Sunday, June 30, 2013

Famous Fictional Characters: Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden - NY, NY

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden
New York, NY
Topic: Famous Fictional Characters 

GPS: N40° 45.380; W073° 59.450

Quick Description:

Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden is located on the southeast corner of the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan.

Long Description:

An 8' high, 4,000 pound bronze statue of Jackie Gleason is depicted in his role as bus driver Ralph Kramden from the iconic situation comedy The Honeymooners.  The sculpture was created by Lawrence J Nowlan, Jr. as part of an ongoing project by the re-run network TV Land to create sculptures of iconic television characters.

Ralph Kramden shown while walking to his job as a bus driver. He is dressed in a bus drivers uniform - a cap with badge, long trousers, waist length jacket, and tie. He is holding a lunch box in his right hand while his left hand is touching the collar of his jacket.

 A plaque on the low pedestal is inscribed:

Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden
Bus Driver - Raccoon Lodge Treasurer - Dreamer
Presented by the People of TV Land

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Philatelic Photograph: Fortitude the NYPL Lion - NY, NY

Interesting Places I've Visited
Fortitude - New York Public Library Lion
New York, NY
Topic: Philatelic Photographs

GPS: N40° 45.183; W073° 58.891

Quick Description: 

A pair of lions decorate the 5th Avenue entrance to the main branch of the New York Public Library. 

Long Description:

The main New York Public Library occupies a Beaux-Arts building on 5th Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets. Guarding the entrance is a pair of famous marble lion sculptures. The south lion is nicknamed Patience the north lion is Fortitude. The names were assigned former Mayor  Fiorello La Guardia. They described the qualities New Yorkers needed during the Great Depression. The Library adopted these lions as mascots and now they are the library's logo.

The lions were created by Edward Clark Potter and the Piccirilli Brothers executed the carving out of pink Tennessee marble. In 2004, the lions were cleaned and restored.

The stamp depicts the right side of the north lion, Fortitude. It was issued by the United States on November 9, 2000 to pay the presorted bulk mail rate of 10 cents.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Art Deco: Chrysler Building - NY, NY

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Chrysler Building
New York, NY
Topic: Art Deco

GPS: N40° 45.095; W073° 58.561

Quick Description: 

The Chrysler Building is an Art Deco style skyscraper in New York City. It is located at the intersection of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan.

Long Description:

The Chrysler Building is a 1,046' tall skyscraper designed by architect William Van Alen. Construction began on September 19, 1928 and was completed on May 20, 1930. The building is constructed of masonry, with a steel frame, and metal cladding. For 11 months, until the completion of the nearby Empire State Building, it was the tallest building in the world. It was personally paid for and owned by Walter P. Chrysler and served as the headquarters of the Chrysler Corporation from 1930 until the mid-1950s.

The building is famous for various architectural details. The gargoyles below the crown were modeled after Chrysler automobile products like the hood ornaments of the Plymouth. The crown is it's most striking feature. It is composed of seven progressively smaller radiating terraced arches, set back and mounted one behind each other. Stainless-steel cladding is ribbed and riveted in a radiating sunburst pattern forming triangular vaulted windows. The detail of the building is suggestive of the age of machines of the 1920s.

The building is considered a leading example of Art Deco architecture and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Specific Veterans Memorial: Father Francis P. Duffy - New York, NY

Interesting places I've Photographed
Lt. Colonel Father Francis Patrick Duffy Statue
New York, NY
Topic: Specific Veterans Memorials

GPS: N40° 45.542; W073° 59.101

Quick Description: 

A sculpture of Lt. Colonel Father Francis Patrick Duffy is located in Duffy Square between 45th and 47th Streets in the northern part of Times Square in New York City.

Long Description:

Francis Patrick Duffy was born May 2, 1871 in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada He immigrated to New York City and became a New York City Archdiocesan priest on September 6, 1896. He served as an army chaplain during the Spanish-American War, on the Mexican Border, and World War I.

During World War I he achieved fame in France as the military chaplain for the 69th Infantry Regiment ("The Fighting 69th") of the New York Army National Guard which was federalized as the 165th U.S. Infantry Regiment, part of the Rainbow Division. During combat on the Western Front in France, Lt. Colonel Father Duffy helped recover the wounded from the battlefield, often under enemy fire. In a regiment composed of Irish-Americans he served as an inspirational spiritual and military leader.

For his heroic actions during World War I, Lt. Colonel Father Duffy was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Conspicuous Service Cross from New York State, and both the Légion d'Honneur and the Croix de Guerre from France. He is the most decorated military chaplain the history of the United States Army.

After the returning from the War he wrote the autobiographical best seller Father Duffy's Story. He died in New York City on June 26, 1932. Times Square, between 45th and 47th Streets, is named Duffy Square in his honor.

An 8' high bronze statue of Father Duffy sculpted by Charles Keck is located in Duffy Square. The statue depicts a bareheaded Father Duffy wearing a World War I winter uniform with a long belted coat and high boots. He is holding a bible in his hands. A helmet lies on the ground by his left foot. He is standing on a two stage gray granite pedestal and in front of a 18' granite Celtic cross. The statue was unveiled May 2, 1937. The front of the pedestal is inscribed:


The back of the cross is inscribed with his biographical information:

MAY 2, 1871 - JUNE 26, 1932





Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Philatelic Photograph: Cathedral of Chartres - Chartres, France

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Spires of the Cathedral of Chartres
Chartres, France
Topic: Philatelic Photographs

GPS: N48° 26.834; W001° 29.224

Quick Description: 

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres, a medieval Roman Catholic cathedral located about 80 kilometres from of Paris. The magnificient Cathedral was constructed between 1194 and 1250.

