Historical Romance

Historical Romance with an Inspirational Touch

Saturday, July 31, 2010

My Brain is Full

It is now Friday night. The RWA conference began with a luncheon on Thursday. Since, I have been attending workshops and meeting new people. Last night I sat in the lounge until midnight chatting with my critique partners and other writers.

Today, when the workshops were complete I went to dinner with the ladies and two of their husband's and shopped along the Boardwalk while a few of my critique partners were at publisher parties.

I've been able to spend time with old friends, who I see about once a year, meet now friends and put faces with names. In fact, today I found myself in a workshop with Keli Gwyn, whose blog I follow.

Though friends decided to unwind in the lounge, I was too exhausted. In short, my brain is full and I have got to figure out how to cram more in it tomorrow. And, if you are here, is your brain full too?

If any readers out there are at the conference, let me know and I will keep an eye out for you.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Paris in July - Final Post

This will be my last post for Paris in July. I thought I could fill the month but my time has been crunched. By the time this is posted I will be in Orland at the RWA Conference. I had hoped to have enough posts saved so they could run the entire time I am gone, but I am out of time for writing them.

That being said, I am going to sum up the rest of the trip. We finished off with a trip to the middle of the Eiffel Tower our last night in Paris. It was a beautiful view. This was my first time up into the Eiffel Tower. I had stayed on the ground previously. This is due to another stupid phobia - fear of heights. But, since dinner was above and I would be the only one left on the ground, I forced myself to go. I am so glad I did. The view was gorgeous and the food delicious.

By the time the night had come to an end, everyone was exhausted. It was a very busy trip, but it was a pleasant exhaustion. We rose early the next day and were taken to the airport, much earlier than we needed to be. Thus, we all had to wait until we could check in for our flight. This was also the first time I was ever pulled aside and my bags gone through and I was frisked. I was a bit embarrassed. I was so tired that my carry-on was a complete mess. I just threw stuff in that didn't fit in my luggage, deciding to deal with it when I got home. I won't make that mistake again.

I don't know why I was singled out. My name could have been random, on a list or something else could have made them question me. At least I wasn't the only one in the group. There were a few of us that got the special treatment.

Did I mind? No. If this is what we have to endure to keep the airlines safe then I am all for it. I would rather those screening were extra diligent than to wake up to the news one day and watch coverage of new horrors.

Hope you enjoyed my trip to Paris. It was fun revisiting it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Paris in July - Opera de Paris

Palais Garneir, also known as Opera de Paris, is the one place my daughter had to see. That is all she talked about in the months leading up to the trip. It began when she wrote a paper on the history and it built from there. The picture posted was taken right before we crossed the street to enter the building.

This was my first visit here as well and I was in awe of the inside. It opened in 1875(and I had thought it was much older). It is the opera company that goes back to the 1600's. This building was simply its home from 1875 through 1978.

The theater portion seats around 2,200 people with a giant chandelier in the center. We were able to step inside what would be a private patron's box and look down on the seats, view the chandelier and large stage. I looked up additonal information and learned the stage could accomodate up to 450 artists. That is huge. I've blogged about theater before and the stages I have experience with get croweded at approximatley 75 people so I can't begin to imagine what it would be like standing on such a huge performance platform.

The Grand Foyer rivals the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles and my daughter and I will never come to an agreement on which is more beautiful. Of course, I still favor Versaills.

However, what this building is most famous for is the setting of The Phantom of the Opera. "In 1896, one of the counterweights for the grand chandelier fell, killing one. This, as well as the underground lake, cellars, and other elements of the Opera House, inspired Gaston Leroux in 1909 to write his classic Gothic novel, The Phantom of the Opera." (quoted from Wikipedia). We did not get to go below to see the underground lake but would have loved to.

Following our tour my daughter announced that she plans on being married there. My thoughts were 1) I better sell a lot, I mean really a lot, of books 2) we hit the lottery (guess one of us should start playing) or 3) it will only be her, her husband and the few people who could afford to travel. I really hope she doesn't have her heart set on this. I haven't asked her recently, fearful of her answer.

After our visit we headed down the road and at lunch at the Paris Hard Rock Cafe, where t-shirts were purchased and a delicious meal enjoyed.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Paris in July - Moulin Rouge, Sacre Coeur and Montmartre

I am going to continue the Paris tour with the Montmartre. I love this place! Our walk begins with the Moulin Rouge. No, we did not go in, but the kids got lots of pictures of the place. What I found interesting was the building on the corner with the false front. I've been trying to figure out the purpose but can't seem to come up with one. If it was facing the street (not corner) and people could not see behind it, then I probably wouldn't wonder about it. But, as you can see, it faces a corner so from all directions, except front, you can tell this is a false front. Maybe there is a history or a reason. If someone knows, please tell me.

