Hameau de la Reine

Easily our favorite stop in the grounds of the Trianon was the Hameau de la Reine, or Queen’s Hamlet, constructed on the order of Queen Marie Antoinette. Despite centuries of slander, Marie Antoinette was not a clueless ditz who pretended to be a peasant girl in her Barbie hovel playset. In reality, the Queen’s Hamlet…

The Gardens of Versailles

Business up front, party in the back, as they say. The backside of Versailles facing the extensive gardens is made up of three flat elevations with large swaths of reflecting ponds and gravel paths on the first terrace. Looking out over the lower terraces, the various fountains, which were all off on the day we…

Club Imperial, Revisited

Good news! If you were worried that your dreams of owning the building that housed the famous Club Imperial have been dashed, your fears are unfounded! It really is a beautiful building, and if you look carefully, you can see how the architect bent the building to follow the bend in West Florissant Avenue. Hardly…

Fort Zumwalt Park, O’Fallon

Fort Zumwalt is a real place, and not just the name of four high schools, and this reconstruction of the fortified log cabin that gives its name to the surrounding park and area gives us an idea of early settler days in St. Charles County. Interestingly, Fort Zumwalt, which was originally constructed by Jacob Zumwalt…

Twenty Years Since 9/11, Revisiting Washington, DC, Part Two

We crossed over the Memorial Bridge into the Commonwealth of Virginia, and picked up the Metro to head to Alexandria and meet up with an old professor friend of mine. The Metro used to be the pride and joy of Washington, DC, but I was shocked at how far it had fallen. While it had…

Twenty Years Since 9/11, Revisiting Washington, DC, Part One

As a few of my readers know, I was living in Washington, DC on September 11, 2001, exactly two miles away from the Pentagon when the plane crashed into it. I moved back at Christmastime of 2006, and had only been back to the District of Columbia twice since then. I just returned for the…

Quinette Cemetery

Long neglected and vandalized, Quinette Cemetery has now been restored by the City of Kirkwood. It is possibly the oldest African American cemetery west of the Mississippi, according to an explanatory text posted at the entrance. There is a very nice path constructed by a Boy Scout troop that wends its way around the cemetery,…

Villa d’Este, Tivoli, Latium, Italy

Rising up quickly from the Roman campagna where Hadrian’s Villa can be found, you hit towering mountains, and the train snakes through gorges and canyons. A waterfall can be spotted off in the distance, and after a tunnel or two, you realize the train station for town of Tivoli is right by that cascade. After…

The Rotunda, Old Courthouse

I took some pictures of the beautiful rotunda of the Old Courthouse a little while back. As is typical in classical architecture, the more stout architectural orders start at the bottom, and then work up to the more elegant and decorative orders, such as the Ionic, and then the Corinthian towards the top. The German…

Courtrooms and Hallways, Old Courthouse

There were once over a dozen courtrooms in the Old Courthouse, and there are just two left that have been carefully restored to their original appearance. This is one of them; you can see below how the floor has been worn smooth from all of the shoes that have walked over them. The other courtroom…