Windows are the Eyes…

I’ve been going through photos from last fall, specifically of our trip to Paris.  I had forgotten that I have a small habit (o.k. big habit) of taking pictures through windows to the outside.  Some people like doors.  My mother is one of these.  I also take pictures of cool doors when I go places just for her.  But windows from the inside are what mesmerize me.  And there were some grand ones in Paris and especially in Versailles.

I don’t know what others think of windows, but for me they are the soul of the house.  A glimpse in to another life, a way to watch the life outside.  A two dimensional portal that is beautiful, wonderful and often hides mysteries beyond.  I’m drawn to what goes on outside and inside those glass dimensions.  I found myself wondering what Marie Antoinette thought as she no doubt looked upon the vast fortune that lay before her at Versailles.  Did she compare it to Schoenbrunn Palace in Vienna that was her childhood home?  Both are magnificent, but I found it interesting that she spent a great deal of her time in the Queens Hamlet that she created for herself on the property of the Palace in Versailles.  It was here she doffed the clothing of a royal in favor of more casual attire, and here where she could relax and be more down to earth.  According to the tour, this was one of her favorite places to be, where when she looked out the window she saw sprawling gardens, chickens, pigs, cows, small ponds and creeks.  A huge contrast to the formal gardens closer to the palace.

Whatever her likes or dislikes, the windows of the palace are some of the most beautiful pieces of architecture around.  Windows that hide not only wealth a lavishness, but also must have served to conceal a great deal of human emotion and drama during one of the most turbulent times in French history.

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Musée de l’Armée

The L’Hôtel national des Invalides is a group of buildings in Paris, France that house museums and monuments that relate to the military history of France.  The museums there are the Musée de’Histoire Contemporaine, Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and Musée de l’Armée.

The L’Hotel was opened originally by Louis IV to shelter and care for 7000 of the aged or informed soldiers, the building being constructed between 1671 and 1676.  There are a number of important tombs in the chapel, most notably Napoleon’s tomb.  Nine hearts are concealed in the vaults while their bodies have been put to rest in other places, a curious but not uncommon medieval practice.

It was quite and amazing complex, and when we entered, we didn’t know what we were getting into with respect to size.  It is massive, and in the end, we ended up missing some of it because we just couldn’t go on any longer.  It starts with weaponry of the middle ages, and goes through the second world war.  It is truly an astounding place to visit and see the progression of weapons over the history of civilization.

Rodin

August Rodin was born 12 November 1840, and died 17 November 1917.  He was a very progressive French artist who favored sculpture of the human body.  The Rodin Museum in Paris holds a great many of his pieces, and is such a joy to walk through.  Many of the pieces in there are his clay models he used to create the final product in some other medium such as bronze.

Below are some photographs of some of these pieces.