Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Travel Tuesday: Mom's 1953 Europe Road Trip: At the Louvre

From Mom's Europe trip diary, in the "PLACES VISITED" section: 
October 21, Wednesday – Paris, France
Went to Louvre - saw Venus de Milo, the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, and several more famous paintings.  After lunch at Rumplemayer's, went shopping again.  Bought some white gloves,*  exchanged Bobbie Nell's** Arpege for larger bottle, and bought Fred** some champagne.*  For dinner Joye** and Sylvia** treated me to champagne, because of my birthday.**  Managed to get most of my packing done, thank goodness.

* According to the "PURCHASES" section of the trip diary, my mother bought the white gloves at Fabrique de Ganto for 2900 francs, and the champagne at Gargantua for 1700 francs for both bottles.  She also purchased 8 hors d'oeuvre knives (for 2440 francs), a salad set (for 950 francs), and an hors d'oeuvre fork (for 300 francs), all at Jacques Franch.

** Bobbie Nell is my mother's step-first cousin, Bobbie Nell Brown.  Fred is my dad, Fred Pape, who Mom was dating at the time of this trip.  Joye and Sylvia are her traveling companions, her co-worker Sylvia John and Sylvia's friend Joye Murphy.  Mom's 25th birthday was two days before, on October 19.  

Paris - Carrousel and Louvre [2 August 1968, cropped] / Roger Wollstadt / CC BY-SA 2.0
Paris - Louvre - Winged Victory [11 May 1960, cropped]  / Roger Wollstadt / CC BY-SA 2.0

Mona Lisa, Louvre / Leonardo da Vinci [photo by Dcoetzee, 8 June 2011] / Public domain
The entrance to the Louvre might have looked something like the photo above in 1953.  L'Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel was built by Napoleon in 1806-1808, modeled after the Arch of Constantine in Rome. The bulldings of the Louvre (the part that had been the royal palace) are in the background. This was taken long before today's glass pyramid entrance was constructed.

The three most famous art works in the Louvre (at least back in the 1950s and 1960s) were the ones my mother saw.

One (of course) is da Vinci's Mona Lisa, pictured below.  The Winged Victory of Samothrace, pictured at left, was sculpted in Greece circa 190 B.C. 
Venus de Milo, Louvre [16 January 2009] / Sailko / GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5
The Venus de Milo , pictured at left, was sculpted in Greece sometime between 130 and 100 B.C., and discovered in 1820 A. D.

This is the 75th in a series of posts transcribing entries in my mother's 1953 Europe Trip journal.

© Amanda Pape - 2014 - click here to e-mail me.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mom's 1953 Europe Road Trip - More Shopping in Paris

From Mom's Europe trip diary, in the "PLACES VISITED" section: 
October 20, Tuesday – Paris, France
Went shopping.  Bought 2 scarves;* exchanged bottle of Arpege for larger size.**  After club sandwich lunch at Rumpelmayer's went across Seine River and bought some Édith Piaf records.***  Then walked along Left Bank looking at all the second-hand bookstalls.  Bought about six paintings.****  Walked around Notre Dame -- saw a man who had been fished out of the river.  Was really tired by the time we got back to hotel.

* According to the "PURCHASES" section of the trip diary, my mother bought the two scarves at Denis Francet for 2000 francs.

** When she exchanged the bottle of Arpege perfume she'd purchased the day before for a larger one, the price went from 1650 francs to 2500 francs.

*** The five records cost a total of 2740 francs.

**** Mom didn't record where she bought the six paintings or how much they cost.

Here are some things Mom saw this day:
The Seine, Paris, ca. 1948 [and the Pont Neuf bridge] / Albert Tucker 1914-1999 / Public domain

The Pont Neuf (New Bridge) over the Seine (pictured above) is actually the oldest bridge still standing, begun on 1577 and completed in 1607.  It joins the Left Bank and the Right Bank to the Île de la Cité, a natural island in the middle of the Seine that contains the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris, pictured below)
Paris - Notre Dame [south side of cathedral from Left Bank, 1 August 1968, cropped] / Roger Wollstadt / CC BY-SA 2.0 
Paris - Notre Dame [west side, 1 August 1968, cropped] / Roger Wollstadt / CC BY-SA 2.0

Notre-Dame was built between 1163 and 1345.  Its most unique features are the gargoyles that protrude from various points along the exterior (some are visible in the photo above).  Many served as channels for rain water.  Below is a photograph of one of the gargoyles, with a view to the west of the city. The Seine is visible at the bottom. The nearer bridge is the Petit Pont, and the further is the Pont Saint-Michel. The Eiffel Tower can be seen in the distance.
Gargoyle over Paris [30 January 2004] / Michael Reeve / CC BY-SA 2.0

This is the 74th in a series of posts transcribing entries in my mother's 1953 Europe Trip journal.