After getting pictures in front of the Moulin Rouge, we begin our trek uphill. We wind through the streets of the town until we come to the base and look up to Sacre Coeur. However, before starting that climb, the students have a ride on the carousel. I don't know if I have mentioned it, but these were a wonderful bunch of kids. Always respectful, on time, didn't complain (much) and fun. When they saw the carousel it was like having a bunch of children anxious to ride. As it should be. We should never be too old for a carousel. Unfortunately, all of my carousel pictures were blurred.

With the ride complete we started up the hill. It was such a gorgeous day, as evidenced by all of the people sitting in front of Sacre Coeur. Musicians played their instruments, people sang. It was a very festive atmosphere. The last time I was here it was colder and a bit rainy. Nobody was sitting outside like this. From the top steps you can look out and over Paris. I love this view.

Nobody opts to go into the cathedral. I think they are too excited to go into Montmartre and have their portrait done. We turn the corner and there are artist filling the square. Some offering portraits, others selling landscapes and other various works of art. I loved rambling through and see the different works.

After looking at all the choices and checking out the artist’s work, the students picked who they wanted to draw their portrait. Once a price was haggled over, they took their place for the sitting. A few of the drawings looked like the student, and others, kinda. There is all level of artist here and it was as much fun to have the portrait done as it was to have a finished project.

I wish I could post a picture of the scene but there were several signs around forbidding photography. I don't blame the artists. They work hard and should be be compensated for their paintings. As an author, I am very sensitive to the whole issue of copywrite and to me, those paintings are no different than a book.

Of all the places I have visited in Paris, this is another I hope will be included in the next trip (though I can't imagine it wouldn't).

Monday, July 26, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

I have been going over the list of workshops, spotlights and booksignings available for the RWA Conference and am seriously developing a headache. So much to choose from!

The conference begins Wednesday night with the Literacy Signing. There will be over 200 authors in one big room signing their books. The proceeds from the sale go to Literacy. So, Wednesday night is an easy pick. It is Thursday, after the opening luncheon where I begin to run into problems. The first workshops begin at 2:00 p.m. Thus, my headache begins.

So far, I've only been able to settle on a few that I won't miss:

Beyond Britain: Writing and Selling and Promoting Unusual Historicals - presented by Zoe Archer, Jade Lee, Carrie Lofty, Kevan Lyon and Sherry Thomas

This Little Light of Mine - Marie Bostwick and Debbie Macomber

Writing as: The Trials of Being a Schizophrenic Author - presented by Jennifer Ashley, Nina Bruhns, Pamela Palmer and Eileen Rendhal

Sourcebooks Booksigning (my good friend and critique partner, Lydia Dare will be signing)

Writing the High-Concept Inspirational - presented by Beth Adams and Beth Pattillo

Talking the Talk: Writing Historical Dialogue - presented by Madeline Hunter, Janet Mullany, Miranda Neville and Lauren Willig

I am very happy with my list so far. Now, to figure out what I want to attend for the remaining 7 slots.

Are you going to the RWA Conference and do you suffer from the same problem - trying to decide? If not this conference, have you run into similar situations for other conferences? If you are going, is there a few workshops you won't miss? What are they? And, if you have been in the past, which do you recommend (even though they change every year).

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Powerful Prayfule Post - 7/25

The kids and adults who attended the LCMS National Youth Gathering arrived back at the church around midnight on Thursday. That entire day I became more and more excited. This was the longest I had gone without seeing my son. My daughters have taken similar trips and I always felt the same the day they were to return home. This was the first time my son to be gone for so long. He received a huge hug the moment he stepped off the bus.

From the moment he was in the car until somewhere around 2 a.m. he was telling me about the Gathering. He even pulled up the internet so I could listen to the new praise songs he learned. The following day he posted his status on Facebook as the best trip he will probably ever take.

I am so thrilled this was such a rewarding experience for him. And, happy that everyone returned safe and healthy. So, my prayer today is a praise for His Awesomeness and that the youth were able to have such a wonderful experience in His name. And thanks for keeping my son, and the Redeemer family safe.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Conference Time is Approaching

In addition to blogging about Paris in July, my goal was to post a blog each day in July. Well, I missed yesterday. What I have learned from this experience is that it is very hard to blog every day of the week. And, had I not had Paris, I would have run out of topics by the second week. I don't know how other bloggers manage to post so much. Where do they get the ideas? So, once July has ended, I will be blogging much less. It is yet to be determined if it will be once a week or three times a week. We shall see.

On Tuesday, I leave for Orlando and couldn't be more excited. I will be attending the 30th Romance Writers of America's National Conference. This will be my third year. We were originally supposed to be in Nashville. The entire family was going to go because my inlaws live just outside of Nashville. Well, as you know, the city was struck with horrendous flooding this spring and the hotel we were to stay in received a good deal of water. And, knowing they would not be able to be up and running by the end of July, the conference site was moved.

