Jardin Majorelle: A Moroccan Garden Oasis in Marrakech

What exactly is Majorelle Blue? What does Yves Saint Laurent have to do with the Majorelle Garden? And what’s this about a new Musée Yves Saint Laurent?

Escape the chaos of the medina for a calming visit to le Jardin Majorelle 

Escape the chaos of the medina for a calming visit to le Jardin Majorelle 

Marrakech, Morocco is famous for many things: thick, fortified ramparts of beaten red clay, the towering minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque and the vast open square Djemaa el-Fna with its network of narrow, winding market-filled alleys known as souks. Oh, and “Berber whiskey”: hot, sweet mint tea served in small glasses.

Duke and Vanessa in the Majorelle Gardens

Duke and Vanessa in the Majorelle Gardens

On our last full day in Marrakech, Wally, Vanessa and I walked from the medina to the Nouvelle Ville — French for New City. Our plan was to visit the Jardin Majorelle and to purchase a new memory card for our digital camera. We hoped to retrieve the images from our corrupted memory card, which had stopped working when we arrived in the Sahara, further proof that jinns exist.

We found a camera store, and Wally conversed with the shopkeeper in French, who took the card and inserted it into a reader. He looked up at us, shook his head and said, "C’est grillé.”

“I think that means it’s toast,” Wally said, sadly.

Towering palms seen through an archway

Towering palms seen through an archway

We went on with our day, happy to at least have a new memory card to start taking more pictures. As the three of us made our way around the walled enclosure surrounding the Jardin Majorelle, we became a bit concerned it wouldn’t be open. Our guide from our desert trek, Barack, had told us that the most important prayers of the week are those at noon on Friday, and because of this, Muslim cities essentially close from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. We were in luck, though — the garden was open.

We entered the garden through a weathered wooden door, and although there were many people visiting that morning, I was struck by its serenity. The pebbled garden path led through a dense cluster of bamboo. Sadly, countless visitors have left their mark by carving their initials into the shafts of bamboo.

Visitors past have left their mark in the bamboo section of the garden

Visitors past have left their mark in the bamboo section of the garden

Wally loves the exquisite Moroccan detailing at the nearby villa 

Wally loves the exquisite Moroccan detailing at the nearby villa 

The villa houses a gift shop and Berber museum

The villa houses a gift shop and Berber museum

True Blue: The History of the Majorelle Garden

The garden’s creator was Jacques Majorelle, a French Orientalist painter, the son of furniture designer and manufacturer Louis Majorelle. On the advice of his physician, Majorelle the junior travelled to Morocco for the sake of his health, and was immediately captivated by the vibrant colors and quality of light.

He settled in Marrakech in 1917, and in 1923 purchased four acres of land bordering a palm grove outside the city’s ancient walled medina. Eventually, Majorelle purchased an adjacent plot, expanding the property to 10 acres.

In 1931, he commissioned architect Paul Sinoir to design a Cubist villa to serve as his studio. Majorelle painted the fountains, planters and atelier a specific shade of cobalt blue, now appropriately named bleu Majorelle.

This striking cobalt is known as Majorelle blue

This striking cobalt is known as Majorelle blue

Around his new dwelling, Majorelle, a passionate amateur botanist, cultivated the gardens, which he opened to the public in 1947 to help offset their costly maintenance. After Majorelle’s death in 1962, the gardens remained open but gradually fell into a state of disrepair, lacking the care necessary to maintain them.

The designer Yves Saint Laurent saved the garden from disrepair

The designer Yves Saint Laurent saved the garden from disrepair

Yves Saint Laurent to the Rescue

Couturier Yves Saint Laurent acquired a second guesthouse, Dar Es Saada, in Marrakech in 1973 with his then-boyfriend Pierre Bergé. Arabic for the House of Happiness in Serenity, it was located near one of their favorite places, the Jardin Majorelle. When they learned seven years later that the gardens were slated for demolition to make way for a pool and bungalows. Saint Laurent and Bergé decided to purchase the 12-acre garden and villa. The couple enlisted American landscape architect Madison Cox to meticulously restore the gardens. According to Cox, Saint Laurent had the vision to have the flowerpots scattered throughout the garden painted in lemon yellow, sky blue and the famous bleu Majorelle. Saint Laurent and Bergé kept the garden open for visitors to enjoy, just as Majorelle did. 

(Bergé and Cox married in a private civil ceremony shortly before Bergé’s death in 2017. Cox is  also the director of the Fondation Jardin Majorelle, an organization that operates under the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent.)

YSL’s genderbending aesthetic included le smoking, a feminized take on the tux

YSL’s genderbending aesthetic included le smoking, a feminized take on the tux

Musée Yves Saint Laurent

Saint Laurent often designed his collections while in Marrakech, inspired by the city’s colors and shapes. So it’s fitting, pun intended, that a museum dedicated to the influential designer’s life and legacy was built next to the Jardin Majorelle.

Although it wasn’t open when we visited, the Musée Yves Saint Laurent, abbreviated as mYSLm, was spearheaded by Bergé and conceived by Studio KO architects Karl Fournier and Olivier Marty. The museum contains an extensive collection of couture garments, sketches, fashion photos and assorted objects showcasing YSL’s signature genderbending style from 1962 until his retirement in 2002.

The bamboo copse at Majorelle

The bamboo copse at Majorelle

Secret Garden

We passed through a pergola covered with bougainvillea and paused to look into a reflecting pool containing water lilies and a pair of turtles resting at its edge.

The garden is mostly green with periodic bursts of pink and red

The garden is mostly green with periodic bursts of pink and red

Drought-tolerant cacti make up the majority of plants at the Majorelle Garden

Drought-tolerant cacti make up the majority of plants at the Majorelle Garden

Following the garden path, we came upon a modest memorial dedicated to Saint Laurent. When he passed away in 2008, his ashes were scattered amongst the garden he and Bergé so lovingly restored.

This decaying column serves as Saint Laurent’s memorial 

This decaying column serves as Saint Laurent’s memorial 

Wally and Vanessa enjoy the serenity of this oasis

Wally and Vanessa enjoy the serenity of this oasis

Artists paint the plantlife

Artists paint the plantlife

A peek over an artist’s shoulder

A peek over an artist’s shoulder

The magnificence of this garden reminded me of the exotic Generalife gardens located beside the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. The arid landscape, originally almost devoid of vegetation, like the gardens of the Alhambra, were utterly transformed by Majorelle over a span of 40 years. From what I could identify, the garden includes agave, bamboo, cacti, cypress, datura, succulents and bougainvillea.