Long Description:

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres is considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The current cathedral, mostly constructed between 1194 and 1250, is the last of at least five which have occupied the site since the town became a bishopric in the 4th century.

The church has an interesting history. It was begun in 1134, destroyed by fire in 1194, and then rebuilt. What remained after the fire were the lower parts of the west towers and the west portal. West façade is dominated by two assymetrical spires. The south spire is completely original. It is a 349' (105m) high plain Romanesque pyramid dating from the 1140s. The flamboyant north spire is 377' (113m) high and exhibits a combination of late Gothic and early Renaissance chacteristics. It was built on top of an older tower.

The cathedral survived the French Revolution in an exceptional state of preservation. The majority of the original stained glass windows survive intact. The façades, are adorned with hundreds of sculpted figures based on theological themes.

The stamp was issued by France on August 13, 1979 as part of a set of four pre-cancelled stamps depicting significant French spires.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Philatelic Photograph: Mont Saint-Michel - Normandy, France

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Mont Saint-Michel
Normandy, France
Topics: Philatelic Photographs

N 48° 38.100 W 001° 30.670

Quick Description: 

Mont Saint-Michel is a tidal island in the Couesnon River off the northwest coast of France.

Long Description:

The tidal island of Mont Saint-Michel is one of the most iconic and visited places in France. It's narrow streets host over 3 million visitors a year. A 0.5 km causeway connects the island to the mainland. It can be reached by using a free shuttle bus which operated continuously during daylight hours. A bridge connecting the island to the mainland is under construction.

The 247 acre island rises 301 feet above the surrounding bay. It has been a strategic fortified outpost since ancient times. The 8th century Gothic-style Benedictine monastery dedicated to of Archangel Saint Michael occupies the upper reached of the island and can be reached by climbing approximately 300 steps. A small village is contained with the fortified walls at the base of the abbey.

In 933 William I, Duke of Normandy, annexed the Cotentin Peninsula, making the Mont part of Normandy. In 1067, the monastery of Mont-Saint-Michel supported William of Normandy's claim to the throne of England. As a result it was given properties and grounds on the English side of the Channel. During the Hundred Years' War, the fortified island successfully resisted repeated assaults English assaults on the island.

Mont Saint-Michel and the surrounding area are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The stamp was issued in 2009 by France as part of set of 8 stamps in the Images of France Series. The rate is for mailing a 20 gram letter worldwide.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Philatelic Photograph: Abbaye aux Hommes - Caen, France

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Abbaye aux Hommes
(Men's Abbey)
Normandy, France
Topic: Philatelic Photographs

GPS: N49° 10.868; W000° 22.234

Quick Description: 

The Abbaye aux Hommes, a.k.a. Abbey of Saint-Etienne, is located near the present day center of the city of Caen in Normandy, France.

Long Description:

The Norman Romanesque style Abbaye aux Hommes (Men's Abbey) also known as the Abbey of Saint-Etienne (Saint Stephen) is a former Benedictine monastery in the city of Caen in the Normandy district of France.

Construction of the abbey, using local stone, began during the 11th century. In 1120, the ribbed vaulting of the church was constructed. The first such use of this architectural feature in France. In 1166, a early forerunner of Gothic architecture was added: the chevet, a semicircular east end of a church, featuring flying buttresses and rosette windows. Nine additional towers and spires were added in the 13th century.

During the French Revolution it ceased to function as a Benedictine abbey and functioned as a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey was the home of the Lycée Malherbe, a prestigious high school. During the World War II invasion of Normandy the church was used as a hospital and a refuge from bombings.

The origin of this abbey and the nearby companion Abbaye aux Dames (Ladies' Abbey) has a fascinating history. William I, the Duke of Normandy, later William the Conqueror, wished to marry Matilda of Flanders, the daughter of Count Baldwin V of Flanders, to enhance his claim to the throne of Normandy. A marriage was arranged in 1049, but at the Council of Rheims, Pope Leo IX issued an edit forbidding the marriage on the grounds of consanguinity as Matilda was a distant cousin of William I. Despite the edict, William and Matilda were married about the year 1050. In 1059, Lanfranc, the prior of Bec Abbey, negotiated and arrangement with Pope Nicholas II. The marriage would be granted the sanction of the Pope in Rome only after William and Matilda agreed to build two churches in Caen - the Abbaye aux Hommes and the nearby Abbaye aux Dames.

The stamp was issued by France on December 22, 1951 around the 900th anniversary of the marriage of William I of Normandy to Matilda of Flanders.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Philatelic Photograph: Église Sainte Pierre - Caen, France

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Église Sainte Pierre
(St. Peter's Church)
Normandy, France
Topic: Philatelic Photographs
West Façade - Église Sainte Pierre
GPS: N49° 11.058; W000° 21.661
Quick Description: 

Église Sainte Pierre (St. Peter's Church) is located at the Place Sainte Pierre east of the massive castle of  William I (William the Conquerer) the Duke of Normandy in Caen.

Long Description:

The Church of St. Peter was founded in the late 10th century and early 11th century. It's location between the harbor and the Ducal Castle places it in the economic center of the city. In the 1300's the nave and the upper parts of the tower were completed. are completed and the west and north portals were added. The 245' spire dates back to 1308. In the 16th century the apse was modified and chapels were added.

The church was partially destroyed during both the Wars of Religion (1562–98) and the French Revolution (1787-1799). During World War II the church, as was much of Caen, was destroyed by allied bombing. The spire fell down crushing the nave. Repairs under the auspices of the Department of Historic Monuments, was completed in 1957. Finally, a new organ was installed in 1997.