We will now be staying at the Swan and Dove in Orlandon on the Disney properties. I will be arriving a day early, like I always do, so I am not rushed. And, on my only free day I will be spending it with some of my critique partners in Epcot. Unfortunately, the family could not join us. First, my husband has a new job, thus no vacation time and second, swinging the plane tickets and additional hotel rooms were not in the budget. We are saving for another trip and we would have been able to drive to Nashville. I do feel kind of guilty about being at Disney without the family. On the otherhand, after my one free day, I probably won't leave the conference center and they would have been ejoying the parks without me.

Today, I am going to go through a pre-pack. I do this everytime I travel. I need to make sure I have the right clothing for the right event and comfortable shoes. I think the comfortable shoes are the highest on my list of priorities. Not only will there be a day of walking at Epcot, but also days of walking at the conference. This can cover a very larger area and the last thing I want is to be hobbling because my feet are killing me.

Once I get my clothing situation decided upon I check on everything else I need from toilettries to workshop printouts to business cards an promo items for Loving Lydia. However, the workshop printouts may have to wait until I actually know which workshops I will be attending. Oh, I have a preliminary list but that can change. And, there are some time slots that I can't decide which I want to attend. I think I will save that for Monday.

For now, I am off to pre-pack, do laundry and probably head out to shop for the necessities missing. Oh, I am also going to finish out my Paris blogs and schedule them to be posted while I am in Orlando. I will try and check in and read other blogs in the evening, if not too exhausted. From experience, I know my brain will be mush by Saturday morning from taking so much in.

Who else is going to the conference and do you do a pre-pack. If you aren't going to the conference, do you do a pre-pack before you take a trip?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Paris in July - 7/22

Our walk continued after we left Musee d'Orsay. We crossed a bridge over the Siene and ended up at Jardin Des Tuileries. A lovely park with fountains. As I said in an earlier post, this was a beautiful day, which is evidenced by the crowd and the number of people sitting around the fountain, relaxing in the sun.

The Tuileries garden was started by Catherine de Medici. It began as a private roayl pleasure garden, with flowers and fruit. From there it exanded as terraces were added and such. At the very end you can look up the Champs Elyees to the Arc de Triomphe. Read more: http://www.gardenvisit.com/garden/jardin_des_tuileries#ixzz0uNZwlCn1

The palace was also begun by Catherine de Medici after the death of Henry II. Louis XIV lived her while Versailles was being built and Louis XVI and his family were removed from Versailles and force to live in Tuileries. It is from here they escaped. They only made it as far as Varennes before they were captured and returned to the Royal Palace. When Napoleon was in charge, it was his turn to move in. It was destroyed in 1871 when it was set on fire, destroying everying within and out.

This was my first visit to Tuileries. On the last visit we went to Luxembourgh Gardens. Another delightful gathering place, with a lake, or maybe it is a large pond where people gather and children launch sailboats. I wish I had pictures from that trip.

I am not sure which garden is my favorite. Luxomburg is not as formal, I suppose. I think I could relax better in Luxomburg better and soak up the sun on a beautiful day or just simply relax and read a book. However, I am glad I did visit Tuileries and I think I would like to visit it again. But, if given a choice during the next visit, I think I would like to return to Luxomburg gardens.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Paris in July - 7/21

After we emerged back into the sunshine following the Catacombs, we made our way to the Metro and went underground once again. Our destination was Notre Dame once again. Some of the students explored, others took the Metro to find the Paris Claire’s' Boutique because it was supposed to carry something that isn't in the states. I think a dad and others headed for the Paris Harley Davidson. Me, I wandered about with others. I had hoped to tour Sainte Chappelle. Unfortunately, it was Thursday, or better known as Mundey Thursday. The line outside of Sainte Chappell was ridiculous. However, I suspect I could have cut in line because those waiting wanted to go in on Good Friday. Oh, and after realizing that we were there on Thursday, I realize I have posted my days out of order. Oh well.

The reason so many were waiting to get in on Good Friday is because that is when the Crown of Thorns is brought out. Supposedly, Sainte Chappelle is in possession of the Crown of Thorns and pieces of wood from the cross Jesus was crucified on. So, all those people in line didn't really want to be in there on Thursday. But, like I said, the line was huge and I didn't want to walk down and ask the all if they minded if I went now since they didn't. One day I will get into Sainte Chappelle!

When everyone met up again outside of Notre Dame we decided to walk to our next destination - Musee d' Orsay. This is the Impressionist Museum. By looking at the map, the walk didn't seem all the far so we headed off for a stroll along the Seine. This was much more enjoyable than taking the Metro. We passed a number of vendors with prints, books, etc. It was a very nice day and a number of people were out and seemed to just be walking and enjoying themselves.

Once we were at the museum, everyone broke up to see the work of their favorite artist. For me, it was Renoir. He is my favorite and always has been. I love his bold colors and the fact that regardless of the nature print, there will be a person in there somewhere. I have had the opportunity to visit this museum twice. Next time, I would like to visit the Rodin museum. But, I guess I mentioned that before.

