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Hey, all! I've sort of been buried in a ton of work (those of you who have had the misfortune of hearing me rant about the hypothetical understand) and, well, finals are next week, so I'll still be busy until at least next Friday. I'll try to get the last few batches of Tarot cards up, though, 'cause I want them done with. Hopefully there'll be a set up later today.

However, MORE IMPORTANTLY, I need help!

I'm heading off to France in a few weeks - Paris for a few weeks, then a break-neck tour around some smaller towns (Arras, Blerancourt, Strausborg, you know the drill), then a week or so down in Monaco (which normally I would avoid due to price, but someone very kind has offered to lend me lodging, so I'm going. ^^)

I need advice on where to go and what to do/see - I know a bunch of people here are either francophiles, FR geeks, live in and/or have been to France recently, or a combination of the above. So - help! Anyone have any links to online tour guides (of the French Revolution, Les Miserables, historical geekery, etc. variety)? Suggestions of places to go? Books I should look at? Does anyone have a list of the current locations of the major FR historical sites (Robespierre's house, etc.)? I'm generally interested in historical or fandomish sites, good places to eat, and other stuff to do.

Any advice at all, even the obvious, is extremely welcome! I got nothing, really. ^^

I've sort of left specific planning to the last minute, so, um, help! (I'll be cross-posting part of this to [ profile] revolution_fr, so sorry if you see it twice. Feel free to reply in either!)

(Less related: if you know anything about Switzerland, Germany (Berlin and Munich), Prague or Vienna, it would also be useful - I'm hoping to hit a city on my way out from Paris, and need advice for those places as well)

Date: 2010-04-27 04:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If you're in Paris before the 16th next, we should meet up! Go do...something touristy IDK. One way or t'other, you're going to want to swing by Versailles just out of town, and honestly, with Paris, you can always just pick a direction and walk until you find something historical. There's a museum for *everything*. I don't know about specific FR sites, though.

Date: 2010-04-27 04:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'll be arriving in Paris on May 15th in the morning, so we should definitely meet up!

I full intend to do touristy stuff. ^^ Any recs for touristy stuff in particular? Or should I just ask you on the 15th as to what was fun to do?

Although the request was mostly for FR stuff, any advice is good. What're you planning to do when you're there?

Date: 2010-04-27 04:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sounds like we can juuuuust squeak it in (I leave Paris the morning of the 16th). I haven't done a whole lot of touristy stuff. Mostly I tried to move into the Musée Cluny, but that's medieval, not your period. I'm planning on swooping by the Louvre this week or next, and there are towers and general architecture. Just wandering around can be fun; there's all this *stuff*. I wouldn't mind being dragged around to FR sites either. The gardens and parks are lovely this time of year. Let me think...the outdoor markets are fun, if an excellent way to spend money. And Shakespeare & Company is the most adorable store ever since ever. Full of books!

Date: 2010-04-29 03:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
We just barely overlap, yep! ^__^ And I'd be happy to drag you to FR sites if you drag me to medieval sites - I love history in any sense, so everything works! What good outdoor markets are you thinking?

And I love Shakespeare & Co. I'm assuming it's bigger there than the one in NYC, which is small (though cute, if one discounts the extremely irritating staff). *reeeeally looking forward to this trip*

Date: 2010-04-27 05:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It was years ago when I heard about it, but there was a foodie type boat ride down the Rhine that sounded very interesting. Not sure who was offering it seeing how it was handed to me as part of a larger travel catalog. But something to look into.

Date: 2010-04-27 08:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
In Paris, Ditch your backpack and any "I'M A TOURIST" signs and go for a walk off the beaten track (Though turn around if it looks at all rough). Paris has a LOT of great shops and cafes away from the tourist track and they'll tend to be nicer to the one lone tourist that took time to see something that isn't in a fucking brochure.

Date: 2010-04-27 10:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, of course. Any part of Paris that you'd recommend, though? Just about all of Paris is on the "tourist track" at this point - even the slums have tour guides now....

