Monday 31 January 2011

Playing tourist: visit to the Panthéon

The Panthéon
From Christian basilica to temple of the nation!

Last week I played toursit in Paris again. This time we visited the Panthéon. A very interesting monument... just dress very, very warm as it is freezing cold here (any time of the year & I'm not exaggerating!!). It's in the 5th arrondissement which has a different atmosphere than the usual touristic places you can visit in Paris! If you're in Paris, go there & see for yourself!

 Foucault's pendulum, demonstrating the rotation of the earth.
Beautiful floors

Amazing, huge paintings

Detail of one of the paintings

Details of one of the ceilings

In the crypt, the resting resting place of various great men and just 2 women... (Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Emile Zola, etc.).

It was so clean & peaceful in the crypt

For more information on the Panthéon, click here

Have a nice week & stay warm!!

Monday 24 January 2011

Just another Monday...

After a quick visit to the Netherlands this weekend, we arrived home late on Sunday afternoon. How nice is it that the house is still clean after a weekend? Our cleaning lady left the house spotless on Friday and we left right after her, so no time to make a mess! No dirty dog in the house, no magazines & newspapers all over the place (not even talking about bread crumbs & empty glasses), this made the Monday way nicer to start than usual. Because usual it really is clean-up day all over again!
So in the house & in my mind it was sunshine all over, but not outside... what a drizzling & dark  Monday...
Time for some flowers in this post to brighten up these gloomy days (will go to the market tomorrow to buy some fresh ones to add some more colour inside!!).

So here are some of the bouquets that have filled the house in 2010, a year in flowers...


Well, it looks like I always stay within the same colour range... and I have to admit it: I do... 
Maybe 2011 can be a year of change? 

And this picture I found while browsing for the flower pictures... a lovely & delicious cake made by a friend of mine... but for the time being I'm not allowing myself to eat something like this:

Adorable, isn't it?

I wish you all a colourful & cheerful week, inside & outside!!

And I keep on forgetting to mention a beautiful blog that's celebrating it's 2nd blog birthday with a wonderful give-away. Go to Alice's adventures in wonderland and see for yourself!

Wednesday 19 January 2011

An amazing part of the world... part 2

In my post about our trip to Dubai, I forgot to show you a picture... so that's why I'm publishing it now... Santa Claus in the United Arab Emirates; whatever I imagined... it wasn't this:

Santa on a camel!!

Tomorrow I'll be visiting the Auguste Rodin museum in Paris, hope it will be possible to make some nice pictures. Will let you know!!

P.S. Pictures by iPhone... sorry, not the best quality!

Monday 10 January 2011

Finally... visiting our neighbours!

We moved to Versailles in January 2010, exactly one year ago... and guess what? We never took the time to visit our neighbours!
But last week, first New Year resolution has been executed: on a sunny morning we went over for a visit.
See what beautiful surprises we encountered (& some historical facts too!):

The Château de Versailles, which has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List for 30 years, is one of the most beautiful achievements of 18th-century French art. The site began as Louis XIII’s hunting lodge before his son Louis XIV transformed and expanded it, moving the court and government of France to Versailles in 1682. Each of the three French kings who lived there until the French Revolution added improvements to make it more beautiful.
The Hall of Mirrors, the King’s Grand Apartments, the Museum of the History of France. The Château de Versailles, the seat of power until 1789, has continued to unfurl its splendour over the course of centuries. At first it was just a humble hunting lodge built by Louis XIII. But Louis XIV chose the site to build the palace we know today, the symbol of royal absolutism and embodiment of classical French art.

Picture taken in March when my parents and my aunt & uncle were visiting us

In the 1670s Louis XIV built the Grand Apartments of the King and Queen, whose most emblematic achievement is the Hall of Mirrors designed by Mansart, where the king put on his most ostentatious display of royal power in order to impress visitors. The Chapel and Opera were built in the next century under Louis XV.
All so shiny...

The château lost its standing as the official seat of power in 1789 but acquired a new role in the 19th century as the Museum of the History of France, which was founded at the behest of Louis-Philippe, who ascended to the throne in 1830. That is when many of the château’s rooms were taken over to house the new collections, which were added to until the early 20th century, tracing milestones in French history.

Some beautiful doors

The Hercules Room

The Royal Chapel
So many rich materials are used


 The famous Hall of Mirrors
We were not the only visitors...

A glimpse of the gardens, even beautiful in winter time
Wanna now what the gardens look like in summer, then have a look at this.


Picture credits of The Royal Chapel/The Hercules room:

Monday 3 January 2011

An amazing part of the world!

Although I really enjoy the snowy landscapes we have had the last weeks and although I like the frost, the snow, the cold & the cozyness that comes with it, I was very much looking forward to our trip to the sun! First, we had a few obstacles to take (an emergency passport, icy roads, an overcrowded airport & many cancelled flights) but we finally managed to leave France with only a 5 hour delay and headed for the sun on December 24.

And even though Roel has travelled a lot in the Middle East and the UAE in particular quite some years ago and I've been there once before (like ehhh... 13 years ago), it was pretty hard to recognize the Dubai we knew. What an amazing change has been going on there. Of course we knew, we heard, we read, but it really goes beyond imagination!

We stayed in the same hotel as 13 years ago which was, at that time, almost the only building at Jumeirah Beach. Look what there is now (the 2 low buildings in the middle are the ones from the hotel):
We had a lovely week full of much needed sunshine & warmth and didn't do too much :-)
No doubt that we had to visit the Atlantis Aquaventure & the Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi (fastest roller coaster in the world, with speed up to 275 kph... we survived but no pictures!)

Atlantis, THE slide 
Floating through the ray fish & sharks...

And of course we had to visit the new malls like the Dubai Mall with the Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world, 828 metres) and the ice rink.

We also went to the Mall of the Emirates with the indoor ski center. The Walk is a very nice outdoor shopping district which was just a few steps away from our hotel.

 The Walk
For the rest we enjoyed lazy hours at the beach, nice food & drinks, some tennis, reading, soccer & volleybal & meeting friends.

 Watching a polo game  

 Amazing modern architecture & still a lot of culture 

Beautiful flora & fauna :-)

 Have a good first week of 2011!


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