Monthly Archives: March 2012

Palais de L’Ile – Annecy, France

Photograph by Aaron Black / Aurora Photos

No, you’re not in Venice. Travel to the town of Annecy, in southern France, and you’ll discover Thiou, a canal along which stands a centuries-old castle: Palais de I’Isle (or Island Palace). Built in 1132 as the fortified home of the Lord of Annecy, the residence later saw many other uses: a courthouse, a mint and even a jail from the Middle Ages until 1865, then briefly again during WW II. Today, it’s home to a local history museum. Source:

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Biarritz, France – Villa Belza


Photograph by Aaron Black / Aurora Photos









Welcome to Basque country. Just 13 miles from Spain, the laidback, coastal town of Biarritz, France, has a star attraction: Villa Belza (“belza” means black in the local Basque dialect).The towering medieval-style home was built in the late 19th century, and has survived a series of fires, storms and other mishaps, only to sit serenely at the pounding Atlantic’s edge for your viewing pleasure.

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Delicious Tian


Tian for dinner tonight folks. This is originally a Provençal country dish but I must confess I have fiddled with it. First by adding bacon, (as one of the males in this household is suspicious of meals without meat), I’ve also added cubes of Feta (because they form delicious soft, squishy pillows of yumminess when baked) and capsicum.

All the family love this dish. It’s economical and full of goodness. I will just add it does contain anchovies which I know some people object to. Please, please give these a chance in this recipe. They add a depth of flavor and literally melt away. I promise nary a hairy whisker shall be present in the end dish.

Tian (serves 8)

3 large potatoes cubed and boiled
Diced onion
Diced bacon
1 capsicum diced
3-4 anchovy fillets
8 eggs beaten (I work on 1 per person)
2-3 tablespoons grated cheese

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Top Ten Paris Museums

Source: By , Guide

Although some people argue that Paris has been trumped by New York or Berlin in the realm of artistic vibrancy, it’s still a place where the arts are revered and new talent is rigorously spotlighted, and top Paris museums generally strive to both preserve artistic legacy and expose the public to exciting contemporary artists. Housing some of the globe’s most important and rich collections, these top ten Paris museums are outstanding for their breadth, accessibility to all and historic importance.

The Louvre1

The Apollo Gallery at the Louvre Museum in Paris is one of the more sumptuous rooms.2©2007 Musee du Louvre/Angele Dequier

To learn the Louvre3 in and out, you might need a lifetime. Still, one has to start somewhere. The site of the world’s largest and most diverse collection of pre-20th century painting, sculpture, and decorative objects, The Louvre is generally considered Paris’ most important museum. Not forgetting the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, bask in the works of Vermeer, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and countless others. The palace itself is testament to a rich history spanning from the medieval period to the present. The adjacent Tuileries gardens are perfect for a stroll pre-or post-visit.

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National Museum of Modern Art at the Centre Pompidou10

The National Museum of Modern Art at the Centre Pompidou.11©2007 Courtney Traub.

Inaugurated in 1977 as part of the the bold postmodern venture that marked the opening of the Centre Georges Pompidou12, the National Museum of Modern Art (MNAM) houses one of the world’s most prestigious collections of 20th-century art.

Hosting nearly 50,000 works of painting, sculpture, architecture, and other media, the permanent collection at the National Museum of Modern Art is freshly curated every year to reflect new acquisitions. Two floors cover major 20th-century movements, from Cubism to Surrealism and Pop Art. The temporary collections are nearly always worth a visit, too.

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Musée d’Orsay16

A view of the main floor at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.17©2003 Alexander Franke

Walk over the bridge from the Louvre to the Musée d’Orsay18— and see the bridge between classical and modern art. Housing the world’s most important collection of impressionist and post-impressionist painting, the Musée d’Orsay’s light, airy rooms whir you through three floors of modern wonders, from Degas’ ethereal dancers to Monet’s water lilies, all the way to Gaugin’s leafy jungles. Major works by Van Gogh, Delacroix, Manet, and others await you, too.

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Petit Palais22

The Petit Palais in Paris features masterpieces by Cezanne, Monet and others.23©2006 Claude Cf. Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons License.

The completely-renovated Petit Palais24, situated near the prestigious Champs-Elysées, houses 1300 works from the antiquity through the early 20th century, featuring masterpieces by Courbet, Cezanne, Monet, and Delacroix. Admission to the permanent collection is free for all, while temporary collections are free for visitors under the age of 13.

Also See:

Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris28

The Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris is housed in the Palais de Tokyo.292009 Karl Blackwell. Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons license.

