A Travellerspoint blog

July 2018

Magnificent Opera Garnier is a must see in Paris!

At the request of Napoleon III, in 1861 Charles Garnier undertook the building of a new opera house which opened in 1875

At the request of Napoleon III, in 1861 Charles Garnier undertook the building of a new opera house which opened in 1875

The Grand Foyer is made to seem even bigger through the play of mirrors and windows; Baudry painted the ceiling which features themes from the history of music

The Grand Foyer is made to seem even bigger through the play of mirrors and windows; Baudry painted the ceiling which features themes from the history of music

The ceremonial staircase is made of white marble with a balustrade of red and green marble; people came to the Opera for this part of the show, not what was on stage

The ceremonial staircase is made of white marble with a balustrade of red and green marble; people came to the Opera for this part of the show, not what was on stage

The Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. is modeled after the Opera Garnier, most notably the facade and Great Hall

The Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. is modeled after the Opera Garnier, most notably the facade and Great Hall

The Opera was the setting for Leroux's 1910 novel, The Phantom of the Opera; I think it's the most beautiful building in Paris

The Opera was the setting for Leroux's 1910 novel, The Phantom of the Opera; I think it's the most beautiful building in Paris

The ceiling above the grand staircase includes paintings The Triumph of Apollo and The Enchantment of Music Deploying its Charms

The ceiling above the grand staircase includes paintings The Triumph of Apollo and The Enchantment of Music Deploying its Charms

The grand vestibule has statues of 4 composers; there were separate entrances and seating areas for the rich and the poor

The grand vestibule has statues of 4 composers; there were separate entrances and seating areas for the rich and the poor

The stage area is enormous; you could easily fit the Arc de Triomphe inside; the Opera Garnier is the number 3 thing to do in Paris according to TripAdvisor

The stage area is enormous; you could easily fit the Arc de Triomphe inside; the Opera Garnier is the number 3 thing to do in Paris according to TripAdvisor

The avant foyer ceiling is covered with intricate mosaics on a gold background; the building today mainly hosts dance performances while the newer Bastille Opera hosts musical performances

The avant foyer ceiling is covered with intricate mosaics on a gold background; the building today mainly hosts dance performances while the newer Bastille Opera hosts musical performances

The Opera bedazzled Garnier's contemporaries with the opulence and eclecticism of his design; the Opera was the 35 year old Garnier's first major commission

The Opera bedazzled Garnier's contemporaries with the opulence and eclecticism of his design; the Opera was the 35 year old Garnier's first major commission

The Opera Garnier is rightfully considered one of the world's most beautiful theatres; it strikes the perfect balance between functional and flamboyant

The Opera Garnier is rightfully considered one of the world's most beautiful theatres; it strikes the perfect balance between functional and flamboyant

There was even a restaurant in the Opera with the menu painted on the walls; this panel illustrates tea while others showed coffee, pastries, fish, beef, champagne and, the most expensive items, ice cream

There was even a restaurant in the Opera with the menu painted on the walls; this panel illustrates tea while others showed coffee, pastries, fish, beef, champagne and, the most expensive items, ice cream

Picasso started working with the ballet in the 1910s making sets and costumes; the artist was also a dancer himself

Picasso started working with the ballet in the 1910s making sets and costumes; the artist was also a dancer himself

The writer Jean Cocteau, his museum was on the Riviera in Menton, convinced Picasso to design the costumes for his opera Parade

The writer Jean Cocteau, his museum was on the Riviera in Menton, convinced Picasso to design the costumes for his opera Parade

Fireplaces bracket the ends of the grand foyer which was designed to serve as the drawing room for Paris society

Fireplaces bracket the ends of the grand foyer which was designed to serve as the drawing room for Paris society

View from the outside loggia; my tour group had tourists from Chile, New Zealand, Canada, Italy, Russia, US, Argentina and Bali

View from the outside loggia; my tour group had tourists from Chile, New Zealand, Canada, Italy, Russia, US, Argentina and Bali

Navlet, The Grand Staircase at the Opera, 1889; this painting at the Orsay shows that the Opera building hasn't changed in 130 years

Navlet, The Grand Staircase at the Opera, 1889; this painting at the Orsay shows that the Opera building hasn't changed in 130 years

Portrait of Charles Garnier by Baudry, 1868; in addition to the Opera Garnier in Paris, he also designed the opera in Monte Carlo

Portrait of Charles Garnier by Baudry, 1868; in addition to the Opera Garnier in Paris, he also designed the opera in Monte Carlo

Exceptional model of the Opera Garnier; the actual theater is on the far left; much more important, were the public spaces to the right where people went to be seen