In the Cubist villa, there’s a gift shop and a museum dedicated to artifacts from the pre-Arab inhabitants of North Africa, the Berbers. Just don’t try to sneak in, or you might get kicked out, like Wally did.

Birds chirping, bamboo rustling in the breeze, and the sound of trickling fountains truly turn the garden into a welcome oasis from the hustle and bustle of the medina. –Duke

We recommend adding le Jardin Majorelle to your Marrakech itinerary

We recommend adding le Jardin Majorelle to your Marrakech itinerary

Jardin Majorelle
Rue Yves Saint Laurent

Admission: 30 dirham, or around $3.25


Spinach-filled phylo puffs at the neighboring Kaowa Café

Spinach-filled phylo puffs at the neighboring Kaowa Café

Nearby

Thirsty and hungry after visiting the gardens, we dined on the terrace of Kaowa Café, a snack and juice bar situated across the way. We ate delicious puffs filled with cheese and tried some of their signature juices.

Top Instagram Travel Photography of 2017

Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand: The delights of Southeast Asia have captured your hearts — and your eyes as well.

Don’t get us wrong. Europe is filled with architectural marvels and rich history. We’re totally smitten with the winding labyrinths of Moroccan medinas. And India is a thrilling and sometimes intense travel experience like no other.

But nothing makes our hearts pitter-patter like Southeast Asia, with its delicious food, Buddhist temples, ancient ruins, lush scenery and kind locals.

As we looked back at last year’s top posts on Instagram, we detected a theme: It seems we’re not the only ones in love with Southeast Asia. All but two of our most-favorited photos are of Cambodia, Thailand or Vietnam.

Enjoy! –Wally

Chinese Zodiac Explained

What’s your spirit animal on the Chinese calendar? Find out what your horoscope signs mean — and who you’re compatible with.

In the Chinese zodiac, every year is paired with one of 12 animals that determine your personality traits and compatability in love

In the Chinese zodiac, every year is paired with one of 12 animals that determine your personality traits and compatability in love

I’ve always been skeptical of Chinese astrology. I have my doubts about Western astrology as well, but I find it easier to believe that people born within the same month share some overall characteristics than people within an entire year possessing similar traits.

Then again, maybe it’s just because I was born in the unflattering-sounding Year of the Rat. You can tell me how awesome it is to be a Rat, but I’ll never be convinced, when I could have been something rad like a Dragon or a Tiger.

The sign of your birth year shapes your destiny, including your personality and whom you should marry.

Despite my skepticism, Chinese astrology has been around in some form for 3,000 years, and many scholars think its roots trace back to antiquity.

 

Origins of the Chinese Zodiac

There are 12 animal signs, determined by what year you were born. According to legend, Buddha summoned all the animals to come to him before he left the Earth. Only 12 came to bid him farewell. He named a year after each creature in the order they arrived: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep (also called Goat and sometimes Ram), Monkey, Rooster (aka Cock), Dog and Pig.

Another popular tale says that the Jade Emperor, a representation of the first Taoist god, held a race. The Rat won by riding on the back of the Ox and hopping off to cross the finish line first. The Pig, meanwhile, stopped to eat and came in last.

The sign of your birth year shapes your destiny, including your personality and whom you should marry.

As counterintuitive as it seems, you’re supposed to actually have bad luck when your year rolls around. The best way to prevent this is to wear something red — and because you should be doing so all year long, maybe try a bracelet.

The Chinese have a saying about their zodiac: “This is the animal that hides in your heart.” Guess I have to accept there’s a Rat in mine. –Wally

 

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THE RAT

“Wisdom without industriousness leads to triviality.”

Years include: 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020

Characteristics: intelligent, adaptable, quick-witted, charming, popular with the opposite sex, artistic, creative, generous, hard-working, perfectionists, highly judgmental, do well in business, easily angered, gossipy, thrifty with money

Compatible with: Dragon, Monkey and Ox

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THE OX

“Industriousness without wisdom leads to futility.”

Years include: 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021

Characteristics: Loyal, reliable, thorough, strong, reasonable, determined, good leaders, bull-headed, eccentric, bigoted, fierce tempers, don’t speak much but eloquent when they do, easy-going, hate to fail or be opposed

Compatible with: Snake, Rooster and Rat

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THE TIGER

“Valor without caution leads to recklessness.”

Years include: 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022

Characteristics: Enthusiastic, courageous, ambitious, leaders, confident, charismatic, sensitive, tendency to go overboard, fight for causes they believe in, short-tempered, not good with authority, indecisive, suspicious

Compatible with: Horse, Dragon and Dog

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THE RABBIT

“Caution without valor leads to cowardice.”

Years include: 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023

Characteristics: Trustworthy, modest, diplomatic, sincere, sociable, caretakers, sensitive, sentimental, snugglers, articulate, talented, ambitious, virtuous, have excellent taste, admired, trusted, financially lucky, gossips but generally kind, seldom lose their temper, never back out of a contract, good gamblers (though they seldom do)

Compatible with: Sheep, Pig and Dog

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THE DRAGON

“Strength without flexibility leads to fracture.”

Years include: 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024

Characteristics: Lucky, flexible, eccentric, imaginative, artistic, spiritual, larger than life, quick-witted, charming, fun, passionate, healthy, energetic, short-tempered, stubborn, honest, brave, inspire confidence and trust, compassionate — letting others take advantage of them

Compatible with: Rat, Snake, Monkey and Rooster

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THE SNAKE

“Flexibility without strength leads to compromise.”

Years include: 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025

Characteristics: Philosophical, organized, intelligent, intuitive, elegant, attentive, decisive, psychic, want to give and receive unconditional love, say little, possess great wisdom, never need to worry about money, vain, selfish, stingy, self-reliant, calm on the surface but intense and passionate inside, good-looking, have marital problems because they’re fickle

Compatible with: Ox and Rooster

 Gong Kai (1222-1307?), Emaciated Horse, in [Yuan shidai no huihua].  Tokyo (Nara?): Yamato Bunkakan, 1998.  pl. 1, p. 26.  Collection of the [Daban shili meishuguan].



ink on paper, 29.9 x 56.9 cm.

