Travel 55½ km in a southeasterly direction from Paris, and you’ll reach Fontainebleau, a commune which actually covers a larger area than Paris itself. So it’s pretty big. Fontainebleau is known for its forest, and its château which has been developed over the centuries by successive French kings.
One of the must-see attractions in Paris is the Musée du Louvre, noted for its huge collection and iconic glass pyramids. Several people recognise the pyramids from the 2006 film ‘The Da Vinci Code’. based on the book by Dan Brown. Apparently, the film company paid the Louvre $2.5million for the privilege of filming in its galleries!
To mark one year to the day that I first ventured to France, I thought I’d share some photos and history from the town where I lived: Maisons-Laffitte. It sits about 20km to the north-west of Paris, and is a great little town! I have already posted a few photos from walking out and about in the park, but I’ve not really said much about it… Until now!
The second day of our London trip (we’re back-tracking a bit here…) started with a visit to Kensington Palace. I’d never visited Kensington Palace before, not that I can remember at least; and our hotel was just around the corner which didn’t hurt!
This weekend just gone, my family and I took a trip down to London, mainly to see the IAAF World Championships, but also for a little bit of a jolly! Pretty much as soon as we arrived, after dumping our cases at the hotel, my sister and I went back to King’s Cross station to relive our Harry Potter dreams at Platform 9¾, which was a lot of fun (aside from the hour-long queue), and of course we spent a further hour in the gift shop!
Roughly 40km north of Paris, you’ll find Chantilly, a commune that was once part of the historic Valois region. In May, I took a trip up to Chantilly for a plant festival in the grounds of the château, combining it with a nosey into the building itself. What I didn’t realise at the time was that the castle is now the home of the Musée Condé, which has one of the best collections in France.
To finish up this tour of the Île de la Cité, we headed to the Notre-Dame, one of the most famous cathedrals in the world. The first stone of this spectacular structure was laid way back in 1163 by either Bishop Maurice de Sully, or Pope Alexander III, no one really knows. It was built to replace the existing Parisian cathedral, Saint-Etienne. Bishop Maurice de Sully had it torn down as it wasn’t ‘worthy’ of the city, and so he began works on Notre-Dame. Well that’s the story anyway. Archaeological excavations suggest there was a huge structure there before construction began on the cathedral as we see it now.
We’re on the home straight now in this series on the Île de la Cité with this fourth part about the Palais de Justice. First things first though. The Palais de Justice is really two things. It can refer to the Palais de la Cité complex, which includes the Conciergerie and Sainte-Chapelle. But it can also refer to the overground buildings containing the courtrooms. In this post I’ll focus more on the activities in the overground buildings, but there’s a little bit of a mix.