Marie Antoinette Online Forum

Places and things worth to see
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Author:  baron de batz [ Wed Apr 04, 2007 2:58 pm ]
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As I know that some of you live a long way away from Paris, I have been doing a few lunch hour MA trips to be able to describe places of interest associated with her. Well today was St Denis Cathedral, the necropolis of the French Kings and Queens and MA and Louis XVI's final resting place.
I really did make it there and back in only a moderately prolonged lunch hour, and I even managed to grab a sandwich for the office! Its only seven stops away from work on the metro...

As you enter the cathedral the first effect is absolutely stunning especially on a sunny day like today. It is called the "Lucerna" meaning lantern because of its incredible luminosity and it lives up to its reputation. Unlike many Gothic monuments it is airy, spacious, luminous and uplifting. In order to accomodate the royal tombs the transcept is unusually large. The altar is on the elevated north transept and there one can find the beautiful statues ordered by Louis XVIII in 1815 and installed in 1830 of MA and Louis XVI kneeling at prayer. That of MA is particularly sensual and shows off our Queen at her best, and under her is her coat of arms with the 'croix de Lorrain" that De Gaulle and the resistance used as their emblem during the 2nd world war. I couldn't resist holding our Queen's cold marble hand for a couple of seconds...after wondering around the various magnificent royal tombs with the fleur de lys emblem everywhere to be seen, I headed down the few steps to the ancient crypt. There I headed to the central area where MA and Louis XVI are buried under two separate black marble slabs marked with their names and titles. In front of themis Louis XVIII's tomb. On MA's tomb someone had placed a faded pink rose, though in order to do so they must have crossed the admittedly very low barrier put there to stop people walking around the tombs. I was lost in thought in this ancient place when the lighting went out, it wasn't very dark as there were stain glass windows at the end of the crypt but as there was no-one around at that precise moment I took advantage of this to walk over and touch our Queen's tomb very briefly. In the next door chapel there was a monument in the wall to Louis XVII with the transparent glass urn containing his mummified heart. There was Louis XIV's Maria Teresa's tomb, and in a rather more eery dark recess there was a closed iron barred door through which one could see the wooden coffins of "les tantes" and of the Duc de Berry I believe. It really is worth seeing should you come to Paris, the feeling is with so many royal symbols around is that this place somehow escaped the full fury of the revolution, even though many tombs were desecrated in 1793.

Author:  Adrienne [ Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:41 pm ]
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Thank you so much Baron! It's almost 7 years since I was last in Paris and it's lovely to be reminded of what you can see and do in that fabulous city. Your lunch hour is certainly one to envy!

Author:  baron de batz [ Wed Apr 18, 2007 8:37 am ]
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I have just joined the association "Friends of Vaux le Vicomte". For those of you lucky enough to live within reach of this wonderful chateau, they are very active in organising atmospheric events at the Chateau, such as candlelight evenings with period music. For memory Vaux le Vicomte belonged to Fouquet and is still a jewel of 17th century architecture. The chateau was the scene of one of the most famous and fateful parties ever held, the 17th August 1661. Fouquet held a sumptuous reception for Louis XIV and the latter was consumed by envy and considered this show of opulence as a "crime de lèse majesté". Fouquet was unfairly arrested soon after. Joining the association cost 45 euros and gives the member numerous priviliges, such as access to summer evening events like the "dinner in white" in the grounds of the chateau, where everyone is dressed in white, period music is played, the chateau lit up with candlelight etc. One also has free access to the chateau for a year. For French taxpayers the 45 euros is tax deductible to the tune of 66%! Other benefits include a candlelit dinner (paying) in the main hall of the chateau after the AGM and various discounts. For 15 euros its' really worth supporting this marvellous place. I shall be attending the "dinner in white" on the 22nd June. That should be great as its' pratically the summer solstice. They also have a rather fun period costume day where people can play at being baron de batz etc!

Author:  Arietta [ Thu Apr 19, 2007 1:04 am ]
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I went to Vaux-le-Vicomte while I was studying aboard in Paris 3 years ago. I also brought a English language book about the chateau and have pix of it on my laptop.
For anyone's seen "The Man in the Iron Mask" (starring Leonardo DiCaprio), this chateau is featured in the movie.

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