Monday, April 30, 2007

France - Champs Elysees

One has to "walk" the Champs Elysees to truly feel Paris.

We popped in the the Renault dealership (showroom only) and took a few pictures.

A very interesting "fuel cell" four wheeler.

This has the look of a 60's dune buggy.

A little farther down we entered the Toyota showroom.

Holy cow Batman, what have they done to the batmobile?"

An all chrome car was also on display.

As night fell, Paris came alive.

The brief foul weather kept the outdoor cafes from being used.

France - Arc de Triomphe

The Arch of Triumph is the second most popular attraction in Paris.

I found this handsome young man to have my picture taken with.

The views from the top of the Arch give one the prospective of just how tall the Effiel Tower actually is.

The Champs Elysees (argumentatively the most famous street in the world) looking from both ways from the top of the Arch.

Monday, April 23, 2007

France - Church on the Hill

After walking what seemed like miles (because we actually walked miles) around the chateau we headed to a cafe and had pizza again.

The cafe had American 50's memorabilia and American license plates on the wall.

Then we caught the train and headed back to Paris. Our next destination was The Sacré-Coeur (the church on the hill).

The Sacré-Coeur district offers many spectacular views on Paris. Its village like streets and squares, its cafes and restaurants, its painters on the Place du Tertre attract many tourists.

But, as you walk a few meters away from the core tourist area, you discover very quiet and charming spots, quite unexpected in such a large city as Paris.

But first you must walk up the hill. Montmartre is the highest hill of Paris. 130 meters or about 426 feet above the city. The steps leading to the church are very steep and quite a challenge.

After you climb what seems like a thousand steps you have this view of Paris.

Turn around and you see you are only half way to the top. As I walked around the left side of the steps, I thought I was doing a pretty good job of climbing but I pigeon thought I was moving as fast as a statue and left a little something on my shoulder. So much for my speed.

Finally you are greeted with a magnificent church and the climb is soon forgotten.

Behind the church is very artsy and has the feel of a street fair.

Just off the square there are streets like.

With the steps and the cobblestone streets this is not for the physically challenged.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

France - Versailles

Our plan for Thursday was to take the train to Versailles. If the name sounds familiar, it should.

The Treaty of Versailles was signed to end WWII. It was signed in the Chateau de Versailles. The chateau was built by King Louis VIII in 1624 as a hunting lodge and later enlarged and became the official residence of the Kings of France from 1682 until 1790.

I thought the Louvre was huge but this place will take your breath away.

The gardens go on and on and there is a small palace in the rear of the gardens. It was built as a "ladies retreat" so the men could conduct their business in private.

The "ladies" didn't have said privacy. The Royal bloodline had to kept "pure", so the queens had to give birth in public so there could be no mistake of the offstring.
The palace was stripped of most of it's furnishings during the French Revolution, and Tuileries in Paris became the royal residence. Versailles is now a national museum.

Sorry I didn't take more photos but as we walked and listened to our "audio guides" I was just in awe of being in such an historical place that I just forgot about pictures. , will take you to an excellent sight to view photos.

I thought this would be the "highlight" of my trip but boy was I mistaken. What I would see on Saturday would even top this.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

France - The Louvre

The Louvre is open one night a week and we took advantage of the reduced nightly rate to save a little money and extend the day.

The Louvre is "HUGE", the museum is U shaped and I stood in the open courtyard and marveled at its size.

Turning away and looking out the open end of the courtyard one can the the Arch of Triumph.

No, that is not it! If you enlarge the photo you will see it in the distance. This monument lines up perfectly with the Arch that is across town. I thought that was so cool.

The Louvre would take several days ( or weeks ) to see but one has to see the "big three".

The Winged Victory of Samothrace is thought to predate the birth of Jesus. Around 200 BC.

The Venus de Milo is recognized by everyone and it makes one feel special to be standing in the same room.

Photos of the Mona Lisa are not permited so I found this one on the net. I had already been warned it was not a large painting. But at about 30" X 20" it just didn't seem "larger than life", as I had always thought. It is in a large frame to add to its size.
By now I was starting to wilt and we called it a night after having a great pizza at a small Paris (did I mention I am in PARIS ) restaurant.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

France - Food

After leaving Effiel Tower we headed over near a university to grab a bite to eat.