The church is a good example of transition between Gothic and Renaissance architecture. The nave is of Gothic design while the newer apse built by Hector Sohier between 1518 and 1545 is of Renaissance design.

The stamp was issued by France on June 1, 1963 as part of an ongoing series of stamps dedicated to French cities. It depicts Église St-Pierre on the left and a round tower from the William the Conquerer the Duke of Normandy's castle on the right.

Round Tower - Ducal Palace

Friday, June 21, 2013

Philatelic Photograph: Joan of Arc Memorial Cross - Rouen, France

Interesting Places I've Visited
Joan of Arc Memorial Cross
Normandy, France
Topic: Philatelic Photographs
Memorial Cross on the Church Grounds
Joan of Arc Memorial Cross
GPS: N49° 26.593; E 001° 05.282

Quick Description: 

The Joan of Arc Memorial Cross is located next to L'église Sainte-Jeanne-d'Arc at the west end of the Rue du Gros Horloge in Rouen.

Long Description:

Joan of Arc was born into a peasant family in Domrémy, France about 1412. Beginning at about age 12 she claimed to experience visions directing her to drive the English out of France and pave the way for the coronation of a French king. Claiming to be guided by God, she led the French army to important victories in the Hundred Years' War, which led to Charles VII assuming the throne of France.

She was captured by the Burgundians, and purchased by the English from Duke Philip of Burgundy and put on trial before the Bishop Pierre Cauchon on charges of heresy. At age 19, she was found guilty and burned at the stake in Rouen on May 30, 1431 . Twenty-five years later Pope Callixtus III pronounced her innocent and declared her a martyr. Joan of Arc was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920. She is now the one of patron saint of France.

The national monument to Joan of Arc is located at the site of her death in Rouen. During World War II, Rouen was completely devastated. The church of St. Vincent, which stood near the market place was completely destroyed. A new church was build in the market place using the preserved stained glass windows of the destroyed church. L'église Sainte-Jeanne-d'Arc (The Church of Saint Joan of Arc) was designed by architect Louis Arretche and completed in 1979.

The church has a modern design with a curved roof line that is based on an overturned Viking ship and also represent the flames that killed Joan of Arc. On the grounds on the west side of the church is the Joan of Arc Memorial Cross, a 65' high iron Cross of Lorraine that is visible from all directions as it soars above the roof line of the church. The cross was placed on the exact site where archaeological evidence indicates that Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. The cross is the National monument to Joan of Arc.

The stamp was issued by France on May 24, 1979 to correspond with the completion of the church and the dedication of the Joan of Arc Memorial Cross.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Philatelic Photograph: Gros Horloge - Rouen, France

Gros Horloge
(Great Clock)
Normandy, France
Topic: Philatelic Photographs
Gros Horloge
Gros Horloge

GPS: N49° 26.490; E001° 05.480

Quick Description: 

The Gros Horloge is an 16th century astronomical clock located on the Rue de Horloge in Rouen, France.

Long Description:

The Gros Horloge is a double sided clock located in a Renaissance style archway joining a church belfry and crossing the Rue de Horloge. The dial is 2.5 meters in diameter. It is a landmark in the city of Rouen.

Since 1409, a clock face has been installed on an archway gate in the ancient Roman walls. The current archway and the double sided clock faces were rebuilt between 1527-1529. On both clocks faces a single hand indicates the hour. Above the clock face, a globe indicates the phase of the moon. At the bottom under the number VI there is a chariot. At noon, a divinity associated with the day of the week appears on the chariot: the Moon by Diane on Monday, March for Tuesday, Mercury for Wednesday, Jupiter for Thursday, Venus for Friday, Saturn for Saturday and Apollo for Sunday.

The mechanism of the clock is now powered by electricity and keeps accurate time. The clock was restored in 1997 again in 2003. The clock was reopened to the public in December 2006.

The stamp was issued by France on April 24, 1976 to commemorate the 49th Congress of French Philatelic Societies held in Rouen from April 23 to May 2, 1976.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Philatelic Photograph: Palais de Justice - Rouen, France

Interesting Places I've Phorographed
Palais de Justice
Normandy, France
Topic: Philatelic Photographs
Palais de Justice
Palais de Justice
GPS: N49° 26.525; E001° 05.546

Quick Description: 

The Palais de Justice is located one block north of the Rue de Horloge on the Rue aux Juifs the center of Rouen, France.

Long Description:

The Palais de Justice (Courthouse) in Rouen is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. The construction of the building had its origin in 1494 when the city councilors passed a resolution to build a new market for the merchants of the city. This building evolved into the present day courthouse.

The building was built under the reign of Louis XII to a design by architects Roger Ango and Roulland le Roux between 1499 and 1508. It served as a Royal Palace, housed board of Normandy, and became home to the parliament of Normandy in the sixteenth century.

During World War II the Gothic parts of the structure were severely damaged and have since been restored. The neo-Gothic parts escape destruction.

The wing to the left of the courtyard façade is original Gothic, built between the late fifteenth century and early sixteenth century. It features pinnacles, gargoyles and a railing at the base of the roof. Other parts of the building were built as late as the early twentieth century. The central part of the building is a mixture of Gothic and Renaissance styles.

The stamp was issued by France on January 25, 1975 as part of a three stamp set in the ongoing Tourist Series of stamps.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Philatelic Photograph: Cathédrale de Rouen - Rouen, France

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Cathédrale de Rouen
Upper Normandy,  France
Topic: Philatelic Photographs
Tour Saint Romain and Tour Beurre  
South Portal - Spire
GPS: N49° 26.429; E001° 05.646

Quick Description: 

The Cathédrale de Rouen is located at the east end of the Rue du Gros Horloge in Rouen, France

Long Description:

The construction of the current cathedral began between 1170 - 1180, replacing a series of older churches that date back to the 4th century, with the Romanesque tour Saint Romain on the north side of the western façade, followed by reconstruction of the nave. Fire damaged the cathedral in 1200, which was reconstructed by architect Jean d’Andely according to the original plan. The nave and the choir were soon rebuilt. A lantern tower in the Normandy Gothic style was built over the place where the nave and transept intersect.

