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Old 23rd April 2010, 12:50   #31
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Post continues.
As part of the plan, our next stop was “Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial”. The cemetery is located on a bluff overlooking Omaha Beach (one of the landing beaches of the Normandy Invasion) and the English Channel. It covers 70 ha (172 acres), and contains the remains of 9,387 American military dead, most of whom were killed during the invasion of Normandy and ensuing military operations in World War II. Included are graves of Army Air Force crews shot down over France as early as 1942

By the evening we drove back to Rennes and realized that we had covered more than 550 KMs in a day. We had started at 6:00 in the morning and reached back by about 11:30 PM. What a day it was.

Some of the pics.
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Old 23rd April 2010, 16:40   #32
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One of the books my wife read explores about La Joconde where it's suggested she is Da Vinci's daughter. I'll leave our French travelogue to her. She'll narrate La Joconde better.

Boy, you guys have had a great time. The photos now show adrenaline flowing. Distant change from the sad, drained expressions in the train! Way to go sir.
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Old 23rd April 2010, 22:24   #33
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Here are couple of Videos from Rennes city.

This one is in front of Rennes Railway Station.



This one is a band playing lovely music at a cafe on SaintAnn


Last edited by sanjaykaul : 23rd April 2010 at 22:26. Reason: Removed text formating
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Old 24th April 2010, 09:13   #34
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Good, neat as a typical west
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Old 24th April 2010, 09:52   #35
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While looking at the calendar, we realized that one of the Thursdays was Off in France. Most of our French colleagues had planned to bridge the Friday (typical term used to make it an extended weekend). As they say, “when in Rome, do as Romans do”, we decided to bridge the Friday too. Booked the TGV tickets to Paris in advance (you get a better price if it is done in advance and in group), found quality (and inexpensive) accommodation online with an Accor IBIS hotel and set the Plan rolling.

The Day 1 was dedicated to Reaching to Paris, settling in Hotel, Trip to “Palace of Versailles” (remember, L. N. Mittal’s daughter wedding was held here) and then sunset at Eiffel + night around it.

When we reached to hotel we had booked, we realized we had made a mistake. A big mistake. The restaurant was pure French and there was no other option in the surroundings. The Indian restaurants were far and not a feasible options. We discussed the situation with chef and finalized some stuff for our vegetarian friends. It finally came out good.

W started form hotel, took a bus to nearest metro station and then reached Palace of Versailles in an hour. We deiced to take the audio tour, stood in the queue for about 30 minutes and were in by about 1:00 PM.
Palace of Versailles is one of the most visited monuments in France. Louis XIV built this chateau to escape the busy life in Paris. The construction of the château began in 1664 and lasted virtually until Louis XlV's death in 1715. After the death of Louis XlV, the château was abandoned for a few years. Then Louis XV moved in 1722. It remained the residence of the royal family until the Revolution of 1789, and at this time the furniture was sold and the pictures dispatched to the Louvre. The whole complex is a magnificent monument. The garden facade is 575 meters long with various annexes dotted here and there in a park which is several kilometers in both length and breadth. The park shows the skill of Le Notre in making good use of the natural resources on the site.

I guess I have spoken enough. Let the pictures do the remaining talking.
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Old 24th April 2010, 10:08   #36
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few more pictures from Versailles.
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Old 24th April 2010, 10:48   #37
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After Versailles, we took the metro to Eifel. The queue at Eifel was long. We realized that the best option was to take stairs till 1st floor (queue there was small). Team, tired after a long walk at Versailles wanted to go by lift but we would have missed the sunset from top. With the bait of watching the sunset and some encouragement, we all decided to climb. We were at 1st floor in a flash and finally at top before sunset. To reach to top, you have to take the lift at 2nd floor. Here are the pics (while climbing and on top)
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Old 24th April 2010, 11:01   #38
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This is the video of Eifel at night

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Old 24th April 2010, 11:03   #39
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Château de Versailles looks totally different in autumn as it was totally dry when we had gone. Did you guys take the train ride across the entire lawns to get a feel of the enormity of the palace?