Exceptional model of the Opera Garnier; the actual theater is on the far left; much more important, were the public spaces to the right where people went to be seen

The Opera follows the Napoleon III style principle of leaving no space without decoration; ironically, Napoleon III's private entrance is undecorated since he died before the opening

The Opera follows the Napoleon III style principle of leaving no space without decoration; ironically, Napoleon III's private entrance is undecorated since he died before the opening

The Opera library preserves three centuries of the theatre's memories which includes 600,000 documents such as 10000 programs and 100000 photographs

The Opera library preserves three centuries of the theatre's memories which includes 600,000 documents such as 10000 programs and 100000 photographs

The original ceiling in the auditorium melded better with the overall aesthetics; this new ceiling was painted by Chagall in 1964 which met with instant disapproval by the French

The original ceiling in the auditorium melded better with the overall aesthetics; this new ceiling was painted by Chagall in 1964 which met with instant disapproval by the French

The Opera was the most expensive building constructed in Paris during the Second Empire but, in today's dollars, is still less expensive than the new Bastille Opera

The Opera was the most expensive building constructed in Paris during the Second Empire but, in today's dollars, is still less expensive than the new Bastille Opera

In the late 1800s French men would bring their wives to the Opera on Mondays and Wednesday while bringing their mistresses on Fridays; if their mistress was someone else's wife I can see problems with this arrangement

In the late 1800s French men would bring their wives to the Opera on Mondays and Wednesday while bringing their mistresses on Fridays; if their mistress was someone else's wife I can see problems with this arrangement

A statue of Pythia represents the hidden side of the theater; I opted for a guided tour of the Opera in English which was very informative and entertaining

A statue of Pythia represents the hidden side of the theater; I opted for a guided tour of the Opera in English which was very informative and entertaining

Posted by RNRiggins 09:11 Comments (0)

Corsica's version of Bryce Canyon meets the Mediterranean

The D81 road and the Calanches de Piana are the top-rated things to do in Corsica according to TripAdvisor

The D81 road and the Calanches de Piana are the top-rated things to do in Corsica according to TripAdvisor

The mountains behind Porto sure looked higher to me than 5000 ft.; maybe it was the steepness and sheer faces that created the perception

The mountains behind Porto sure looked higher to me than 5000 ft.; maybe it was the steepness and sheer faces that created the perception

View of Porto from the top of the Genoese tower; it cost $3 to climb the tower but the views were well worth it

View of Porto from the top of the Genoese tower; it cost $3 to climb the tower but the views were well worth it

The boat went through many of these tunnels and into caves making this excursion more interesting than that to the Scandola nature reserve

The boat went through many of these tunnels and into caves making this excursion more interesting than that to the Scandola nature reserve

This formation is called The Castle; some features, like this one, could best be seen from the sea while others were only visible on land

This formation is called The Castle; some features, like this one, could best be seen from the sea while others were only visible on land

The huge nest belonged to an osprey or eagle but is currently unoccupied; I was told there are foxes in the woods so the birds would nest on pinnacles away from them

The huge nest belonged to an osprey or eagle but is currently unoccupied; I was told there are foxes in the woods so the birds would nest on pinnacles away from them

The water inside the caves was a stunning blue and crystal clear; I still didn't see any fish or much in the way of underwater life

The water inside the caves was a stunning blue and crystal clear; I still didn't see any fish or much in the way of underwater life

The Genoese tower in Porto was built in 1549; Porto was an excellent base to explore the Calanques

The Genoese tower in Porto was built in 1549; Porto was an excellent base to explore the Calanques

The roads in Corsica are constantly winding so you're lucky to hit 30 mph; another reason not to go very fast is you never know what's around the next blind curve

The roads in Corsica are constantly winding so you're lucky to hit 30 mph; another reason not to go very fast is you never know what's around the next blind curve

The drive from Calvi offered plenty of great vistas but there were seldom places to pull over to take photos

The drive from Calvi offered plenty of great vistas but there were seldom places to pull over to take photos

The Genoese tower atop Capu Rossu was built in 1608; it sits at 1080 feet above the Gulf of Porto and the itty-bitty yachts below

The Genoese tower atop Capu Rossu was built in 1608; it sits at 1080 feet above the Gulf of Porto and the itty-bitty yachts below

The Corsican version of Niagara Falls; there are few substantial rivers on the island but there is seasonal snowmelt

The Corsican version of Niagara Falls; there are few substantial rivers on the island but there is seasonal snowmelt

Unlike mainland France, camping is not a popular option on Corsica; the roads are too narrow for RV's or campers

Unlike mainland France, camping is not a popular option on Corsica; the roads are too narrow for RV's or campers

