The Winged Victory of Samothrace

One of the most beautiful pieces of history that you will see on display at the Louvre is The Winged Victory of Samothrace or The Nike of Samothrace.

It was on my first visit to the Louvre that I met her, she is truly a breath-taking sight to behold when you first see her. She meets ever visitor to the Louvre with the same defiant yet elegant stance. This image of triumphant spirit has graced her honored position in the Louvre since 1884 and is a sculpture known the world over.

This wonderful beauty was first discovered by armature french archaeologist  Charles Champoiseau in April of 1863 on the Greek Island of Samothrace, which is located in the northern Aegean Sea. The statue contains a partial inscription on the base that includes the word Rhodios (Rhodes). For those that are into history you will know that at one time, Rhodes  was the strongest naval power in the Aegean sea. The inscription would then date the statue at 288 BC at the earliest.

It is thought that the statue was commissioned to commemorate a naval battle. The most likely one is thought to be the battle of Cos that took place in 255 BC in which Antigonus II Ganatas of Macedonia was victorious over Ptolomy II of Egypt.

Winged Victory of Samothrace

Winged Victory of Samothrace

The statue itself stands about eight feet high and is made of grey and white Thasian and Parian marble and was originally part of a temple complex that was dedicated to Greek Gods on the Island of Samothrace.

As previously mentioned this statue is known the world over and has been the inspiration for other works. She has been copied several times. Likenesses of Nike can be found at the Ohio State University, Connecticut Collage at Syracuse University and The Estrugamou Building in Buenos Aires Argentina, just to name a few. She has also been made the subject of poetry and song and she has been used as a symbol of freedom throughout the ages.

I hope to see her again one day, perhaps next time I am in Paris…

Paris the City of Light – A Tour by Night

By Jack Profijt

All Rights Reserved J.Profijt
Arc du Triomphe

One of the high lights of this trip was the Paris tour by night. Most people see Paris in the day light hours and spend the evening in the cafes and restaurants having a grand old time. Many do not take the time to see this wonderful place in all of its brilliance.

My wife, through her tireless research discovered there are only two tour operators that offer night tours for the city of Paris. The first is Le Open Tours and the second is Big Bus Tours. Both companies offer Hop on Hop off tours in the day time and offer bundled discounts for those that wish to combine the tours. However the night tours are an additional fee to the day time price. It should also be noted that the night tour for either operator is not a Hop on Hop off excursion.

In the end we decided to go with the Big Bus Tours because their pick up point was closer to our hotel. The only deciding factor between the two operators was the distance of the pick up point from our hotel.  With Le Open tours we would have had to meet at their office which was farther away and we would have had to make arrangements to get there while the Big Bus stop was two minutes walking distance from the hotel. We booked these tickets before we left on our trip and had the voucher in hand when we arrived at the tour. It made things easy and quick and there was no need to for the exchange of cash with the driver. We rode on the top level of the Double Decker bus and started our tour. The late September evening air was little cool but with a light jacket it was quite comfortable. The tour started with a spin around the Arc du

All Rights Reserved J. Profijt
Eiffel Tower 

Triomphe which is an amazing monument. Most people don’t realize this place is war memorial that commemorates many of the glorious and tragic events in Frances past. It also houses the eternal flame for the unknown soldier and is especially poignant at night time.

Next we were off to the Eiffel tower and the Trocadero, to see the tower with thousands of twinkling lights was breath taking to say the least. There are a number of different angles that this monument can be photographed, so you will want to have your camera ready for those awesome shots.  Seeing this old structure in all of its illuminated glory, one can truly see why it is the ever lasting image of Paris.

The tour made its way around all of the usual sights, the Paris Opera House, The Louvre, Notre Dame de Paris, and of coarse the Moulin Rouge just to name a few. The tour itself took about two hours and we were finished and heading back to our hotel around 11:30.

We saw many of the same sites that were seen during the day time tours and to be honest I was a little concerned that this excursion might be a waste of time. However I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. Anyone can travel to Paris and see the sights and get lost in all of the touristy things that are there, however  this excursion was definitely something I would do again if the the opportunity ever came  up.
for me this tour added something to my love of Paris. The illumination of all of the wonderful buildings and cafes and the places filled with lovers was something that will be remembered. It gives almost a magical quality to the place that you just don’t get during the day time hours.

All Rights Reserved J.Profijt
Hotel du Louvre

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Paris The City of Light – trip to The Louvre

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My bucket list keeps getting shorter. There is one more tick in the box. I can now honestly say that any trip to Paris is not complete until you have been to The Louvre.
The Louvre was originally a fortress built in the 12th century. Over its long and illustrious life it has been a royal residence, an Institute for the Humanities, a Royal Institute for the instruction of Painting and Sculpting, and in its current incarnation a museum.
Prior to our departure for Europe, we decided to pre order our tickets for the museum through an organisation called FNAC . FNAC is an international entertainment retail chain offering cultural and retail electronic  products. We ordered the tickets and arranged to pick them up when we arrived in Paris. There was a pick up location right around the corner from our hotel so it was quite convenient. We collected the tickets from an automated ticket booth and it took all of about 2 minutes and we were done.
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A word of advice, if you are planning to go to the Louvre I strongly recommend that you purchase your tickets ahead of time. When we arrived at the museum there was a very long line of people that were waiting there to purchase tickets. When we arrived with our pre purchased tickets we entered in less than 5 minutes, through the line reserved for those that had pre purchased them.
To say the museum was busy is an understatement, however that was expected. Things became a little easier once we picked up our  map and a guide to the museum that was printed in English. When we entered the main portions of the museum, I can honestly say that I was struck dumb. I was in awe of the utter beauty of the place. I’m sure I must have looked like a child with just taking it all in. Room after room of priceless art and statues, my visual senses were just over whelmed and literally around every corner there was something else to see.
The main attraction at the Louvre is the Mona Lisa painted by Leonardo de Vinci. It was painted some time between 1503 and 1506, and it has been on display since 1797.  The room where this painting is displayed is very busy and patience is the order of the day if you plan on getting a solid photograph of this work of art.
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The museum us broken down into different areas, and to see everything in one visit is quite impossible unless you have an unlimited amount of time. There are around eight different collections or departments with some 35000 items on display. They range from Egyptian Antiquities, Near eastern Antiquities, Islamic Art and Paintings just to name a few.
There are also furnishing and items on display that belonged to King Louis the XVI and Maria Antoinette, Queen of France before they  were both executed in 1792 and 1793 respectively. These items have been preserved and are in incredible condition. 
Photography is allowed in the museum as long as you do not use a flash. There are parts of the museum that are very warm, due to the number of people. There were also times that the patron traffic was very congested so if you are a person that gets claustrophobic, take your time and wait for the crowed to pass.
There is a great gift shop in the main lobby  where all manner of items can be purchased including reproductions of some of the statues  and paintings that are on display at the museum. There are also reproductions of ancient jewellery and wide variety of books, however the books appeared to be mostly in French.
This museum is truly a wondrous place, and I could go on for days trying to explain what I have seen, however I do not believe that anything that I write here will do it justice. This cultural treasure  deserves the recognition that it receives. This place is not just a treasure to France but a treasure to the World, and it is somewhere that should not be missed, when visiting Paris.