THE HORSE

“Forging ahead without unity leads to abandonment.”

Years include: 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026

Characteristics: Adaptable, loyal, courageous, ambitious, intelligent, adventurous, strong, independent, free spirits, great work ethic, natural leaders, popular, cheerful, good with money, perceptive, talk too much, have a weakness for the opposite sex, impatient, like entertainment and are OK with large crowds, rarely listen to advice

Compatible with: Tiger, Dog and Sheep

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THE SHEEP/GOAT/RAM

“Unity without forging ahead leads to stagnation.”

Years include: 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027

Characteristics: Tasteful, crafty, warm, elegant, charming, intuitive, sensitive, calm, extremely gentle and loving, possess quiet strength, elegant, artistic, shy, pessimistic, confused, deeply religious, passionate, well off, wise

Compatible with: Rabbit, Pig and Horse

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THE MONKEY

“Changeability without being constant leads to foolishness.”

Years include: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016

Characteristics: Quick-witted, charming, lucky, adaptable, bright, versatile, lively, confident, great sense of humor, skillful, flexible, inventive, too agreeable, impatient, often abandon projects partway through, look down on others, have excellent memories, strong-willed, their anger cools quickly

Compatible with: Dragon and Rat

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THE ROOSTER/Cock

“Being constant without changeability leads to woodenness.”

Years include: 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017

Characteristics: Honest, energetic, intelligent, flamboyant, flexible, diverse, confident, extravagant, attention-seekers, progressive, talented, loners, don’t take failure well, have difficult relationships, outspoken, they think they’re right — though they usually are, seem adventurous but are timid, selfish, emotions and fortunes swing from high to low

Compatible with: Ox, Snake and Dragon

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THE DOG

“Fidelity without amiability leads to rejection.”

Years include: 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018

Characteristics: Loyal, sociable, courageous, diligent, steady, lively, adaptable, smart, trustworthy, protect those they love, put others’ needs above their own, can keep secrets, stubborn, care little for money but somehow always have it, cold-hearted, distant, sharp-tongued, good leaders

Compatible with: Horse, Tiger and Rabbit

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THE PIG

“Amiability without fidelity leads to immorality.”

Years include: 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019

Characteristics: Honorable, determined, optimistic, sincere, sociable, altruistic, humanitarians, studious, stick to goals, quiet, well-informed, have few friends, kind, intuitive

Compatible with: Rabbit and Sheep


Sources: Building Beautiful Souls, China Highlights, Goway Travel, Whats-Your-Sign.com

The Thai Zodiac and Songkran, the Thai New Year

How the Thai calendar differs from the Gregorian, what Thai fortune-tellers do and the Thailand water festival that’s all wet.

Thai stamps honor the signs of their zodiac, inspired by the animals of the Chinese zodiac

Thai stamps honor the signs of their zodiac, inspired by the animals of the Chinese zodiac

Those of us who follow the Gregorian calendar ring in the the New Year at midnight on January 1, hitting the reset button and making year-end resolutions we’ll definitely, maybe follow. While we only have ourselves to blame for our overindulgent last hurrah, Wally and I venture out to console ourselves with pho ga at our favorite local Vietnamese restaurant, which does seem to help.

The Gregorian calendar, consisting of 365 days, is off kilter with the Earth’s trip around the sun and is adjusted every four years in February with a leap day. Meanwhile, other cultures, such as Thailand, have their own complex system that aligns with the lunisolar Buddhist calendar of 354 days, which have dates that indicate the moon phase and the time of the solar year.

April 13 marks the beginning of the Thai New Year, when they partake in Songkran, the world’s largest water fight.
The spring festival of Songkran marks the Thai New Year

The spring festival of Songkran marks the Thai New Year

Songkran: Making It Rain

April 13 marks the beginning of the Thai New Year. This is when they partake in the world’s largest water fight, known as Songkran. The festival celebrates the end of the dry season to welcome the rain needed for a successful rice harvest. The communal holiday takes place over a period of three days or more and is when the year assumes the next animal in the rotating zodiac of 12 animals.

The etymology of Songkran comes from the Sanskrit word sankranti, or the passage of the sun from one side of the zodiac to the other, and is symbolic of transformation and change. The tradition may have originated from the Hindu harvest festival Makar Sankranti, which welcomes the onset of spring with colorful soaring kites.

Songkran has always been associated with water, and according to Thai custom, a small bowl of scented water is sufficient to wash away the previous year’s troubles and start anew.

This holiday is also the time for villagers to honor their elders, give offerings of food to monks, ignite firecrackers to scare away evil spirits and ritually bathe household Buddha images.

Songkran has turned into the world’s largest water fight

Songkran has turned into the world’s largest water fight

Over time, this tradition has evolved into water being thrown less ceremoniously, as men, women and children armed with Super Soaker water guns and buckets of dirty moat water await unsuspecting friends and tourists alike.

Although our friends David and Arnie insisted that this is fun time to visit Chiang Mai, Wally and I decided to wait until the festivities had passed. For the most part, I consider us adventurous, but the thought of experiencing this firsthand and getting drenched (not to mention having our phones and cameras ruined) while exploring the Old City was not high on either of our lists.

Phrommachat manuscripts determine the compatabilty of Thai couples

Phrommachat manuscripts determine the compatabilty of Thai couples

Hey, Baby, What’s Your Sign?

The 12 animals of the Thai zodiac were borrowed from the Chinese zodiac, with a decidedly Thai twist and include naga iconography on the snake and dragon. Each animal has a predominant natural element that rules over them: earth, wood, fire, iron or water. For Thai people, the completion of each 12-year cycle brings them back to their birth-year animal. It should be noted that the Thai adaptation shifts by about 23 days compared to the Gregorian calendar.

Those born in the year of the monkey are sociable but selfish

Those born in the year of the monkey are sociable but selfish

An important part of the decision-making process in traditional Thai culture is to consult a divination specialist, known as a mor doo, on the uncertainties of love and everyday challenges. These fortune-telling specialists consult divination manuscripts, known as phrommachat, matching the horoscopes of prospective couples. The mor doo possesses knowledge hidden from ordinary people, particularly on the perceived influences of stars, planets, numbers, plants, animals of the zodiac and divinities on the lives of humans.

