To Paris and back again

Trip Start Aug 30, 2007
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Trip End Oct 05, 2007


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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Bonjour, 

We got into our less than perfect hotel in Paris on Thursday afternoon, but the location was excellent, five minutes to the Eiffel tower and other attractions.  On the way from the subway stop to the hotel we could not help but stop and look at the countless bakeries, cheese, wine, specialty shops and deli´s.  In a word amazing.

The first evening we just walked around and got orientated.  It seemed surreal being in Paris at least for me (Mark).  A city that you see in movies and hear about all the time, and know we are here standing under the Eiffel Tower or walking down streets that have seen so much history.

We had a rough plan of the places that we wanted to see.  Our first stop was the Louvre museum.  Absolutuley huge. The worlds largest. They say if you were to stop and see every piece it would take you 9 months to get through it all.  We spent four hours or so, and saw the famous pieces. Mona Lisa, Venus Di Milo etc. The buildings that house the museum date back to the 13th century and there is also an area to view where Napoleon lived. Very grandoise.

The Orsay museum is housed in a 1900´s grand train station and we were in awe of art by Van Gogh, Renoir, Monet to name a few. In contrast, the Modern Art Museum is in a strange building built in the 1970´s with the pipe, plumbing and air vents on the outside. Can´t say that we are fans of all modern art, but seeing paintings by Jackson Pollock and Picasso was more than amazing.

The rest of the day we strolled the streets of Paris taking in the city and viewing Ste Chappelle´s beautiful stained glass windows built 1248, walking across Paris´oldest bridge and climbed the stairs of 14th century Notre Dame to the bell tower and for a view of Paris. We didn´t care that it was raining and saw as much as we could. Ended the day in a little cafe celebrating Mark´s birthday!

Our second day was a marathon of sightseeing and we enjoyed every bit of the 16hrs! The likes of 11th century churches with haunting organ music playing, Roman Baths from 200AD, ¨The Lady with the Unicorn¨- famous 15th century tapestry, visiting a University that was founded in 1253 and the Pantheon commissioned by Louis XV  that is now a mausoleum housing famous people in French history. A quiet moment relaxing in the Luxembourg gardens imagining life in a 1600´s mansion before continuing. Stolling down the cobbelstone street of  Mouffetard, which is a Roman road linking Paris to Rome, one can imagine life back then. A perfect end to the day was the night view of Paris from atop the Eiffel Tower.

Day 3 we had perfect weather for strolling the elegant tree lined Champs-Elysess to the Arc de Triomphe. The avenue is made famous by luxury designer shopping and the last day of Tour de France cyclists. The Arc de Triomphe is a symbol of Paris and was built in 1836 as a monument to Napoleon. At Rodin´s museum we admired ¨The Thinker, Gates of Hell and Balzac¨ sculptures and some of his own private art collection in a grand mansion. Hotel Invalides was built in 1670´s to house veterans and is still used as a hospital today. In the museum is Napoleons tomb. We took advantage of the sunny weather and had a picnic in the Royal Palace gardens Parisian style. The wine and cheese are so good. Another perfect end to the day was a cruise down the Seine River to take in all the sights at night.

Our last day and still not too tired to see more art. Picasso´s museum is set in a 17th century mansion and it was a chance to see some of his sculptures and his oun art collection. Place de la Concorde is Paris´largest square and there is an Obelisk that is 3300 years old. A gift from Egypt. We strolled through more elegant gardens, past Hotel de Ville, Royal Palace and visited a Rugby exhibit as the World Cup is going on now. Monet´s famous Waterliles are in the Musee de l Órangerie and they are more than beautiful. Our day ended with a romantic dinner at a typical French Cafe.

We thought we were pretty important skipping a very long line to get into the museum with our museum passes, but as it turns out, the real stars were just outside the museum arriving for a Christian Dior fashion show. Mark was like a tabloid photographer snapping shots of the people the real photographers were chasing. He thought we could sell them. We did see some famous French actresses, Kanye West and Ivana Trump, but our hunger pushed us on. I wonder who we missed?

Enjoy the photos!!
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