Paris, France

Paris, France

Paris, France – July 16, 2010

This trip was Hillary’s graduation from high school gift.  We made the trip with our “jellybean” carryon travel bags.  They are quite colorful.

All bags point to Paris…
Our bags waiting patiently at Barajas Airport, Madrid, Spain, for the flight to Paris.
Our bags made it to Paris!

After arriving at the airport in Paris, we took a taxi to our hotel.  As it turns out, we are just around the corner from the famous Moulin Rouge.  So, during the drive there, went through some rather dicey areas.  The three-star hotel itself is nice, right beside the Montmartre Cemetery.

The Montmartre Cemetery as seen from our hotel room.
Another view of the cemetery. Note the cat napping in the lower left.

After unpacking, we took a taxi to the Arc de Triomphe.  Begun in 1806, it took some 30 years to complete.  It is massive; about 50 meters (164 feet) tall and about 45 meters (148 feet) wide.  That was spectacular.  After taking several photographs and watching the seemingly crazy traffic go around the circle, we began our walk toward the Eiffel Tower.  On the way to the tower, we passed an odd-looking poster touting an exhibit entitled “Views on Biodiversity”.

The Arc de Triomphe is a very busy spot. The barriers are in place for the finish of the Tour de France. The riders were due in Paris in nine days, July 25.
The Arc de Triomphe.
Sister and brother posing at the Arc de Triomphe.
The poster on the right is for an exposition entitled “Views on Biodiversity.” The one on the left reads, “User Reception Charter.”

Arriving at the Eiffel Tower, we all marveled at the size, about 320 meters (1,050 feet) tall.  I can recall being amazed when I first flew to Paris last April.  I was easily able to see the tower from the airplane. The Eiffel Tower dates from 1889.

The Eiffel Tower and the Seine River.
The Pont d’Iéna (Lena Bridge) crosses the Seine River and leads directly to the Eiffel Tower. Hitler crossed this very bridge in 1940, walking toward the Trocadéro, as part of his victory tour.
Crossing the Pont d’Iéna, one can see many of the tourist boats on the Seine River.
Looking up at the tower from the Seine River.
Hillary preparing to board a tour boat.
Hillary and Tyler.
Hillary and the mama.
Hillary and the papa.

We left the Eiffel Tower, and on a whim, we boarded a boat operated by Batobus.  It is one of many tourist boats that ply the Seine River.  One of the most spectacular bridges on the river is the Pont Alexandre III.  The white color of the bridge really contrasts with the gold-colored accents.  The boat stopped at the Musee d’Orsay, St. Germain des Pres, Notre Dame, Jardin des Plantes, Hotel de Ville, and then the Louvre, where we got off.

Our boat arrives for the sightseeing journey on the Seine River.
Pulling away from the dock.
Detail of the Pont Alexandre III (Alexander III Bridge).
The Grand Palais Museum is visible at the end of the Pont Alexander III.
Another boat preparing to overtake our boat.
An old boat docked at the side of the Seine River.
The boat is nearly upon us…
…and there they go…
The clock at the Musée d’Orsay.
Leslie and Tyler on the boat.
A very small portion of the Lovre Museum.
Detail of the Pont Saint-Michel (St. Michael Bridge).
The twin spires of Notre Dame Cathedral as seen from the Seine River.
The south side of the cathedral.
Detail of two of the rosette windows on Notre Dame Cathedral.
Notre Dame Cathedral as seen from the east end of Île de la Cité (City Island).
A brief bit of sunshine on an otherwise cloudy day.
Our intrepid sailor.
The mama and the daughter.

From the boat stop, we walked to dinner.  I took them to the same restaurant I ate at when I was in Paris the previous April, Flottes.  It is located at 2 Rue Cambon, Paris.  The meal was every bit as good as the time before.  I would highly recommend the restaurant.

One of the vehicle entry points to the Louvre Museum.
A statue of a lion at the Louvre.
Another big cat at the Louvre.
Young Reclining Woman by Aristide Maillol near the Louvre.
A man and children feeding birds.
Hillary stopped in Dolce & Gabbana.

