Life Lessons


"Figuring out our gifts in life is part of our journey to becoming enlightened human beings.” – Allison DuBois

Monday, April 2, 2018

Day Tripping

Song - Valse de Niglos by Django Rhythm

If you have the time, take a day trip from Paris. Here are a few suggestions:

Giverny - Giverny is a village in the region of Normandy in northern France. Impressionist painter Claude Monet lived and worked here from 1883 until his death in 1926. The artist’s former home and elaborate gardens, where he produced his famed water lily series, are now the Claude Monet museum. Nearby, the Musée des impressionnismes Giverny highlights the Impressionist art movement.













Auvers-sur-Oise -The Auberge Ravoux is a French historic landmark located in the heart of the village of Auvers-sur-Oise. It is known as the House of Van Gogh because the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh spent the last 70 days of his life as a lodger at the auberge– Visit Vincent Van Gogh’s room and travel on the path where he spent his last few months painting. Great little restaurant with an amazing assortment of cheese.





You can follow a map through the village and the countryside to see places where Van Gogh painted.









Fountainebleau - Fontainebleau is a town southeast of Paris, known for the opulent Fontainebleau Palace. Built by French royalty, with parts dating back to the 1100s, the palace houses Marie Antoinette’s Turkish boudoir, the Napoleon Museum and a lavish theater. Its formal gardens feature ornamental lakes and sculptures. Surrounding the town and chateau is Fontainebleau forest, home to Le Grand Parquet, an equestrian stadium.










 I have yet to visit Rouen but hopefully soon!  I have heard that it's incredible.




Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte - It is said that three villages were destroyed to build this grand chateau owned by Nicholas Fouquet in the 1660's.  Fouquet was the superintendent of finances for King Louis XIV.  He built such a grand estate and had such lavish parties to impress the King.  Well, it worked!  The King was so impressed that he had Fouquet arrested and imprisoned for life and his family exiled so he could take over the dazzling chateau. Oops....







Château de Malmaison - The chateau de Malmaison is the former home of Napoleon and Josephine. It is a relatively small chateau, but decorated with original belongings of Napoleon and Josephine. There are also beautiful and well-known paintings (portraits) in the castle. If you are interested in history, absolutely worth a visit. I went on a tour here because Mr. B inherited a pastel of this chateau from his great aunts.The château de Malmaison, purchased by Josephine in 1799 was, together with the Tuileries, the French government's headquarters from 1800 to 1802. When Napoleon moved to Saint-Cloud, Josephine stayed in Malmaison and commissioned a wide range of improvements to the house. She settled in permanently after her divorce in 1809 and died there on May 29, 1814.







Versailles - Versailles is a city in the Yvelines département in Île-de-France region, renowned worldwide for its château, the Château de Versailles and the gardens of Versailles, designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.  Unfortunately I didn't have a digital camera when Mr. B and I went to Versailles many years ago and my paper photos are probably somewhere in the attic.

Loire Valley -  take the TGV from Paris to Tours then rent a car

Below are Jackie and myself trying to find a route from the car rental agency to the Chateau's.  I had forgotten to ask for an automatic and received a stick.  Luckily it all came back to me - "just like riding a bike"!  Thanks dad for teaching me to drive a stick shift all of those years ago!







   Villandry – amazing gardens....just incredible.  I don't even know if I have ever been inside the castle after three visits here!  But they do have a little outdoor cafe that is great for a nibble.









   


Chenonceau - a beautiful estate.  The chateau and the grounds are well worth a visit. The bouquets of flowers inside are a delight as is the kitchen filled with copper.  Henri II gave the chateau to his mistress Diane de Poitiers and it was she who added the bridge over the river Cher as well as the gardens.  When Henri died, the Queen, Catherine de Medici, forced Diane out of Chenonceau even though Diane was the legal owner.  Catherine proceeded to build the gallery and grand ballroom on Diane's bridge which finally gave Chenonceau its now iconic look.










   Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau - A much smaller chateau on the Indre River. The present castle was built in the 1520's.  There is a cafe and a nice park to relax.











t is hard to imagine Andre Le Notre laying out the exquisite landscape designs for Vaux-le-Vicomte, and later the magnificent Chateau de Versailles, with no high hill to stand on, no helicopter to fly in, and no drone to show him the complexities of the terrain. Yet he did, and with extreme precision, accuracy, and high style.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/versailles

"It is hard to imagine Andre Le Notre laying out the exquisite landscape designs for Vaux-le-Vicomte, and later the magnificent Chateau de Versailles, with no high hill to stand on, no helicopter to fly in, and no drone to show him the complexities of the terrain.  Yet he did, and with extreme precision, accuracy, and high style."  --Martha Stewart











t is hard to imagine Andre Le Notre laying out the exquisite landscape designs for Vaux-le-Vicomte, and later the magnificent Chateau de Versailles, with no high hill to stand on, no helicopter to fly in, and no drone to show him the complexities of the terrain. Yet he did, and with extreme precision, accuracy, and high style.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/versailles

Friday, March 30, 2018

Comings and Goings

Song  (video) - Oak Titmice Raise a Family by Rob J. Watson


Time for a short intermission about Paris because the birds have gone wild in my garden!