This formation is called the indian but I'm not sure I see it; the rock looks more like a rabbit or maybe Snoopy

This formation is called the indian but I'm not sure I see it; the rock looks more like a rabbit or maybe Snoopy

The Plage d'arone is a remote beach at the end of Capo Rossa; tons of hiking trails throughout the peninsula

The Plage d'arone is a remote beach at the end of Capo Rossa; tons of hiking trails throughout the peninsula

The formation at the top is called the dromedary; the fantastically shaped rocks are even more impressive when the sun is out

The formation at the top is called the dromedary; the fantastically shaped rocks are even more impressive when the sun is out

You can barely see the Genoese tower atop Capu Rossu; at the end of the peninsula, the terrain had changed drastically to forests interspersed with grasslands

You can barely see the Genoese tower atop Capu Rossu; at the end of the peninsula, the terrain had changed drastically to forests interspersed with grasslands

The crazy formations defied logic; I'm sure my geologist friends could intelligently explain how this could happen

The crazy formations defied logic; I'm sure my geologist friends could intelligently explain how this could happen

The D81 is considered one of the most beautiful drives in Europe; this stretch is only 12 km with most of the named formations in an even smaller area

The D81 is considered one of the most beautiful drives in Europe; this stretch is only 12 km with most of the named formations in an even smaller area

These large cavities are called tafoni in the Corsican language; erosion begins when just one crystal of granite is corroded by the humidity and swings in temperature

These large cavities are called tafoni in the Corsican language; erosion begins when just one crystal of granite is corroded by the humidity and swings in temperature

The calanches are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site shared with the Scandola nature reserve and the Gulf of Porto

The calanches are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site shared with the Scandola nature reserve and the Gulf of Porto

The man-made beach in Porto looks appealing but was pebbly; backed by high mountains, the beach is easily the largest in the area

The man-made beach in Porto looks appealing but was pebbly; backed by high mountains, the beach is easily the largest in the area

Phantasmagoric images were the norm all along the shores of the Gulf of Porto; Corsican wine is supposed to be quite good

Phantasmagoric images were the norm all along the shores of the Gulf of Porto; Corsican wine is supposed to be quite good

One Corsican specialty is figatelli which is a combination of pork liver, ham and pig's blood; and my mom wonders why I don't eat the local food!

One Corsican specialty is figatelli which is a combination of pork liver, ham and pig's blood; and my mom wonders why I don't eat the local food!

The remote town of Porto is built along one main road starting up on the mountain and continuing down to the riverside

The remote town of Porto is built along one main road starting up on the mountain and continuing down to the riverside

The Porto Genoese tower is barely visible above the shoreline; it was only recently that many of these villages have been accessible by land

The Porto Genoese tower is barely visible above the shoreline; it was only recently that many of these villages have been accessible by land

Throughout the region there were basalt intrusions that created a marbling within the rock; 86% o the island is considered mountainous

Throughout the region there were basalt intrusions that created a marbling within the rock; 86% of the island is considered mountainous

The French, even on holiday, are glued to the televisions every time France plays in the World Cup; their fans are currently happy as the French team is doing well

The French, even on holiday, are glued to the televisions every time France plays in the World Cup; their fans are currently happy as the French team is doing well

I have yet to encounter any other Americans or Canadians in Corsica; the vast majority of visitors are from mainland France with a smattering of Germans and Italians

I have yet to encounter any other Americans or Canadians in Corsica; the vast majority of visitors are from mainland France with a smattering of Germans and Italians

Maybe with global warming Corsica will eventually get the colorful, tropical fish its waters need; the barren underwater landscape is counter-intuitive when the waters look so inviting

Maybe with global warming Corsica will eventually get the colorful, tropical fish its waters need; the barren underwater landscape is counter-intuitive when the waters look so inviting

The Castle formation could have served as a Genoese watch tower; this area is midway between Ajaccio and Calvi

The Castle formation could have served as a Genoese watch tower; this area is midway between Ajaccio and Calvi

The array of colors - gold, pink, red - is best seen at sunset; I was unfortunate to have an overcast day for my visit

The array of colors - gold, pink, red - is best seen at sunset; I was unfortunate to have an overcast day for my visit

I stayed at the Hotel Bella Vista but my room didn't have a vista, much less a bella one; I guess I was being cheap by reserving a windowless room

I stayed at the Hotel Bella Vista but my room didn't have a vista, much less a bella one; I guess I was being cheap by reserving a windowless room

The D81 road was typically barely wide enough for two cars and, in many places, only one lane wide forcing cars to often back up to allow cars to pass

The D81 road was typically barely wide enough for two cars and, in many places, only one lane wide forcing cars to often back up to allow cars to pass

