Tag Archives: Inspiring

Scavenger Hunt : Bugarach

On your way to the south of France & its beautiful beaches, take a little side visit to a village called Bugarach,

Nestled in the rolling foothills of the French Pyrenees of south east France, lies a sleepy, scenic farming community of Bugarach. Thousands of people flock to this village not for its savory wine, its fresh dairy nor its wild orchids but for three other things that has made this village famous.

First :: it is known for its Pic de Bugarach. It is a standalone mountain peak nicknamed as the “upside-down mountain.” This is because the rock strata in the top layers of the mountain are millions of years older than the rock strata at the base – hence its nickname.

Scientists are not really sure how this happened, but ancient explorers say that this anomaly may be caused because it lies on a well-known LeyLine & is a spiritual energy center. Aside from the LeyLine theory, this peak, which rises 1230 meters above sea-level has earned fame for being a ‘sacred mountain.’ Maybe for the area’s ‘Da Vinci Code’ fame & the story of Mary Magdalene living here – but that’s a subject for a different exploration.

Whatever the reason, the visitors to this quaint town have acknowledged that the place has a “special atmosphere – silent & vibrant. Things appear more clearly & you feel that this place is the beginning of a new life.”

Second :: the breathtaking blue skies and eagles in flight are not the only things in this town’s skyline. Bugarach single peak has, for decades, experienced UFO activity.

It has become famous for the numerous UFO sightings over this town and even reportedly – landings. The two narrow streets, its 176 residents & its score of wild orchids are the hosts of what has been called the “UFO underground parking park.” This is because a bewildering number of strange sounds and odd light effects have been emerging from the mountain.

Lastly :: Back in 2010 the town council became aware of its newly-founded notoriety as the ‘Doomsday Village’. They were informed that thousands of unexpected visitors, numerous hikers and hippies were planned on making this community, their last home on earth. They all of a sudden became very concerned for their safety & the unexpected overcrowding that would come to this tiny town, of 176 people.

The town is known as the ‘Doomsday Village’ of the world because many people believed that this mountain – as a sacred mountain – would be the only place in the world where they would be able to survive a perceived 2012 disaster. Imagine if tens of thousands actually had to survive in this tiny village on that fateful day.

Your Quest ::

  • What are the physical aspects of this town that makes thousand (even Jules Verne & the ancient Celtic people) flock to this location?
  • Where did all these new ‘residents’ plan on ‘hiding out’?
  • What hidden feature would sustain such a large crowd & allow them to survive the perceived disaster?
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Scavenger Hunt : The Invinsible Line

Paris is a beautiful & magnificent city. Full of love & light to shed on the world.

Many visitors walk around with their gaze up on the Eiffel Tower or on the grand architectural detailing on buildings that makes this city so beautiful. But few look at the details that are directly under their feet.

Directly under their feet is an invisible monument that marks an invisible line that crosses all of Paris & defined the starting point for the whole world!

I am talking about The Paris Meridian Line (or as Dan Brown liked to call it – The Rose Line). This line was the Prime Meridian or Zero Meridian, that the world used as the datum for all measurements of longitude. It was established in 1667 and revised/extended several times, most famously by François Arago (1786-1853).

Unfortunately, in 1884 it lost out to the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) as the universal starting point for the Prime Meridian that still stands today. The French, being a stubborn bunch abstained from that directive and continued to use the Paris meridian until 1911.

This imaginary line crosses North/South through parks, city streets, private properties and even has some famous monuments sitting on it & aligned with it.

Now that line is gone & almost forgotten – save – for the artistic tribute to Arago by Dutch artist, Jan Dibbets. In 1994/95 he recreated the line by placing 135 bronze medallions and marking small pieces of the line.

This Arago Line is most noticeable, in the only remnant (within Paris) still existing today. At the Paris Observatory you can see an actual piece of the line created in the paving pattern.

But throughout Paris, the artist placed the medallions – each 12cm [4.7″] in diameter, inlaid into the ground along a 9.2km [5.7 mile] stretch of the Paris Meridian Line.

The Medallions have the word “Arago’ & a letter ‘N’ & ‘S’ to represent North & South directions. A newer version – La Meridienne Verde Medalions – fills in where previous medallions were missing.

These are your guides & finding as many as you can may be difficult but will give you a new – out of the ordinary – adventure in Paris.

The Hunt Is On!

Find the 5 southern-most markers (within Paris) and what monuments/buildings are they close to.

Some are difficult to find, others are missing with a hint of their existence. The fun is in the searching while finding them is an added reward.

To start you off, these are the locations of some of the medallion markers within the Louvre.