According to the Thai zodiac, people born in the year of the snake are deep thinkers, though they can be vain about their good looks

According to the Thai zodiac, people born in the year of the snake are deep thinkers, though they can be vain about their good looks

Phrommachat manuscripts include texts and illustrations of unlucky constellations for prospective couples, taking into consideration their character traits as well as their horoscopes. The pages are richly illustrated with four images of each of the 12 animals of the zodiac, combined with alternating male and female avatars, the material appearance or incarnation of a deity on earth, and a symbolic plant in which the khwan, multiple souls or life forces, resides.

A mor doo, or Thai fortune-teller, lets you know if you’re a good match with the one you love

A mor doo, or Thai fortune-teller, lets you know if you’re a good match with the one you love

Personally, the closest I ever came to this type of divination manual was reading the paper placemats with animal signs of the Chinese zodiac when my family would stop in Fort Erie, Canada on our way back from visiting Toronto. –Duke

15 Best Articles of 2017

Our top blog posts cover the Paris Catacombs, India’s transsexual hijras, jinns, vintage Halloween, Fès hammans and more.

 

Duke and I tend to be drawn to the bizarre. We’re fans of the strange (chambers lined with skulls and bones, creepy vintage Halloween postcards and photos). We like to meet those who are societal outsiders (like India’s legal third sex, the hijra). We’re obsessed with the supernatural (jinns, gypsy love spells). But we also appreciate a good pampering (at a Fès hamman, say) and architectural beauties (such as the Milan Duomo).

Seems like you do, too. Here are the top 15 blog posts from last year. What was your favorite? –Wally

 

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1. GRUESOME FACTS (AND HELPFUL TIPS) ABOUT THE PARIS CATACOMBS

No bones about it: If you think piles of skulls and hallways formed of bones are pretty effin’ cool (like us), then the Catacombs of Paris are for you.

 

 FHI BANGLADESH

2. SECRETS OF THE HIJRA: INDIA’S LITTLE-KNOWN TRANSSEXUALS

Prostitution, curses and dangerous sex change operations are a way of life for this marginalized community.

 

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3. HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM JINNS AND BLACK MAGIC

Black magic in Islam is a serious concern — and the holy writings offer numerous ways to negate magic jinn.

 

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4. THE BEST PLACE TO MAKE OUT IN PUBLIC IN DELHI

Not a typical tourist stop, the Garden of Five Senses is a whimsical sculpture park worth visiting. It’s also popular with local couples escaping societal judgment against PDA.

 

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5. 24 VINTAGE HALLOWEEN CARDS THAT ARE NOSTALGIC — BUT A BIT CREEPY, TOO

Halloween greetings from the past featured common Halloween symbols: the witch, black cat, jack-o’-lantern, ghost, devil — and one that has been forgotten.

 

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6. 21 VINTAGE HALLOWEEN PHOTOS THAT ARE SO CREEPY THEY'LL GIVE YOU NIGHTMARES

Halloween costumes of the past were scary as hell.

 

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7. WHAT’S THE BEST HAMMAM SPA EXPERIENCE IN FES, MOROCCO?

Reinvigorate yourself at the luxury hammam Les Bains Amani.

 

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8. 7 FUN FACTS ABOUT THE MILAN CATHEDRAL

What to do in Milan, Italy? Visit the gorgeous Duomo di Milano, covered with statues of saints and gargoyles — and don’t miss the amazing view from the rooftop.

 

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9. LOVE SPELLS FROM THE GYPSIES

How to cast a love spell to make someone fall in love with you — or fall out of love with you. Plus, secrets from the Roma that will reveal your future spouse!

 

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10. THE PISHTACO OF PERU

Why one of the world’s creepiest vampire legends lingers to this day.

 

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11. WAT RONG SUEA TEN, THE BLUE TEMPLE

No day trip to Chiang Rai is complete without a visit to this breathtaking wat, between the White Temple and Black Museum.

 

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12. THE BEST AND WORST PARTS OF LIVING IN QATAR

What’s it like living in a Muslim country that fasts for an entire month and limits the sale of booze? What do Qataris think of Americans? And how the heck do you pronounce Qatar?

 

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13. THE INDIAN CASTE SYSTEM EXPLAINED

Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra, untouchable: How did the caste system get started, what is the difference between castes — and how does this shameful practice persist to this day?

 

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14. HOW ST. NICHOLAS BECAME SANTA CLAUS

The surprising origins of jolly old St. Nick include a tie to prostitution, kids chopped into pieces, a devil named Krampus and a racist tradition around his helper Zwarte Pieter, or Black Peter.

 

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15. THE BEST SHOP FOR BLUE POTTERY IN THE ENTIRE FEZ MEDINA

If you’re shopping in Fès, just off of Place Seffarine is a small shop with a friendly owner and great deals.

The Seven Deadly Sins and Binsfeld’s Classification of Demons

Defeat the monsters of Supernatural Season 3, Episode 1 with the help of palo santo.

The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things is attributed to Hieronymus Bosch, though some scholars think it might be by one of his followers

The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things is attributed to Hieronymus Bosch, though some scholars think it might be by one of his followers

S3E1: “The Magnificent Seven”

Monster: The Seven Deadly Sins (pride, envy, gluttony, lust, wrath, greed and sloth)

Where it’s from: Egypt, then Italy. In 375 CE, Evagrius Ponticus, one of the so-called Desert Monks, created a list of eight evil thoughts or temptations that lie at the heart of all sinful behavior. A couple of centuries later, in 590 CE, Pope Gregory I, known as Gregory the Great, refined the list to the seven we know today.

“You can repress and deny us all you want,” Envy says, “but the truth is you’re just animals. Hungry, greedy, horny, violent animals.”
Pieter Bruegel’s Lechery, part of a series of etchings and engravings from 1558 on each of the Deadly Sins

Pieter Bruegel’s Lechery, part of a series of etchings and engravings from 1558 on each of the Deadly Sins

Pride by Bruegel, 1558

Pride by Bruegel, 1558

Description: On Supernatural, the demonic entities look a lot like the Smoke Monster from Lost. They flow into a person’s mouth and possess them, turning their hosts into personifications of the Seven Deadly Sins.

