Tag Archives: Palace of Versailles

Through His Words: Day Thirteen

8 Apr

Reflections From and About My Grandfather
Alexander Capraro, Architect

Day Thirteen
Hotel Regina, Paris

Thursday
July 28th, 1938

Mon Cherie,

Today was the day for my visit to Versailles, about 20 miles outside of Paris. “What a place!” Probably the most beautiful place and grounds in the world. Chock-full of history, arts, and treasures beyond description. Home of Louis XIV, XV, XVIII and last but not least, Napoleon and Marie Antoinette, Madam Pompadour, and others I can’t name just now.

Versailles_Palace

commons.wikimedia.org

The palace is a large separate building from the one Napoleon used, which is called the Trianon. Then there is the Petite Trianon for Marie Antoinette, and various buildings for stables and royal guests. There is the actual furniture, gold and marble tables, rare bronzes and porcelains, and the carriage that was used for Napoleon’s coronation as Emperor.

The gardens are too beautiful to describe in a letter. I went around with a horse and buggy and it took two hours to ride around the grounds.

 fr:Utilisateur:Urban

fr:Utilisateur:Urban

en.wikipedia.org

800px-Versailles_chateau

en.wikipedia.org

There are countless rooms in the king’s palace, each richly furnished to a king’s taste. (Below photos courtesy of Benita.)

romeisalwaysagoodidea.wordpress.com

Royal Chamber: romeisalwaysagoodidea.wordpress.com

The ceilings are all covered with paintings, most of which were done by the same artist who painted the pictures in the Vatican. You conclude the trip by feeling dizzy and tired, such splendor I have never seen before.

romeisalwaysagoodidea.wordpress.com

Hall of Mirrors: romeisalwaysagoodidea.wordpress.com

On the return trip to Paris, we took a bus until we reached the Seine, (the river that runs through Paris), and then took a boat which plys the river to the city…a beautiful ride because it allows one to see the many fine buildings on each side, including the Eiffel Tower.

The Seine: romeisalwaysagoodidea.wordpress.com

The Seine: romeisalwaysagoodidea.wordpress.com

EiffelTower: romeisalwaysagoodidea.wordpress.com

Eiffel Tower:
romeisalwaysagoodidea.wordpress.com

The day was clear and fair and enabled me to take some good pictures both at Versailles and along the river Seine. There are still many decorations that were put up for King George of England on his visit here and I shot a few views of them.

Just two weeks earlier, on July 14, King George VI of England and his wife Queen Elizabeth had made a royal visit to Paris. You may remember the story of his brother’s abdication in the movie, The King’s Speech.

The House of Windsor

The Royal Household © Copyright 2008/09

I had dinner tonight at an Italian restaurant in the Montmartre district and after dinner, spent the rest of the evening walking around this territory which is part of Paris where all the honkytonks, nightclubs and sidewalk cafés etc. are.

Montmartre, dominated by the Sacré-Cœur  (pixinn.net)

Here is real Parisian atmosphere, notorious dives, apache dance cafés with names you read about or see in the movies. Every door is a café of some kind or another, all with little tables out in front filled with people, musicians playing, radios barking, girls singing and dancing, some with clothes on and others with not so much, barkers in front of every place inviting you and telling you their place is the best or worst, which ever you may be looking for. It is Paris, the only city in the world which has such a district where anything and everything goes and nobody cares or gives a damn. I’ll tell you more about it when I get home.

Théophile Steinlen's famous advertisement for the tour of Le Chat Noir cabaret

Théophile Steinlen’s famous advertisement for the tour of Le Chat Noir cabaret

Tomorrow my schedule calls for Notre Dame, the Louvre, Champs Elysees, Place de Concorde, the Opera, and Church of the Madeleine. If my feet hold out, I hope to cover them all.

I’ll say good night now dear until tomorrow.

