Sunday, October 26, 2014

Storming the Louvre

Time to Storm the Louvre!
The Louvre is giant fortress of art.  Ba-Zillions of people visit it every year.
It was once the home of Louis XIV (picture above with bird on head) who, after moving all his crap to his summer home in Versailles... decided the abandoned space would be a great place to show off all his nifty royal collection of ancient Greek and Roman sculptures.
During the French Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should hold only national masterpieces.
The secret entrance to the Louvre is on the Paris Metro Line 1, get off on the Rivoli Station and stand at the door which reads Louvre Carousel Entrance.  The doors unlock thirty minutes before Pyramid entry, you can race through the underground shopping area and queue up at the mall shopping entrance.  On both days at the Louvre, this secret entrance saved us hours in line.
Wandering away that afternoon... seeing the masses still lined up outside...all I could think was...SUCKERS!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Rocky Theme Song at La Basilique du Sacre Coeur Montmartre

 We pause this Sunday morning... just a little time out from Vivaldi Four Seasons Piano Practice and SAT vocabulary flashcards and Chinese calligraphy sketches and Long Division Story Puzzles and somewhere between wrapping up the Iliad and Odyssey and three chapters into Prisoner of Azkaban... to sit in the grass in Paris Montmartre and look for a break in the clouds.
 Oh...and race up the steps at La Basilique due Sacre Coeur!
 Yeah... I've been here before.  I've been coming here now for twenty years.
 But each time it is different.  Yes, the stones do not change and the statues have not suddenly broken free and raced away on clearing clouds... the bathrooms are still in the same location and the vaulted ceilings are still magnificent.
 But this time it is with my daughters... these sweet girls I've been graced with the chance to love and teach.
 And of course, teach the Rocky Theme Song to.  That's what you sing in your head when running up amazing flights of stairs... that or the Indiana Jones Theme Song.  Truly, it's up to you!  That's a lot to teach, isn't it?  Being a Dad can wear you out!  Total TKO.
 So... we finally arrive at the top and relax listening to street musicians singing funny French songs and pull out our sketch books and look very thoughtfully at the stones...giggling together, of course.
 A sweet afternoon...and just as the rain clouds approach... we wind downward in the market for some afternoon ice cream.
Then back on the hilarious Paris Metro for some people watching underground.
Surprise!  I forgot to tell you about the carousel.   See... I've got this Dad thing down to an art.  Yeah right, Hartenstein.  Cue the music, maestro. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Winged Propeller Bicycle Man! Parisians Out of Control!

Locked and Loaded!  Winged Propeller Bicycle Man, Notre Dame Paris.
Packing Heat!  Creepy Traveler in Montparnasse, Paris.
C'est La Vie!  Rocking Street Musician at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Paris.
Artistic Difference!  Two Sketchers discuss the human form in Montmartre, Paris.
My Paris Moment!  Girl in Red Beret Having the Travel of Her Life.
Parisian Chuck Berry in the Grass at Sacred Heart Cathedral.  Roll Over Beethoven.
Rockin' Granny! Strolling the Stones at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Have Sketch Pad, Will Travel.  Lonely Artist Approaching Hartenstein at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Freaky Scary Rat's Nest Hair... No Comment!
Hartenstein in Retirement!  Sans the Walt Whitman Hat, mind ya.

I Ain't Afraid of No Ghosts!

Waiter in Montmartre who wouldn't take a fiver tip on pride.
Postage Stamp Paintings, Montmartre, Paris.
Oooh!  The Essence of Kitty!
Well deserved rest...and maybe a crossword puzzle.
No Rest for the Wicked...or flower painters.
Yep!  That's an enormous rooster.
Some things never go out of style or season.
Like Naked Chicks and Old Men Reading Newspapers.
And Ghostbusters, of course!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Back Home!

I miss you, Autumn!

p.s.  thanks for the picture.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Lighting Candles in Notre Dame Cathedral

We slipped in early to Notre Dame to avoid the crowds...
Slight drizzling rain outside and cold swirling wind...
 But inside was quiet and well lit as we strolled the pews and into the secret corridors of the cathedral...
 And of course, everywhere around us....
 There was illumination.
 Spectacular wood carved throne seating...
 Marvelous stained glass art work...
 The girls and I lit candles and said vesper prayers for the most beloved people in our lives...
 That they would be safe and happy and full of inspiration and hope... that they wouldn't lose their heart or let the despair and depravity of the world slowly destroy them.
 You need people praying for you.
 Everybody does...
 Hope you're all praying for us... believe me, we need it too!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Dancing with Quasimodo!

In preparation for visiting Notre Dame, I read Victor Hugo to the girls every night for a month.  They of course, ate it up with a spoon.
There's something about the character of Quasimodo... most people feel like the famed bell ringer at one time or another.  Deaf, Dumb, Mute, and full of Mysterious Doubt.
But full of dreaming, unfathomable love.   
So when we got to Notre Dame the first thing we did...was dance and sing to the bells...and leap for joy.