Sparsely populated Corsica is very popular with multi-day hikers, but Porto is one of the few places easily seen by older visitors

Sparsely populated Corsica is very popular with multi-day hikers, but Porto is one of the few places easily seen by older visitors

The most famous calanches in France are just east of Marseilles, including my favorite Cassis; I don't see the similarity between those on Corsica and those on the mainland

The most famous calanches in France are just east of Marseilles, including my favorite Cassis; I don't see the similarity between those on Corsica and those on the mainland

This area is very popular with motorcyclists since the roads are narrow, winding and without much traffic; there were some brave bicyclists too

This area is very popular with motorcyclists since the roads are narrow, winding and without much traffic; there were some brave bicyclists too

The tour of the gulf had commentary only in French; I've discovered that, even in tourist areas, most workers only speak French (most tourists are French too)

The tour of the gulf had commentary only in French; I've discovered that, even in tourist areas, most workers only speak French (most tourists are French too)

Parking is a major problem in Porto; I was excited to find the very last spot on the water although when I went to my car after the tour I saw that it was marked for motorcycles only (the signs had been blocked by other cars when I arrived)

Parking is a major problem in Porto; I was excited to find the very last spot on the water although when I went to my car after the tour I saw that it was marked for motorcycles only (the signs had been blocked by other cars when I arrived)

The cost of the gulf excursion was $35 for 2  hours on a real boat, not a rubber Zodiac like I took in Scandola

The cost of the gulf excursion was $35 for 2+ hours on a real boat, not a rubber Zodiac like I took in Scandola

This area reminded me somewhat of Bryce Canyon; the scenery was made more impactful by the contrast in geology with the deep blue of the sea

This area reminded me somewhat of Bryce Canyon; the scenery was made more impactful by the contrast in geology with the deep blue of the sea

Seeing the calanches from the sea was considerably less stressful than tackling the drive on D81; the boat excursions were going on from Porto constantly

Seeing the calanches from the sea was considerably less stressful than tackling the drive on D81; the boat excursions were going on from Porto constantly

56% o the inhabitants of the island are natives of Corsica while another 29% ae natives of continental France

56% of the inhabitants of the island are natives of Corsica while another 29% are natives of continental France

Posted by RNRiggins 09:42 Comments (0)

Saint Florent and the magnificent Salaccia Beach on Corsica

Only the toughest 4x4's can reach the beach by land so the overwhelming majority of visitors reach the beach by sea

Only the toughest 4x4's can reach the beach by land so the overwhelming majority of visitors reach the beach by sea

Even right next to town, the water is crystal clear; the town is very small and takes maybe 30 minutes to see if you take your time

Even right next to town, the water is crystal clear; the town is very small and takes maybe 30 minutes to see if you take your time

I passed many wineries with large tasting rooms on my drive around Cap Corse; the Patrimonio region was the first to receive AOC designation in 1968

I passed many wineries with large tasting rooms on my drive around Cap Corse; the Patrimonio region was the first to receive AOC designation in 1968

The most popular activity in Saint Florent was enjoying ice cream; the weather was perfect with temps in the mid 80s and low humidity

The most popular activity in Saint Florent was enjoying ice cream; the weather was perfect with temps in the mid 80s and low humidity

Saleccia Beach is considered one of the most beautiful on Corsica; it's often called the Bora Bora of Corsica

Saleccia Beach is considered one of the most beautiful on Corsica; it's often called the Bora Bora of Corsica

Saint Florent lies at the bottom of the Cap Corse peninsula and provides an excellent base for visiting the Patrimonio vineyards and Saleccia Beach

Saint Florent lies at the bottom of the Cap Corse peninsula and provides an excellent base for visiting the Patrimonio vineyards and Saleccia Beach

This is the first sandy beach I've seen on Corsica; Saleccia Beach has even appeared on lists of the world's best beaches

This is the first sandy beach I've seen on Corsica; Saleccia Beach has even appeared on lists of the world's best beaches

Stunning beaches dotted the west side of the Cap Corse peninsula while the east side was very rocky with few beaches

Stunning beaches dotted the west side of the Cap Corse peninsula while the east side was very rocky with few beaches

I booked the only automatic rental car I could find on the island; then, for months, I looked to see if I could find a cheaper price and I was never able to find another automatic rental car

I booked the only automatic rental car I could find on the island; then, for months, I looked to see if I could find a cheaper price and I was never able to find another automatic rental car

Nonza is a popular, cliff top town on the west side of the Cap Corse peninsula; the thousands of hairpin turns on the road didn't deter the many motorcyclists