The next day we took a taxi to the Louvre Museum.  We arrived at about 08:10. The museum does not open until 09:00.  So, we walked around taking photos for a while, then we stood in line.  We were about 50 people from the front of the line, so when the museum opened, we got in quickly and bought our tickets.

Part of the Louvre Museum.
The iconic I.M. Pei pyramid at the Louvre.
While waiting for the museum to open, everyone walked around to stay warm.
The I.M. Pei pyramid. In the distance is the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel.
Leslie, Tyler, and Hillary posing.
A closer view.

Our first objective was to see the Mona Lisa.  After getting a map of the museum, we headed straight there.  I was prepared for the very small size of the painting since this was my second time at the museum.  But at 77cm x 53cm (30 inches x 21 inches), it is much smaller than I had imagined.  The painting is behind a large plexiglass screen, making photographs of the painting a challenge.  The size of the Mona Lisa seems all the more disproportionate when one turns 180-degrees to see The Wedding Feast at Cana by Paolo Caliari.  That painting is an astounding 6.8 meters x 9.75 meters (22 feet 3 inches x 32 feet).

Departing that area, we wandered around the museum.  I saw several sections that I had not seen during my previous visit.

The surprisingly small portrait of Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci.
Detail of The Wedding Feast at Cana by Paolo Caliari. It hangs directly across from the Mona Lisa and it is a huge canvas.
Detail of The Oath of the Horatii by Jacques-Louis David.
Detail of Pygmalion and Galatea by Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson.
One of the stunning ceilings in the Louvre.
Detail of Napoleon Crossing the Alps by Paul Delaroche.
Detail of Joan of Arc on Coronation of Charles VII in the Cathedral of Reims by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’.
The Nymph of Fontainebleau by Benvenuto Cellini.
Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss by Antonio Canova.
This appears to be a sculpture in alabaster.
A very unique sculpture.
Detail of Jupiter de Versailles.
A man’s face carved into a large bowl.
An unusual stone used for an Egyptian carving.
Alexander the Great.
The Albani Lion.
Hillary standing near Venus de Milo.
A statue near the Venus de Milo.
An ancient police lineup???
A stone lion, not to be confused with a stoned lion…
Carving above the fireplace in the Room of the Caryatids.
Diana of Versailles.
A gate in the museum.
The I.M. pyramid as seen from an upper level of the Louvre.
The Grand Salon in the Napolean III apartment in the Louvre.
A rolltop desk in the Grand Salon.
A very large and ornate urn.
A highly decorated helmet and shield.
Detail of intricately decorated armor.
A piece of 19th century stained-glass.
A decorated tile.
Another view of the pyramid. The people are queued to enter the museum.
An interior stairway.
A vase in the Napolean III apartment.
A sculpture in the apartment.
Detail of a chandelier.
Hillary checking out the detail.
A very large mirror in one of the apartment salons.
A dining table to accommodate 49 of one’s closest friends…
A view of the interior Marly Court.
Statues along the parapet.
A beautifully painted vase.
Hillary near a crystal make-up table.
Napolean’s chair.
An odd interior window.
The expansive skylight above Marly Court.
A sculpture of Neptune in Marly Court.
The Seine in the Chapel by Antoine Coysevox.
Hillary, Tyler, and Leslie taking a break in Marly Court.

Now it is official; the Louvre is my favorite museum on the face of this planet!

Close to noon, we went to the Louvre Museum store.  I bought a journal that I had seen on my last trip.  It probably was a crazy purchase at 80€ (US$101).  Regardless, it adds nicely to my collection of journals and I will be able to use it for many years to come.

When we left the Louvre, we walked across the Seine River.  Then we walked along the river and saw all the various vendors.  Ultimately, we crossed the road to have a drink and a plate of assorted cheeses. That was a welcome respite after all of our walking.

We departed the café to do what Hillary was just dying to do…shop!  About halfway across the Pont Royal (Royal Bridge) I suddenly realized I had left the bag with my brand new journal under the seat at the café.  Tyler was kind enough to dash back; fortunately retrieve the bag, and bring it back to me!

Fence detail outside of the Louvre.