I was astounded by the amount of gold/gold plating that is there in the entire palace.
Some pictures from my side as well. I hope you mind hijacking your thread
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Old 24th April 2010, 11:26   #40
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Awesome photos. I remembered my trip. Were you only in northern France ? Did you get a chance to visit South of France ? Cannes , Nice , Monaco ? That is another charming but extremely expensive part of France. Also if possible try to go to the Millau Viaduct which is close to Marseille. Its just too good . I wanted to see but could not make it there. Thanks for sharing the photos. Are there any more ?
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Old 24th April 2010, 12:30   #41
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The story continues

The previous day was eventful. After ensuring a hearty meal from the hotel restaurant (had a long chat with chef, explaining him about Indian species and herbs) we slept like logs. Got up early in the morning for the day. I had planed to spend the day at Louver. The art lover I am, I was looking forward to the trip eagerly. When you have a date with the two most famous women in the world, on the same day, same time, same place, how does one feel. Exhilarated could be the word but it is not even an iota close to what I was feeling.

I started from home 9:00 in the morning after a hearty French breakfast and was at Louver in 45 minutes. The Louver Palace was buzzing with people already and I had to find my way to the entry. I had seen in the pictures but when you come face to face with the two beautiful, unique geometric echo Glass Pyramids, you surely would appreciate the modern art and technology. A Real Cosmopolitan, my Date’s other previous homes include: Fontainebleau, the Palace of Versailles, Chateau Amboise, the abbey of Loc-Dieu, Montauban, the U.S., New York City, Washington D.C., Tokyo and Moscow.

After spending few minutes in the entrance hall (and of course going through certain formalities) I was headed towards meeting the first beauty. It was tough to decide which one to meet first and I hadn’t decided yet. Then came the cross road, on right, waiting, was “La Joconde” and on left was Venus de Milo.

Not because I have a preference, but I decided that going right was probably the right decision and in few minutes I was in the room Salle des Etats where she now hangs alone on a wall. Yes, I am talking about “La Joconde” the French name for Italian Renaissance artist, Leonardo da Vinci's 500-year-old masterpiece “Mona Lisa”. (Giaconda is an Italian word and means a light-hearted woman).

The Mona Lisa has moved to her new home within Paris' Louvre art gallery on Monday, April 4th 2005. The Most famous piece in art history, no other work of art is so researched, celebrated, reproduced or romanticized. She lived in France from 1517 to 1911 (moved to Louvre in 1804) but was stolen in 1911. She was rediscovered in a hotel in Florence Italy after 2 years. The French King Francois I bought the painting for 4,000 ecus (the then currency) and today, the current value of the Mona Lisa is well over $500 million.

Painted on a poplar wood panel the artist has shown her a terrace with a parapet and two small columns, only the bases and the edges of which are visible. Sitting on an armed semicircular wooden chair, she is shown from just below the waist with her arms folded.

Wearing no jewelry, Mona Lisa’s dress is dark, with a pleated bodice, embroidered with interlacing forms in gold. With a veil over her bit tousled hair, her scarf is hanging from her left shoulder and the yellow sleeves of her dress are rumpled into little folds. Leonardo da Vinci seemed less interested in her attire but was interested in the timelessness of her expression.

Nobody knows anything about the commissioning of the portrait, its painting and payment. One of the first biographies of Leonardo states that it was painted for Francesco del Giocondo and is the portrait of his wife, Mona Lisa, whose maiden name was Gherardini.

Giorgio Vasari, who is painter and author by profession, in his book “The Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects”, gives a legendary description based on the painting's reputation (experts are below)

He States, "Leonardo undertook to paint the portrait of Mona Lisa, but having spent four years on it left it unfinished. This work is now the property of King Francis of France in Fontainebleau. In this head, whoever wished to see how closely art could imitate nature, was able o comprehend it with ease; for in it were counterfeited all the minuteness that with subtlety are able to be painted, seeing that the eyes had that luster and watery sheen which are always seen in life, and around them were all those rosy and pearly tints, as well as the lashes, which cannot be represented without the greatest subtlety. The eyebrows, through his having shown the manner in which the hairs spring from the flesh, here more close and here more scanty, and curve according to the pores of the skin, could not be more natural. The nose, with its beautiful nostrils, rosy and tender, appeared to be alive. The mouth, with its opening, and with its ends united by the red of the lips to the flesh-tints of the face, seemed, in truth, to be not colors but flesh. In the pit of the throat, if one gazed upon it intently, could be seen the beating of the pulse. And, indeed, it may be said that it was painted in such a manner as to make every valiant craftsman, be he who he may, tremble and lose heart." And trust me, I lost my heart too.

