgeous! (Of course when I need it, I realized that I didn’t take a picture of it) We did investigate on how much the price was going to be. And after the clerk told us to wait while he was getting the “Artist” we were left for a short time un-attempted in a store full of gorgeous glass art. (Are you asking yourself if I had a moment? Yes I did!! I had a moment of … oh boy, what will I be doing with all those if I could just take and go, but I didn’t do anything, I just asked myself! Oh, and the answer was: Not much honey you don’t have the room in your apartment that the army is giving you! LOL) Anyhow… The Artist came. And Extravagant very short man with a very thick and beautiful singing Italian accent, telling us all about his brother who make the glass, and that each peace is unique… blablabla!! LOL Get to the point dude! Well the “Lampadario” was “For us” only 3000Euro (ONLY) I did ask how much it was for someone else. But he didn’t find it funny! Needless to say that since Miss Charm needed 3 of them; she just didn’t get any at all! img_9885We went to a little “Trattoria” across from the store and admire while eating a little something those gorgeous lamps. Oh well, maybe when we win the lottery! After making sure that we used the “gabinetto” we started walking again. Crusing from Murano glass display to another admiring every single beautiful window… Oh so “Bellissimo” we did learn something about the Murano Glasses. And here it is for those of you who are planning to go and buy “REAL” Murano Glass. First a little history: “Murano is an island in the lagoon of Venice famous for its glass art. The production of Murano glass is related to its history and popularity and its name is associated with the glass, as if they were synonyms. This union is the result of nearly a millennium of history, during which the master artisans of Murano were able to transform simple sand in one of the highest expressions of art. It is believed the origins of Murano Glass dates back to 9th century Rome, with significant Asian and Muslim influences, as Venice was a major trading port.” The Murano glass are been copied from all over, but specially from China, so beware of copy that are on sale EVERYWHERE in Venice. If you want the real deal, you need to go to store that display a sign that say Consorzio Promovetro Murano That mean the store need to belong to an association of Murano glass and that the items that they sells are made in Murano. So … Watch out for copy that you will pay “molto” money and that aren’t even from Murano! (We didn’t go back to see if the store that we saw the chandelier was on the list of the true Murano Glass, but we don’t recall seeing the sign) OH and if you really want to know where to buy BEFORE getting to Venice. Go to the website: Promovetro – consorzio del vetro artistico di Murano Venezia.img_9791So after our… window shopping time we went to cruise around and asked several Gondolier dude about the Price & Route that they were offering. Until finally we found a guy that was offering it for 140Euro/Long Route (showed us the route) and per Gondola not per person! So we jumped at the opportunity and yes, I know it was expensive, but what a treat! And it was my birthday not so long ago… so…
We boarded our Gondola, and got introduced to our Gondolier “Luca” but we called him “Casanova”img_9948 He told us all about the town, and the history and the beauty and everything. He even sang to us “Oh sole Mio” to the delight of Miss Charm who after a while was singing with him. Him in Italian, her in English. Me… LMAO!

After our ride, we asked him about a place to eat. He recommended the “Trattoria Al Vagon” not too far and so we went. We found it and sat. The owner/chef were so nice, it was a family restaurant. Grandpa and his granddaughter were serving while Grandma was in the kitchen cooking, coming out when not busy. img_0082Then the mother came to pick up her daughter, (did I mention she was only about 6 years old) but what a cutie, and talking about tones of stuff, of course we couldn’t understand anything. But just a pretty little thing!

OH and here is my futur house. I just LOVE it! (of course this is only a dream, or maybe in another life time my husband will be a Venetian Prince!) LOL

We had a great dinner and while the sun was lowering in the horizon we made our way to the “Ponte di Rialto”.img_9960
Have you ever seen a sunset on the Grand Canal? I have and let me tell you, it is just AMAZING! It was just like a dream! The lagoon color change, from a turquoise green to a gold orange pink. It was SO beautiful! But I can let you just see it!!img_9991SEE??? Isn’t it just “Strabiliante! Bellisima, Magnifico” a MUST do on one’s bucket list!

So for me, it is a checkmark next to it. However I will have to go back because I haven’t seen a sunrise yet, and that must be “spettacolare”

In search of Romeo & Juliet, Verona Italy

On May the 18th after the conference, Miss Charm and I went to Verona. We went on the search of Juliet and Romeo. And let me tell you, they are HARD to find. LOL

We parked in an underground parking not far from the river and walk to the center of the city. (see the olive tree on the pic.. they are ALL over!)