With my journal in a secure grip, we walked over to the Rue Saint-Honoré area and did some shopping.  Luckily, Hillary did see much that interested her.  The shops in that area cater to the very, very rich.

While the women shopped, Tyler and I ducked into the Saint Roch Church.  It honestly did not look like much from the exterior.  But wow, the interior was really beautiful!  Exiting the church, we saw a couple of interesting cars parked on the street.

The Joan of Arc statue in the Place des Pyramides.
The clock above the main entrance to Saint Roch Church.
The interior of Saint Roch Church.
The Chapel of the Virgin.
A list of World War II Concentration camps and the number of martyrs at each. The numbers seem to be awfully low.
An Aston Martin parked on Rue Saint-Honoré.
A Mini Cooper parked on Rue Saint-Honoré.
Hillary posing at Gucci on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
A display on the floor of one of the shops.
The Napolean column in Place Vendôme.
Hillary posing at Van Cleef & Arpels at Place Vendôme.

We made our way over to the Opera area.  We sat down at a sidewalk café and had lunch.  It was a beautiful day.  We sat there, enjoying the weather, and watching the people.

The Paris Opéra building.
Timeout for lunch.

When we got back to our hotel, we decided to walk through a portion of the cemetery.  The Montmarte Cemetery is allegedly the oldest in Paris.  It definitely looked old.  The cemetery holds the distinction of having the most unique gravestone I have ever seen.  The gravestone is for a family, but the oddity is that there is a space in the gravestone for the stone image of the face and feet of each member!

The Cimetière de Montmartre (Montmartre Cemetery).
Some of the crypts in the cemetery.
A unique family gravestone. Note the visible faces and feet.
A bridge over a portion of the cemetery.

That evening, we ate at Corcoran’s Irish Pub, just a few doors down from our hotel.  It was good comfort food.  After dinner, we slipped around the corner to look at the Moulin Rouge.  We decided that at 120€ (US$152.40) per ticket, we did not need to see the show!

Ready for dinner.
The iconic Moulin Rouge windmill.

The following morning, we decided we would have breakfast at Corcoran’s.  It was not open when we checked.  It was such a beautiful morning, we all four sat on two different benches in the median of .  I sat there reading a book, oblivious to three men approaching.  I heard Leslie and Hillary scream out.  One of the men had approached them and tried to kiss them.  I jumped up from my bench, and using my best ex-cop voice, I yelled, “Hey!!”  It was loud enough and forceful enough to stop the men in their tracks.  I also apparently stopped a passing car.  The driver of the car asked if everything was ok.  I said yes because the men had continued their walk on .  When they were about 20-meters away, one of the men turned around and apologized.

That encounter put a bit of a damper on the morning.  We returned to the hotel, grabbed our bags, and hailed a taxi.  We returned to the Arc de Triomphe area.  We found the L’Etoile 1903 (The Star 1903) café and had our coffee and breakfast.  That helped calm us down.

After breakfast, we walked about one block to the Arc de Triomphe.  The bright blue sky made the monument all the more impressive that day.

The Arc is at the top of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Hillary’s next shopping destination.  One of the last stores we stopped at was Louis Vuitton.  Leslie and Hillary went inside.  Tyler and I waited on the sidewalk.  When the two women exited the store, I was shocked to find out Hillary was the proud owner of a 300€ (US$381)!!  I suspicion that wallet will never carry that amount of money!

A little spooked, I hailed a taxi and had the driver quickly take us to the airport before any more damage could occur.

Our return trip home was uneventful.

A painting in the café of the 1903 Paris-Madrid Rally.
Waiting for breakfast at L’Etoile 1903 (The Star 1903) café.
The bags are ready to return to Spain.
A huge French flag at the Arc de Triomphe.
On Avenue des Champs-Élysées, one of the oddest store window displays.
Hillary on Avenue des Champs-Élysées. This could get expensive.
…and it did get expensive at Louis Vuitton!
A pair of window displays at Louis Vuitton.
Another of the windows.

One thought on “Paris, France

  1. Very nice trip. Photos of the paintings and statues at the museum were awesome. Also glad Tyler was able to retrieve your journal. And then the men doing the kissy thing. That was a bit unnerving. But I love the trip.

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