Date: 2010-04-27 09:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
1. What sort of information do you require re: Berlin? If it's the where-to-stay sort of information - Aletto. BEST BREAKFAST EVER. (Even the coffee is good.) It's so great that you'll stuff yourself with so much of it that you actually won't feel guilty about possibly exhausting your health if you don't eat anything else for the rest of the day because you prefer to spend a double-digit sum of euro on black-and-white postcards of bombed out main streets (in case you're likely to do that sort of thing). (Also, they have clean rooms and an underground station right around the corner.)
There is a really great cocktail bar on Oranienburgerstraße or around there. Actually, there are several Really Great Cocktail Bars 'around there', which may or may not be related to my not remembering the name of the specific one I have in mind. It has red chaiselongues. Possibly.

2. First (sort of) FR-geekery-related thing I can think of: there's a Straße der Pariser Kommune crossing the Karl-Marx-Allee. The sign's more worth taking pictures of than the street itself, though.
You could also have a look at the approximate place/s where Friedrich Carl [von] Savigny lived, not only because he reformed the Prussian law system and was friends with practically everyone who was anyone in German Romanticism but also because Marius translates bits and pieces of him in "Les Misérables" (or is supposed to while spending his days in the Field of the Lark).
Pre-Nazi/WWII historical geekery is difficult in Berlin (whereas there is virtually no aspect of 1945-1989 that hasn't been commercialised - you can actually buy pieces of Wall); I have a lot of former addresses of writers and statesmen, but in ninety percent of cases they have not much more than a plate to their name: 'Alexander von Humboldt was born here, E. T. A. Hoffmann got drunk there'. (Well, it technically it says 'lived here', but the plate is installed at the house that contains the legendary locale featured in "Les Contes d'Hoffmann".) There is a lovely extensive and colourful exhibit on the history of parliamentary democracy in Germany (but if you do want to go there, don't take a guided tour - they're rushed, they have to be; there's enough material in there to take up three hours even if you only look at 1789-1914). The very, very first chapter on its time line deals with the French Revolution and its influence on various German states, though (apart from the German-specific bits, presumably) it'll tell you nothing you didn't know already. Half the castlyplaces with exhibitions are all about Luise this summer, which necessarily means they'll have some Napoléonic history. There's a museum of medical history but its focus is actually on (relatively) recent developments, not much Combeferrean potential.

(I'd like to claim my home village honoured its mention on the Arc de Triomphe with a plate saying 'Jean-Baptiste Jourdan beat the Austrians here' and therefore invite you to come and engage in historical geekery in my backyard, but sadly there is no such plate.)

Date: 2010-04-27 10:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
1, Berlin - I don't need info on where to stay, though if I'm ever in Berlin again I'll definitely keep that in mind. My itinerary is being ruled by "where do I know people who will let me stay with them", so thus I have a place already for Berlin. ^^ Food/drink recs and things to do/see are what I was looking for, mostly.

2, Oh, wow, thanks for all the recs! And links! This is great, I will completely utilize this. : ) This sounds absolutely wonderful! *cackles and evilly plots trip* Any non-French Revolution related things you think are absolutely essential?

(Also, out of morbid curiosity, where is said home village? Because that is quite awesome.)

Date: 2010-05-04 10:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ah, good. Or rather, not good, as you're missing out on the breakfast, but good for your finances. Unfortunately I don't have many food recommendations since, yeah, I lived on that breakfast all day. There was a very good ice cream parlour near the large fountain near Bahnhof Zoo in 2004 (as well as a good second-hand book shop including international literature) but I'm not altogether sure it's still there.