With Love, AL 

X X X X X X X X X X X X X

 

Ciao,

Judy

 

 

 

 

Through His Words: Day Twelve

25 Mar

Reflections From and About My Grandfather
Alexander Capraro, Architect

Day Twelve
Hotel Regina

Paris, France
Wednesday July 27th, 1938

Sweetheart,

It rained most of the day yesterday, the first bad day of weather. I tried to get in touch with my friends here, but found they are away for 10 days. That is a tough break because of the fact it is so difficult to get around not knowing the language. However, my friend has two brothers and one of them volunteered to take me around as he speaks Italian and French. I speak Italian to him, and he interprets it to the French here.

On account of the rain, I did a little window shopping and limited sightseeing. I had to buy a felt hat, as no one here seems to wear straws; they wear either felts, berets, or go bareheaded; and also, there are very few white shoes. 

IMG_0004

Photo of Alex years later, still with his straw hat and white shoes.

Tonight we had dinner at the Café DeLa Paix, a well-known place in Paris.

From the Cafe’s website: Ever since their inauguration on May 5th, 1862, the Hotel de la Paix (now Le Grand Hotel) and Café de la Paix are genuine institutions enjoying worldwide fame. Café de la Paix is a restaurant bar exuding Second Empire elegance and proudly displaying its listed frescoes and sumptuous gilding.

from website

from website

880-so-uneinstitution-photolieuhistorique3-fr2.jpg

880-so-uneinstitution-photolieuhistorique3-fr2.jpg

Later, we went to the famous Follies Bergère. The show started at 8:45 and lasted until midnight.

That was all Alex wrote about the famous burlesque theatre. I wondered, however, what the show would have been like in 1938, and found this listing on eBay:

FOLIES BERGERE 36 PAGE SOUVENIR PROGRAM W TOPLESS PHOTOS 

THIS IS AN EXCEPTIONALLY LOVELY ORIGINAL FOLIES BERGERE 1938 FOLIE EN FLEURS PARIS FRANCE SOUVENIR PROGRAM. MANY TOPLESS PHOTOS. 36 PAGES. SILVER COVERS WITH DIE-CUT FRONT AND GOLD GLASSINE COVER.

IMG_1740

IMG_1741

Whoa! No wonder he didn’t write anything!

As it had stopped raining after the show, I walked back to the hotel about 1.5 miles, and then to bed and slumberland. One good thing has happened here– I sleep soundly all night and it is of great help because I need the rest for the energy required for the next day. 

Today looks fairly nice and I plan to go to Versailles, the place where the peace treaty of the world war was signed. This is an all day trip and I won’t get back until this evening.

Alex was referring to the Treaty of Peace, signed 28 June 1919, at the end of WWI:

393px-Treaty_of_Versailles,_English_version

I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Versailles twice, never realizing that Alex had been there before me. And just this month, his great-granddaughter (our daughter Benita) visited the immense and incredible Palace of Versailles, just 15 miles from Paris.

Aerial view of the Palace of Versailles

Aerial view of the Palace of Versailles (Wiki)

Tonight we plan to go to the Montparnasse, the artists’ quarter in Paris. 

Cafés rented tables to poor artists for hours at a stretch. Several, including La Closerie des Lilas, remain in business today.

Cafés rented tables to poor artists for hours at a stretch. Several, including La Closerie des Lilas, remain in business today. (Wiki)

I haven’t seen much so far, but the city promises to show me more than I had expected to see, so I may stay here a day longer and take it out of some other town… “Pietrabbondante” or “Ricigliano” etc.???

This, of course, was in jest as Alex was referring to the southern Italian towns where his and Maude’s ancestors were from. If nothing else was accomplished on this trip, Alex had promised Maude that he’d get to those two towns.

I wonder how everything is going at home. I am anxiously waiting to hear from you and get some news. Your letters will be so welcome on this trip.

Well, darling, I’ll write you again after my visit to Versailles. So goodbye for the moment and millions of hugs and kisses to you and ours.

Lovingly, Al

 

 

Ciao,

Judy

 

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