The Montparnasse Tower (Tour Montparnasse), built in 1973, was one of the first skyscrapers in Paris. A visit to the tower's observation deck is rewarded with a magnificent view over the city. Constructed from 1969 to 1972, it was the tallest skyscraper in France until 2011, when it was surpassed by the 231 m (758 ft) Tour First. The project started as a redevelopment scheme of the Montparnasse and Maine railway stations in 1958 and had strong support from the new government. The tower's simple architecture, large proportions and monolithic appearance have been often criticized for being out of place in Paris's urban landscape. Two years after its completion, the construction of skyscrapers in the city center was banned. All that having been said, it is a great place to see Paris from above, without the long lines at the Eiffel Tower. It stays open until 10:30 PM so you can see the lights. From the top of the Tour Montparnasse you can see the Eiffel Tower against the semicircular Palais de Chaillot and the Paris skyline as seen in the photo above.
It was a beautiful, sunny spring day, so we decided to go to Montmartre for some fresh air. The word Montmartre is translated to mean “mountain of the martyr” and was derived from the martyrdom of Saint Denis, the bishop of Paris, who was decapitated on the hill in 250 AD. Montmartre's most recognizable landmark is the Basilica Sacré-Coeur, constructed from 1876 to 1912. The white dome of this Roman Catholic basilica sits at the highest point in the city, at the summit of the “butte Montmartre” and the church is visited by millions of tourists each year. This hill outside the city was settled because, during the 19th century, Haussmann under Napoleon III redeveloped Paris and gave much of the prime land inside the city to his wealthy friends, who were charged with the task of developing it. The original inhabitants were forced to move to Paris's outskirts where they quickly established their own “town” without the rules and regulations of the city.
They were having an exhibition of Félix Zeim at the Petit Palace and we decided to go. Starting his career in the shadow of Delacroix and ending it in Picasso's, the importance of Félix Ziem (1821-1911) in 19th century French art has too often been overlooked. Félix Ziem is an artist of the pre-impressionist generation who has a unique style inspired by the chromatic variations between the sky and the sea. His paintings of Venice and Constantinople were very successful among the collectors of the time and remain sought after icons of 19th century travel painting today. His contemporaries; Théophile Gautier, Théodore Rousseau and Chopin all held him in great esteem. An extensive traveller, friend of the Barbizon school of artists, admirer of Claude Lorrain and JMW Turner, Ziem played a unique part in the 19th century art world. At the end of his life, concerned with his legacy, Ziem had put aside a significant body of work, 171 drawings, paintings and watercolours, to donate to the brand new City of Paris Beaux-Arts Museum. Two small notes, he did not date his works, thus no dates occur in my captions and unlike my previous posts I did not include the frames because the are for the most part simple wood.