A page from an illuminated manuscript on the personification of the Seven Deadly Sins

A page from an illuminated manuscript on the personification of the Seven Deadly Sins

This page shows the personification of lechery

This page shows the personification of lechery

What it does: There’s a cicada swarm at ground zero. How biblical. A family is found rotting away on their couch, having died of dehydration and starvation (that is, sloth). A woman gets touched by a man who puts a suggestion in her mind. She really, really likes a pair of shoes — enough to smash another woman’s head into a windshield (envy). Talk about fashion to die for.

And poor Isaac, another hunter, gets persuaded to chug-a-lug a big ol’ container of Drano (gluttony).

Envy insists that the supposed Deadly Sins are really natural human instincts: “You can repress and deny us all you want,” she says, “but the truth is you’re just animals. Hungry, greedy, horny, violent animals.”

 

Binsfeld’s Classification of Demons

In 1589 the German bishop and notorious witch hunter Peter Binsfeld paired each of the Deadly Sins with a demon who uses it to tempt people.

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Lucifer: Pride

Lucifer was the first fallen angel (you know what they say about pride goeth-ing before a fall). He’s now the ruler of Hell and the Father of All Devils.

 

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Mammon: Greed

One of the princes of Hell, Mammon literally means “money” in Hebrew.

 

DEMONS - ASMODEUS

Asmodeus (Asmodai): Lust

There must be some power struggles in the fiery pits, because Asmodeus is known as the King of the Nine Hells. He’s described as being quite the mishmash of animal parts in the Dictionnaire Infernal by J. Collin de Plancy: three heads (a man spitting fire, a sheep and a bull), the torso of a man, one rooster leg and a serpent’s tail. As if that’s not enough, he rides a lion that has a dragon’s neck and wings.

 

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Satan: Wrath

One of the highest-ranking demons of Hell and certainly the best-known today (he’s become synonymous with the Devil).

 

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Beelzebub: Gluttony

Not surprisingly, the Lord of the Flies looks like a disgustingly large fly.

 

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Leviathan: Envy

A sea monster thought by some to be a crocodile, though it later came to represent a whale. Its name means “twisted in folds,” leading many scholars to believe it’s a sea serpent.

 

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Belphegor: Sloth

One of the Seven Princes of Hell, Belphegor is connected to sloth by Binsfeld, though others say he seduces people by giving them ingenious ideas for inventions that will make them rich and that he was originally worshiped as a phallus and was associated with orgies. In the Dictionnaire Infernal, he’s Hell’s ambassador to France.

How to defeat it: Palo santo, a holy wood from the coast of South America used by the Inca. It’s a mystical tree that’s part of the citrus family and related to frankincense and myrrh, according to Sacred Wood Essence. Not only is it good for keeping insects away, which is why it’s so popular in Ecuador and Peru, it cleanses an area, much like sage.

“Its smoke is so powerful that it has become a staple in sacred rituals, becoming an essential energy tool for shamans and saints alike,” writes the Energy Muse Blog.

In addition, “it provides an uplifting scent that raises your vibration in preparation for meditation and allows for a deeper connection to the source of all creation,” Sacred Wood Essence says. “It is also said that palo santo enhances creativity and brings good fortune to those who are open to its magic.”

If you’re dealing with someone possessed by a demon, you should always try the rite of exorcism. You’ve been practicing your Latin…right?

Getting saved in the nick of time by a mysterious girl with a magic demon-slaying blade certainly helps, too. –Wally

Vintage New Year’s Greetings

Pierrot clowns, dwarves, pigs and cherubs helped ring in New Years past.

May the New Year come crashing in…in the most adorable way

May the New Year come crashing in…in the most adorable way

The new year is a time to let go of our bad habits and make some sort of effort to improve ourselves. It’s a time of optimism, when the new year spreads out before us as a blank slate. Any unpleasantness from the past year can be left behind.

newyearsresolutions.jpg

So it’s not surprising that people used to send New Year’s greetings that were filled with symbols of good luck and promise. On these vintage cards, you’ll see kids enjoying bottles of champagne (that effervescent boozy beverage is still the tipple of choice on New Year’s Eve).

For some reason, Germans viewed pigs as signs of prosperity, so you can see porkers cavorting all over these old-time cards.

There are also quite a few depictions of bearded humanoids. The cards with dwarves were typically created for Scandinavians, particularly the Swedish. These magical diminutive creatures are symbols of luck. Indeed, you can see them holding bags of coins.

Other European countries incorporated their magical creatures (elves, gnomes and the like) into their New Year’s cards.

Another character making an appearance on vintage New Year’s cards is the clown with poofy balls on his costume known as Pierrot. While clowns are often sources of mirth (even though plenty of people think they’re creepy as hell), Pierrot is a sad clown, desperately in love with a woman named Columbine, who breaks his heart and takes up with the dapper Harlequin. I’m not sure why they became associated with the holiday, but it’s a depressing way to kick off the new year.

Good luck symbols are found all over these cards, including horseshoes, mushrooms and four-leaf clovers, which have migrated from New Year’s iconography to St. Patrick’s Day.

For some reason, Germans viewed pigs as signs of prosperity, so you can see porkers cavorting all over these old-time cards.

And of course there are the most popular New Year’s characters: “The symbols for the New Year are Father Time, hoary with age, being replaced by the newborn child,” writes Pamela E. Apkarian-Russell in her book Postmarked Yesteryear: Art of the Holiday Card. “It is the retelling of the King who dies only to be replaced by a younger and stronger ruler. It is the story of the Phoenix shedding its beautiful feathers and then bursting into flames only to be reborn from the ashes on his self-induced pyre. It is senility and decay replaced by virility.”

Take a spin through these sometimes strange but often sweet vintage New Year’s cards, most of which come from the early 1900s. May your New Year be filled with mushrooms, pigs and small bearded men. –Wally

Christmas Around the World

Learn strange Christmas traditions from other countries.

Why are these people in blackface? It’s just one of the quirky Dutch Christmas traditions!

Why are these people in blackface? It’s just one of the quirky Dutch Christmas traditions!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, as the song goes. But in many parts of the world, it’s one of the strangest times of the year as well.