© Amanda Pape - 2014 - click here to e-mail me.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mom's 1953 Europe Road Trip - Shopping in Paris

From Mom's Europe trip diary, in the "PLACES VISITED" section: 
October 19, Monday – Paris, France
Went to American Express and had 8 letters -- 3 from Fred.  After breakfast, went shopping for perfume* -- bought almost all that I have to buy.  Also bought three silk scarves.**  Walked down the Rue de la Paix, Place Vendôme, Place de la Concorde.  For supper tonight had snails.  They aren't very pretty and do not taste like anything too much.

* According to the "PURCHASES" section of the trip diary, my mother bought the following perfumes at the following places for the prices listed:

one bottle L'Heure Bleue*** at Guerlain for 3450 francs
one bottle En Avion at Caron for 3840 francs
one bottle Ma Griffe by Carven at Au Printemps for 1550 francs
one bottle Robe d'un Soir*** by Carven at Au Printemps for 2475 francs
one bottle Joy by Patou at Au Printemps for 2900 francs
two bottles Arpege at Lanvin, one for 1650 francs and one for 4600 francs
one bottle My Sin at Lanvin for 100 francs
one bottle Presence at Houbigant for 1325 francs

** One scarf was purchased at Monik for 900 francs, and the other two at Bentley for 850 francs each.

***In French, L'Heure Bleue means The Blue Hour and Robe d'un Soir means Evening Dress.

Paris - Au Printemps [10 May 1960] / Roger Wollstadt / CC BY-SA 2.0
Au Printemps rotunda {22 October 2006] / Tuscan Knox (Own work)
 / GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0

Au Printemps (French for "in the [season of] spring"), pictured above in 1960, is a department store in France that still exists today.  It opened at the corner of Le Havre and Boulevard Haussman in Paris on November 3, 1865.  It was rebuilt at that location after fires in 1881 and 1921.  The figures of the Four Seasons on the façade (pictured at left) were sculpted by Henri Chapu.  The store was a pioneer in many ways - one of the first with electric lights and elevators,   It also changed retail business practices with such ideas as set prices, discount sales, and window models for the latest fashions.

The Rue de la Paix (pictured below) is a main shopping street in Paris. It was created on Napoleon's orders in 1806 and was originally named for him.  It runs from the Palais Garnier to the Place Vendôme.
Buildings along Rue de la Paix, Paris [5 September 2011] / Britchi Mirela (Own work) / CC-BY-SA-3.0
Place Vendôme Column [29 August 2009] / Ricce (Own work) / Public domain

The most notable feature of the Place Vendôme is the Vendôme Column, pictured at left.  It was built on Napoleon's orders between 1806 and 1810 to celebrate his victory of Austerlitz and is modeled after Trajan's Column in Rome. It is covered with 425 spiraling bas-relief bronze plates made from cannon captured at Austerlitz.

The Place de la Concorde is noted for the Luxor Obelisk, which originally came from the Luxor Temple in Egypt and was given to France by the Egyptian government and installed at this site in 1836.  The yellow granite has hieroglyphics praising the pharoah Ramesses II.  The Place de la Concorde also has two fountains flanking the Luxor Obelisk.  They were built in 1840 with the themes of rivers and seas.  Detail from one of the elaborate fountains can be seen in the photograph below. 
Place de la Concorde Fountain, detail [28 August 2013] / Beata Poznań (Own work) / CC-BY-SA-3.0

This is the 73rd in a series of posts transcribing entries in my mother's 1953 Europe Trip journal.

© Amanda Pape - 2014 - click here to e-mail me.

Sentimental Sunday: Happy Birthday to My Mom!

My mom, Geraldine Margaret Guokas, is 86 today!  This photo was taken when she was a baby - probably sometime in 1929.

© Amanda Pape - 2014 - click here to e-mail me.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Mom's 1953 Europe Road Trip: Into Paris

From Mom's Europe trip diary, in the "PLACES VISITED" section: 
October 18, Sunday – Road between Orléans and Paris, France
Went to Mass at cathedral in Orléans.  Decided to drive to Chartres to see famous cathedral.  High Mass was going on so didn't get to see much of inside.  Then drove to Versailles and drove through grounds -- saw Le Petit Trianon.  Got into Paris around 2 P.M. and after just getting lost once found our hotel,* which is very nice and quiet.  Before dinner, Joye and I walked along the Place de l'Opera, which is supposed to be one of the best streets in Paris.  Had dinner and went to bed.