Nonza is a popular, cliff top town on the west side of the Cap Corse peninsula; the thousands of hairpin turns on the road didn't deter the many motorcyclists

Rick Steve's only writes about his favorite places and, unfortunately, Corsica doesn't make the cut so I'm using an Eyewitness Guide

Rick Steve's only writes about his favorite places and, unfortunately, Corsica doesn't make the cut so I'm using an Eyewitness Guide

I was astounded by the color and clarity of the water; the water temperature was great and not at all chilly

I was astounded by the color and clarity of the water; the water temperature was great and not at all chilly

The Genoese citadel was constructed in 1440 in Saint Florent; the population of Saint Florent today is 1636

The Genoese citadel was constructed in 1440 in Saint Florent; the population of Saint Florent today is 1636

Erbalunga was one of the pretty villages I passed driving around the Cap Corse peninsula; the tower at the tip of town is from the 16th century

Erbalunga was one of the pretty villages I passed driving around the Cap Corse peninsula; the tower at the tip of town is from the 16th century

Salaccia Beach is where the 1962 epic war movie The Longest Day was filmed; stars in the film include John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Richard Burton, Robert Mitchum, Eddie Albert and Peter Lawford

Salaccia Beach is where the 1962 epic war movie The Longest Day was filmed; stars in the film include John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Richard Burton, Robert Mitchum, Eddie Albert and Peter Lawford

French produce stores are commonplace with the fruits and vegetables always attractively displayed; I even bought some bananas and apples

French produce stores are commonplace with the fruits and vegetables always attractively displayed; I even bought some bananas and apples

Loto Beach is a 90 minute walk from Saleccia Beach; it's great that the beaches are totally undeveloped and on land protected from future development

Loto Beach is a 90 minute walk from Saleccia Beach; it's great that the beaches are totally undeveloped and on land protected from future development

The visibility was terrific but there wasn't much to see except fairly generic looking, non-colorful fish

The visibility was terrific but there wasn't much to see except fairly generic looking, non-colorful fish

I drove from Bastia up the 25 mile long east side of the Cap Corse peninsula and then crossed over and came down the west side; it was desolate road with super scenery

I drove from Bastia up the 25 mile long east side of the Cap Corse peninsula and then crossed over and came down the west side; it was desolate road with super scenery

The Genoese built towers all around the island in the 16th century; you can see how Corsica is mountains, mountains and more mountains

The Genoese built towers all around the island in the 16th century; you can see how Corsica is mountains, mountains and more mountains

Often the only sign of civilization was the scarring on the land where the road was built around the Cap Corse peninsula

Often the only sign of civilization was the scarring on the land where the road was built around the Cap Corse peninsula

I was excited to find my second favorite European cereal; my favorite is Weetabix Minis Fruit and Nut

I was excited to find my second favorite European cereal; my favorite is Weetabix Minis Fruit and Nut

The one kilometer long unspoiled beach is backed by Aleppo pines and sand dunes and protected by the Corsica Coastal Conservancy

The one kilometer long unspoiled beach is backed by Aleppo pines and sand dunes and protected by the Corsica Coastal Conservancy

I was tempted to stop in but I didn't want to miss the taxi boat to the beach; I probably don't have enough money for instant beauty anyway

I was tempted to stop in but I didn't want to miss the taxi boat to the beach; I probably don't have enough money for instant beauty anyway

Saleccia Beach was incredibly photogenic; the 25 minute taxi boat from Saint Florent costs 25 euros round-trip

Saleccia Beach was incredibly photogenic; the 25 minute taxi boat from Saint Florent costs 25 euros round-trip

This pleasant town is the first true tourist town I've encountered on Corsica; I heard lots of Italian and German being spoken in addition to French

This pleasant town is the first true tourist town I've encountered on Corsica; I heard lots of Italian and German being spoken in addition to French

Saint Florent is on the western side of the Cap Corse peninsula while Bastia is on the east side; they are only about 15 miles apart

Saint Florent is on the western side of the Cap Corse peninsula while Bastia is on the east side; they are only about 15 miles apart

Nice view from my hotel balcony; the drive around Cap Corse was on a road with thousands of hairpin turns

Nice view from my hotel balcony; the drive around Cap Corse was on a road with thousands of hairpin turns

Posted by RNRiggins 04:48 Comments (0)

Masterpieces and my favorites from the Orsay Museum, Paris

I prefer the Orsay to the Louvre since it's much more open and manageable; it also has a better collection of French Impressionists and Art Nouveau pieces

I prefer the Orsay to the Louvre since it's much more open and manageable; it also has a better collection of French Impressionists and Art Nouveau pieces

