Much LAZIER than your average blogger  
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10.31.2006 - 26 comments 

Talk about a stark contrast between my preivious post and this one, (but I did however, notice a similarity in the perspective.) I guess that has more to do with the eye of this camera holder than of the subject I was capturing.
There is nothing quite like "The City of lights. Certainly that is the case in this shot, which could be called "The STREET of Lights".

I took this shot having no idea if it would even come out or not. Taken with film, not digitally obviously. Even though at the time I took it, I was just certain that I would be run over at any moment by some nutty Frenchman who would know that I was an American.

Champs-Élysées literally means the "Elysian fields" is a broad avenue in Paris. Its full name is actually "avenue des Champs-Élysées". With its cinemas, cafés, and luxury specialty shops, the Champs-Élysées is one of the most famous streets in the world. The name refers to the Elysian Fields, the place of the blessed in Greek mythology. The Champs-Élysées is also called La plus belle avenue du monde, French for "The most beautiful avenue in the world." At one end of the street is the famous Arc de Triomphe.

The Arc de Triomphe is a monument in Paris that stands in the centre of the Place de l'Étoile, at the western end of the Champs-Élysées (which you can see at the end of the photo). It is the lynchpin of the historic axis (L'Axe historique) leading from the courtyard of the Louvre Palace, a sequence of monuments and grand thoroughfares on a route leading out of Paris. Its iconographic program pitted heroically nude French youths against bearded Germanic warriors in chain mail and set the tone for public monuments with triumphant nationalistic messages until World War I.

The monument stands over 165 feet (50 meters) in height and is 45 meters wide. It is the second largest triumphal arch in existence (North Korea built a slightly larger Arch of Triumph in 1982 for the 70th birthday of Kim Il-Sung); the Arc de Triomphe is so colossal that an early daredevil flew his plane through it.

It was commissioned in 1806 after the victory at Austerlitz by Napoleon Bonaparte at the peak of his fortunes and finally completed— after a long pause during the Restauration— in the reign of King Louis-Philippe, in 1833-36. The sculpture representing Peace was now interpreted as commemorating the Peace of 1815— not the original intention.

The astylar design is by Jean Chalgrin (1739-1811), in the neoclassical version of ancient Roman architecture. Major academic sculptors of France are represented in the sculpture of the Arc de Triomphe: Cortot, Rude, Etex, Pradier and Lemaire. The main sculptures are not integral friezes but are treated as independent trophies applied to the vast ashlar masonry masses, not unlike the gilt-bronze appliqués on Empire furniture.

The four sculptural groups at the base of the Arc are The Triumph of 1810 (Jean-Pierre Cortot), Resistance and Peace (both by Antoine Etex) and the most renowned of them all, Departure of the Volunteers of '92 commonly called La Marseillaise (Francois Rude). The face of the allegorical representation of France calling forth her people on this last was used as the belt buckle for the seven-star rank of Marshal of France.

In the attic above the richly sculptured frieze of soldiers are 30 shields engraved with the names of major Revolutionary and Napoleonic military victories. The inside walls of the monument list the names of 558 French generals. The names of those who died in battle are underlined.

Every year on Bastille Day, the largest military parade in Europe passes down the Champs-Élysées, reviewed by the President of the Republic. The Champs-Élysées is also the traditional end of the last stage of the Tour de France. Of which Lance Armstong is really familiar with.

Huge and spontaneous gatherings occasionally take place on the Champs-Élysées in celebration of popular events, such as New Year's Eve, or when France won the 1998 FIFA World Cup. Many millions of people (and in fact) some invading armies have walked down this street.

I guess I feel fortunate to have been one of them and without a shot even being fired!

"The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it." - Rudyard Kipling Posted by Picasa