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September 24, 2004

Paris

Tim and I took a trip to Paris the first week of August. Yep, just us! This was the first time in our whole marriage that we have gone somewhere by ourselves for more than a night.

It was wonderful! We managed to survive driving on the Paripheque (loop around Paris) and find the right exit, then find the hotel. However what they say about driving in Paris is true the Parisans are NUTS! and then there's all these little one way streets..........

We found the hotel and a parking garage though. At first I thought we were in a seedy neighboorhood but the more we walked around Paris the more we realized it's all that way! I think the only section that isn't is the the more expensive end of town. Even the big fancy hotels aren't that far off the seedy sections. It's very dirty and run down compared to Germany. And they don't clean up after their doggy's........yuck! So we had the hotel and then we walked over to the Ecole Militarie(Military school) and the metro to get our passes taken care of straight away, then back to the Seine and the Batobus (a boat kinda like a taxi) and on to Notre Dame.

Notre Dame was lovely but closed by the time we got there so we took pictures and go back on the boat. I told Tim it's kinda sad cause after awhile in Europe it's kinda like.......yep it's another cathedral! ;)

Paris is lovely at dusk and at night and the first night I got some good shots of the Seine at sunset.

It's a good thing Parisans eat late cause we didn't get dinner until 10:30 by the time we got back to our bus stop and walked from the Eiffel tower back towards our hotel! However, I have to say we neve rhad any bad food in Paris!! YUM YUM! and more wine,coffee, and cheese then we've EVER had!! he he

TIP........if you go in August splurge for a hotel with AC! It was so stinkin HOT in our hotel room! and when we went to buy a fan later they were outrageously expensive!

TIP............. don't go in August if you can help it!! All the tourists are in town and the several business are closed. Still it was wonderful.

another TIP............take Rick Steve's books and follow them! We loved Rue Cler and visited almost everyday. This is a wonderful little street with a market everyday, great cafes, and little supermarkets. A great place to soak up Parisian atmosphere and if we went back we would get a hotel on this street! (Or in the higher priced end near the Bastille (older part of Paris). WE had fun getting picnic supplies everyday..........the best fruit, breads (I had a lovely little salmon and spinach quiche for lunch one day!), wines, etc. All on one street!!


The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays so we were off to the D'Orsay museum. This is a beautiful building that used to be the train station. It houses the art the Louvre didn't want! Stuff like Degas, Monet, Mary Cassatt, etc. It was beautiful but busy. I didn't really get to just sit and stare at the art! It was also kind of surreal to be looking at paintings by the master inpressionists!

Tip.........buy the Museum pass!!! We got in so much quicker than everyone else cause you use a seperate entrance!

Then we went over to the Rodain Museum, interesting. Lovely gardens......some of our favorite times were picnics and benches. Tired tootsies!!!! My feet HURT! We had a nice picnic lunch, amongst trees, a light rain and statues. Tim and I both decided however that this man was obsessed with SEX! and Women. Most of his statues are of men and women in some pose, women's faces-busts (favorite)-etc,etc,etc! Also one of a man that was blatently sexual! Got the requiste goofy picture of Tim with the Thinker!!

Napolen's Tomb was next and if Rodain was obsessed with sex than Napolean was obssesed with HIMSELF! Interesting but not necessarily a favorite stop.

We then walked over to the Luxombourg gardens , the Tuilleries to see about the Paris illumination tour but we missed it so then it was on the Metro to go home/dinner. The Metro wasn't as bad as I thought it might be but you get to walk ALOT!

I am glad we took the advice in the Let's Go Paris book and dressed up a little. We felt like we fit in better and didn't look quite so touristy! I wore skirts/dresses and dressy pants with sandels and blouses Tim wore nice shirts and shorts/slacks. Parisians dress up more than others. Not dressy per se just nice. Even though a lot of women had on nice blouses and no bras.........go figure. Of course did I mention it was HOT???

Versilles was next. An all day adventure! Took the train out and got there early which was good cause we took a nice little guided tour and when we came back out-- the line was humongous!!! At least a two hour wait...........museum pass to the rescue! Our wait was only five minutes at best! We walked the gardens.........and I mean WALKED this place is HUGE!! They rent bicycles and have carriage rides, what does that tell you???? Another King obsessed with himself! But it was beautiful! Had our picnic lunch............ususally fruit, cheese, bread and wine/water. Laid on the grass for a little snooze and took off the shoes!!
Ahhh.................

then it's time for more walking thorugh the chateaux itself. The famed hall of mirrors was under construction! But still beautiful. It's amazing what they did! And they are still trying to get back everything that was auctioned off in the revolution! Our guide was good but very French-- talking about how the French went broke helping the US and then we never repaid. Ok so maybe not monetarily but I think liberation from two Worls Wars counts for something!

Then we hiked back to the train station and enjoyed being off our feet on the train. Time for a cafe break.........back to Rue Cler and a lovely dinner. Although packed! Parisians eat late and sit for hours with coffee and cigarrettes and they don't care if others are waiting!

Next morning we "did" the Champs Elysees. Took the Metro to the Arc de Triumph, and climbed it! Steep windy staircase! Then strolled down the Champs and window shopped.

Found a ring at Cartier that was absoloutly fabulous darling! Tim says" but there's no price......" I said " HOney, it's Cartier! If you have to ask you can't afford!"

We wanted a picture of the American Embassy but the security restrictions don't allow. It is right down by the place de la Concord (this is where they chopped off everybody's heads!) and the Rue de Rivoli which is quite exclusive. I wanted to see the Hotel de Crillion because that's where Lance Armstrong stays and we found it..........we'd been walking past it all week!!

Then to the Louvre, which was bigger than I thought. I mean I new it was big but it doesn't really dawn on you until you get there! We did the requiste tour........past winged victory, the Venus de Milo and our 30 seconds in front of Mona. The rest of the place is gorgeous as well but you kinda feel herded through.........like I siad don't go in August!

After that it was picnic time at the Eiffel tower.........yummy chocolates! We waited for it to light up at night and glitter and then went up. I couldn't stand near the edge when the strobes were on!


Friday was our last day and we enjoyed our little breakfast............crossiants, butter, jam and coffee! (typical) then decided to make a last minute jaunt to Monet's home in Giverney.


More later..................

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“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." .... Jeremiah 29:11 (esv)