Manet, Flowers in a Crystal Vase, 1882; Orsay is number one thing to do in Paris according to TripAdvisor

Manet, Flowers in a Crystal Vase, 1882; Orsay is number one thing to do in Paris according to TripAdvisor

Sevres, Porcelain Table, 1850

Sevres, Porcelain Table, 1850

Lemmen, Beach at Heist, 1891

Lemmen, Beach at Heist, 1891

Gaudi, Tripod Planter with Triangular Sections, 1906

Gaudi, Tripod Planter with Triangular Sections, 1906

Monet, Haystacks, End of Summer, 1891

Monet, Haystacks, End of Summer, 1891

Cassatt, Young Girl in the Garden, 1882

Cassatt, Young Girl in the Garden, 1882

Renior, Young Girls at Piano, 1892

Renior, Young Girls at Piano, 1892

Signac, Riverbanks, The Seine at Herblay, 1889

Signac, Riverbanks, The Seine at Herblay, 1889

Renoir, Ball at the Moulin de la Gallette, 1876

Renoir, Ball at the Moulin de la Gallette, 1876

Degas, Dance Class, 1876

Degas, Dance Class, 1876

Cezanne, Apples and Oranges, 1899

Cezanne, Apples and Oranges, 1899

Monet, Madame Louis Joachim Gaudibert, 1868

Monet, Madame Louis Joachim Gaudibert, 1868

Pissarro, Red Roofs, Cote Saint-Denis a Pontoise, Winter Effect, 1877

Pissarro, Red Roofs, Cote Saint-Denis a Pontoise, Winter Effect, 1877

Manet, The Luncheon on the Grass, 1863

Manet, The Luncheon on the Grass, 1863

Grivell, View of Paris Universal Exposition 1900, 1900

Grivell, View of Paris Universal Exposition 1900, 1900

Fantin-Latour, Flowers and Fruits, 1865

Fantin-Latour, Flowers and Fruits, 1865

Monet, Rouen Cathedral, 1894

Monet, Rouen Cathedral, 1894

In 1970, permission was granted to demolish the old train station to build a new hotel but the minister for cultural affairs vetoed it; eventually a competition was held to redesign the station as an art museum which ultimately opened in 1986

In 1970, permission was granted to demolish the old train station to build a new hotel but the minister for cultural affairs vetoed it; eventually a competition was held to redesign the station as an art museum which ultimately opened in 1986

Gauguin, Still Life with a Fan, 1889

Gauguin, Still Life with a Fan, 1889

Van Gogh, Self Portrait, 1889

Van Gogh, Self Portrait, 1889

Cezanne, Still Life and Open Drawer, 1879

Cezanne, Still Life and Open Drawer, 1879

Gauguin, The Washerwomen in Pont Aven, 1886

Gauguin, The Washerwomen in Pont Aven, 1886

Duvinage, Cabinet, 1878

Duvinage, Cabinet, 1878

Van Gogh, Starry Night over the Rhone, 1888

Van Gogh, Starry Night over the Rhone, 1888

The Musee d'Orsay was built in 1900 as a train station and is one of the world's greatest art museums; I think the audioguide would have taken me a week if I had listened to commentary on each work

The Musee d'Orsay was built in 1900 as a train station and is one of the world's greatest art museums; I think the audioguide would have taken me a week if I had listened to commentary on each work

Beraud, After the Service at the St. Trinity Church, 1901

Beraud, After the Service at the St. Trinity Church, 1901

Sevres, Rimini Vase, 1865

Sevres, Rimini Vase, 1865

Van Gogh, Van Gogh's Room in Arles, 1889

Van Gogh, Van Gogh's Room in Arles, 1889

Signac, Port Entrance at La Rochelle, 1921

Signac, Port Entrance at La Rochelle, 1921

Monet, Chrysanthemums, 1878

Monet, Chrysanthemums, 1878

Sisley, View of Saint Martin Canal, 1870

Sisley, View of Saint Martin Canal, 1870

Pissarro, Shepherd Returning Sheep, 1886

Pissarro, Shepherd Returning Sheep, 1886

Monet, Woman with Umbrella Turned to the Right, 1886

Monet, Woman with Umbrella Turned to the Right, 1886

Degas, The Foyer of the Dance at the Rue La Peletier Opera, 1872

Degas, The Foyer of the Dance at the Rue La Peletier Opera, 1872

Pissarro, The Seine at the Louvre, 1903

Pissarro, The Seine at the Louvre, 1903

Monet, Regatta at Argenteuil, 1872

Monet, Regatta at Argenteuil, 1872

Gauguin, Women of Tahiti, 1891

Gauguin, Women of Tahiti, 1891

Monet, The Bridge at Argenteuil, 1874

Monet, The Bridge at Argenteuil, 1874

Van Gogh, The Restaurant of the Mermaid in Asnieres, 1887

Van Gogh, The Restaurant of the Mermaid in Asnieres, 1887

Monet, The Gardens of the Artist at Giverny, 1900

Monet, The Gardens of the Artist at Giverny, 1900

Posted by RNRiggins 03:57 Comments (0)

