Quick Sketch of the Lagrasse Abbey

Today I did a quick sketch of the Lagrasse Abbey. It’s wintertime and very cold. The colors are very muted – but I thought the dried tall grass (a nice yellow ocher) was the most interesting part of the image. I do have a hard time staying interested in images that lack people or animals, but this was very quick sketch. This Abbey is currently being renovated – thus the scaffolding around the tower. It was a good exercise to get back into the groove of creating on this long trip abroad.

Lagrasse, France

A hidden treasure; a remote village in the south of France. We found this beautiful ancient village of Lagrasse through our friend Poppie!

We are visiting here in January of 2019. It is difficult to capture this amazing stone village in photography. Hoping to do some sketching while I’m here.

The final photograph in this gallery is a view from the window of our flat, across the river and toward the Lagrasse Abbaye … which was built in the 7th century.

Notre Dame du Haut

I came across a sign to Notre Dame du Haut while driving from Zurich Switzerland to Troyes, France today. So, you can be assured this was an unplanned visit, but when I saw the sign for it along the interstate, I had to see it in real life! It cost 8 Euros to visit, and you couldn’t even see and photograph the outside without paying. Usually I find this extremely annoying, but I think this is going to the upkeep of the building, so I consider it both a donation as well as payment for photos I can use when I teach Art History. 

Here are a few of the photos I took – quite nice I think.  ūüôā Click on the photos to see them larger!

Lyon AirBnB Experience

Jan 15 – 20, 2018 we stayed at a cosy little studio in the Bellecour area of Lyon, to be specific it is¬†3 Rue √Čmile Zola 69002 Lyon. You can see the link to the AirBnB Ad here.¬†¬†It was a great experience and just large enough for Amar and I… and all 6 of our bags. The kitchen area was large enough for us to make all our meals. The private bath was nice – however the shower was too small for anyone overweight. I know I wouldn’t have fit in it a few years ago. I’m not sure what floor the apartment was on – seems like the 5th or 6th, so the elevator was necessary for our stay and easy to use.

The best part about this studio apartment was the location! Literally you walk a few steps to the right corner and you see the beautiful huge fountain at Place des Jacobins. You walk 1 and 1/2 blocks to the left and you are at the Place Bellecour!! You can see the La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière from just about every where you walk near the studio.

We spent 5 days in this location and everyday was full of exploration! It was a little rainy, but we rarely needed an umbrella. Overall it was a wonderful experience and made exploring  and researching Lyon a pleasure!


Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste in Lyon

We visited the Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste on January 16th 2018, and it was very interesting. It was easy to walk to from our place between the two rivers. This Cathédrale is in the old city.

  • Architectural styles:¬†¬†Gothic architecture and Romanesque architecture
  • Opened:1480
  • Region:¬†Rh√īne-Alpes

The most interesting item in the Cathedral is the Astronomical Clock. Here is some more information about the clock I found through research:

Astronomical clock

The astronomical clock of the Primatiale is one of the oldest in Europe.
After Cluny (1340, now disappeared), Strasbourg (1354), it is in Lyon in 1379 that a clock clockwork with astronomical mechanisms is installed. The first document relating the existence of the clock of the cathedral dates from 1383.

The clock is composed of a square tower of 1.80 meters side surmounted by an octagonal turret in which evolve automatons. Two fixed statuettes represent the first two bishops of Lyon: Saint Pothin and Saint Irénée. The work ends with a dome supporting a rooster that rises 9 meters above the ground (the total height is 9.35 m).

The clock rang every day at 12:00, 14:00, 15:00 and 16:00. The automata then start moving: An angel on the left turns his hourglass, another on the right makes the conductor Rooster sings 3 times, raises neck, opens bill, flaps wings Three of the six angels surrounding “The Heavenly Father” operate the hammers of the bells playing the hymn of St. John the Baptist: “So that we may sing the marvelous facts of your life, wash the sin that defiles our mouth, O Saint John the Baptist

  • UT queant laxis
  • REsonacre fibris
  • MIra gestorum
  • FAmuli tuorum
  • Pollute SOLVE
  • LAbii reatum
  • Sancte Ioannes.

The Swiss turns quickly, starts his round, salutes with his head and hand Mary turns to the Angel Gabriel, the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descends from the ceiling that opens “The Heavenly Father” blesses his people by three times The Swiss finish his round while the big bell under the cock sounds the new time

To complete the perpetual calendar, an ecclesiastical almanac specifies in particular the dates of Ash Wednesday (first day of Lent), Easter, Ascension, Pentecost and Advent until 2019.





Here are some more photos from today’s adventure:

Lyon the Old City!

We explored the Old City of Lyon on January 16, 2018, actually we didn’t plan the trip, we stumbled over it while walking. And it was a very nice discovery! The old city is to the east of where we are staying, across the bridge over the Sa√īne river. The main road through the old city is called Rue Saint-Georges. It’s cute and it was all dressed up for the Christmas holiday. There are many quaint shops, each pretty unique. There were a few museums, Miniature Museum and Theater, Musee des Automates Vieux Lyon, as well as Saint-George Gallery. Most cost money to view, and our preference was to walk and see as much as the street antiquity as possible. We also visited the Cath√©drale Saint-Jean-Baptiste, but I’ll leave that to another post.

Here are the photos I took of the old city. The photos do not really do it justice, and I highly recommend spending a day walking around the old city if you ever make it to Lyon!

Paris AirBnB, what an experience!