In 1270, the nave was widened to accommodate chapels on both sides. The portals on both sides of the transept were added in 1280. In 1485 the southern tower on the western façade, known as la Tour Beurre – the butter tower, was constructed. this feature has an unusual history. In medieval France the population was not allowed to eat butter during the Lenten period between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. However, upon payment of a special tax, consumption of butter was allowed. As a result, the church hierarchy at Rouen raised was able to raise all the funds needed to build this second tower on the west façade, which is still called la Tour Buerre .

In 1540 the lantern tower was raised one level and a 132 meter high spire was added on top of the tower. This was replaced with an even higher current cast-iron spire in 1876,, replacing the original Renaissance spire which was damaged by lightening and fire in 1822. The church now became the tallest building in the world until the Cathedral at Cologne, Germany was built in 1880. The lantern tower and spire suffered bomb damage during World War II. A complete restoration was completed in 1956. The cathedral's tower is the tallest church tower in France.

The stamp was issued by France on October 19, 1957 as part of a set of seven stamps depicting famous sites of France and its overseas districts.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Philatelic Photograph: Eiffel Tower - Paris, France

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Eiffel Tower
Paris, France
Topic: Philatelic Photographs

On our 3rd visit to Paris we finally pose in front of the Eiffel Tower.
GPS: N48° 51.506; E002° 17.585

Quick Description: 

The iconic Eiffel Tower viewed from from the the Trocadero Gardens.

Long Description:

From the Trocadero Gardens across the River Seine you get this unobstructed view of the entire Eiffel Tower.  The iron lattice Eiffel Tower, located on the Champ de Mars, was built in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World's Fair. It was designed and built by engineer Gustave Eiffel, hence its name. The tower is 1,063 ft. tall. When built it was the tallest man-made structure in the world. It is still the tallest building in France.

The Eiffel Tower is one of the the most visited monument in the world; hosting millions of people it every year. The tower has three observation levels that vary in price according to elevation. Restaurants on located on the first two levels.

The stamp was issued in 2009 by France as part of set of 8 stamps in the Images of France Series. The rate is for mailing a 20 gram letter worldwide.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Philatelic Photograph: Palais de Chaillot - Paris, France

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Palais de Chaillot
Paris, France
Topic: Philatelic Photographs

GPS: N48° 51.639; E002° 17.448

Quick Description: 

Palais de Chaillot with Jardins du Trocadéro are located directly across the River Seine from the Eiffel Tower.

Long Description:

The original Palais de Chaillot was built on top of Chaillot hill for the Paris World's Fair of 1878. Then called the Palais du Trocadero, it was a large concert hall with two wings and two towers. When Paris was to host the 1937 World's Fair, plans for a new Palais de Chaillot were proposed. It was designed in the modern style by architects: Louis-Hippolyte Boileau, Jacques Carlu and Léon Azéma.

Built on the foundation of the old Palais, it followed the same basic form of its predecessor. Two unconnected towers anchored two wings that formed a very wide arc. In the center is a wide esplanade that affords spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower, across the Seine.

Several museums and an aquarium (Cinéaqua) are found in the Palais de Chaillot. The south wing holds the Naval Museum (Musée de la Marine) and the The Museum of Man (Musée de l'Homme).

A museum that showcases French architecture, the Cité de L'architecture et du Patrimoine, opened in 2007. The 1,200 seat Théâtre National de Chaillot is located below the esplanade. , it was the center of Parisian culture following World War II and is still a popular location for concerts and plays.

At the foot of the terrace of the Palais de Chaillot are the Jardins du Trocadéro (Trocadero Gardens). The garden is a large rectangle containing Paris' largest fountain pond which is surrounded by statuary.

Palais de Chaillot and Trocadero Gardens from the Eiffel Tower 
The huge arc of the building can be best seen from the second level of the Eiffel Tower. The ground level view on the stamp captures the fountain pond, esplanade, north and south towers, and only a small portion of arc of the buildings wings. 

In 1948 and again in 1951 the United Nations General Assembly met at the Palais de Chaillot. The stamp was issued in 1948 to commemorate the first meeting of United Nations General Assembly in Paris.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Philatelic Photograph: Les Invalides - Paris, France

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Les Invalides
Paris, France
Topic: Philatelic Photographs

N 48° 51.447 E 002° 18.756

Quick Description: 

Les Invalides, officially L'Hôtel National des Invalides - The National Residence of the Invalids, is located on the left bank of the River Seine opposite the Pont Alexandre III in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, France.

Long Description:

Les Invalides a large complex of buildings consisting of the Musée de l'Armée, Église Saint-Louis-des-Invalides, a hospital, retirement home, mausoleum, and fifteen courtyards. Construction of the complex began in 1671 under the regime of King Louis XIV and based on a design by architects Libéral Bruant, Jules Hardouin Mansart. It was completed in 1676 and dedicated in 1678. It did not have chapel. In 1679, the veteran's chapel, Église Saint-Louis des Invalides, was added. Shortly after the veterans' chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme which was inspired by St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The Baroque dome, which was finished in 1708, is the most prominent feature of the Invalides complex. The original purpose of Les Invalides was to provide a home for aged and sick soldiers.