After spending time in the room “Salle des Etats” with Mona Lisa, it was time to meet the other date of the day. Coming out of the room, a left turn and there I was back at cross road, where I was fascinated by a winged but headless sculpture. Not many people pay attention to the beauty probably because it is not as famous as Mona Lisa. My feet did not allow me to move as I was captivated by the striking depiction of the human form encapsulating the "Greek spirit." In this case, Inspired essentially by the human body, Greek artists have created an art on a human scale and focused on the human form, in contrast with earlier ancient civilizations which had always concentrated on the unreachable world of the gods.

Unearthed in 1863 on the small island of Samothrace in the northwest Aegean by Charles Champoiseau, French Vice-Consul to Adrianople, this exceptional monument of “goddess of Victory” (Nike, in Greek) is shown in the form of a winged woman standing on the prow of a ship, braced against the strong wind blowing through her garments. The colossal work was originally placed in a rock niche that had been dug into a hill, overlooking the theater of the Sanctuary of the Great Gods. This niche
may also have contained a pool filled with water in which the ship appeared to float. Given its placement, the work was meant to be viewed from the front left-hand side; this explains the disparity in sculpting technique, the right side of the body being
much less detailed. The highly theatrical presentation-combined with the goddess's monumentality, wide wingspan, and the vigor of her forward-thrusting body-reinforces the reality of the scene.

The sanctuary at Samothrace was consecrated to the Cabeiri, gods of fertility whose help was invoked to protect seafarers and to grant victory in war. The offering of a statue of Nike perched on a ship was a religious act in honor of these gods. It has also been suggested that this monument was dedicated by the Rhodians in commemoration of a specific naval victory.

It was time to move on. Another few minutes and I was greeted by one of the most fascinating discovery done on the island of Melos in 1820. Some say she is Aphrodite, who was often portrayed half-naked and some say she is the sea goddess Amphitrite, who had venerated on Milo. With marvelous features such as the spiral composition, the positioning in space, and the fall of the drapery over the hips, statue reflects sculptural research during the late Hellenistic Period (that’s the era she has been dated to). I am not going to write much about this enigma which has kept the whole world guessing. Writing about her is not my cup of tea. I am speechless and only wish we could find her missing arms and the jewelry.

Please note that the some details, facts and experts have been borrowed from www.louvre.org

I was too busy admiring art and haven't been handling my camera good. Please excuse me for bad pictures of this day.
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Last edited by sanjaykaul : 24th April 2010 at 12:32. Reason: Trying to sequence the pictures
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Old 24th April 2010, 13:24   #42
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Other Pictures from Louver.
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Fantastic France -- Rennes, Paris, Normandy, Saint Malo, Mount Saint Michael-paris-423.jpg  

Fantastic France -- Rennes, Paris, Normandy, Saint Malo, Mount Saint Michael-paris-424.jpg  

Fantastic France -- Rennes, Paris, Normandy, Saint Malo, Mount Saint Michael-paris-425.jpg  

Fantastic France -- Rennes, Paris, Normandy, Saint Malo, Mount Saint Michael-paris-428.jpg  

Fantastic France -- Rennes, Paris, Normandy, Saint Malo, Mount Saint Michael-paris-430_mod.jpg  

Fantastic France -- Rennes, Paris, Normandy, Saint Malo, Mount Saint Michael-paris-435.jpg  

Fantastic France -- Rennes, Paris, Normandy, Saint Malo, Mount Saint Michael-paris-437.jpg  

Fantastic France -- Rennes, Paris, Normandy, Saint Malo, Mount Saint Michael-paris-438.jpg  

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Old 24th April 2010, 17:15   #43
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The venus de milo is another famous artifact of the louvre. Too much crowd there as well. Louvre needs atleast 3 days to explore in entirety.
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Old 24th April 2010, 18:02   #44
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Sanjay, one request - pls post some breakfast pics
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Old 25th April 2010, 01:31   #45
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Here are a couple of tank photos I was talking about. They are in Pune. There are many in Pune like this.
Fantastic France -- Rennes, Paris, Normandy, Saint Malo, Mount Saint Michael-tank-1.jpg

Fantastic France -- Rennes, Paris, Normandy, Saint Malo, Mount Saint Michael-tank-2.jpg
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