Bonafacio is spectacularly photogenic; best of Corsica

This small town of 2800 swells in the summer with tons of tourists; ferries from Sardinia and lots of pleasure craft contribute to the masses

This small town of 2800 swells in the summer with tons of tourists; ferries from Sardinia and lots of pleasure craft contribute to the masses

Bonifacio is the most gorgeous town in Corsica and one of the most impressively sited anywhere in the world

Bonifacio is the most gorgeous town in Corsica and one of the most impressively sited anywhere in the world

Bonifacio's cathedral was begun in the 12th century but it took a hundred years to complete it; the construction delays created an attractive blend of architectural styles

Bonifacio's cathedral was begun in the 12th century but it took a hundred years to complete it; the construction delays created an attractive blend of architectural styles

These houses look out across the Straits of Bonafacio toward Sardinia; with islands in the Straits it's quite a scenic view

These houses look out across the Straits of Bonafacio toward Sardinia; with islands in the Straits it's quite a scenic view

Steps of the King of Aragon carved into the cliff; Bonafacio is ranked #3 among things to do in Corsica according to TripAdvisor

Steps of the King of Aragon carved into the cliff; Bonafacio is ranked #3 among things to do in Corsica according to TripAdvisor

The absence of development around Bonifacio emphasizes the impressiveness of the ancient town; I'm not sure if the land is protected or could potentially be developed

The absence of development around Bonifacio emphasizes the impressiveness of the ancient town; I'm not sure if the land is protected or could potentially be developed

Bonifacio, Marquis of Tuscany, established the first settlement here in 828; for the first three centuries the fortified harbor lived on fishing and piracy under Pisan rule

Bonifacio, Marquis of Tuscany, established the first settlement here in 828; for the first three centuries the fortified harbor lived on fishing and piracy under Pisan rule

Bonifacio's cathedral was the heart of the town's religious and cultural life for centuries; the Baroque high altar dates from 1624

Bonifacio's cathedral was the heart of the town's religious and cultural life for centuries; the Baroque high altar dates from 1624

This long ramp leads to the Porte de Genes which, during Genoese rule, was the only entrance to town; in 1588, a drawbridge was added to further deter enemies

This long ramp leads to the Porte de Genes which, during Genoese rule, was the only entrance to town; in 1588, a drawbridge was added to further deter enemies

Bonifacio was conquered by the French in 1553 but was later reconquered by the Genoese; the town ended up falling definitively under French rule in the 18th century

Bonifacio was conquered by the French in 1553 but was later reconquered by the Genoese; the town ended up falling definitively under French rule in the 18th century

The promenade lining the harbor is full of outdoor restaurants where everyone was watching France defeat Uruguay in the World Cup today

The promenade lining the harbor is full of outdoor restaurants where everyone was watching France defeat Uruguay in the World Cup today

Some of the most impressive views of Bonafacio are from the water; fortunately there are constant boat tours with several different routes

Some of the most impressive views of Bonafacio are from the water; fortunately there are constant boat tours with several different routes

OMG it was SOOO windy! I made a brief visit to Plage Sant Antoniu but with the sand pelting me and the waters too rough to swim I waved the white flag

OMG it was SOOO windy! I made a brief visit to Plage Sant Antoniu but with the sand pelting me and the waters too rough to swim I waved the white flag

This rock pile looked just like a shipwreck; ironic, since the Straits of Bonifacio are notoriously dangerous and littered with unfortunate victims

This rock pile looked just like a shipwreck; ironic, since the Straits of Bonifacio are notoriously dangerous and littered with unfortunate victims

From a boat, you get a much greater appreciation of how the buildings overhang the water in Bonafacio

From a boat, you get a much greater appreciation of how the buildings overhang the water in Bonafacio

The Grain of Sand seen from the sea; the boat trip to Iles Lavezzi included a nice tour of the coastline on the way back

The Grain of Sand seen from the sea; the boat trip to Iles Lavezzi included a nice tour of the coastline on the way back

Plage de Saint-Antoine looked much better without the blustery winds; I waited a couple of days until the winds died down before taking the boat tour

Plage de Saint-Antoine looked much better without the blustery winds; I waited a couple of days until the winds died down before taking the boat tour