Les Invalides has a fascinating history. On July 14, 1789 Les Invalides was seized by Parisian rioters who acquired the cannons and muskets to use, that day, against the Bastille. The mausoleum of Napoleon Bonaparte was located under the dome in 1840. In 1872, the Musée d'Artillerie (Artillery Museum) and later, in 1896, Musée Historique des Armées (Historical Museum of the Armies) was established within the complex. The two museums were merged in 1905 into the present day Musée de l'Armée. The buildings were used as a major retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century and still provides housing and care for about 100 former soldiers.

The view on the stamp and the photograph is from the north with the Baroque dome, designed by Mansart, above, behind, and offset to the left of the pediment of the central block designed by Bruant. The public esplanade (Esplanade des Invalides) stretches before the structure forming a large open public space in the middle of Paris. The stamp was issued by France on September 2, 2006 as part of set of 10 stamps in the ongoing Aspects of Life in French Regions series of stamps.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Philatelic Photograph: Pont Alexandre III and the Petit Palais - Paris, France

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Pont Alexandre III and the Petit Palais
Paris, France
Topic: Philatelic Photographs

N 48° 51.783 E 002° 18.791

Quick Description: 

The Pont Alexandre III is considered to be the most beautiful bridge in Paris. It frames the Petit Palais on the right bank of the River Seine.

Long Description:

Pont Alexandre III was constructed the end of the 19th century as part of a series of projects undertaken for Universal Exposition of 1900. The bridge joined Exposition sites on the right and left banks of the River Seine.

The bridge was designed by architects Joseph Cassien-Bernard and Gaston Cousin and built by the engineers Jean Résal and Amédée d'Alby. The bridge has to meet strict requirements not to obscuring the view of the Champs-Élysées or the Invalides. Thus the bridge is only 132' wide, has a single 353' long span, and a height of only 20'.

The bridge is lavishly decorated with Art Nouveau style lampposts and sculptures of cherubs and nymphs. On each end of bridge are large gilded sculptures on 56' high granite pillars.

The first stone for the bridge was laid by the Russian Tsar Nicolas II in October 1896. The bridge symbolizes Russian-French friendship and was named after the Tsar's father, Tsar Alexander III.

The Petit Palais was also built for the Universal Exposition in the year 1900. Originally it was meant to be a temporary structure, displaying a large exposition of French art. The Beaux Arts-style building was designed by Charles Girault and became a favorite with Parisians, who refused to raze the building. Currently it is the home of the Musée des Beaux-Arts.

The airmail stamp was issued by France on June 13, 1949 to commemorate the International Telegraph and Telephone Conference which was held in Paris from May to July 1949.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Philatelic Photograph: Palais Bourbon - Paris, France

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Palais Bourbon
Paris, France
Topic: Philatelic Photographs

GPS: N48° 51.742; E002° 19.130

Quick Description: 

The Palais Bourbon is located on the left bank of the Seine across from the Place de la Concorde in Paris, France

Long Description:

The Palais Bourbon was built between 1722 and 1728 to a design by the Italian architect Lorenzo Giardini and approved by Jules Hardouin-Mansart. Giardini oversaw construction until his death in 1724. Then Jacques Gabriel assumed control with the assistance of L'Assurance and other designers. The Palais was built for the daughter of Louis XIV and Françoise-Athénaïs, Marquise de Montespan - Louise-Françoise de Bourbon, Duchesse de Bourbon.

During the French Revolution the Palais Bourbon was nationalized, and the Council of the Five Hundred met in the palace from 1798. Fontanes, following wishes of Napoleon to create a grander Paris, commissioned the pedimented Roman portico, designed by architect Bernard Poyet, to be added to the front of the Palais facing the Place de la Concorde. The Roman portico was completed in 1808.

The Bourbon Restoration followed the reign of Napoleon. Prince de Condé returned from exile and took possession of the Palais. He a large portion of the Palais to the Chamber of Deputies. In 1827, The Palais was bought outright from his heir for 5,250,000 francs. The Chamber of Deputies was then able to further modify the Palais to better suit their work. Delacroix did some of the interior decorating and the pediment was re-sculpted by French artist Jean-Pierre Cortot.

Today the Palais Bourbon is the seat of the French National Assembly, the lower legislative chamber of the French government.

The stamp was issued on August 28, 1971 to commemorate the 59th Conference of the Interparliamentary Union.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Philatelic Photograph: Musée d'Orsay - Paris, France

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Musée d'Orsay
Paris, France
Topic: Philatelic Phorographs

GPS: N48° 51.637; E 002° 19.542

Quick Description:

The Musée d'Orsay (Orsay Museum) a world class art museum located on the left bank of the Seine in central Paris.

Long Description:

The Musée d'Orsay is located in the former Beaux-Arts style Orsay railway station, which was designed by Laloux for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. The conversion of the station was done in 1979 by the ACT architecture group, comprised of M. Bardon, M. Colboc and M. Philippon. The great hall of the railway station is used as the main artery of the museum and the glass awning became the museum's entrance.

The building is 619' long, 246 wide and 104' high. The museum is organized on three levels. Galleries occupy the ground floor, terraces on the mid-level overlook the galleries, The upper floor is installed above the lobby and covers the length of the Quai and contains the restaurant. Exhibition spaces and different facilities are located throughout the three levels.

The Musée d'Orsay opened to the public on December 9, 1986 and features collections of art from 1848 to 1914 period. It is exhibits the world's largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings. The collection was formed with works coming mainly from three establishments: from the Louvre museum, for the works of artists born after 1820 or coming to the fore during the Second Republic; from the Musée du Jeu de Paume, which since 1947 had been devoted to Impressionism; and lastly from the National Museum of Modern Art, which, when it moved in 1976 to the Centre Georges Pompidou, only kept works of artists born after 1870. On average, over 3,000,000 visitors view the collection each year.