* According to the "HOTELS STOPPED AT" section of the trip diary, my mother and her friends stayed at the Louvois Hotel during their time in Paris.

Although she didn't get to see much of the interior of the Chartres Cathedral, Mom likely saw a lot of the Cathédrale Sainte-Croix (Holy Cross Cathedral) in Orléans since she attended Mass there.  This gorgeous edifice, pictured below left, was built from 1278 to 1329 and 1601-1829 (after partial destruction in 1568 by Protestants).  Joan of Arc supposedly attended Mass here on May 5, 1429 (the Feast of the Ascension) during the Siege of Orléans.  

The church has nine chapels in a curved area behind the main high altar, each with a beautiful stained glass window.  One of those chapels is pictured below right.
Orléans Cathedrale [29 October 2005, cropped] /
  Patrick GIRAUD / CC-BY-SA-1.0 or CC-BY-SA-1.0
Cathédrale Sainte-Croix, Orléans, Chapelle, Vitraux
[Holy Cross Cathedral, Orleans, Chapel, Stained Glass,
24 July 2012] / MMensler (Own work) / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Chartres Cathedral [from the north, 6 July 2007] / Steve Cadman / CC BY-SA 2.0

The Basilique Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres (Our Lady of Chartres Cathedral) in the town of the same name was constructed mostly between 1134 and 1250.  The building's exterior features heavy flying buttresses, some of which are visible in the photo above (along with the 14th-15th century St Piat Chapel, to the left in the photo).  This allowed for large stained glass windowsapproximately 152 of the original 176 survive.
Notre-Dame de la Belle Verrière [7 February 2009] / Eusebius (Guillaume Piolle) (Own work) / [Public domain]
Chartres, South Trancept Rose and Lancet Windows [22 March 2011]
/ Steven Zucker / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The most famous of the windows is the Notre Dame de la Belle Verriere (Our Lady of the Beautiful Window), pictured above. The central panels that picture the Virgin and Child on a throne held up by angels date to about 1180.  The cathedral also has three beautiful rose windows, one of which is pictured at left.

The three entrances or portals in the north, south, and west façades are filled with intricate carvings.  The Portail Royal on the west side (pictured below) is part of the original church that (besides the Belle Verriere) survived an 1194 fire.  It's called the Royal Portal because of the elegant elongated statues of kings and queens from the Old Testament on the columns by the doors.
Chartres [Cathedral] - Royal Portal [8 December 1960] / Roger Wollstadt / CC BY-SA 2.0
Portail Royale [detail - Samuel, David, the Queen of Sheba, Solomon - 18 June 2006] / Urban (Own work) / Public domain

Versailles - North Wing [9 May 1960] / Roger Wollstadt / CC BY-SA 2.0

Le Petit Trianon (pictured below) is a small château located on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles (pictured above).  Louis XV had it built between 1762 and 1768 originally for his long-term mistress, Madame de Pompadour.  She died before its completion, so it was first occupied by her successor, Madame du Barry. When Louis XVI took the throne in 1774, he gave the château and its surrounding park to his 19-year-old queen, Marie Antoinette, for her exclusive use and enjoyment.

Marie Antoinette would come to Le Petit Trianon to escape the formality of court life and shake off the burden of her royal responsibilities. No one could visit Le Petit Trianon without the Queen's permission - apparently not even her husband.
Le Petit Trianon, seen from French Garden [23 October 2010] / Rose Trinh / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

I couldn't find any good photos of the Place de l'Opéra, but here is one of the opera for which it is named:
Paris Opéra [11 May 2011] / Tony Kent / CC BY-SA 2.0

The Palais Garnier, pictured above, was named for its architect Charles Garnier and built from 1861 to 1875.  It was the primary home of the Paris Opera and Ballet from 1875 until 1989. 

At left is a map of the probable route for the day.

This is the 72nd in a series of posts transcribing entries in my mother's 1953 Europe Trip journal.

© Amanda Pape - 2014 - click here to e-mail me.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Mom's 1953 Europe Road Trip: Châteaux Along the Loire

From Mom's Europe trip diary, in the "PLACES VISITED" section: 
October 17, Saturday – Road between Angoulême and Orléans, France
Hotel really put one over on me.  They added our dinner (which already had service charges on it) to the hotel bill and then took a service charge of total bill.  Didn't find it out until already out of town.  Rained the whole day -- stopped for lunch at Poitiers and for once got pretty good food.  Crossed the Loire River at Tours and then drove along it through the Château country.  Saw a few châteaux through a fine mist. 