Allium forelock adorning the dry, rocky terrain; there are locusts everywhere and they are quite noisy

Allium forelock adorning the dry, rocky terrain; there are locusts everywhere and they are quite noisy

The narrow streets of the old town are lined with boutiques, souvenir shops and cafes; it's a very small area and easy to see in an hour or two

The narrow streets of the old town are lined with boutiques, souvenir shops and cafes; it's a very small area and easy to see in an hour or two

In 1195, Bonifacio became a Genoese colony and began construction of the massive fortification walls

In 1195, Bonifacio became a Genoese colony and began construction of the massive fortification walls

According to what I can find online, these are wild Corsican carnations; the only golf course I've seen in Corsica is nearby

According to what I can find online, these are wild Corsican carnations; the only golf course I've seen in Corsica is nearby

Plage Sant Antoniu took a long hike to reach and with the intense winds it was less than enjoyable

Plage Sant Antoniu took a long hike to reach and with the intense winds it was less than enjoyable

This lighthouse marks the entrance to Bonifacio harbor; in 1992, Italy and France created an international marine park in the Straits of Bonifacio that prohibits fishing and limits maritime traffic

This lighthouse marks the entrance to Bonifacio harbor; in 1992, Italy and France created an international marine park in the Straits of Bonifacio that prohibits fishing and limits maritime traffic

The famous solitary stack called Grain of Sand broke off from the cliff 800 years ago; there are more tourists here than locals

The famous solitary stack called Grain of Sand broke off from the cliff 800 years ago; there are more tourists here than locals

This 115 ft lookout tower was built in 1484 and reconstructed in 1980; there are still quite a few buildings nearby that are awaiting rehabilitation

This 115 ft lookout tower was built in 1484 and reconstructed in 1980; there are still quite a few buildings nearby that are awaiting rehabilitation

The King of Aragon steps supposedly were built into the cliff in 1420 from the old town to the sea; the 187 steps are VERY steep and were never used by foreign troops trying to take Bonifacio

The King of Aragon steps supposedly were built into the cliff in 1420 from the old town to the sea; the 187 steps are VERY steep and were never used by foreign troops trying to take Bonifacio

What a gorgeous cove!; this inlet is off the main Bonificio harbor and a great place to avoid the crowds and escape the winds

What a gorgeous cove!; this inlet is off the main Bonificio harbor and a great place to avoid the crowds and escape the winds

St. Dominique Church was built by Dominicans in 1343; the Gothic bell tower is unusual with a square base surmounted by an octagonal section

St. Dominique Church was built by Dominicans in 1343; the Gothic bell tower is unusual with a square base surmounted by an octagonal section

The fortifications of Bonifacio occupy a finger-like promontory 1500 meters long and 200 meters wide; the citadel was built in the 9th century and rebuilt many times

The fortifications of Bonifacio occupy a finger-like promontory 1500 meters long and 200 meters wide; the citadel was built in the 9th century and rebuilt many times

New Bonifacio lines the sides of a submerged ravine that resembles a fjord; the town had an excellent tourist map but it was solely in French

New Bonifacio lines the sides of a submerged ravine that resembles a fjord; the town had an excellent tourist map but it was solely in French

Bonifacio is the oldest town in Corsica; it is only 12 kilometers from Sardinia with the ferry trip taking an hour between the two islands

Bonifacio is the oldest town in Corsica; it is only 12 kilometers from Sardinia with the ferry trip taking an hour between the two islands

I wonder if geologists assess the strength of these cliffs; the limestone is not nearly as hard/stable as granite which is the dominant rock on the rest of the island

I wonder if geologists assess the strength of these cliffs; the limestone is not nearly as hard/stable as granite which is the dominant rock on the rest of the island

Bonifacio lies on the only major harbor on Corsica's southern coast; the population of the town peaked at 4200 in 1901

Bonifacio lies on the only major harbor on Corsica's southern coast; the population of the town peaked at 4200 in 1901

The old town is 230 feet above the water; the chalk-white limestone cliffs have been undercut by the sea so it appears the buildings overhang it

The old town is 230 feet above the water; the chalk-white limestone cliffs have been undercut by the sea so it appears the buildings overhang it

Bonifacio is an attractive base to explore the southern part of Corsica which is famous for the best beaches on the island

Bonifacio is an attractive base to explore the southern part of Corsica which is famous for the best beaches on the island

I had a circular, stone hut/cabin for my first 2 nights near Bonifacio; I added the days at the last minute and this was all that was left

I had a circular, stone hut/cabin for my first 2 nights near Bonifacio; I added the days at the last minute and this was all that was left

Posted by RNRiggins 10:31 Comments (0)

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