Sunday, February 28, 2010


Pompidou Center
I will never forget the first time I saw the Pompidou center. I thought it was one of the most unusual buildings I had ever seen. However, like the Eiffel Tower, this trendy and hip building is very special-but odd.
In fact, I must say that I felt the building was fairly ugly, and shortly not what I was expecting. In fact, I agreed with what many critics have called the building.
Critics described the design of Pompidou museum as an “oil refinery in the center of the city”. The intention by the architects was to place service elements, such as water, electricity, outside of the building and consequently turn the building “inside out” with its exposed skeleton of brightly colored tubes for mechanical systems. Initially, all of the functional structural elements of the building were color-coded: green pipes were for plumbing, blue ducts for climate control, electrical wires are encased in yellow, and circulation elements and devices for safety are red. However, the color coding has been partially removed, and many of the elements are simply painted white now.
However, after I entered the center, I found that it was distinguished by a wonderful collection of modern art. Then and only then could I see why it is one of the city's most popular tourist attractions, displaying and promoting modern and contemporary art and featuring works by Picasso, Matisse, Miro and Pollock. I was also surprised to find that in the center. It also features a cinema, concerts and children's activities.
The museum has more than 50,000 works of art which include painting, sculptures, drawing and photography of which approximately 1,500-2,000 are on public displayed.
It houses the Bibliothèque publique d'information, a vast public library, the Musée National d'ArtModerne which is the largest museum for modern art in Europe, and IRCAM, a centre for music and acoustic research. Because of its location, the Center is known locally as Beaubourg.
It is named after Georges Pompidou, the President of France from 1969 to 1974 who decided its creation, and was officially opened on 31 January 1977 by then-French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing. The Center Pompidou has had over 150 million visitors since 1977.
You either like The Pompidou Center or you don't, but you will not forget its glass facade, its external stairs and the red, blue and green pipes on the rear facade.
After a long stay inside the Center we departed to find, what I thought was the most interesting visit of the plaza. As we left the building, we observed jugglers, musicians, actors, and the Stravinski fountain that animated the plaza in front of Pompidou Center. They were great and capped our visit there.
I have only attended the Pompidou center once, even though I have been in Paris a number of times. However, I remember it quite well and would recommend anyone to visit it while in this beautiful city.
As you enter from the outside, you will find the entrance very unique, and you can choose the level you wish to depart.
“For they were in three stories, but had not pillars as the pillars of the courts: therefore the building was straitened more than the lowest and the middlemost from the ground”. - Ezekiel 42:6

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris

We have visited the Notre Dame church and Paris a number of times, but the history of this famous church continues to intrigue people from around the world.
There is no building in France as associated with the history of Paris as this marvelous church. The Pope of Alexandria III was the person who placed the first foundation stone in 1163. He was also the first person who marked the beginning of 170 years of hard work for the Gothic architects and craftsman. Over the construction period, numerous architects worked on the site, as is evidenced by the differing styles at different heights of the west front and towers. Between 1210 and 1220, the fourth architect oversaw the construction of the level with the rose window and the great halls beneath the towers.
The church is a gothic masterpiece which was built at the place of a former Roman temple. The magnificent interior becomes obvious as soon as you enter the cathedral. Many sculptures decorate the building. The Notre Dame de Paris was among the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress (arched exterior supports). The building was not originally designed to include the flying buttresses around the choir and nave, but after the construction began and the thinner walls grew ever higher, stress fractures began to occur as the walls pushed outward. In response, the cathedral's architects built supports around the outside walls, and later additions continued the pattern.
Later in the day on a seine river boat tour we were able to see the beautiful construction of the buttresses and getting a different perspective of this beautiful church.
Notre Dame has also been the place of chaos and confusion. Revolutionaries have plundered it and forbid the religion it had been built for.
Napoleon Bonaparte re-introduced the religion in 1804 and Notre Dame was restored by the architecture Viollet Le Duc who among other things put back the missing statues.
The interior of the cathedral is open every day and admission is free except for a small museum of relics and religious items located within the cathedral. Services are still held for those who wish to pray or gather for worship.
My friend and I decided that we would go to the top of the Notre-Dame tower. To visit it is a trip through the upper parts of the western façade which date from the 13th century. From here you can see the gargoyles and chimera built by Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century and the 17th century Emmanuel Bell. At that time I was in pretty good shape, because there were 387 steps we had the time, due to the fact there wasn’t an elevator to the top of the South Tower.
I have then in some of the largest cathedrals in the world, but they history of this old church still intrigues me every time I am in Paris.
Many kings and leaders have been crowned in this church, and many greats have worshiped here. But one day, we will worship in a place more beautiful, and more satisfying to the heart, and to King who is the King of King’s and Lord of lords. “And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” -- Revelation 19:16