It isn't like I have not seen his work. About 20 yrs ago and exhibit came to our local museum. It was wonderful and I fell in love with his work. The detail is amazing. Most people are familiar with "The Thinker" or "The Kiss". I have a few replicas of his work in my house but I think my favorite is the "Hand of God". And speaking of hands, Rodin was amazing in his sculptures, especially when it came to hands.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Paris in July - 7/20

I am amazed it is taking so many posts to talk about my Paris trips. Okay, I have taken a few days off for Prayful Sundays and when I blogged on other sites, but still, I was only in Paris 7 days each time and this is the 20th day of blogging. It also explains why I was so exhausted when I returned.

The following day was basically a free day and we set out on our own. First up, the Catacombs. Creepy, I know. I promise, the Catacombs will be a setting for at least one scene in a book someday. It is hard to explain them except they are far underground and weave for what I would guess is miles. Some alleys are roped off and tourists, or anyone else for that matter, are discouraged from going beyond the marked path because you could get lost and ramble around in there forever. There are stories of people who wandered off, never to be seen again.

I believe the Catacombs came to be when Paris expanded. The expansion disrupted several old cemeteries. In order to have a place for the bones, they were put in the Catacombs. The bones are all neatly stacked with and by each stack of bones is the name of the cemetery they had come from. Other bodies, I believe, are from the Revolution. Robespierre was accidently taken to the Catacombs after his death, but they realized the error and he was put in a proper grave somewhere.

One of the most fascinating things I discovered, and never expected to see, were carvings out of the stone. And not just simple carvings, but detailed. I can't imagine who would want to stay down there for the length of time it took to complete such a work of art.

I have no idea how long we walked but when we got to the end we had to climb another tight spiral staircase. I tell you, before I got to the top my thighs were burning. At one time I stopped, convinced I could not continue on. But the thought of staying with all of the bones kept me moving.

Monday, July 19, 2010

RWA Conference

Today I am not going to blog about France. Instead, I am at http://www.ladyscribes.blogspot.com blogging about the Romance Writers of American Conference. Stop by if you get a chance.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Powerful Prayful Post 7/18/10

I hope everyone had a blessed week full of joys. For the most part, I did. On Friday I did turn my son over to the Youth Leader who is taking the kids, along with supervising adults, to the LCMS Youth Gathering in New Orleans. I know he will be okay, have fun and hopefully become even closer to the Lord. However, the mom in me is not at all comfortable with my "baby" being so far away. God give me strength, eliminate the anxiety and keep them all safe until they return home.

I hope you will pray for all the men, women and teenagers who have decended on New Orleans this week. I think there is going to be between 25 - 30,000.

How can I pray for you?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Paris in July - July 17

I no longer know which day I am into my trip. I know I stepped out of order due to Bastille Day, so I will continue with everything else we did that day.

Once we stood in the spot where the Bastille had once stood, we broke into groups and headed for lunch. The place we chose was about five feet away, with outdoor seating. Today, I had what I was craving - Croque Monsieur. I tried this the first time I was in France. When someone recommended it, I almost didn't get one. I didn't come all the way to Paris to have a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. Am I so glad I tried one. This is not at all what I envisioned. Ham, Bread, Gruyere Cheese, and more. Here is the recipe for the sandwich pictured: www.recipezaar.com/recipe/The-Classic-French-Bistro-Sandwich-Croque-Monsieur. I've attempted to make them at home. They were okay, but they taste much better in France. However, I may just have to head to the store after this post because just the idea of the sandwich is making me hungry.

Following lunch we head toward our destination. Luckily we have a walk ahead of us to enjoy more sites. We walk down narrow streets and pass in from of cafes and shops and come to Palace Des Vosges. I square building with a large courtyard inside. The square is made up of houses and apartments with a red bric and stone facade on the outside. And the apartments were used for several years. Some of the more famous residents were Boussuet, Richelieu and Alphonse Daudet. But probably the most well known would be Victor Hugo, who wrote most of Les Miserables while living there. I would love to explore the inside one day.

Long before Victor Hugo however, the land was the site of the Hôtel des Tournelles and its gardens. Tournelles was the royal residence of Henri II and during a tournament he was wounded by being stabbed in the eye. He did a short time later. His wife, Catherine de Medicis, had the original structure demolished. We strolled from one entrance and crossed the courtyard to exit on the opposite side. The insice is a parklike setting with people sitting about conversing or reading.

We excited out onto another street and continued. Some of the buildings are newer and some, not so much. I had to take a picture of this church. I have no idea of the age, but it looked rather old to me.

Finally, we reach our destination - the Picasso Museum. I will be honest, Picasso is not a favorite of mine. If I were given a choice, I would have picked the museum where the Auguste Rodin statues can be viewed. Ah, but nobody asked me so here we are.

On the outside, right before you reach the entrance is a large distorted mirror. The type you may find in a funhouse. The students had fun watching their shapes adjust. I looked for a spot that would make me look thinner, but one could not be found.

