Sunday, April 15, 2012

Scenes from Amsterdam

Cafés on the Leidseplein

What I like most about Amsterdam is that it's a compact city and therefore, easy to explore. With two days to roam around and bright sunshine to boot, I was able to cover quite a bit of territory and still had plenty of time to sit at the cafés with good friends.

DHL Express

So how does DHL Express deliver packages in canal lined Amsterdam? By cruise boat, of course. I thought at first this was one of those boats used for canal tours along the waterways of Amsterdam. But the color gave it away.


One fun way for adventurous visitors to see the city when walking is not an option is by taking a three wheeled "smart" tricycle.

Apple Store


Have problems with your I gadgets? No worries. There are a number of service people wating to help you at the new Apple Store on the Leidseplein. But the hightlight here is not the IPad nor the IPhone, rather it is the gleaming glass staircase. This store is in the old AMRO building on the Leidseplein and from what I heard, it's one of the biggest Apple outlets in Europe.


What happened to all the flowers at the Flower Market on the Singel? The florists have been replaced by souvenir shops. Sad.

L'Opera, Rembrandsplein


Where have all the folks gone? It's a little bit chilly out this evening and the seats were getting cold. Hardly an "okole" warmer! My friends and I were comfortably ensconced indoors in L'Opera's beautiful art deco inspired dining room where we were well fed. Eet smakelijk.

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Images by Charie

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Unexpected Pleasures

Tour Eiffel

While eating lunch at Le Lafayette Café on the 6th Floor in the Galeries Lafayette, I happened to look up from my plate of lousy fish du jour with overcooked green beans and saw the Eiffel Tower from my perch. That was my lunch treat.


As I was walking away from St. Etienne du Mont toward Boulevard Saint Michel, I passed by this plaque which says that Erasmus, the Dutch philosopher, was a boarder here for a year at the College of Montaigu in the University of Paris.


From Rue Galande it's a short walk to the quays of the Seine where the bouquinistes have plied their used books within plain view of the towers of Notre Dame since the 16th century.


A novel way to sightsee in Paris is by tricycle. I saw a couple of Yellow PediCabs around Notre Dame. No need to rush in a double decker bus. Slow and easy does it.


One of my favorite parks in Paris is the Jardin du Palais Royal. It's surrounded by arcaded buildings constructed around 1874. This garden was originally designed for Cardinal Richelieu in 1630. I love coming here whenever I'm in Paris. It feels like a sanctuary in the heart of a bustling metropolis.

Sunset in Paris taken from the Place de l'Opera. 

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”  Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

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Images by Charie


Sunday, April 01, 2012

Midnight in Paris Movie Locations

It's not often I watch a movie but on a long flight home late last year, I had the chance to watch Midnight in Paris and was totally captivated by its plot. Can you imagine time traveling to the era of Fitzgerald and Hemingway, Picasso and Dali, Gauguin and Toulouse Lautrec? It was therefore such a treat to be in Paris and be able to see a couple of the locations from the movie. Had so much fun figuring out where the Peugeot came from to pick up Gil (Owen Wilson) and take him back to the Jazz Age.

Rue Galande

Rue Galande is a narrow street lined with boutiques with engaging window displays. Notice the giant flea sculpture above one of the shops. This location was shown at the beginning of the film. Interestingly enough, Rue Galande is a stone's throw from the bouquinistes along the Seine and across from the Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris.

The Steps of St. Etienne du Mont

This is where Gil was sitting, a little disoriented, when the Peugeot drove up and one of its passengers invited him to join them on what turned out to be an incredible trip to the 20's. These steps are part of the Church of St. Etienne du Mont which sits in the shadow of the Pantheon on the Left Bank.

The Pantheon

Notice the people standing in front of the now famous steps. I had to wait a while for them to clear out so I could snap a couple of pictures.

Interior, St. Etienne du Mont

What they didn't show in the movie is the interior of St. Etienne which has a n early 16th century rood screen with intricate tracery along the bridge that straddles the nave and framed on either side by spiral staircases. There are also beautiful glass windows. Two famous people are buried inside the church, Blaise Pascal who was a physicist and philosopher and Jean Racine, a playwright. Their remains lie in a chapel behind the main altar.
Location:  St. Etienne du Mont
Rue de la Montagne
Sainte-Genevieve, Paris
Metro stop: Cardinal Lemoine

Adriana (from Midnight in Paris):  "That Paris exists and anyone could choose to live anywhere else in the world will always be a mystery to me."  Why indeed!

For more information about the locations of your favorite movies, log on to http://movie-locations.com/

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Images by Charie