 
The river view is just amazing. On top of the rock you can admire: Castel San Pietro. Walk over the bridge and started searching for Juliet’s house.
Arrived on the “Piazza dei Signori.” Plaza. And we knew it wasn’t far, of course as usual in Italy, most major plaza have little souvenir shop. So we went around looked around. And look closer on the map and went on…. After a few street: north, west, east, south… whatever direction we were going

We passed under a “roman looking gate”: Porta Borsari. We arrive near the river again!! Hmm?? No not suppose to be there!

So, off we went south and found the big Roman Theater! OK now we are talking. I thought that with that we wouldn’t get lost and would be able to find the road/street and way toward Juliet’s balcony.

At the corner of a street we turn left and saw LOTS of people in front of a gate. So we went to look, and sure enough at the end of the tunnel, Juliet was waving at us (well her spirit at least) FINALLY we found it! Well of course by the time we found it the “gate” was closed and we could only see it from afar and not recite the:

“O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?


Deny thy father and refuse thy name!


Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,

and I’ll no longer be a Capulet. “

 

Oh well… Of course now we are getting hungry and decided to go back to the Piazza delle Erbe and enjoyed a pizza, glass of wine and search for Gorgeous Italian men (sorry, I didn’t see any) Miss Charm saw one, but… nah! He wasn’t really GORGEOUS, just Italian looking dude! LOL!Sorry can’t post the pic, since he might be reading my blog! (Since I am SO popular) LOL

Anyway, after the pizza, we actually tried to find Romeo’s house, and on the first try. We found him. Guess Juliet wasn’t calling for us. LOL
We had a good time and Miss Charm just complimented me today that I take good picture (even with people in it) LOL

Photoshoot with Kim

First published May 22nd 2011
With the HCSC Photoclub, we sometime go and meet for some shooting (and no animals has suffer from any of our… shooting!) So on of those days that we were going to do just that! My oldest ask if I could take pictures of him before he removed his dreadlocks,
so I text miss Kim,
And we all went there. While Kim and Jenn were busy taking picture of the beautiful Annika. I took some of Handsome boy! LOL Here what I got as a final product.
I however don’t shoot as good as Kim, and you probably saw her AWESOME shot of Damien jumping if you followed the link. And if you haven’t seen it yet, GO GO!!!
You won’t regret it!

 

USO Haguenau

 

Last Friday I went on a tour to the Haguenau and Soufflenheim cities. It was my first trip to the area so I did a bit of searching to find some historic information that might be of interest of people. Of course I took TONES of pictures (what else is new) and for those of you who are a little interested about this 2 cities, here are a little of what I found (believe me, I cut it to a little, cause… I guess it was boring, nobody really listens to what I was saying! LOL!)

 

The Alsatian region of France, like neighboring Lorraine changed ownership between German and France. Alsace finally became part of France in 1918 at the end of WWI. The influence of both German and French cultural traditions is evident today. Locals, most of whom address you in French, can also respond in German. The Alsacian German is the second most spoken minority in France.

 

 

Haguenau is at the edge of an immense 14000 hectare forest that was the favored location for middle ages imperial hunts. Founded in the 12th Century around the Hohenstaufen castle built by Duke Frederick the One-Eyed and owed its property in the Middle-Ages to the emperors Frederick Barbarossa and Frederick II who made it one of their residences and who granted the town important rights (Town privileges or city rights were important features of European towns during most of the second millennium. Judicially, a town was distinguished from the surrounding land by means of a charter from the ruling monarch that defined its privileges and laws. Common privileges were related to trading (to have a market, to store goods, etc.) and the establishment of guilds. Some of these privileges were permanent and could imply that the town obtained the right to be called a city, hence the term city rights (stadtrecht in German).

Some degree of self-government, representation in a diet, and tax-relief could also be granted.) Haguenau was the second most important Alsatian city, after Strasbourg. Medieval Haguenau retains three gates from its former fortification, the Tour des Chevaliers (Tower of the knights), the Tour des Pêcheurs (Tower of the fishermen) and the Porte de Wissembourg (Wissembourg gate), two fairly large gothic churches, Saint-Georges and Saint-Nicolas, an ancient water-mill and the old custom-house (Ancienne Douane)

The 17th Century was a dark period for the town, with a number of invasions and occupations, In the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 was ceded to France, and in 1673 King Louis XIV had the fortifications razed. Haguenau was captured by imperial troops in 1675, but it was taken by the French two years later, nearly being destroyed by fire in the process 1677. The town was rebuilt in the 18h Century: it is one of the town of Alsace with the greatest number of 18th Century buildings.