We stayed here¬†in Paris from Jan 10-15 2018.¬† “Chambre de charme typique √† Montmartre,” what a disappointment. First they didn’t give us the correct address. Note – if that happens, consider raising the issue immediately with AirBnB and find another place to stay. The address given through AirBnB was Number 45 and the woman gave us a different address 59 after corresponding with her. At the time we didn’t think anything about it. Another thing we noticed after we left is the names of the women who live at the flat do not match the ones in the AirBnB listing. The listing is by another women – who did stay in the flat and unfortunately acted like she didn’t really want anyone staying there. Very bizarre.

The apartment was very small and the toilet and shower are very small and in separate rooms (shared). If anyone was slightly overweight they wouldn’t fit on the toilet or in the shower. The was virtually no privacy, for example, no lock on the door to the shower. The kitchen was small and we couldn’t find any dishes or utensils. The point of not staying at hotels is so we can make our own food… but this place though said the kitchen was for our use – was not usable. The bedroom was ok – but had a lot of their personal items in it. They did supply a coffee pot and a few coffee and tea bags in the room – which was good.

Midway through our stay the internet stopped working – very strange. And we also were suddenly informed that we cannot eat in the room through email. But there was no where else in the apartment to eat. We didn’t feel welcome in the living room and there was no other space… no table and the kitchen didn’t have a place to sit. At that point we knew this was a mistake.¬†

Resolving to always use totally private accommodations in the future, we left and went to Lyon. Upon our arrival in Lyon, we received notice from the woman in Paris that she had 2 missing hangers… and we had taken them!¬† She also said we had broken the rules by drinking wine in our room! There were no such rules listed in her ad, and certainly we didn’t take any hangers. (Update: she has changed her ad to include all the “rules” now… she I guess you could say there was a major misunderstanding because she was applying rules to us that she had not listed.) Overall – still, a place to be avoided, and a solid learning experience for us.¬†

We did visit a lot interesting places around the area and took lots of photos! We went on to much better places!

Visiting Montmartre Cemetery on my birthday

January 14th, 2018 I turned 54, yes I’m getting old! And I have been looking forward to visiting¬†Montmartre Cemetery since I first saw it when exploring the sights of Paris. So, today is the day! The address is¬†20 Avenue Rachel, 75018 Paris, France, which is with in walking distance to our AirBnB. Most of it is situated below a bridge we cross to go to downtown Paris. So, more steps, but much less than the Bicillica! And I think it will be worth it.

So, the trip was very good, cold and lots of walking, but very interesting. There are many different graves, old and new in the same place. It would be interesting to know more about the history of the cemetery. This is all I could find when searching online:

History In the mid-18th century, overcrowding in the cemeteries of Paris had created numerous problems, from impossibly high funeral costs to unsanitary living conditions in the surrounding neighborhoods. In the 1780s, the Cimetière des Innocents was officially closed and citizens were banned from burying corpses within the city limits of Paris. During the early 19th century, new cemeteries were constructed outside the precincts of the capital: Montmartre in the north, Père Lachaise Cemetery in the east, Passy Cemetery in the west and Montparnasse Cemetery in the south.

The Montmartre Cemetery was opened on January 1, 1825. It was initially known as la Cimeti√®re des Grandes Carri√®res (Cemetery of the Large Quarries).[1] The name referenced the cemetery’s unique location, in an abandoned gypsum quarry. The quarry had previously been used during the French Revolution as a mass grave. It was built below street level, in the hollow of an abandoned gypsum quarry located west of the Butte near the beginning of Rue Caulaincourt in Place de Clichy. As is still the case today, its sole entrance was constructed on Avenue Rachel under Rue Caulaincourt.[2] A popular tourist destination, Montmartre Cemetery is the final resting place of many famous artists who lived and worked in the Montmartre area.

See the full list of notable interments here.

More photos that I took are here:






Visiting the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris

Today we visited the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris. The featured image above was taken in the summer I believe – but it is quite a nice photo of the Basilica, so I prefered it for the TOP! I’ll be posting my photos later on in this blog post. First, I must say, the steps were killer… besides being on the 4th floor for our AirBnB apartment (with no elevator) I have discovered that climbing stairs is really killing my knees… very painful, and going down stairs is even worse. I’ll be planning around that in all future travel. So, the number of stairs required to visit this¬†Basilica are quite dramatic.

The Basilica is very pretty when looking up at it from a couple blocks from where we are staying. But as you climb up to see it, it quite stunning. According to internet research it is a minor Basilica, and seeing this one before the larger ones like Notre Dame is probably best.

Quick facts about The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, commonly known as Sacr√©-CŇďur Basilica and often simply Sacr√©-CŇďur, is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Paris, France.Wikipedia

Here are some photos of the Basilica today:

Paris is Covered in Graffiti

Ok I’m in Paris… the first time for me. This is my first complete day and it is not as I would expect. It is covered in Graffiti and there is trash everywhere!

I did see some street cleaners attempting to clean up the mess but it appears to be in vein. From what I hear from other who traveled and lived in Pairs in the past it was not always this way. Kind of sad… and looks very bad. Not sure why it is such a mess, but they definitely need a lot more people working on cleaning the place up!

We are staying 59 Rue Damr√©mont, which is close to the places we toured today. We went to the¬†Sacr√©-CŇďur, rue du Chevalier-de-La-Barre, it was very interesting (I’ll write a separate post on that). Graffiti most of the way….¬† It says you cannot take photos inside of the church – but everyone was. So we took photos too! No one said stop it. Maybe that is why there is graffiti and trash all over Paris?¬†¬†

Some Grafete photos from our walk today….