(HDR from 3 handheld exposures)
In my old age I’ve come to love classical music over anything else. If I *had* to pick, I’d say that Vivaldi’s cello concertos are my favorite in the genre. Another favorite piece is Handel’s Organ Concerto #13.
I think pipe organs are pretty cool and I love to here them in person. A few years back we attended a wedding in a huge San Antonio church and the beautiful organ was used for preludes as guests arrived. Quite enjoyable…
My wife and I were fortunate enough to listen to an organ recital at Saint-Sulpice Church in Paris (organ is pictured above). There are regular Sunday afternoon recitals which are typically performed by an American organist named Daniel Roth. There is another organist who occasionally plays and we never did find out who was playing that day. The organ is approximately 150 years old and is nearly the same now as when it was first installed (an electric blower being the most significant addition).
The church itself is quite amazing. The current building was mostly constructed in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. However, even the today the church is technically not finished as one tower was replaced in the late 18th century but its planned twin was never built (an old mismatching tower remains). Saint-Sulpice is comparable in size to Notre Dame Cathedral (barely smaller) and we found it just as interesting inside. The image below gives a view of one small portion of the interior.
One of the important shots from Paris…my wife and I on a bridge over the Seine.
Paris is amazing. Almost everything was more impressive than my expectations. The Louvre — to my wife and I the building itself was more impressive than the art itself. Even though I had read many times how big the place was it still exceeded my expectations. Notre Dame — bigger and more impressive (inside and out) than pictures can possibly convey. We were really impressed by the architecture of Les Invalides (where Napoleon’s tomb is) which was a place we’d never really heard of before. The average building along any street might have sculptures and immense, impressive doorways. Etc, etc, etc. As much as we like Washington D.C. we’ve decided that Paris makes D.C. look like a kiddie park.
Here’s a shot of my wife in one of the rooms of the Louvre. Very cool.
We ended up in Paris by planning a trip to Italy. Paris wasn’t even on the list of places that I necessarily planned to visit in my lifetime. Long story short we found out that flying to Paris would use 40k frequent flyer miles each vs 120k each to fly to Rome. Then the plan became “fly to Paris, spend a day or two, then night train to Milan to begin our Italy adventure”. As we planned the “day or two” in Paris we discovered a couple month’s worth of stuff we wanted to see and do there…it became a Paris trip at that point. No regrets. Lord willing, an Italy trip will happen at a later date.
As I mentioned in a previous post this was *not* a photo trip. I took plenty of photos (probably 1000-ish) but only a handful were thought-out shots. Shot mostly jpeg. Never once used a tripod. In reality this made it a much better trip because in “photography mode” I could have spent hours at about every street corner. I found that I used my 10-20mm about 90% of the time…getting pretty addicted to that lens (Raul Touzon’s doing) but I wish it were far sharper.
The shot below is the entrance to the Paris Opera (or Palais Garnier or a host of other names). This was taken after we got off the bus from the airport — great place to start hitting the streets of Paris. The people on the balcony give a sense of size. Inside Musee d’Orsay there’s a cutaway view of this building which is really cool to see.
We had an incredible time together visiting the sights, walking the streets, hanging out at cafes. Worth every penny we spent. We found the French very friendly and willing to suffer through our pathetic French phrases before they answered in (usually) excellent English. It was a positive experience all around and I can’t wait to go back.