Unfortunately I've only been to Berlin twice in my own life, so there are probably a billion things on and off the beaten path I don't know about. BUT. There are (as in every major town) a few major tourist attractions which I don't particularly recommend - most importantly: the Bundestag/Reichstagsgebäude with its crystal ball thingy on top. Takes ages to get in (I was lucky enough to be with an MP and sneak past the general entrance and waiting lines, but I still felt I was walking up the actual serpentines inside the thing in slow motion because they were clogged up with people going 'ooh' and 'ahh' as if the view was any more impressive than that from any of Berlin's other pffty-hundred high places), not much to see. There are two zoos, sort of (I think they belong together somehow today) - the Zoologischer Garten is only really interesting if you actually want to look at animals; the Tiergarten is more attractive if you want to see lots and lots of green and flowers and statues and the sort of structures you see in all oldish European 'botanical gardens' etc. It's pretty, but hardly essential.
The Holocaust memorial is not really impressive, either. Maybe you've seen a picture and thought 'well, what ever the exact intended message, it probably comes across if you stand right before it/in the middle of it'. It doesn't (in my opinion). Plus, there's inevitably a group of kids who have nothing better to do than skip around on top of it and pose for cell phone pictures, which is just really angering.
DO, however, walk down Unter den Linden (starting at the Brandenburger Tor/on Pariser Platz and making your way down to Schlossbrücke, where you can then cross over onto the Spree island and either look at the Alte Nationalgalerie [Old National Gallery] if you're interested in German Romantics and French Impressionists or one of the five hundred thousand other museums conglomerating there [most of which feature ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Byzantinians, Babylonians, and a bit of prehistory-- but I've not actually been to any of those] or just walk on up the island). There is hardly a building on that street that isn't noteworthy (I could get you a long up-down list if you like but mostly you'll find it on plates and anyway it's nicer to just flâner down the street and stop where you like than to specifically steer towards single spots and rush past the rest) - half the foreign embassies are there, pieces of university, various palaces, a couple of posh shops and marginally less posh cafés, the opera - and a lot of beautiful statues both of notable Berlinians and of mythological figures.
For post-WWII history, Checkpoint Charlie's interesting to see and the Stasi prison Hohenschönhausen has extremely intense guided tours by former prisoners (not sure they offer them in English, but I wouldn't rule it out). It does depress you for the remainder of the day, however (but in a much 'better' way than watching the goings-on at the Holocaust memorial).

Rather further west than Berlin, I'm afraid - Département de la Roer, Aldenhoven, couple of miles off Aix-la-Chapelle. There were actually two Battles of Aldenhoven, one in 1793 (Austrian victory under Cob[o]urg), one in 1794 (French victory). There was (perhaps is) a bit of an argument going on with another Aldenhoven further east which claimed to have been the actual site of at least one of them, but since the 1794 one is also known as the Battle of Juliers and Juliers/Jülich is right next to my Aldenhoven, it must be the right one :D

Date: 2010-04-27 09:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If your going to Blerencourt, drop by the Chateau de Coucy, which is right near by where SJ lived. Apparently, when he was young, he spent a lot of time hanging out around the old castle, and apparently really liked the whole feudal baron doing there own thing out in the middle of nowhere deal. Coucy was built larger taller then the Louvre, (Enguerrand the III, who had it built seemed to have done that as an FU! to the king.) Their motto was "King not I, nor prince nor duke nor count either, but I am the Lord of Coucy!" I've heard that this was inscribed in huge letters on the entryway. According to Hampson, a small book was found about the history of the chateau in SJ's handwriting, but it was later discovered to be copied down from an existing book on the topic. (notes perhaps?)

I've heard theirs a great police history museum in Paris, however its part of the current police HQ's. I know someone who went there pretty recently, do you want me to get more information on where it is, and how to access it for you? She was mostly focusing on post-revolution up through the 1840's police system, and they did have a lot of material on those subjects.

Date: 2010-04-27 10:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I will definitely stop by there. *snerks at the FU to the king*

Oh, yes, absolutely! Keep in mind that while the post was directed at FR in particular, since I'd feel bad if I went and didn't see all the important things, but I'm interested in anything historical, and the 19th century police system is awesome. Any info is good. ^___^


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