The stamp was issued on June 18, 2012 as a single stamp commemorating the Musée d'Orsay.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Philatelic Photograph: Resistance Memorial - Paris, France

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Resistance Memorial
Paris, France
Topic: Philatelic Photographs

GPS: N48° 50.902; E002° 20.322

Quick Description:

Resistance Memorial is located in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, France

Long Description:

A memorial placed in the northeast part of the Luxembourg Gardens pays homage to the members of the Resistance Movement in France during World War II. Placed by a group identified as Student Resistance, it features a pair of life-sized bronze figures. A standing figure holds his head up high and a fallen comrade, who is lying on his side with his head facing back, is at the feet of the standing figure.
The low pedestal is inscribed in on the front:


Friend. If you fall a friend comes out of the shadows to take your place.
Student Resistance

The statue was sculpted by Gaston Watkins in 1956. The semi-postal stamp was issued in 1964 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the liberation of France in World War II.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Philatelic Photograph: Palais du Luxembourg - Paris, France

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Palais du Luxembourg
Paris, France
Topic: Philatelic Photographs

GPS: N48° 50.860; E002° 20.234

Quick Description: 

Palais du Luxembourg (Luxembourg Palace) is located on the left bank of the River Seine in in Paris, France

Long Description:

After Henri IV was assassinated, his widow, Marie de Medici, decided to build herself a luxurious palace in the Luxembourg district of Paris. The palace was built between 1615-1627 to a design by architect Salomon de Brosse. The Palais du Luxembourg then housed a succession of France's nobility. In 1792, was taken over by Revolutionaries and converted into a prison. In 1797, Napoleon I installed the Senate in the Palace, for a brief time. The Senate returned to the Palace in 1879, where it is today.

Adjacent to the palace is the Jardin du Luxembourg (Luxembourg Gardens), one of the largest and most beautiful parks in Paris.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Philatelic Photograph: Cathédrale de Notre Dame de Paris - Paris, France

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Cathédrale de Notre Dame de Paris
Paris, France
Topic: Philatelic Photographs

GPS: N48° 51.193; E002° 20.940

Quick Description: 

Cathédrale de Notre Dame de Paris (Cathedral of Our Lady of Paris) is a historic Roman Catholic Marian cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, France.

Long Description:

Cathédrale de Notre Dame is a world famous example of French Gothic architecture. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Paris. Construction began when the cornerstone was laid in 1163. By 1182 the apse and choir were completed. Work began on the west façade about 1200 and was completed in 1225. By 1250, the western towers and the north rose window were complete. From 1245–1260 the transepts remodelled in the Rayonnant style by Jean de Chelles. he also added the gabled portal to the north which contains the hallmark rose window. Pierre de Montreuil then duplicated these elements on the south transept.

South Rose Window
Notre Dame de Paris was among the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress to support the exterior walls. The many small statues around the outside serve as supports for columns and water spouts, the famous gargoyles. 

The cathedral was extensively damaged during the French Revolution of 1789 - 1799 and subsequently restored to its original Gothic condition by order of Napoleon under the supervision of Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. In 1804, Napoleon crowned himself Emperor inside the Cathédrale de Notre Dame.

The stamp was issued by France in 2010 as part of an ongoing series of four stamps showing landmarks in European capital series. In 2010, the home country capital of Paris was selected. The stamp and depicts the south façade of Notre Dame as viewed from the riverbank across the River Seine.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Philatelic Photograph: La Conciergerie - Paris, France

Interesting Places I've Photographed
La Conciergerie
Paris, France
Topic: Philatelic Photographs

GPS: N48° 51.370; E002° 20.781

Quick Description: 

La Conciergerie is located on the Quai de l'Horloge on Île de la Cité near the Pont au Change in Paris.

Long Description:

The site of the present La Conciergerie was the Palace of French Kings from the 10th century until they moved to the Louvre in 1358. The Conciergerie became a prison in 1391 and played a significant and dramatic role during the 1789 French Revolution. Around 2,780 prisoners, including Marie-Antoinette, were held here before being taken from La Conciergerie to be executed on the guillotine at a number of locations around Paris. After the Revolution La Conciergerie continued to be used for important prisoners, notably Napoleon III. Today, it is part of the larger complex known as the Palais de Justice, which is still used for judicial purposes.

The Gothic-style La Conciergerie includes the remains of the oldest royal palace in Paris and was first constructed at the start of the 14th century. Located on an island in the middle of the River Seine, the location was chosen by King Philippe IV, known as Philippe The Fair, in the early 14th Century as the place where he would build a palace to symbolise his power. A few remnants of the Conciergerie remain from the Middle Ages. The Silver Tower, which supposedly housed the royal treasury; the Caesar Tower, named for the Roman emperors; and the Bonbec Tower, which housed a torture chamber.

Recently, the mounted clock on the clock tower has been restored to is former splendor.

The stamp was issued by France in 1947 as part of a set of four stamps depicting Paris sites and commemorating the 12th Congress of the Universal Postal Union held in Paris from May 7 to July 7, 1947.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Philatelic Photograph: Hôtel de Ville - Paris, France / Palazzo Senatorio - Rome, Italy

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Hôtel de Ville (City Hall)
Paris, France
Capitoline Hill & Palazzo Senatorio (City Hall)
Rome, Italy 
Topic; Philatelic Photographs

GPS (Paris): N48° 51.386; E002° 21.106 
GPS (Rome): N41° 53.624; E012° 28.916

Quick Description: 

The Hôtel de Ville is the home to the municipal government and the place where large receptions are held. It is located in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, on the right bank of the river Seine.