Monday, February 15, 2010

Pyramid at the Louvre

Pyramid at the Louvre
Paris, France is one of the most fascinating and romantic cities in Europe and if you are visiting this wonderful city you will find plenty of things to see. Known as the 'City of Light', the beauty of Paris is overwhelming and its heritage appeal makes any visit an unforgettable experience.
My wife and I, along with some friends from Michigan who were traveling Europe with us, had made plans to visit the world-renowned and one of the largest museums in the world called The Louvre.
After getting out of our vehicle, we noticed that we would be entering through a large glass and metal pyramid, surrounded by three smaller pyramids, in the main courtyard of the Louvre Palace.
The pyramid and the underground lobby beneath it were created because of a series of problems with the Louvre's original main entrance, which could no longer handle an enormous number of visitors on an everyday basis. Visitors entering through the pyramid descend into the spacious lobby then re-ascend into the main Louvre buildings. The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace which began as a fortress built in the late 12th century under Philip II.
The structure was constructed entirely with glass segments, which reaches a height of about 70 feet; its square base has sides of 115 ft. It consists of 603 rhombus-shaped and 70 triangular glass segments.
Thousands of objects from prehistory to the 19th century are exhibited over an area of 652,300 square feet. However, the Louvre's most famous piece is the Mona Lisa. It was painted by the famous Italian renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci. This is perhaps the most famous painting in history.
Few other works of art have been romanticized, mystified or reproduced as this painting. It is owned by the French government.
Our friends and my wife waited in line for over two hours in order to get a look at this most famous painting. Because of its importance, and the fact that someone had tried to destroy it, a covering of glass has been placed over it to protect it. However, it was still a beautiful, priceless piece of art.
Other works of famous artists, like Rembrandt, Rubens, Fragonard and Titian can also been seen in Louvre. Besides art Louvre also has many other types of exhibitions like archeology, history and architecture.
While we enjoyed a day of looking at the remarkable pieces of sculpture, and paintings found in this extremely large building, my mind kept reminding me of a Scripture verse that said, “How beautiful are the feet of him who publishes the good news”. “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” - Romans 10:15
When all the gold, silver, precious paintings and pricelist items gathered from around the world, are gone, we know that what we have lain up as treasures in heaven is all that we could ever expect.
“But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: “- Matthew 6:20

Friday, February 5, 2010


Sacre Coeur

Our friends and we had heard about Montmartre, and had decided that we would visit this unique part of Paris. The reputation of the area is quite common, and its history as a resident of many famous artists is well known. By even the very name conjures up images of penniless artists and steep winding streets, weather-beaten windmills and timeless cafes, and... they are still there!
We learn that it is quite a walk from the Seine and Louvre, where most of the nice hotels are, so a cab is recommended.
After visiting in the area of the Montmartre, my wife and friends, decided to stop for a snack on the square. From one of the bordering restaurants, it was exciting watching the activity of tourists, and the many artists they were visiting in the square. Artists were everywhere painting pictures of various people who wanted a souvenir to take back to where they were from. (Also, there were a lot of shops around the hill at the base and the streets leading up to the top. Many of these shops had a good selection of affordable and unique gifts).
After our meal, we started to view the displays of many artists looking for something they had previously painted or drawn.
A very friendly and nice young lady approached us and asked if we would like to have our picture drawn. I looked at my wife, and she looked at me, and we both decided that this would be a unique item to take home. We still have this picture of us.
From this area, you can look up the hill and see the famous basilica of Sacre Coeur, which is one of Paris’s most visited monuments. This Romano-Byzantine inspired church is really beautiful.
This church was built on the highest hill in Paris, where you have a beautiful view of the city. Getting up to the church is quite a walk or you can take a rail cog wheel at the bottom.
On our way in the car we saw a number of local teen boys get into the car with us. Another man in the car, who I later learned was a policeman, suggested that we stand with our backs to the wall. He was a rather large man and looked at the boys and said, “I know why you’re on this car with us. But you will not pick the pocket of any of us as long as I am here. I know you understand English so you better listen to me”. And they did.
Arriving at the top, I found a brochure that gave a history of this old church. It appears that two catholic businessmen made a private religious promise to build a church dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Christ, if Paris was saved by the threatening Prussian invasion during 1870. The two men were Alexandre Legentil and Hubert Rohault de Fleury. The building was begun in 1875 from the drawings of the architect Paul Abadie.
After visiting the beautiful church, I stood near the fence that surrounded the area had looked over the city of Paris, and the area down to heal we had just visited and was reminded of when Jesus Christ looked over the city of Jerusalem and wept . The following verse from the Bible that he spoke was the same feeling that I had looking over Paris.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!” -- Luke 13:34