Americans have their share of kooky Christmas traditions, including the belief that a misfit reindeer with a glowing red nose named Rudolph flies through the sky, helping pull a fat man’s sleigh. Not to mention that said fat man somehow fits all the presents for every kid onto this sleigh and makes it around the world, slipping down chimneys, all in a single night.
But that’s nothing compared to some of the holiday traditions in other parts of the world.

People in the Netherlands dress as Black Peter, a Moor, by putting on blackface.

For example, Christmas takes on a strangely scatalogical bent in Catalonia, a region of Spain. People place the figurine of a guy in the act of deficating in their nativity scenes as well as beat a log until it poops out treats for kids.

And in Austria and other parts of Europe, if you’re a naughty child, a devil named Krampus will kidnap you, beat you savagely with a stick and drag you to Hell.

Here are some of the more bizarre ways to celebrate the holidays in other parts of the world.

The Dutch version of Santa Claus has a helper named Zwarte Piet, or Black Peter

The Dutch version of Santa Claus has a helper named Zwarte Piet, or Black Peter

Go in blackface as Santa’s helper in the Netherlands.

Sinterklaas, as Santa Claus is known to the Dutch people, travels with his servant. But instead of diminutive elves, Sinterklaas is accompanied by Zwarte Piet, or Black Peter. Today people dress as Black Peter, a Moor, by putting on blackface. Not very PC — it’s amazing this tradition still exists. It wouldn’t in the United States, I’ll tell ya that.

Someone’s been naughty and needs to get stuffed into a sack and sent off to Spain!

Someone’s been naughty and needs to get stuffed into a sack and sent off to Spain!

It’s these fellows who keep tabs on who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. The good kids get presents, while the bad ones are shoved into a sack and taken off to Spain for a year of reform school.

Spiderweb decorations are common in Ukraine and Poland

Spiderweb decorations are common in Ukraine and Poland

Decorate the tree with spiderweb ornaments in Ukraine and Poland.

Spiderweb ornaments might sound more Halloween than Christmas, but there’s a story behind them. A poor Ukrainian widow lived with her children in a hut. The kids saw a majestic evergreen outside and wanted it to be their Christmas tree. Trouble was, they didn’t have any ornaments and couldn’t afford them.

So the woman cried herself to sleep that night. The hut’s spiders heard her sobs and decorated the tree in intricate webs overnight. In the morning, the sunrise caught the webs and made them glisten like metal. And everyone lived happily ever after, as they tend to do in these fairy tales.

In Poland, they also decorate Christmas trees with spiderwebs, but there’s a different tale behind this tradition. They believe a spider wove a blanket for baby Jesus. I’m sure it wasn’t warm and was annoyingly sticky, but I suppose they appreciated the sentiment.  

If a witch can’t find a broom in your house, Norwegians think she’ll leave you alone

If a witch can’t find a broom in your house, Norwegians think she’ll leave you alone

Hide brooms from the witches in Norway.

Apparently witches and evil spirits like to come out to play on Christmas Eve. So Norwegians, to keep them at bay, hide their brooms, which we all know is a witch’s favorite means of travel. To thwart the witches and evil spirits, men will also fire three shots from their rifles into the air.

These nuns in Venezuela were off to celebrate Christmas mass on roller skates

These nuns in Venezuela were off to celebrate Christmas mass on roller skates

Roller skate to church in Venezuela.

Amid the explosions of firecrackers, entire Venezuelan families in Caracas don roller skates and head off to Catholic mass. As tradition has it, children go to bed with a piece of string tied around their toe with the other end dangling out the window. As the skaters roll past, they give the string a tug, and children know that it’s time to put their own skates on. It’s such a popular tradition that the government took to closing entire streets to traffic so families could skate together in safety. This has gotta be the only time church feels like a disco club. All that’s missing is the mirror ball.

Grab your horse skull! It’s time to go wassailing in Wales!

Grab your horse skull! It’s time to go wassailing in Wales!

Carol (and beg for booze) with a dead horse in Wales.

Perhaps you’ve heard the song that begins, “Here we come a-wassailing.” This is the Welsh version of caroling. Wassail is an old England word for “cheers” and can also refer to the boozy beverages the carolers are begging for: ale or mulled wine.

The old Mari Lwyd just ain’t what she used to be

The old Mari Lwyd just ain’t what she used to be

The tradition, known as Mari Lwyd, translates to the Gray Mare, involves people going from house to house, singing and challenging the families inside to a battle of rhyming insults until they get a boozy beverage. What makes this creepy is that one person dresses up like a horse, donning a white sheet topped with an actual horse skull adorned with ears and eyes.

Take me to church

Take me to church

Bring a rooster to mass in Bolivia.

Bolivians celebrate Misa del Gallo (Mass of the Rooster), the midnight service on Christmas Eve, by bringing along a rooster. It must get quite boisterous. But what’s with all the cocks? It’s to honor the creature that is believed to be the first to have announced the birth of baby Jesus.

Dark-haired men, come on in! Blonde and red-haired women, stay the heck away!

Dark-haired men, come on in! Blonde and red-haired women, stay the heck away!

Hope for a dark-haired man to visit you on Christmas in Estonia and Ireland.

Your first Christmas visitor (the first-footer) can determine if your household will have a good year or not — at least that’s what the Estonians believe. If you’re a woman, blonde or red-haired, just stay home, though, please. It’s really only dark-haired gents who bring good luck.

Ireland has the same tradition, though they light a candle and, at the last stroke of midnight, throw open their front doors to welcome in the New Year. Women will beat the door with a loaf of bread, while hoping for a dark-haired gentleman to darken their doorway.

People in Finland buy small tin horseshoes to melt on New Year’s Eve as part of a fortune-telling ritual

People in Finland buy small tin horseshoes to melt on New Year’s Eve as part of a fortune-telling ritual

Melt tin and predict the future in Finland.

You might need a book of symbols and their meanings for this tradition. On New Year’s Eve, Finns purchase small tin horseshoes to melt and ladles. The molten tin is dropped  into a bucket of snow or ice-cold water. Once it hardens, they hold the blob up to the light to see what shape its shadow casts. If it looks like a hill, for example, there will be obstacles ahead. If it looks like a coin, you’ll be coming into some money.

