Three Trips to Remember in France

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The past two weekends, I’ve gone on two more excursions (#3 and #4) organized by Temple’s Study Abroad program and one informal boat trip down the Seine. The excursions were to Fontainebleau, the castle of the kings, and the Champagne region, the birthplace of bubbly wine. I was sick on the day of excursion #2, so I only ended up going to three total but still found myself with more photos than I know what to do with. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I did taking them!

Fontainebleau

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The exterior of the Fontainebleau Castle – the famous summer home of all the French kings. The horseshoe-shaped staircase at the front of the castle was made famous by Napoleon, as it was here that he announced his abdication.

 

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The TU group going through one of the grand halls in the castle. Each of the many kings that stayed in the castle had many renovations and additions made, which makes the castle rich with art and ornamentation that is absolutely stunning and even overwhelming in some places.

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Our amazing tour guide told us that this is the room in which Napoleon I attempted to commit suicide to prevent his abdication. He failed because his opium, which he tried to overdose with, was expired. It was in this room that he very angrily agreed to his abdication. This salon is full of history AND crazy pink decorations.

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The Temple Group listens to their tour guide explain the history of the art in Fontainebleau Castle.

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A stunning example of the overwhelming decoration in the Fontainebleau Castle. This room used to belong to a king’s mistress but has since been transformed into a stairwell.

Reims / Champagne

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The famous Reims Cathedral of Notre Dame, which is, surprisingly, still standing today despite its being bombed for weeks during World War One and a large fire it experienced. Restoration on the church is continuing to this day. Our tour guide told us that Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” was actually inspired by a man he met in this church, but he later decided to place the story in Paris

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This is a close-up of some stained glass from the Reims Cathedral. All the glass in the church has been made by the same family for hundreds of years and their craftsmanship is absolutely excellent.

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In addition to the lovely, traditional stained glass that decorated the cathedral, Reims was also home to some much more modern windows, including this one which was created by the artist Marc Chagall.

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Temple French professors Dr. Gabriel and Dr. Roget try on some fancy French hats and graciously pose for a photograph in the Champagne vineyards.

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Some Temple students and Dr. Roget frolicking in the lush vineyards of the Champagne region after our tour of the wine cellars (which were sadly too dark to photograph).

 

 

Boat Ride on the Seine

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A view of the Eiffel Tower on a cloudy day from the Bateau Mouche (a huge tour boat).

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A row of beautiful houses on the right bank of the Seine, just east of Notre Dame

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The Musée D’Orsay from the boat. With its large windows and clock, it is easy to tell that this building used to be a train station before it housed some of the most important paintings and sculptures of all time.

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Pont (bridge) Alexandre III, undeniably one of the most gorgeous and ornate bridges that crosses over the Seine.

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The infamous Notre Dame Cathedral.

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