Long Description:
This site has been the location of Paris' city hall since 1357, when a building called the House of Pillars was situated in the middle of a commercial dock area. The building as we see it today dates back to 1533 when King Francis I ordered the old building razed and the construction of a new and grander city hall for Paris. The King appointed the architects Dominique de Cortone and Pierre Chambiges to design the structure. They planned a Renaissance style building modelled after a French château. The work on the building continued until 1628, during the reign of Louis XIII.

For 200 years the building remained unchanged. In 1835, Rambuteau - the préfet of the Seine département, commissioned Étienne-Hippolyte Godde and Jean-Baptiste Lesueur. to design two wings, linked by a gallery, to be added to the main building.

During the Franco-Prussian War, on 18 January 1871, a crowd gathered outside the building to protest against surrender to the Prussians. The Paris Commune occupied the Hôtel de Ville and as anti-Commune troops approached the building, Communards set fire to the Hôtel de Ville destroying the interior and leaving only an exterior shell.
Reconstruction by architects Théodore Ballu and Édouard Deperthes began in 1873 and continued until 1892. A great deal of art was added to the building. Over 230 sculptors, including Auguste Rodin, produced the 338 works of art that now decorate the building.

The stamp was issued by France on October 11, 1958. It depicts the Hôtel de Ville on the left and the Capitoline Hill and the City Hall of Rome on the right. In between is written JUMELADE (TWINNING). It was issued to foster greater cultural and economic ties between he capitals of Paris and Rome.


The Capitoline Hill Cordonata 
Palazzo Senatorio
Rome, Italy

Quick Description: 

The Capitoline Hill Cordonata leads up to the Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome.

Long Description:

The Cordonata in Rome is a sloping pedestrian pathway which has ramps with widely spaced transverse risers in place of regular steps. It leads up from the Piazza di Ara Coeli to the Piazza del Campidoglio. This area of Rome was designed by Michelangelo from 1536–1546. 

At the top of Capitoline Hill is Rome's civic center, the Palazzo Senatorio. Built during the 13th and 14th century, the Palazzo Senatorio "Senatorial Palace" is where once the Roman archives were stored. The Palazzo Senatorio now houses Rome's city hall. 

The statues leading up to the Piazza del Campidoglio represent the Dioscuri - the mortal Castor and the immortal Pollux, the mythical twins of the immortal Zeus and mortal Tyndareus. The pair are the patrons of sailors.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Philatelic Photograph: Pont Neuf - Paris, France

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Pont Neuf
(New Bridge)
Paris, France
Topic: Philatelic Photographs

GPS: N48° 51.465; E002° 20.511

Quick Description: 

The Pont Neuf (New Bridge) spans the River Seine at the western tip of the medieval part of Paris, the Île de la Cité.

Long Description:

Ironically, the Pont Neuf (New Bridge) is the oldest bridge across the river Seine in Paris, France. The bridge is composed of two separate spans. Five arches join the left bank to the river island the Île de la Cité. Seven arches join the island to the right bank. The characteristic bastions between the arches give the bridge a fortified appearance. At one time the bridge merely skirted the tip of the island; but, the buildup of a sandbar on the downstream portion of the island has created a large parcel of land which is now a public park, the Square du Vert-Galant.

In 1577, King Henry III decided to construct a bridge across the Seine. The King laid the first stone in 1578 under the direction of Baptiste Androuet du Cerceau. In the same year the foundations of four piers and one abutment were completed. After a long delay, beginning in 1588, due in part to the Wars of Religion, construction was resumed in 1599. The bridge was opened on 20 June 1603, under the reign of Henry IV. The King christened it four years later, in 1607, with the name it bears today.

Over the years, the Pont Neuf has undergone a great deal of repair and renovation. From 1848 - 1855, the seven arches of the northern arm were modified by changing the arches from an nearly semi-circular to compound curve arches in order to reduce the slope of bridge. The roadway and sidewalks were lowered and faces of the piers, spandrels, cornices, and corbels were restored to their original appearance. A major restoration of the Pont Neuf was begun in 1994 and was completed in 2007, the year of its 400th anniversary.

The Pont Neuf has a total length of 238 meters and is 20 meters wide. The span of the arch is 15 to 19 meters on the larger arm and 10 to 16 meters on the small arm.

The stamp was issued by France on May 27, 1978 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the start of construction of the bridge. It depicts the north arm of the Pont Neuf looking upstream from the west with the Île de la Cité in the background. The engraving suggests the appearance of the bridge in the 16th century. The buildings of the Île de la Cité appear as they do today with one (artistic?) exception. La Conciergerie occupies the north bank of the island and the symmetrical buildings of the Place Dauphine at the tip of the island are easily recognize. However, on the stamp, the iconic Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris is prominent on the far east end of the island. However, from this vantage point on the right bank, the famous cathedral cannot be seen.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Philatelic Photograph: Louvre (Perrault's) Colonnade - Paris, France

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Louvre (Perrault's) Colonnade
Paris, France
Topic: Philatelic Photographs

GPS: N48° 51.600; E002° 20.397

Quick Description: 

The Colonnade by Claude Perrault’s occupies the easternmost façade of the Palais du Louvre in Paris, France.

Long Description:

The Palais du Louvre is a former royal palace situated on the right bank of he River Seine. It dates back to the medieval period, but its present appearance has evolved in stages since the 16th century. It was the actual seat of power in France until Louis XIV moved to Versailles in 1682.