Inside it was a three storey (I think) house. In each room were displays of his art work from various stages. I believe Picasso was a true staring artist because I beleive they told us that everytime he was behind on taxes, or his heirs were behind, they gave France a painting.

All in all it was another fun day in Paris.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Road Trip, Part 4

Ah, the end of a perfect day. I thought we visited one other chateau but I have no pictures. So, either the battery died in my camera or I am confusing it with the first trip. I could swear I had visited Cheverny. But, since I have no pictures and, at the best, vague memories, I will skip it and we will return to Paris.

This dinner is one I will always remember. Not only was the food fantastic (as it always is in France) but the owners were a riot. And, they did something very special, which I will get too.

The restaurant was Le Garibaldi. I would recommend this restaurant to anyone in Paris. It is quant and French homestyled cooking. I wish I could remember the address. It was a smaller place and our group took up all the tables and chairs. The owners were funny and made us feel very welcome. They also told us their names were George Clooney and Sharon Stone. Surely they would not lie about their names, would they?

But what made this dinner so special is that our tour guide called ahead and following dinner, they placed a birthday cake in front of my daughter, Andrea, who was celebrating her 18th birthday. This was a complete surprise to her, as it was to all of us. When the lights went out we had no idea what was happening but then "Sharon" emerged from the kitchen with a cake lit with candles. It was the perfect end to our road trip.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Road Trip in France, Part 3

The next chateau up was Chenonceau. By far this is my very favorite castle. Of course, I've only seen a couple. The Loire Valley is full of them, if you hav ethe time to visit each.

Not only is Chenonceau amazing, the gardens are beautiful. I am not sure how old it is, but goes back to at least 1412 when it was handed over to the English. Charles VII regained it and at one point it was burned. Jean II rebuilt and fortified it, wihch was completed in approximately 1432.

It is built on the banks of the river Cher and the ownership changed several times over the decades. In 1522 the Bohiers came into possession. They kept the keep and a well, but demolished the rest. Building on the new castle began in 1515 and ended in 1522. If I am correct, it is what stands their today.
At one point it became the property of the Crown and Henry II, when he became king, gifted Chenonceau to his mistress, Diane. Diane managed the estate and in 1551 she created the gardens and orchards over two hectares. She also commissioned a drawbridge. However, when the king died, the widow, Catherine de Medicis, wanted the estate returned to the crown since it had the higher income. The queen added further additions to the castle which included a pavilion and added two storeys of gallaries built on the bridge with a skylight attic. The estate is now owend by the Menier family, who maintain it in all of its glory.

Also included on the grounds is an 16th century farm with homes, a stable, kitchen gardens. A pavilion and buildings stand not far away and shopping can be done for wine and such, and you can also enjoy a nice lunch at umbrelled tables.

Normally I find the older history the most interesting, but in this case, the newer history is what caught my attention. In 1913, Henri Menier, the grandson of the founder of the chocolate firm - Menier, purchased the castle. I was really hoping for some delicious chocolate on this trip, but none could be found. Then, on the heels of the purchase, the chateau was converted into a military hospital for the duration of WWI. But what I found to be most interesting is that during the Nazi Occupation of France, the south side of Chenonceau opened onto unoccupied France but the entrance was in occupied France. In the hall pictured, one end is in occupied and the other is not. Both the Nazi and Free French took advantage of this situation and would meet at the center of the hall to either exchange prisioners, information, who knows what else but I have visions of spies, meeting and then disappearing into the night once again.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bastille Day

I am taking a detour, so to speak, from my road trip to castles. That is because today is Bastille Day.

It is also my day to blog at my publisher's site. Please visit me there at http://secondwindpub.wordpress.com/.

You'll find my short history on this famous day there.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Road Trip in France, Part 2


This royal residence was plan of Louis XII and had once been hunting grounds. What is interesting about this castle is that Leonardo da Vinci designed the spiral staircase. Two separate staircases wind around each other. Two people can start up or down them at a separate entrance, continue to see and touch each other throug the openings but will never run into each other until they reach the bottom or top (while going in the same direction). It is fascinating.

For a castle, this one has never held much appeal to me. I don't know why but it is not my favorite. However, the students always love it, especially using the stairs.

There is a much richer history that goes with this castle but I don't have the notes. Sorry.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Road Trip in France

Today, more time will be spent on the bus than not. But that is okay because we are going to visit some awesome places.

First stop, Chartres. This is my favorite cathedral. My sister insists I will change my mind once I set foot in Sainte Chappelle. I haven't been able to get inside yet and crossing fingers for next time.

Our Lady of Chartres is known for its stained glass windows which are amazing and beautiful. I am so glad they survived the Revolution and two world wars. However, the church wasn't so lucky in the beginning. The original church was built in the third or fourth and burnt in 743. The second was burnt in 858 by Danish pirates. And the third, burned on 1020. In 1134 a fire burnt the town and damaged the front of the church. Eventually two towers were complete in 1144. The Royal Portabl was built in the middle of the 12th century. But, on July 10, 1194, the church burned again. A new church was begun that year and completed in 1220. Additions were added in 1326, 1417, 1513, 1753. Another fire touched the church in 1836. While the roof and two belfreys were burnt, the rest of the church was unharmed.