Pesky Greek goblins called the kallikantzari take a break from trying to cut down the World Tree to cause mischief on the 12 days of Christmas

Pesky Greek goblins called the kallikantzari take a break from trying to cut down the World Tree to cause mischief on the 12 days of Christmas

Kallikantzari like to scare humans — and poop in their food

Kallikantzari like to scare humans — and poop in their food

Watch out for goblins in Greece.

According to Greek legend, the hobgoblins called kallikantzari come up from their underground homes on Christmas Day to play tricks on humans until Ephiphany, January 6. They’re particularly fond of sneaking down the chimney like Santa to hide in your home and jump out and scare you. The kallikantzari also rearrange the furniture and, shudder, take dumps in any open containers of food they find.

Grab a colander — it’s one of the best ways to get rid of these Greek goblins

Grab a colander — it’s one of the best ways to get rid of these Greek goblins

If you want to avoid goblin crap on your cookies, burn logs or old shoes, or hang sausages or sweetmeats in the chimney. In addition, many Greeks put a colander on their doorsteps because the goblins will be compelled to count the holes. They don’t make much headway, though, according to A Scary Little Christmas, because the dim-witted creatures can only count to two.

They’re burning Mickey Mouse?! What did he ever do to hurt anyone?

They’re burning Mickey Mouse?! What did he ever do to hurt anyone?

Burn effigies in Ecuador.

In their own version of Guy Fawkes Day, Ecuadorians celebrate La Quema de los Años Viejos, the Burning of the Old Years. They make life-size dolls that resemble someone they dislike — maybe a local politician or the ever-popular Osama bin Laden. (I’m going to guess that Trump is a new fave.) People write notes explaining why the dolls should be burned and what changes they’d like to see in the coming year.

The effigies are proudly displayed on balconies or in windows until New Year's Eve, when they’re burned in a bonfire in the street. People jump over the fires for good luck.

Don’t be late on the winter solstice — you’ll be the Thomas Donkey and will end up the butt of jokes all day

Don’t be late on the winter solstice — you’ll be the Thomas Donkey and will end up the butt of jokes all day

Try not to become a donkey in Germany.

Don’t be an ass! In Germany, the Winter Solstice is also known as St. Thomas Day. It’s not a good day to be tardy. In parts of the Sauerland region, if you sleep in or get to work late, you’re given a cardboard donkey. called the Thomas Donkey and you’ll be the butt of jokes all day.

At least you’re rewarded at the end of the day with Thomasplitzchen, iced currant buns.

The Greek goblins known as the kallikantzari like to take dumps in any open containers of food they find.

Put on your skates and grab your cock before hitting midnight mass! Maybe you can incorporate some of these traditions into your Yuletide celebrations! –Wally

Chana Masala Recipe

Also known as chole, this Indian recipe will satisfy your craving for curry.

The delicious chana masala we had at a roadside restaurant while visiting the Ajanta Caves in India inspired us to hunt down a similar recipe

The delicious chana masala we had at a roadside restaurant while visiting the Ajanta Caves in India inspired us to hunt down a similar recipe

Wally and I can’t get enough of spicy food. Our favorite cuisines employ heat as part of their flavor profile, and neither of us can resist a good curry or salsa with a bit of a lingering heat. In fact, when we cook from a recipe, we always double the spice.

As temperatures drop, I find my mind wandering off to the memory of Wally and I eating the most delicious chana masala at a dhaba, a roadside restaurant, on our return from the Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra, India.  

The nourishing, flavorful stew, made with chickpeas and diced tomatoes, is a simple, adaptable dish. It's begun like most curries, with garlic, ginger and onion, simmered in an aromatic mixture of traditional Indian spices like cumin, garam masala, coriander and turmeric.

An ingredient worth adding to your pantry, and what gives channa masala its sour citrus note is amchoor powder, a tart and earthy spice made from dried unripe green mangoes. You can order amchoor powder here, or substitute with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Top the chana masala with a dollop of cooling yogurt and serve with naan or basmati rice. Ours gets heat from serrano chiles, but if you’d prefer something less spicy, simply omit one of the peppers.

 

Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Active Time: 1½ to 2 hours
Total Time: 8 to 12 hours for soaking the garbanzo beans
 

Chickpeas and aromatic spices are at the heart of this chana masala recipe

Chickpeas and aromatic spices are at the heart of this chana masala recipe

Minced peppers, onions and ginger add to the flavor profile

Minced peppers, onions and ginger add to the flavor profile

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • salt
  • ⅓ cup peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1½ teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 2 fresh serrano peppers, minced
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes, juices reserved
  • 2 tablespoons ground chana masala spice blend
  • 1 tablespoon ground garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ¾ teaspoon amchoor (dried mango) powder
  • cooked basmati rice for serving (optional)
  • chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)
     
We like to rehydrate garbanzo beans, but if you have less time, canned chickpeas will work as well

We like to rehydrate garbanzo beans, but if you have less time, canned chickpeas will work as well

Preparation

Put the chickpeas in a large pot and add enough water to cover them by 3 to 4 inches. Soak the beans 8 hours or overnight.

Drain the chickpeas in a colander and rinse well under cold water. Add them to a large pot, cover the beans with several inches of water and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until the chickpeas are tender, 1 to 1½ hours. When the chickpeas are mostly tender, add a few large pinches of salt to the pot. Drain well, rinse with cold water to stop cooking and transfer to a bowl.

Purée the ginger and garlic in a food processor until it forms a paste.
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the onions and season with salt, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the turmeric and diced serrano peppers and continue cooking until the onions are caramelized, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the garlic and ginger paste, stirring occasionally, for another 2 minutes.

Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, chana masala spice mixture, garam masala, cumin and sugar. Cover and simmer over medium heat until the chickpeas are tender and the mixture has thickened slightly, about 30 minutes. Stir in the amchoor powder and lemon juice.

Serve hot, over basmati rice or with naan, and garnish with cilantro, if desired. –Duke

Petit Palais: 6 Fun Facts About This Paris Attraction

Looking for not-so-typical things to do in Paris? Visit this gorgeous palace art museum where the garden café and iron staircases are works of art themselves.