Occupied by the Germans in 1940, it was liberated in March 1945 after suffering great destruction.

Jewish History:

Jews settled there soon after it received its charter as a city (1164), and a synagogue was established in 1252. Until the middle of the sixteenth century the Jews lived peaceably among their fellow citizens. The towns-people, impoverished by the protracted civil war, in their turn plundered the Jews, subjected them to every imaginable persecution, and finally banished them (1346). Soon readmitted on condition that they paid the debts of the city.

During the second half of the sixteenth and the first half of the seventeenth century the condition of the community remained unchanged. Only six families, which had settled at Hagenau in the twelfth century, were allowed to have a permanent residence there; and it was only on a heavy monetary payment that a newcomer was allowed to take the place of a deceased head of one of these families.

In 1720 it issued the following regulations, which remained in force until the French Revolution: “The Jews who are at present living in the city may remain. Only one married son in each family has the right to settle in the city; the other children, both male and female, must on marriage leave it, except when they live in common households with their parents. Grandsons acquire this right of residence only on the death of their grandfather.” The Jews of Hagenau were, moreover, restricted in their commercial activity to dealing in horses, cattle, and old clothes, and to the lending of money on interest; and they were closely watched by the Christian merchants.

For our little excursion Matt joined me, and we walked around this cute city. We went to the church and visited, then to the Market square (Les Halles) where people sell their fairs, lots of shopping was done and I found a cute little display of Handmade Soap and lots of nice spices. We hate a “Spring Roll” from a Chinese vendor (which is my favorite thing to eat when I am at a French market) and after a failed attempt to eat at a local restaurant (cause we didn’t have time, or the patience with the French waiter, who was very “Frenchly” rude) I had a sandwich and went to get a dessert at the chocolaterie yummy!!!

Notre Dame de Paris, USO Trip

During my last trip in Paris with the USO, I went to cruise around the Notre Dame Cathedral. Every time that I enter a church/Cathedral/Synagogue/Temple/Mosque, it amazes me what people can make for the glory of their faith, and every time I step in the Notre Dame Cathedral it is the same. I wonder how many years it took them to complete the work, how many men worked on the stone and the carving of such magnificent building. How many human being it helped with their faith and their everyday life!

I am not a very religious person, but I do believe that for some people religion and attending church can be very helpful. I know sometime I wish it could help me, but… I never found the help that I have been searching. So I search elsewhere! I was raised in France and most of my education’s years were in Catholic school. My family is Catholic, but I never was interested to follow what I call: “Organized Religion”, I know that it is for some and I respect the need for some to go to Church to pray, on the other side, I don’t feel that need. I’d rather go and take a walk in the wood, Sit on the beach and admire what God made and thanks Him for this precious gift while admiring it.

My grand Uncle was a Catholic Priest who was in charge of the Christian art in his region. He use to be the “publisher” of the series called: “Les Nouvelles de l’Eure” and whenever we will go visit him, we always ended up going visiting some little village and therefore stopped at the church to see the art. So I grew up having to visit the church and not for mess! And now, I can’t stop myself but go into the church of the town that I am visiting, It make me think of my grand uncle who isn’t here with us anymore, and of the good time that we had with him. He was a great person and was always making sure that we will follow what we thought was right! I hope that I give my kids the patience, love and understanding that he did with all of his nieces and nephews.

So to come back to Notre Dame (Sorry, I got carried away for a short while) 😉

Here is a little something about the Cathedral that you might not know: “Notre Dame de Paris was one of the first Gothic cathedrals, and its construction spanned the Gothic period. Construction began in 1163, during the reign of Louis VII, The cathedral was effectively complete by around 1345…/… The organ has 7,800 pipes, with 900 classified as historical…/… In 1793, during the French Revolution, the cathedral was rededicated to the Cult of Reason, and then to the Cult of the Supreme Being. During this time, many of the treasures of the cathedral were either destroyed or plundered. The statues of biblical kings of Judah (erroneously thought to be kings of France) were beheaded. Many of the heads were found during a 1977 excavation nearby and are on display at the Musée de Cluny.

