Friday, July 11, 2014

Day 8 - Rodin, Eglise du Dome, and Montmartre

I apologize that this post is highlighted.  I don't know how it happened, and I can't fix it!

Today was a day on our own - no tours.  I have to say we did just fine!  We are finding many things are in English, or that we can easily figure them out from pictures around town.  We have been here long enough now that we are feeling more comfortable with public transportation.

We decided to let the kids sleep in this morning.  We have been going strong with early mornings, full days, and late nights for over a week, and they needed a break.  I had schedules this as a down day - picking just a few things that we could visit leisurely so there was no reason to rush.  We didn't get up until 9am!  We were out of the apartment around 10:30, and on our way.  

Our first stop was the Rodin Museum.  I had gotten tickets ahead of time (we had tickets ahead of time for EVERYTHING, really and I had this trip planned down to every last detail so that it all made sense).  They weren't for a specific date or time - you could come anytime you pleased, so this was the perfect day to do this.  Rodin was a famous sculpture and artist - for those of you who might not know.  One of his most famous sculptures (if not the most famous) is "The Thinker".  The sculpture grounds and museum for Rodin are very inexpensive (around 6 Euros for adults and free for children under 17).  Rodin actually lived at this site for about 9 years before he died.  He chose this site as the place we would display his work and gave it to the French State.  This museum has been open to the public since 1919.  There are over 6500 Sculptures on the grounds and over 6500 drawings.

The grounds were beautiful.  The kids absolutely loved this place.  Although Arlington decided that no one in French history wore clothes.  They had a wonderful time going from sculpture to sculpture and learning what they were named.  Finley and Cainan (and Arlington too, of course) knew all about "The Thinker" - they had learned about it at school.  So they were excited to see it, and "The Kiss" up close.  We spent a few hours there going around the grounds and museum.  We even had lunch in the cafe there before leaving.

After the Rodin, we headed for Eglise du Dome, which was just down the street.  This is where Napoleon is buried.  Arlington has really been getting into the history of Napoleon while we are here (I think she likes that he was short most of all), so she was anxious to see this.

He is buried in a tomb inside the Eglise due Dome/Les Invalides.  This is a complex of museums and monuments all relating to the military history of France.  It is huge (of course it is).  It is also still a hospital and retirement home for war veterans, which was its original purpose set up by King Louis the 14th.  It was built in 1670.  

Napoleon was buried here in 1872.  The little tyrant comes from quite a history, as most people know and at the time of his death, he was actually in exile from France after the Battle at Waterloo on the island of St. Helena.  Napoleon was the first emperor of France (which he crowned himself), and was a military general.  On his quest for personal power, a lot of his soldiers were killed.  We found out that in a battle he won for Russia 18,000 French soldiers were killed.    

Napoleon asked in his will to be buried on the banks of the Seine River but the British governor - who had held him on St. Helena - said he had to be buried there.    20 years later, the British gave permission for his body to be returned to France.  In 1861, he was moved to where he is today.

What I DID know before coming here (but still don't know WHY) is that Napoleon is buried inside 6 different coffins.  They are made of iron, mahogany, lead, ebony and oak.  Crazy, right?  And the thing is HUGE.  A few people said that it was made so big to make fun of his small size, but who knows.   The only thing I could find that made any sense was: Led-lined coffins can prevent complete decomposition of the body, other layers are for security of the body and the final elaborate coffin acts as symbolism that this person was of great importance.

Moving on.  

After visiting Napoleon, we did tour around the museum for awhile.  The kids enjoyed it - more than I thought they would.  They were interested in seeing all of the uniforms and swords.  It was a huge museum, and we didn't do it all, but we were there for a few hours.

Late in the day, we headed to Montmartre.  This is actually where we are staying - it is the 18th arrondissement in Paris (we are right on the very edge of Paris.).  We visited the Basillica of the Sacre Coeur - which we can see from our balcony.  It, of course, is a very large church.  It was beautiful inside but we weren't allowed to take any pictures.

We had dinner at one of the cafe's there - but it was a bit disappointing.  The food was good, but it was very American.  Montmartre has become quite the tourist attraction, and the cafe's seem to cater to that.  But it was fun, none the same.  There are artist all along the streets there who are painting that you can watch.  Finley really enjoyed that.

We explored the shops for awhile after dinner, got some tasty sweets and then headed home around 9pm.  It was a good day.  

Here are the pictures from today - enjoy!

A church that we passed on our walk to the Rodin.

 The Thinker!  Check that off the list. :)
 Finley and Cainan pretending to "think"

 Balzac - a famous novelist and playright.  If you are a musical junkie - he's name is in one of the songs in "Music Man".
 "Eve"  She is hiding from God.  Had to spend about 1 hour explaining this to the kids.

 The museum.  Matisse actually lived and worked here for awhile as well:

 Victor Hugo:
 Marble statue of Eve - wouldn't do well in the weather, so she is in a glass case:
 The Gates of Hell.  This was MASSIVE.  Finley found out that it took Rodin 10 years to sculpt:

 Mat thought it would be funny for our little trouble maker to knock on the door.  She fell for it:

 This one disturbed the kids.  The story is that this is a dad who was imprisoned with his 4 children.  They were all starving to death, but because the dad was stronger, the kids told him that when they died, he should use their bodies to survive.  Crazy.
 Arlington found this sculpture.  I kid you not.

 He signed many of his works in the garden:
 Cafe time:
 Finley really liked the big foot:

 This is the first "Thinker" that he made:
 The Kiss:
 View from the 2nd floor of the museum:
 The Cathedral:
 Inside Eglise du Dome:
 Napoleon's Tomb:

 Inside Eglise du Dome:

 This is Napoleon's Son:
 Little Hoodlum in front of the altar:

 These are the doors into the chapel:
 We were going through the military museum, and found Finley standing like a soldier in front of this display:
 Finley likes the cannons:

 The courtyard in the museum:
 King Louis the 14th:
 There was a military ceremony going on while we were there.  We actually have seen quite a bit of French military on the streets of France - full uniform and guns and everything.  Not sure why:
 The gates to Eglise du Dome:
 The whole Les Invalides:

 These are down the street:
 Montmartre and the Basilica:

 View from the Basilica:

 Streets of Montmartre:

 Dinner at the cafe in Montmartre:
 Finley feeding her new best friends:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cool pictures guys!
That was funny about the toilet hehehe!!

Glad you had fun and your kids look happy! :)

Friend, Shayla