Les Invalides in Paris

March 14th, 2018 | Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, Paris |

Hôtel des Invalides, as seen from the Tour Montparnasse © Jens Peter Clausen/cc-by-sa-3.0

Hôtel des Invalides, as seen from the Tour Montparnasse © Jens Peter Clausen/cc-by-sa-3.0

Les Invalides, commonly known as Hôtel national des Invalides (The National Residence of the Invalids), or also as Hôtel des Invalides, is a complex of buildings in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building’s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l’Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d’Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the Dôme des Invalides, a large church with the tombs of some of France’s war heroes, most notably Napoleon Bonaparte.   read more…


March 2nd, 2018 | Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage |

© UNESCO.org

© UNESCO.org

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris. Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter. It is the successor of the League of NationsInternational Committee on Intellectual Cooperation. UNESCO has 195 member states and ten associate members, including Cook Islands and Niue. Most of its field offices are “cluster” offices covering three or more countries; national and regional offices also exist. In October 2017, the United States and Israel have declared that they will leave UNESCO on 31 December 2018. Efforts to keep the United States in the UNESCO promptly started on the diplomatic floor.   read more…

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

January 29th, 2018 | Destination: | Rubric: General |

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD; French: Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques, OCDE) is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 35 member countries, founded in 1960 to stimulate economic progress and world trade. It is a forum of countries describing themselves as committed to democracy and the market economy, providing a platform to compare policy experiences, seeking answers to common problems, identify good practices and coordinate domestic and international policies of its members. Most OECD members are high-income economies with a very high Human Development Index (HDI) and are regarded as developed countries. OECD is an official United Nations Observer. The OECD’s headquarters are at the Château de la Muette in Paris. The OECD is funded by contributions from member states at varying rates, and had a total budget of €363 million in 2015.   read more…

Briançon in the Cottian Alps

January 22nd, 2018 | Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage |

© Benj05/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Benj05/cc-by-sa-3.0

Briançon a commune in the Hautes-Alpes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in southeastern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the department. At an altitude of 1,326 metres (4,350 feet) it is the highest city in France, based on the French definition as a community containing more than 2,000 inhabitants. Briançon’s most recent population estimate is 12,00. Briançon is built on a plateau centred on the confluence of the Durance and the Guisane rivers. Briançon is the base and lowest altitude station of the large Serre Chevalier ski resort. Most of the town’s accommodation is used exclusively in winter, the population tripling during that period.   read more…

The Élysée Palace in Paris

January 1st, 2018 | Destination: | Rubric: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, Paris |

© Remi Mathis(cc-by-sa-3.0

© Remi Mathis(cc-by-sa-3.0

The Élysée Palace has been the official residence of the President of France since 1848. Dating to the early 18th century, it contains the office of the President and the meeting place of the Council of Ministers. It is located near the Champs-Élysées in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, the name Élysée deriving from Elysian Fields, the place of the blessed dead in Greek mythology. Important foreign visitors are hosted at the nearby Hôtel de Marigny, a palatial residence. The architect Armand-Claude Molet possessed a property fronting on the road to the village of Roule, west of Paris (now the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré), and backing onto royal property, the Grand Cours through the Champs-Élysées. He sold this in 1718 to Louis Henri de La Tour d’Auvergne, Count of Évreux (families: Dukes and Princes of Bouillon and Sedan: La Marck), with the agreement that Mollet would construct an hôtel particulier for the count, fronted by an entrance court and backed by a garden. The Hôtel d’Évreux was finished and decorated by 1722, and though it has undergone many modifications since, it remains a fine example of the French classical style. At the time of his death in 1753, Évreux was the owner of one of the most widely admired houses in Paris, and it was bought by King Louis XV as a residence for the Marquise de Pompadour, his mistress. In 1873, during the Third Republic, The Élysée became the official presidential residence.   read more…

The Nice Côte d’Azur Opera House

December 29th, 2017 | Destination: | Rubric: General, Opera Houses, Theaters, Libraries |

© flickr.com - debs-eye/cc-by-2.0

© flickr.com – debs-eye/cc-by-2.0

The Opéra de Nice is the principal opera venue in Nice on the French Riviera. It offers three types of performances: operas, ballets and classical concerts ; and houses the Ballet Nice Méditerranée and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice. The “petit théâtre en bois” (wooden theatre) was first created in 1776 by Marquess Alli-Maccarani. Sold in 1787 to a group of gentry, it reopened in 1790 under the name “Théâtre Royal”. In 1826, the city of Nice, encouraged by King Charles Félix, bought it from its owners and had it demolished and rebuilt. It was inaugurated in 1828 with Giovanni Pacini‘s Il Barone di Bolsheim. In 1856, a great ball was organized in the honour of King Victor Emmanuel II.   read more…

The Orient Express

December 20th, 2017 | Destination: | Rubric: General, Hotels, Paris |

Orient Express Restaurant car © Epistola8/cc-by-sa-4.0

Orient Express Restaurant car © Epistola8/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Orient Express was a long-distance passenger train service created in 1883 by Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits (CIWL). The route and rolling stock of the Orient Express changed many times. Several routes in the past concurrently used the Orient Express name, or slight variations. Although the original Orient Express was simply a normal international railway service, the name became synonymous with intrigue and luxury travel. The two city names most prominently associated with the Orient Express are Paris and Constantinople (Istanbul), the original endpoints of the timetabled service. The Orient Express was a showcase of luxury and comfort at a time when travelling was still rough and dangerous.   read more…

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