Chartres also a famous labryinths. I wish I had a picture of it but none of mine came out.

This labyrinth was meant to be walked but is reported to be infrequently used today. In the past it could be walked as a pilgrimage and/or for repentance. As a pilgrimage it was a questing, searching journey with the hope of becoming closer to God. When used for repentance the pilgrims would walk on their knees. Sometimes this eleven-circuit labyrinth would serve as a substitute for an actual pilgrimage to Jerusalem and as a result came to be called the "Chemin de Jerusalem" or Road of Jerusalem.

In walking the Chartres style labyrinth the walker meanders through each of the four quadrants several times before reaching the goal. An expectancy is created as to when the center will be reached. At the center is a rosette design which has a rich symbolic value including that of enlightenment. The four arms of the cross are readily visible and provide significant Christian symbolism.

The brass center was melted down during the French Revolution for metal.

In addition to the labrynth, Chartres is also believed to have in it its possession the tunic worn by the Virgin Mary, the Sancta Camisa. It was supposedly given to Chartres by Chareemagne who received it as a gift during a crusad in Jerusalem. However, other source report that it was a gift from Charles the Bald and the fabric is from Syria and dates back to the first century. Regardless, many choose to believe it was worn by Mary. It remains in a golden cask and is on desplay.

I did hear one story that at least one priest (my mind is telling me three for some reason, and I wish I could remember exactly) tried to save the tunic when the church caught on fire. They were caught in the crypt below and remained there as the church burned about them. The town thought for sure the tunic and the priests were lost. But, once the flames were doused and the building cooled, the priests emerged unharmed carrying the tunic. It does make one wonder. . .

Back on the bus and we head for our next destination. Truthfully, I can't remember which place we went to first, but my next post will be visiting Chambord.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Powerful Prayful Post - 7/11/10

Thank you for allowing me to pray for you this past week.

Today I am offering up a special prayer for a group of individuals. On Friday, July 16th - 28 youth and 7 adults (I think that is the count) will be leaving from our church to travel to New Orleans for the National Youth Gathering. I am a little nervious - my son is going and I am a mom who doesn't like her children too far away. The youth go every three years and I thought he could wait until next time around. Well, my daughter, who went last time, thought differently and I was told to "quit smothering my children" to "let go" a that "my son needs to do this". There is nothing like being put in my place by my basically adult child - lol. Andrea had an awesome experience when she went and she wants the same for her brother. And, maybe this is the best foundation I could give him before he enters high school.

In preparation, the youth have been learning about New Orleans before, during and after Katrina, so they can better understand what this city has endured. My prayer for each and every one or our youth, adults and the 20,000+ who attend this gathering is that they have a safe trip, to, during and from, and that each of them develope a closer relationship to Jesus and God. I know that was my daughter's experience.

To learn more about the gathering, you can visit http://www.lcmsgathering.com. Please join me in praying for them this week and next.

How can I pray for you? The list can never be too long. God is waiting to hear from us.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My Trip(s) to Paris (Day 4) – Part 4

Our third day in Paris ended with an evening cruise down the Siene. I don’t know if you have seen Charade, where Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn are on the dinner boat taking a cruise on the Siene, but our trip was not like that. We did not have dinner, it was just a tour. Some of the kids opted to be on the top so they could take pictures. Others, like myself, preferred to remain on the lower level. Sometimes I was inside, other times not. Depending on the wind.

I’ve taken this cruise twice and you have the opportunity to see Paris in a completely different way than you did by bus or walking for that matter.

There really isn’t much to add in way of description so I have thrown in a few photos. I’ve learned I am not much of a photographer, but even worse at night.

The two pictures are of the Eiffel Tower at night and the where the King and Queen were held prior to execution.

Friday, July 09, 2010

My Trip(s) to Paris (Day 4) – Part 3

With the inside tour of Versailles complete, it is time to venture outside. As I mentioned in previous posts, the weather on my first visit was perfect. All we needed was a light jacket. On the second visit, not so much. In fact, it was raining, the wind was harsh and it was cooooolllllldddddd. Still, I refused to remain inside.

The gardens of Versailles are amazing and I could go on forever. The pictures show the main avenue toward the Fountain of Apollo and the Grand Canal. On my first trip I walked to it. What is hard to see are there are paths venturing out on both sides leading to separate avenues, groves and gardens. Those I have not yet visited, but I’ve seen photos and read descriptions. A few would include “The Ballroom” which is a Circular garden with a cascading waterfall. In the center of the grove, balls had been held. Can you image a formal ball, dancing under the stars, the sound of tinkling water in the background? Others include The Dauphin’s Grove and the Candelabra Grove, The Salle Des Marronniers, The King’s Garden and the Colonnade. Each and every one of these includes amazing statues. In addition to the numerous gardens, there are fountains aplenty but one place I would love to see is The Baths of Apollo, which is a grove, which looks more like a grotto with statues within and without. Before it is a pool, which looks more like a pond in contrast to the fountains.