In 1665, King Louis XIV held a design competition for a design for the eastern façade of the Louvre Palace. The winner was Claude Perrault, triumphing over Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Claude Perrault’s Classical Colonnade was constructed between 1667 and 1670. It was inspired by writing of the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius, author of treatise The Ten Books on Architecture. Architects Louis Le Vau and artist Charles Le Brun contributed to the completion of the Colonnade.

The façade is divided into five parts. The ground floor basement has paired Corinthian columns with pavilions at the ends. Columns form a colonnade with a central pediment and triumphal arch entrance. It is topped with an Italian balustrade along its flat roof. This design was, at the time, a sharp departure from traditional French architecture.

The stamp was issued in 1947 as part of set of four stamps depicting famous Paris sites issued to commemorate the 12th Congress of the Universal Postal Union held in Paris from May 7 to July 7, 1947.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Philatelic Photograph: Arc of Triomphe du Carrousel - Paris, France

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Arc of Triomphe du Carrousel
Paris, France
Topic: Philatelic Photographs

GPS: N48° 51.703; E002° 19.981

Quick Description: 

The Arc of Triomphe du Carrousel is located in the Jardin du Carrousel between the Tuileries Garden and the Louvre in Paris, France.

Long Description:

This beautiful arch of triumph was commissioned by Napoleon to celebrate the victory of his army at Austerlitz. It occupies a prominent place between the Tuileries Garden and the Pyramid entrance to the Louvre.

The monument is 63 feet, 75 feet wide, and 24 feet deep. The central arch is 21 feet high. Two smaller arches on either side are 14 feet high, and 9 feet wide. Eight marble Corinthian columns are each topped by a statue of a soldier.

On bas-relief sculptures, on the the pediment between the soldiers, depict:

The Arms of the Kingdom of Italy with figures representing History and the Arts. The Arms of the French Empire with Victory, Fame, History, and Abundance. Wisdom and Strength holding the arms of the Kingdom of Italy, accompanied by Prudence and Victory.

Napoleon's diplomatic and military victories are commemorated by bas-reliefs executed in rose marble. They depict:

The Peace of Pressburg, Napoleon entering Munich, Napoleon entering Vienna, by sculptor Louis-Pierre Deseine, the Battle of Austerlitz, by sculptor Jean-Joseph Espercieux, the Tilsit Conference, the surrender of Ulm, by sculptor Pierre Cartellier.

A sign, in French, near the arch tells its history:

En 1807 - 1809, Napoléon 1er fit édifier un arc de
triomphe formant le portail monumental de la
cour du Carrousel, devant le château des Tuileries,
sa résidence impériale. Copié sur le modèle de
l'arc de Septime Sévère à Rome. dessiné par les
architectes Percier et Fontaine, l'arc est un hommage
a la Grande Armée, victorieuse à Austerlitz.
la directeur du musée du Louvre, Dominique
Vivant Denon, donna les sujets des relief qui
illustrent la campagne millitare de 1805 et la
capitulation d'Ulm la même année. La peintre
Charles Meynier en décida les compositions,
transcrites en marbre par les
meilleus sculpteurs de l'époque. Au
sommet se dressait un quadrige tiré
par les chevaux de saint-Marc, prélevés
à Venise en 1798. Sous la Restauration,
ces bronzes antiques retournerent
en Italie, et le sculpture Bosio exécuta
l'image de la france conduisant
un nouveau quadrige. Il est encadre
par deux statues de plomb doré, dues
à François lemont (1808) La Paix et
La Victorie.

English translation:

In 1807-1809, Napoleon I commissioned building an arc of
triumph forming the monumental Portal from the
the carousel Court, before the Tulleries Castle,
his imperial residence. Copy on the model
the Arch of Septimius Severus in Rome. Designed by the
Architects Percier and Fontaine, the arc is a tribute
to the Grand Army, victorious at Austerlitz.
The Director of the Museum of the Louvre, Dominique
Living Denon, gave the subjects of the relief that
illustrate the military campaign of 1805 and the
capitulation of Ulm the same year. The painter
Charles Meynier in decided the compositions,
transcribed in marble by the
best sculptors of the time. At the
Summit stood a Quadriga pulled
the horses of Saint Mark, taken
from Venice in 1798. After restoration,
these ancient bronzes were returned to
Italy, and the sculptor Bosio executed a sculpture
the their image for France creating
a new Quadriga. It is framed
by two statues of gilded lead, by
François Lemont (1808) - Peace and Victory.

The stamp was issued by Cambodia in 1990 to commemorate the World Chess Championship between Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov held in Lyon, France. It series of 7 stamps shows famous French landmarks and various chess pieces.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Philatelic Photograph: L'Air - Paris, France

Interesting Places I've Photographed
L'Air (Air) 
Paris, France
Topic: Philatelic Photographs

GPS: N48° 51.765; E002° 19.888

Quick Description: 

The sculpture L'Air is located in the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris, France.

Long Description:

L'Air (Air) is an allegorical lead sculpture by Aristide Maillol. The 50.75" by 92.75" by 38" statue of a reclining nude female figure is located in the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris.  The figure is lying on her right hip with her body and legs raised. She seems to be floating on air (or is actually air itself). Her right arm pointing downward and forward at a 90 degree angle and her left arm outstretched and parallel to her body. The model for the work was 19 year old Dina Vierny.  Mallol created the model for the sculpture in plaster in 1938. Both lead and bronze casts were made after his death in 1944.  Other copies of this sculpture are located at the Kröller-Müller Museum,  J. Paul Getty Museum, Norton Simon Museum, and Kimbell Art Museum.

The  stamp was issued by France on April 20, 1974 as part of a two stamp set in the Europa series featuring European sculptures.