Contemporary art buffs are behooved to pay a visit to the city of Paris’ museum of modern art30, created in 1961 and housed in the distinctive Palais de Tokyo, itself opened during the 1937 Universal Exposition. Featuring over 8,000 works spanning all major trends in 20th and 21st century arts, the Museum of Modern Art of Paris hosts a constant stream of exciting temporary exhibits, more recently exploring the works of photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson and American artist Elaine Sturtevant. The terrace outside the palace affords a striking and head-on view of the Eiffel Tower31.

Cluny Museum – National Medieval Museum33

The Lady and the Unicorn is a 15th century tapestry housed at the Musee Cluny in Paris.34©2006 La Cade Photo de Got. Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons License.

This museum dedicated to the medieval period– exploring both art and daily life in the “Moyen Age”– is one of the city’s best, but is often overlooked. Housed in the striking Hotel de Cluny35, a late 15th century Abbey, the museum is built above Gallo-Roman thermal baths built between the 1st and 3rd centuries– parts of which can be visited. The permanent collection’s “crown jewel” is a 15th century tapestry, The Lady and the Unicorn36, much revered for its sumptuous colors and enigmatic allegorical symbolism. The grounds also include a garden meant to mimic medieval aromatic and medicinal gardens, providing a pleasant place to read or slowly stroll.

Rodin Museum38

Auguste Rodin, "Fugit Amor", detail, before 1887.39Image courtesy of the Rodin Museum.

This museum consecrated to French sculptor Auguste Rodin 40is one of Paris’ finest, and offers a multifaceted look at Rodin’s complex body of work, in addition to works from his brilliant student Camille Claudel, among others. In addition to iconic works such “The Thinker”, the museum hosts an extensive sculpture garden that’s a true pleasure to stoll, or think (as it were) in.

See More: Musée Rodin Visitor’s Guide41

Musée Carnavalet – Museum of Paris History43

The Musee Carnavalet in Paris includes ornate gardens.44©2009 IZ Mendoza. Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons License.

Anyone wishing to understand Paris’ multi-tiered, complex history would do well to pay a visit to the Carnavalet Museum. Housed within the walls of two Renaissance-era mansions, the Hotel de Carnavalet and the Hotel Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau (built in the 16th and 17th centuries, respectively), the Carnavalet Museum’s permanent collection traces the history of Paris across over 100 rooms. This exhibit is free of charge to all visitors, and arguably tops the list of Paris’ free museums45. The museum also hosts a series of temporary exhibits highlighting various periods or aspects of the Parisian heritage.

See more about the Carnavalet in this video about the Marais neighborhood in Paris46.

Musée du Luxembourg48

A retrospective on Matisse at the Musee du Luxembourg in 2005.49Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Situated on the stately grounds of the Luxembourg Gardens, this museum is one of Europe’s oldest, and was opened in 1750 as France’s first state-run collection of paintings. It hosts a a small number of temporary exhibits per year, but these are almost always highly anticipated and popular with the general public. Exhibits in recent years have focused on artists including Modigliani and Vlaminck.

Musee Jacquemart-André50

St-George and the Dragon by Paolo Uccello, at the Jacquemart-Andre museum.512009 NCaballe. Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons license.

This is another lesser-known gem in the Paris arts scene that focuses on masterpieces in 18th century painting. Housed in a 19th century private mansion, the Jacquemart-Andre museum52 was founded by art collector Edouard André and focuses on works from French painters including Jean Marc Nattier, Elizabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Fragonard or Jacques-Louis David.

©2012, Inc., a part of The New York Times Company. All rights reserved.

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Paris: People, Places and Bling

By Theadora Brack

Incelebration of Leap Year, come hither! Let’s give a smouldering nod to the late, great Éric Rohmer and his movie  Les Rendezvous de Paris. Lights! Camera! Action!

Here are a few of my favorite rendezvous-worthy places, squares and gardens in Paris, along with the statues that bring them to life.

1. Place du Trocadéro
Place du Trocadéro, 16th arrondissement
(Métro Trocadéro)

At the fab Trocadéro, you’ll find one of my favorite views of the Eiffel Tower. Let’s first share a brownie and a soda pop at the bustling Café Carlu nestled inside the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine. Hands-down, this is my new happy place! I think you’re going to dig the bookshop, too.

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We discussed this wonderful town briefly in an earlier post. If you ever go to France be sure to go to Colmar, so you will not miss this!

colmar a4The town has a wonderful small but very important museum dedicated to you would not guess. It is the hometown of this man, Bartholdi.

This important sculptor was born in Colmar. At the entrance to his museum , you will see a marvelous sculpture that looks like the Graces holding the weight of the world with a lot of patina on it. Obviously they have been holding the world up for quite sometime.

bertholdi 1This man was the creator of the Statue of Liberty in New York and the story behind the creation of this Statue is not widely known. It involved the engineer Eiffel see an earlier post.

The story of the creation of the Statue of Liberty could be taught, according to me, in school, in a course on “Patriotism“…

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