If you continue walking you will eventually come to the Grand Trianon. This place was reserved for concerts, festivities and a place to eat. It was also the location where Louis XIV invited ladies o the Court to visit him. The grand Trianon is also surrounded by flowers and were chosen for a variety of colors as well as their perfume. Either the queen and/or the king must have spent a good deal of time here because they both have bedchambers, at least four drawing rooms and Louis-Philippe’s Family Drawing Room, as well as a gaming room and a Gallery and Chapel.

Further out is the Petit Trianon, which Louis XVI gave to his queen as a gift to “make a life for herself away from court”. Among the many rooms includes a Theatre.

Lastly, if you go far enough you will come to the Queens Hamlet. This is a picturesque cottage, with supporting farm and quaint gardens. Marie Antoinette would come here to “get away” and relax. She liked to shepherdess. However, unlike most true shepardess, the queen insisted the sheep be died to match her gown before she played.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

My Trip(s) to Paris (Day 4) – Part 2

Once inside Versailles we begin the tour with the State Apartments which include the following:

The Royal Chapel: We are not allowed to go in but can stand a look through the door from the first floor. It is a gorgeous, two story chapel with carved white pillars. The ceiling is a painting The Heavenly Father in His Glory Announcing to the World the Promise of Redemption, by Antoin Coypel. The center is God and he is surrounded by adoring, winged angels, both male and female and of all ages.

The Hercules Drawing-Room: This had been used as the chapel until the Royal Chapel was complete in 1710. The redecoration was complete in 1712 with Veronese’s painting, The Meal at the House of Simon¸ originally painted and given to the Refectory of the Convent of the Servites in Venice around 1570 and gifted to Louis XIV in 1664. The ceiling is a painting by Francois Lemoine, The Apotheosis of Hercules.

The Drawing-Room of Plenty: I believe this room eventually became King XVI’s game room. On “apartment” evenings, when people visited, buffet tables were set about with refreshments.

Venus Drawing-Room: This is the main entrance into the State Apartment. More artwork abounds from more paintings on the ceiling to a statue of Louis XIV by Jean Warin.

Diana Drawing-Room is adjacent to the Venus Drawing-Room and served as a vestibule and at one time the billiards room for Louis XIV.

Mars Drawing-Room: A guards room until 1684, and has a military theme, became a music and games room. Red papered walls and crystal chandelier hang from the ceiling. Musicians would set up in on or both of the marble galleries. On the ceiling Claude Audran painted Mars in a Chariot Drawn by Wolves.

Mercury Drawing Room: The king’s bedchamber and also has red papered walls. The original gold headboard was melted down by the king to meet the expenses of war. It was in this room where Louis XIV lay in state for 8 days in 1715.

Apollo Drawing-Room: Also, the Throne Room. The original furniture was silver, but these furnishings were also melted down by Louis XIV in 1689.

War Drawing-Room: Magnificent with its silver, gold and mirrors. Military victories were celebrated here

Hall of Mirrors: Perhaps I should have saved the word Magnificent for this hall. It was built on the site of the original terrace. Along one wall are mirrors, separated only by statutes. On the opposite side are windows which look out over the vast gardens of Versailles. There are no words I can use to describe the beauty of this hall. Used for state events, only on occasion, and it was the place for the celebration following the wedding ceremony uniting Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

Peace Drawing-Room: Separated from the Hall of Mirrors and turned into the Queen’s Apartments.

Queen’s Bedchamber: It is the only place she slept (unlike the king who had more than one bedchamber), and the room where the king would visit her. This room also saw the birth of nineteen children.

Salon Des Nobles: This is basically the queen’s throne room, where she would gather her court and grant audiences.

This is just a sampling of what can be seen at Versailles. There are rooms I have yet to visit such as the King’s private apartments, which include his bedchamber, Cabinet room, Library, dining room and Games room and the Queen’s private apartments and the rooms where the children were raised. Someday I hope to take in the entire palace before stepping outside into hopeful sunshine.

Because my notes were really, really hard to make out, I used the book I picked up while in Versailles to help me recall the order of the tour and which room held which artwork. And, I apologize if this post read more like a dry tour brochure than my memories. Even though I have been there twice, it is difficult to remember the details with regard to history, use, and the amazing artwork of each individual room. For a illustrated guide to Versailles, I recommend your visit to VERSAILLES, by Simone Hoog (Honorary General Curator of the Estate) and Beatrix Saule (head Curator). It is sold at Versailles, in every language imaginable, but can also be purchased at Amazon, though no picture of the cover is offered or I would have put it here.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

My Trip(s) to Paris (Day 4) - Part 1

Day 3 in Paris and we are going to visit my favorite place. I am so excited when I wake. I dress quickly, not that it matters because we are on a schedule, and head downstairs for breakfast. That is when I look outside. The sky is overcast and threatens rain. NOOOO, I cry inside my mind. Rain any day but today, pleaassseeee! I anxiously watch the sky from the moment we leave the hotel and all through out drive. Before we left I reluctantly went back upstairs for my umbrella, but was determined not to need it.