The little Oak Titmouse outside of my dining room door has been happily nesting in Mr. B's birdhouse for several weeks now.  Every morning I can hear the daddy call to the mom "scuse me", "scuse me", "scuse me" until she comes out of the house.  Lately this has been going on more often during the day. I can't believe that he interrupts her so sweetly with his call "scuse me".  He either greets her with some food or she flies off to find something while he stands guard over their house.



That's nest number one in our yard.





Yesterday I was doing some hand watering and noticed a little Black-Capped Chickadee clinging on the tree next to Andy's nesting box.  Today I saw her go inside.  So I set up my tripod and camera on the path in front of the box. nothing.......nothing.....So I set it up on the upper deck looking through tree branches.



And within minutes, there she was!





That is nest number two!






As I walked around the side of the house to get some gardening tools, I startled a Mourning Dove on the ground.  He flew up onto the gate.  Mama has made a nest in the same spot for the fifth year in a row.



She used to make it on the red ladder but now she likes the nesting box under the eves.

That would be nest number 3.





My neighbor came by this afternoon to tell me about some travel plans and mentioned that the Cooper's Hawk has built a nest in the Oak tree between our houses again. Her father planted these Oak trees from tiny trees growing in milk cartons from UC Davis in 1949.





I didn't see any activity way up there today so I am sharing two photos from when they nested in the same tree several years ago.




The photo above is an adult hawk and the photo below is of a juvenile.  





 That makes nest number four!!! 

See what I mean about the birds going wild?



"The early bird gets the worm.  
The early worm......gets eaten."

 -- Norman Ralph Augustine




Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Learning to Fly - Part Cinq

Song - Come Fly With Me by Frank Sinatra






ART - It's everywhere you look in Paris
Look up, look down and look all around.


**Hint: purchase a 2, 4 or 6 day Museum Pass at a small museum and then you won’t have to wait in the queue at the larger museums with long lines.









Musse d’Orsay - 7th Arr. -  It was once a railroad station and now houses a stunning collection of Impressionist art. 1 Rue de la Legion d'Honneur



And be sure you take a leisurely break in their beautiful tea room.


 






Louvre - 2nd Arr. - A former historic palace - it is amazing but too overwhelmingly big for me but it is so worth seeing the Winged Victory and the Mona Lisa or take a walking tour to catch the highlights. Rue de Rivoli









Musee Rodin - 7th Arr. - Opened in 1917 by the sculptor Auguste Rodin, the museum includes a lot of his work in the Hotel Biron, a small rococo palace and its gardens are amazing as well. 77 Rue de Varenne











Petit Palais - Richly decorated 1900 building, housing eclectic fine arts dating from Renaissance to 20th century. They will be having a temporary exhibition 'Dutch artists in Paris, 1789-1914' through May 13th - Avenue Winston Churchill




Musee de l’Orangerie
Museum with 20th-century European art collection, showcasing 8 of Monet's water lilies murals.
Jardin Tuileries













 Musee Carnavalet - 3rd Arr. -  Museum in neighboring mansions with Paris art & history exhibits focused on 16th & 17th centuries. Opened in 1880, the Carnavalet Museum features all types of art work, and through these it narrates the history of Paris from its foundation to the present day.
16 Rue des Francs Bourgeois


















Musée Eugène Delacroix – 6th Arr. - Sketches & paintings by enigmatic artist Delacroix, displayed in his house, studio & small museum. 6 Rue Furstenberg









Musee de Cluny - 5th Arr. - Turreted Gothic mansion housing vast collection of medieval arts, crafts & tapestries. 6 Place Paul Painleve







Musée Marmottan Monet - 16th Arr. - Art museum with a significant collection of work by Claude Monet, and other Impressionists. 2 Rue Louis Boilly





Musee Jacquemart-André  - 8th Arr. - A private museum that has occasional important showings.  Check first. They are having a exhibit of Mary Cassatt's work through July 23. 158 Boulevard Haussmann



"I really believe if you practiced enough 
you could paint the 'Mona Lisa' with a two-inch brush" 

-- Bob Ross 




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