I didn't get any pictures that day but remembered the next time we went.

This is the menu and we had a panini. It is a sandwich made on a nice loaf shaped like a hotdog bun ( only a nice bread ) but about 16 inches long. The bread is opened and placed with the inside down on a griddle with a press on top and toasted. Then what ever you ordered is placed inside and the whole thing is then put in a two sided toaster press. It comes out warm and slightly crisp.

It is served in a 12 inch paper sleeve. On a cold Paris day, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Yes, it was that good.

These little crepe and panini stands are everywhere and they are all busy.

After this we headed to the Arch of Triumph but it was getting late and we decided dark would come to soon to enjoy it, so we headed to The Louvre.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

France - Eiffel Tower

As we headed over to the most famous of all sites in Paris, the rain turned to sleet but onward we headed as a vacation can't wait on a little bad weather.

Sorry, but I warned you !!!

As we waited in line to buy our tickets the rain and sleet lasted about five minutes and would clear and another cloud would appear and it would rain and sleet again. It was funny watching it change from clear sky to dark clouds. The wind was blowing very hard and about 6 or 7 systems blew thru in the 2 hours we were there. At least the weather kept the line down to about 30 minute wait. The normal is about two hours to purchase tickets because the elevator runs about every 8 minutes.

I am afraid of heights but one can not go to Paris without going to the top of the Eiffel Tower. The first elevator goes to the second level and another glass elevator goes to the top glass enclosed viewing platform. Then you take the stairs to the open top upper deck. I had a little moment in the glass elevator as I looked out but it soon reached the top and when I stepped out into the glass enclosed room I was fine. The stairs to the very top was easy as you can't see out.
On the open top there are bars higher than your head and the fact that the wind was blowing so hard kept me from being afraid.

From the top you can see our next destination, The Arch of Triumph.

The modern skyscraper looks out of place

A nice view of the Seine River.

Looking the other way down the river.

This is a military academy. Very impressive. This is just the highlights of the 20 or pictures I took at the top.
All to soon our visit came to an end as we had to hit the road and find some lunch. Hmmm, would I find something I could eat?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Very Busy

Sorry for my lack of post but our new travel trailer has arrived and we are busy moving in, plus my work load has been heavy since my return from France.

I will continue my stories about France as soon as I have time and after I finish with that I will tell you all about my thoughts on the new trailer.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

France - Notre Dame

Zac knows Paris and the metro system very well and had mapped out an itinerary so we could visit the sights in an order that made the most efficient use of our limited time in Paris.

Notre Dame was the closest to our hotel so we headed over in the drizzling rain.

This picture shows how hard the wind was blowing by the ripples on the Seine River.

Notre Dame is even more impressive in person. We have all seen the pictures but one can not begin to realize how large it is until it is seen in person.

The stain-glass windows will take your breath away.

The inside is hard to photograph. Some of the photos are very dark but if you enlarge them you can see the details.

This model show just how large Notre Dame really is. The famous twin towers are the "short" side of this place.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

France - Hotel

After we exited the Metro we walked a few blocks to our hotel. Hostels are a cheap way spend the night overseas but since they charge by the person we found that a inexpensive hotel was just a few euros more and since we were staying two nights, it just seemed worth the extra money.The normal buildings are four stories plus what we could consider an attic.

A lot of the older hotels have showers and sinks in the room and you share a toilet, one being placed at each end of the hall. Our room was in the attic and therefore was the only room with a full bath. The shower and sink in one room and the commode in a small closet like room of its own ( much like modern rvs).

The "flush" handle on the commode came right thru the tank top.

The room has one twin bed and one queen bed. If 3 people share the room then it is less expensive than a hostel. Just to the left of the small white tv is an old antique armoire.

A small desk and table are round out the room.

This picture was taken out the window above the desk. If you enlarge it you can see Notre Dame.

"No rest for the weary", we hit the ground running and are off the see the sites of Paris.

Please be forewarned that the upcoming posts are not recommended for computers without insurance or viewing by small children as some may have photos containing the author.

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