For a time, Lady Liberty replaced the Virgin Mary on several altars…/… The cathedral’s great bells managed to avoid being melted down. The cathedral came to be used as a warehouse for the storage of food. In 1939, at the beginning of World War II, it was feared that German bombers could destroy the windows; as a result, on 11 September 1939, they were removed, and then restored at the end of the war. There are five bells at Notre Dame. The great bourdon bell, Emmanuel, is located in the South Tower, weighs just over 13 tons, and is tolled to mark the hours of the day and for various occasions and services. There are four additional bells on wheels in the North Tower, which are swing chimed. These bells are rung for various services and festivals.” (Notre Dame de Paris – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

You can also find lots of information about the Cathedral here: Notre-Dame de Paris

Paris USO March 2010

Went to Paris with the USO. Had a lovely time in the Père Lachaise Cemetery. I love this place. Some people might find it creepy to go into cemetery for just walking. I find cemeteries one of the best place to reflect on your own life!
Beside, this one has so many famous people, if you ever go to Paris and have some time to just cruise. Don’t skip it, it is a marvel of architecture beauty, history and just peace!
You never know, you might enjoy the cruising in cemeteries too!

I am a volunteer with the USO in Heidelberg/Mannheim, and as such I “escort” tour to go different places. In the past last week I went to Paris. This time after we got our 2 hours guided tour with the bus, I send my group on their exploring time and since no-one ask to come along with me, I just took out on my own. I took the Boat shuttle from the Eiffel Tower to the Notre Dame stop. I was wanted to go to the top of the Notre Dame tower, but the waiting line was SO long, I just decided against it! I walk to the “Hotel de Ville” (City Hall) and took a few pics (you know me) and took the subway to the Père Lachaise Cemeteries. Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise Visite virtuelle Cemetery’s virtual tour Jim Morrison Edith Piaf

For those of you who don’t know this cemetery here is a little info about it: “Père Lachaise is one of the most famous cemeteries in the world. Located in the 20th arrondissement, it is reputed to be the world’s most-visited cemetery, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually to the graves of those who have enhanced French life over the past 200 years…/.. The cemetery was established by Napoleon I in 1804. Cemeteries had been banned inside Paris in 1786, after the closure of the Saints Innocents Cemetery (Cimetière des Innocents) on the fringe of Les Halles food market, on the grounds that it presented a health hazard. (This same health hazard also led to the creation of the famous Parisian catacombs in the south of the city.)”

(Père Lachaise Cemetery – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

My little walk in the cemetery was as always (since it was not the first time I went there) peaceful. I love walking in this particular cemetery. First you need a map (I got one at the entrance from an old guy that sold them and bad postcard of tombstone) and even with the map, you just get lost searching for whomever you want to see the grave of! I went up the hill and help a lady and her mother who, funny thing, were from the same area as my mother is: Brittany! So we talked a bit about it. We talked about why they were there, and not like I was they were there to visit a family member’s grave. You could see that it was hard for the older woman. It must have been one of the first visit to her sister’s grave, because she was so emotional and the sister passed away only a few month back!

Isn’t it amazing how one cemetery can be a “tourist attraction” and yet still be where people mourn their love one? It did reminded me that those grave weren’t just name, they were family member, lover, spouse, parent, child to someone else. It is something that one tends to forget walking in the Père Lachaise. Most of the people cruising along the graves are mostly interested to see the resting place of someone famous. But some other comes here out of respect.

I saw one gentleman who was taking care of Chopin’s grave, taking all the dead flower away and making the grave more “presentable”. He did a great job as you can see in the pictures, and just think. He was a fellow polish. So I don’t know if he came ALL the way from Poland to pay his respect, or if he lives in town, but either way, it was nice to see that 161 years after his death there is still someone who come take care of his gravesite.

I did found one grave that I thought was just funny. You can see that on the grave with this gorgeous sculpture, it say “Enfin Seul” (Finally Alone!) wonder how popular that guy was! 😉 and why he loved the fact to be alone at last. 🙂

In the slideshow link you will find some of the picture of the Père Lachaise, but also many of Paris as I took a long walk around. Enjoy!

Slideshow of Paris March 2010