Below are photos of some of the châteaux my mother might have seen along the Loire River between Tours and Orléans.

The Château d'Amboise, originally constructed in the 9th century, received major improvements in the 1400s and 1500s when it became a French royal residence. It originally guarded a ford across the Loire River, and later a bridge.
Château d'Amboise [view across the Loire River, 21 September 2013, cropped] / Berouche (Own work) / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Clos Lucé is connected to Château Amboise by an underground tunnel.  Leonardo da Vinci lived here between 1516 and 1519 at the invitation of French King François I.  The artist died here and is buried in the Chapel of Saint-Hubert in Château d'Amboise.  Today this building is a museum honoring da Vinci and featuring his works.
Clos Lucé [22 August 2006] / Taxiarchos228 at the German language Wikipedia / GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0

The name "Chaumont" comes from the French words chauve mont, which mean "bald hill."  Château de Chaumont sits on such a site above the Loire River. The current building was constructed in the 1400s.
Château de Chaumont (Loir-et-Cher) [taken from the Loire River, 2 June 2011]/ Daniel Jolivet / CC BY 2.0

This wing of the Château de Blois was built by François I (who reigned from 1515 to 1547). It has a famous spiral staircase, which you can see at the front in the photo below.  This royal residence is also the place where Joan of Arc went in 1429 to be blessed by the Archbishop of Reims before departing with her army to drive the English from Orléans.  The château consists of several buildings constructed from the 13th to the 17th century around a main courtyard.  It has 564 rooms (100 of them bedrooms), all with fireplaces, and 75 staircases..
Château de Blois - François I wing [11 July 1994] / Roger Wollstadt / CC BY-SA 2.0
The Château de Meung-sur-Loire was the country residence of the Bishops of Orléans. The oldest still-existing parts of it date back to the 12th century.  Joan of Arc recaptured this from the British on June 14, 1429.
Château de Meung-sur-Loire [14 July 2013] / Calips (Own work) / CC-BY-SA-3.0

According to the "HOTELS STOPPED AT" section of the trip diary, my mother and her friends stayed at the Hotel Les Arcades in Orléans, France.

At left is a map with the likely route for the day, and below is a map of the route from Tours to Orléans along the Loire River, and the châteaux along the way.

This is the 71st in a series of posts transcribing entries in my mother's 1953 Europe Trip journal.

© Amanda Pape - 2014 - click here to e-mail me.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Happy Birthday to My Baby Sister!

This photo is from one of my sister Mary Elaine's birthdays, sometime after 1972, in the den at our home at 8015 Sharpview Drive in Houston, Texas.  I know the photo was taken in 1973 or later because Mom won the patio set (you can see the umbrella in the background) at the St. Agnes Academy Autumn Fest, and the first Autumn Fest was held in November 1972.  We were probably celebrating Mom's birthday as well, since it was just three days later.

© Amanda Pape - 2014 - click here to e-mail me.

Those Places Thursday: Mom's 1953 Europe Road Trip - Back in France

From Mom's Europe trip diary, in the "PLACES VISITED" section: 
October 16, Friday – Road between Bayonne and Angoulême, France
After late start, left Bayonne. Got car checked and it needed just about everything.  Weather was bad all day so didn't get any pictures.  Ate lunch in Bordeaux -- place and food were terrible, and I thought all French food was supposed to be good.  We are only about 300 miles away from Paris and just think, will be there day after tomorrow.

According to the "HOTELS STOPPED AT" section of the trip diary, my mother and her friends stayed at the Grand Hotel de France in Angoulême, France.
Bayonne, France; Petit Bayonne: old houses [14 September 2006, modified to remove modern intrusions]
/ Georges Jansoone (Own work) / GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5
Bridge of Pierre over Garonne river in Bordeaux, France [12 December 2004]
/ Olivier Aumage (own work) / CC-BY-SA-2.0-fr

My mother said the weather was bad this day and she didn't get any pictures, but here are some things she might have seen:

Above:  narrow streets in the old part of Bayonne.

At left:  the Pont de Pierre in Bourdeaux.  The Pont de Pierre was the first bridge over the Garonne River. It was built in 1809-1822. It was the only bridge until 1965.

Below:  Interesting carvings on old homes in the old part of Angoulême.
Balcony and caryatids (19th century), rue Hergé, Angoulême [14 August 2012] / JLPC (Own work) / CC-BY-SA-3.0

At left is a map showing the likely route for the day.

This is the 70th in a series of posts transcribing entries in my mother's 1953 Europe Trip journal.

© Amanda Pape - 2014 - click here to e-mail me.