  • In the Louvre (Richelieu Wing), 18th – 19th c. French Sculpture area, in the passage between the 5th – 18th c. and the 18th – 19th c. areas
  • In the Louvre (Richelieu Wing), 18th – 19th c. French Sculpture area, on ‘mezanine-level’ walkway on the south side of Cour Puget
  • In the Louvre (Richelieu Wing), 18th – 19th c. French Sculpture area, between the escalators, at the top
  • At the Louvre (Napoleon Court), east of the pyramid.
  • At the Louvre (Napoleon Court), east of the pyramid.
  • At the Louvre (Napoleon Court), east of the pyramid.(missing just void)
  • At the Louvre (Napoleon Court), east of the pyramid.
  • At the Louvre (Napoleon Court), east of the pyramid.
  • In the Louvre (Denon Wing), Etruscan and Roman Antiquities area, on the main ground floor stairs
  • In the Louvre (Denon Wing), Etruscan and Roman Antiquities area, just inside the door to Room 31
  • In the Louvre (Denon Wing), Etruscan and Roman Antiquities area, Room 31
  • In the Louvre (Denon Wing), Etruscan and Roman Antiquities area, Room 21

Connect the dots & it will point your way.

Bonus Round :

Find the piece of the line (not medallion) that Dan Brown made famous as ‘The Rose Line’ (in his “Da Vinci Code” Novel). Well, its not really the real Paris Meridian (off by 100ft), but it serves an equally as big – not the purpose Dan Brown said – but similar to the Paris Meridian.

What purpose does it serve?

HINT : This line involves (2) Rose windows, an obelisk & a medallion. Each serves a purpose for the line, but they seem out of character inside the church where Victor Hugo was married.

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Scavenger Hunt : Paris Arrondissements

Paris is a magnificent city full of light, romance & charm. Its city plan is divided into twenty sections called arrondissements. These sections amount to districts or neighborhoods within the city that spiral from the center out.

The arrondissements are encircled by the périphérique, a ring highway. All the arrondissements have their own beauty & charm, but most major tourist attractions can be found within the central eight arrondissements.

Outside the périphérique highways are the banlieues, the suburbs of Paris.

So lets start in Paris proper and explore the main eight arrondissements spiraling our way thru the Parisian city of Romance. After that we can explore further out.

Arrondissement 1 – Louvre

The first arrondissement starts in the geographical center of Paris – The Louvre – and spirals out from there in a clockwise direction. This is where most historic sites are. The Royal Palace, Tuileries gardens, Forum des Halles, Bourse du Commerce and the upscale Vendôme Square are all located here.

Arrondissement 2 – Bourse

This arrondissement is mainly a business district, with the Palais de la Bourse – the former stock exchange – as its most notable landmark. It also has the historic National Library & many historic shopping arcades.

Arrondissement 3 – Temple

This is a small arrondissement; it contains the northern part of the historic Marais district. The Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts), the Picasso Museum and the Carnavalet Museum.

Arrondissement 4 – Hôtel-de-Ville

This arrondissement contains the southern part of the medieval Marais district. It is very popular thanks to attractions such as the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Place des Vosges, the city hall and the Gothic Tour St-Jacques. Contrasting with all the historic buildings is the modern Centre Pompidou.

Arrondissement 5 – Panthéon

The Latin Quarter, with the renowned Sorbonne university, is situated in this arrondissement. So is the famous Panthéon, the magnificent Val-de-Grâce church, the intriguing St-Etienne-du-Mont church, the Cluny Museum, the roman-era Arènes de Lutèce and the city’s botanic garden, the Jardin des Plantes.

Arrondissement 6 – Luxembourg

One of the world’s greatest parks, the Jardin du Luxembourg, gives this arrondissements its name. Within this district, you will find the Odéon Theatre, the Saint Sulpice church, and the 11th century Saint-Germain des Prés, which is the oldest abbey church in Paris.

Arrondissement 7 – Palais-Bourbon

This is one of the most upscale & most dominant arrondissements in Paris. Here you will find government institutions and major landmarks – the most famous of which is the Eiffel Tower . Climb to the top & you will be on top of the world!

Arrondissement 8 – Élysée

The Champs-Élysées – the world’s most famous boulevard – cuts right through this arrondissement. It runs from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe. Bordering the Champs-Élysées are the magnificent Grand Palais and Petit Palais, as well as the Élysée, the presidential Palace.

Let the Scavenger Hunt Begin!

In each arrondissements I have highlighted in BOLD, the name of a famous landmark.

Which one of those landmark houses this famous staircase?


This building was completed in 1836. It has many reliefs & engravings with the names of generals who commanded troops during Napoleon’s regime. The best known relief is commonly known as – the Marseillaise.

From its observation deck – If you’re adventurous enough to climb the 234 steps – you will have great views of La Defense, the Champs-Elysées and the Sacré-Coeur.

Good Luck & Happy Hunting!

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Venice in a Day

The beauty of Venice is breathtaking. Of the cities I’ve visited, Venice is my 2nd most favorite city only after Oia, Santorini.

Oia has the beautiful sunsets & the romance of the blue & white clif-hanging building. It is a village for a romantic getaway. Quiet & serine and what dreams of made of.

Venice on the other-hand has the beauty of a city I can live in day-to-day. It has the social & cultural aspect that I like in a city. It is a city of large & small scale charm all wrapped up in to one. Architecturally, it can feed my soul for the rest of my life & culturally I can feed off its beauty.

Here is a video, for your enjoyment, of the activity & the beauty of this magical city.

Venice in a Day from Joerg Niggli on Vimeo.

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