Friday, August 5, 2016

La Madeleine, Paris

To my shame, I wasn't aware of this architectural and cultural gem earlier - it was not in our itinerary; we got into it only by a chance, or I should say only by mistake :) . We were navigating to Notre-dam, but our Tom-Tom went crazy for some reasons and made us to round about the La Madeleine three times. So we stopped our car nearby just to fix the GPS, then decided to hop-on to the beautiful La Madeleine Church.

La Madeleine is one of the beautiful Catholic churches of Paris, but it’s is unique and totally different from most of what you will see in Paris, both inside and out. . Though it’s one of the authentic churches, from its exterior it doesn’t look like a church at all!!. It gives a feel of typical traditional Greek Temple has just been transported from Athens to Paris !

In 1806, Napoleon began commissioning this great monument to himself and his Grand Army, following his great victory over the Austrians and Russians at Austerlitz. Pierre-Alexandre Barthélémy Vignon (1763-1828) designed this monument to the Army, in neo-classical style. Looking like the Parthenon in Athens, this massive structure was completed after Napoleon's downfall. King Louis XVIII decreed that it would be a church. And so it was consecrated in 1842.

The exterior features beautiful carvings and massive columns with fantastic flower arrangements and the interior is serene and lovely. My favorite part of this one is the lovely and unusual altar figure of the Magdalene ascending into heaven with the help of several angels, and the half dome above it with the illuminating paintings of many saints.
Here's a nice panorama of the interior:

If you go to Paris, don`t miss this wonder, even just to see the building!!    #madeleine #napoleon #magdalene

Monday, August 1, 2016

Beautiful Bridges of Paris

Paris is a river city; The river #Seine flows all around the Paris.

Paris has close to 35 bridges (French call it “pont”) across the Seine throughout. Most of these bridges are more than 200 years old, built in the 18th century. From what I experienced, I think each one of them is unique with different architecture and history behind.

On a nice weather, you just walk through these beautiful bridges all along the river Seine to adore the views of iconic buildings/architectures, you’ll love Paris till your life time!

We had a chance to go through two of the most famous ones: The #Pont #Alexandre III and the Pont au Double.

1) Pont Alexandre III:
The Pont Alexandre III connects the Champs-Élysées quarter of Paris with it’s other side of the Les Invalides and the Eiffel Tower. The bridge is named after Tsar Alexander III, who set-up the Franco-Russian Alliance in 1892. 

The bridge is a perfect example for the marvel of 19th century engineering, consisting of a 6 metres (20 ft) high single span steel arch. The bridge is lined-up with the most beautiful street lamps all through; And the statues !!! Each corner of the bridge has huge columns with a gold gilt-bronze statue of Pegasus. Also some coloumns with the statues of cherubs, lions, and beautiful ladies. It’s simply gorgeous!

Not just me, everyone who visits it, will say this is one of the most decorative and extravagant bridges in the world!!!.

2) Pont au Double :

The Pont au Double is yet another beautiful (and probably one of the oldest) bridge over the river Seine, just right next to the Notre-dam.

The bridge was originally built in 1643inly for the purpose of carrying the sick people & wounded soliders to the Hôtel-Dieu (Man, it’s not a hotel! It’s one of the oldest hospitals of Paris :)

As the city traffic increased, general public also started to use the bridge, but eventually had to pay a toll money of – a “double denier” for each man on crossing the bridge. Hence the bridge got the name as “Double bridge (”Pont au Double).

The Pont au Double collapsed in 1709 but was rebuilt to the identical. The Pont au Double was demolished once more in 1883 and replaced with the current bridge.

This bridge is much smaller and very less intricate compared to the magnificence of the Pont Alexandre III. , but still I liked it verymuch , it’s bridge with subtle beauty that Paris is known for !!