Le Petit Palais (and le Grand Palais across the street) were built as permanent fixtures for the 1900 World Exhibition

Le Petit Palais (and le Grand Palais across the street) were built as permanent fixtures for the 1900 World Exhibition

There are so many sites to see in Paris that even after a week, we felt we had barely scratched the surface. There are the biggies (the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, Notre-Dame) and there are the ones that appeal to Duke’s and my warped sensibilities (the Catacombs, Père Lachaise Cemetery).

And then there are the attractions that make what I like to call the B list. These are the ones that are great to see once you’ve ticked some of the others off your list. Especially if you’ve visited Paris before, you’ve got an opportunity to hit some of the lesser-known sights. You’ll find that there are still so many of these that it can difficult to narrow down even the B list.

Beautiful bas-relief sculptures and amazing metalwork frame the entrance to le Petit Palais

Beautiful bas-relief sculptures and amazing metalwork frame the entrance to le Petit Palais

Le Petit Palais (literally, the Little Palace) is one such site. My mom’s friend had recently been to Paris and she raved about how much she enjoyed this smaller, gorgeous art museum. It’s one of those places we wouldn’t have added to our itinerary if we hadn’t gotten this word-of-mouth recommendation.

But we spent a couple of highly enjoyable hours in this ornate mansion and definitely suggest putting it on your B list.

Here are some fun facts about the Petit Palais.

 

1. Le Petit Palais was built for the 1900 World Exhibition.

Like its big brother across the Avenue Winston Churchill, the Grand Palais, the structure was intended to stand the test of time, instead of the temporary buildings so often constructed for world’s fairs.

Both sit near another World Exhibition project to beautify the city, the bridge called le Pont Alexandre III. Designed by Charles Girault, the palace consists of four wings around a colonnade that borders a semicircular garden. It took over 20 years to complete.

Part of the intricate façade of the Petit Palais. (Duke and Wally have a soft spot for squirrels)

Part of the intricate façade of the Petit Palais. (Duke and Wally have a soft spot for squirrels)

2. Fair officials liked the plan because it dealt with what they viewed as an eyesore.

One of the leftover buildings from the 1855 World Fair, the Palais de l’Industrie, ran parallel to the Champs Élysées and blocked views of Les Invalides (where the tomb of Napoleon resides). So when it was suggested to demolish it and build two palaces that fit with the new development plans for Paris, officials green-lit the project.

La Vachalcade by Fernand Pelez, 1896 

La Vachalcade by Fernand Pelez, 1896 

3. In 1902, it became an art museum.

The Petit Palais’ permanent collection of artwork spans from antiquity to 1920. In one room you may find a 19th century painting of a famous Parisian food market, while in another you’ll be looking at medieval illuminated manuscripts or ancient Greek pottery, Paris Perfect points out.

Porteurs de farine, scène parisienne by Louis-Robert Carrier-Belleuse, 1885

Porteurs de farine, scène parisienne by Louis-Robert Carrier-Belleuse, 1885

Sometimes we enjoy going to a smaller museum, where you can see the entire collection in a couple of hours, as opposed to the overwhelming Louvre, for instance, where you could wander for over a week and still not see everything. 

An added bonus? The Petit Palais is free!

The museum is truly breathtaking, with art to be found every direction you look, including up

The museum is truly breathtaking, with art to be found every direction you look, including up

4. Le Petit Palais is famous for its murals.

The Petit Palais is officially known as the Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris (the Paris Fine Arts Museum).

Albert Besnard was given the task of painting four decorative murals for the entrance hall. He named his works of art Matter, Thought, Formal Beauty and Mysticism and worked on them from 1903 to 1910.

Heads-up! Some of the artwork is found on the ceiling

Heads-up! Some of the artwork is found on the ceiling

Don’t forget to look up. Not all of the artwork hangs on the walls. Some of the most impressive pieces are part of the palace itself. The painted ceilings took from 1909 to 1924 to complete. The North Pavilion’s were painted by Ferdinand Humbert, while those in the South Pavilion are by Georges Picard.

There are two main galleries that also have murals. One shows Paris of the past, from the Battle of Lutetia (fought at the bequest of Caesar) to the French Revolution, while the other illustrates a more modern Paris.

Also keep an eye out for the 16 plaster busts set into niches. They’re of famous artists, including Eugène Delacroix.

You have to make sure you see Girault’s gorgeous lace-like iron staircase

You have to make sure you see Girault’s gorgeous lace-like iron staircase

5. The spiraling staircases are true works of art.

Make sure you explore the spiral staircases at Petit Palais. We found one in the back corner and were mesmerized by its graceful metallic curves. The designer, Girault, is credited with creating some of the finest wrought iron work ever. He also designed the golden gate at the entrance as well.

Wally wouldn’t mind living in a place like this

Wally wouldn’t mind living in a place like this

Now this is the kind of staircase you can make a grand entrance on!

Now this is the kind of staircase you can make a grand entrance on!

Duke and I were absolutely obsessed with the staircase. The banisters and balustrade consist of curlicues and the spiraling tendrils of plantlife. How the heck did Girault take a hard material like iron and make it look like delicate vines? You have to see this for yourself.

There’s a cute café in the central courtyard of the Petit Palais, along with a lush garden

There’s a cute café in the central courtyard of the Petit Palais, along with a lush garden

6. The courtyard garden is a gorgeous spot to have lunch or take a coffee break.

Our other favorite spot at the palace is le Jardin du Petit Palais, the enclosed garden café. Even though the building is on one of Paris’ major thoroughfares, you’d never know it. Lush plants and a curved row of columns draped in golden garlands provide cover in this secret spot in the central courtyard of the museum.

Grab a bite to eat or a drink (caffeinated or alcoholic) and soak in this peaceful oasis, with its reflecting pools, tropical foliage and stunning mosaic floors. What’s cool is that you’ll see the other side of the palace, where you enter, across the way, as if it’s an entirely different building. –Wally


Consider planning your trip with the TripHobo itinerary planner. Add in your airfare, hotel or homestay and the things you want to see each day — and it’ll even help plan your budget.


Wally attempts to blend in with the statue. Doesn’t look just like a nature goddess?

Wally attempts to blend in with the statue. Doesn’t look just like a nature goddess?

Le Petit Palais
Avenue Winston Churchill
75008 Paris, France