Let’s Have Lunch

There are so many choices when it comes to eating in Paris. Cafes line streets, vendors sell there wares in the street and deciding where to eat can be a challenge.

My friends and I settled on the Cafe Leone in the area surrounding Notre Dame. I would recommend this charming little restaurant to anyone looking for a quick bite. Their pizza was delicious.

Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile

The Arc de Triomphe, was commissioned by napoleon in 1806. It wasn’t until 1836 when it was inaugurated in King Louis-Philippe. The monument is dedicated to the armies of the Revolution and the Empire.

Within the small arches are engraved The names of 600 military leaders who served during the French First Republic and the First French Empire. Underlined names signify those who died on the battlefield.

The Unknown Soldier was buried at the base of the arch in 1921. The flame of remembrance is rekindled every day at 18:30. Every year on November 11th a special ceremony is held.

Of the four statues on the Arcs pillars is Le Départ de 1792 or La Marseillaise by sculptor, Francois Rude. The sculpture celebrates the cause of the French First Republic during the August 10th uprising. Above the volunteers is the winged representation of Liberty. During World War I it served as a recruitment tool and encouraged the French to buy war loans in 1915–1916.

La Marseillaise is the French National Anthem. Originally known as The War Song For The Republic Of The Rhine. The melody became a rallying cry for The French Revolution and became La Marseillaise after army volunteers from Marseillaise were heard singing it in the streets.

To help you plan your own trip to visit this monument check out the official website.

https://www.paris-arc-de-triomphe.fr/en/

Souvenir and Window Shopping

As I walked along the canals of Amsterdam, I noticed these funny little boys in a window.

Among the items for sail are items of Blue Delft ceramic. These delicately painted vases and plates were crafted at a 33 different “porcelain” factories. Only one of them is still in business, Royal Delft. These items are made of earthenware but were designed to compete with Chinese porcelain.

Some of the most popular Delft Blue items are the Kissing Couple. No one knows for sure the true history of the young lovers. Some think they are based on a photo taken in 1920.

Wandering the streets of Amsterdam you can find Antique Shops, Sweet Shops, Bakery’s and Dutch Cheese Shops. There’s literally something for everyone.

Seven Country Houses

Architect Tjeerd Kuipers, is most famous for the aptly named Seven Country Houses. The row of seven houses represent the architectural styles of Europe. Exotism is the term for a romanticized longing for what is far away. Each of the houses is built in a different architectural style representing seven different countries in Europe.

Germany, France, Russia, England, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands are all represented in architectural styles of their respective countries.

If you’d like to see these for yourself head to…

32II Roemer Visscherstraat
Amsterdam, 1054 EZ
Netherlands

52.3615, 4.8770

Please remember these are people’s homes and businesses so don’t be a nuisance.

Going Bananas in Cologne

The name Thomas Baumgartel may not be a household name, but his contribution to world art scene cannot be forgotten. He is affectionately known as “Banana Sprayer” in grafitti circles.

As you venture about Cologne, keep an eye out for Baumgartel’s handiwork. In 1987, he spraypainted a banana on the Museum Ludwig. Later that same night he was apprehended in a major sweep and spent the night in jail.

The banana tag is seen as a badge of honor, patrons could tell a museum was worth visiting if it had been deemed so by Baumgartel.

Want to learn more and see Baumgartel’s studio, click below…

Shrine of the Three Wisemen

Dreikönigsschrein, the Reliquary of the Three Kings is a tomb where they say that the remains of the Three Wise Men are enshrined. Set in a huge display case behind the main altar of the Cologne Cathedral, this is considered to be the largest shrine in the western world.

It took the world renowned goldsmith, Nicolau de Verdun spent half of a century building this masterpiece. The shrine was completed in 1225 and the remains of the Magi were laid to rest here.

This golden Reliquary of the Three Kings is made of wood, coated with gold, silver, enamel, and adorned with precious and semi-precious stones.

According to the legend, Queen Helena, mother of Constantine travelled to the Middle East to find the remains and bring them back to Cologne. The reliquary is comprised of three sarcophagi, two on the bottom and one on top.

More about the Three Wisemen can be found at this link…

http://projects.leadr.msu.edu/medievalart/exhibits/show/reliquary_cathedral_comparison/three_magi

The Elves Fountain

Near the Cathedral in Colgne is a charming fountain. The sculpted characters respresent the heroes of a German folksong. These “magic helpers” worked there magic at night when the citizens are fast asleep to help finish the households chores they has started earlier.
Even though the elves loved to be hard at work, they did not like being around humans. All went well until one evening the tailor’s wife decided she wanted to see the helpers. She scattered peas all over her floor in hopes that the little elves would slip on them and then she could rush in to see them for herself.

She heard a commotion and quickly lit her lantern and stomped her feet. The elves ran out of the house and were so offended that they left the city. The people of Cologne then had to finish all of there chores by themselves.

You can see the hardworking elves and the tailor’s wife with her lantern carved into the fountain.