The bus pulls into the gravel drive and still no drops. So far so good. We are early and need to sit in the bus for another twenty minutes before we will be let inside. I can see my destination in the distance and want to get out so I can walk closer.

We are finally allowed to step outside and move toward our destination. No sprinkles yet, but the wind is stronger than a breeze. However, I will not let it dampen my mood. As soon as we reach the entrance, a few drops fall. Still, it isn’t a downpour and I am certainly not going to melt in the rain. The last thing I am made of is sugar. However, I have eaten enough of it in my life one has to wonder.

Modern technology has become a fixture at the entrance and we need to place our bags on a conveyor belt to be taken through x-ray and we walk through the metal detector. On the other side we are handed MP3 players. These are to assist us with our tour through VERSAILLES. Did I mention this is my favorite place in France? Well, so far at least. The last time I visited was a beautiful day. Absolutely gorgeous and I wish I had the pictures to post but my eldest has those as she was the photographer on that trip.

Originally, when the palace was built, there were two sets of gates. To the left of the first were the stables and to the right, the kitchens. The second was torn down during the French Revolution. When the kings lived here everyone could enter Versailles. Several guards were posted to confiscate weapons, search carriages and to ensure the visitor was properly dressed. It was built by Louis XIV because he wanted to get away from Paris. Versailles is not too close but neither is it too far and large enough for him to have his court permanently around him, including aristocracy, ministers, advisors, etc. Anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 people lived at Versailles at one time. From 1682 until 1789 it was the seat of the absolute monarchy of France, where the King rules alone. Well, we know what happened in 1789, but this post is not about the French Revolution, it is about the palace.

Versailles was originally the hunting lodge for Louis the XIII but refurbished. The construction lasted over 50 years. And in 1682 it became Louis XIV’s official residence and in ten years the expanse was ten fold.

We need to tour the inside first so we can hand out MP3 players off before we step outside. Because of the threatening weather I wish we could do this the other way around, but I don’t have that choice. My plan one day is to travel here, without being part of a tour, so I can stroll and explorer on my own schedule. There is just so much to see that this post will cover at least two days. Today, we are going to tour the inside, or what we were able to see anyway.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


I won't be posting here today. Instead I am at www.ladyscribes.blogspot.com talking about how I can focus better. Hope you can stop by and leave me some suggestions.

Have a Great Tuesday.


Monday, July 05, 2010

My Trip(s) to Paris (Day 3 - continued)

When I last left off we had been at Notre Dame. While in the area we broke into groups and headed to one of the many café’s for lunch. I absolutely adore the café’s with outdoor seating. It is so much fun to sit and watch people stroll by. I’ve passed some outdoor areas where the tables and chairs are all in a row – all facing out toward the street as opposed to chairs on all sides of the table for conversation. I prefer the ones where I can sit and converse with others. In all actuality, I cannot recall if we ate lunch before or after the visit to Notre Dame but the more I think about it, it was before.

Once we were back on the bus, we headed to another famous spot – the Louvre. Wow, does this place have a history. We are given maps and we broke up into different directions to see the artwork we were most interested in. A number of the students headed for the Mona Lisa. The first time I did this as well, especially since that trip came on the heels of reading The Da Vinci Code. I was really surprise to see that it was much smaller than I imagined. I guess I never paid attention if anyone told me the size, but I was really expecting a larger painting. I am still glad I got to stand before it.

On both visits I roamed and roamed and tried to take it all in – IMPOSSIBLE! I had the same feeling I did when I visited the Smithsonian, a person needs a weeks to take it all in. In fact, our tour guide quoted that it would take 8 months to see everything in the Louvre if you only stood in front of each piece of art or historical item for 30 seconds. Even then you wouldn’t see it all because they still have a bunch of items in storage. Apparently they have or will be opening another portion of the museum or one somewhere else to house the art that is not on display. I didn’t catch the exact details, but I think there is going to be an extension in another town perhaps.

Historically, the Louvre was built in the 12th Century to protect the city. It became the residence for the king in the 15th Century and each one made a change of left their mark. The French President placed the pyramid at the Louvre as his 20th Century gift.

Following our visit to the Louvre, we were once again back on the bus for a continued tour of Paris, which ended at the Champs Élysées. The drive also took us by the Opera d’ Paris, which we will visit later.

The day ended with dinner at a Moroccan restaurant not far from Pompidou Center, a place I have yet to visit. This is a picutre of the outside of the Pompidou.