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Showing posts from September, 2010

Paris - final day and final thoughts

This morning we had our last cup of coffee and last croissant in silence.  I know that I am full of thoughts and wishes about our trip and I'm sure Bridgete is as well.  We got to the airport in plenty of time.  And far too soon, we were leaving Paris and back in Boston.

There are few things I wanted to say about my trip that didn't seem to fit with my travelogue.  I knew that I would enjoy Paris.  I had read about it and thought about for many years now.  And even though several people had told me beforehand that I would fall in love and want to live there, I took it all with a grain of salt.  I've traveled before and seen some very amazing cities, but nothing compares to Paris.  It is another world.  And it is indeed a world in which I could imagine myself living.  There is a quietness, a peacefulness, an elegance and a dignity to Paris that I have never experienced before.  I've always craved a kind of quiet in my life - but never knew what the quiet was until now. …

Paris - Day 6

Today is our last full day in Paris.  SOB!  And we are visiting that place famous in history for so many reasons - Versailles.  Testament to the power (and ego) of Louis XIV - the Sun King.  Did you know that he became king at the age of 4 and ruled France for 72 years?  Did you know that he outlived his son and his grandson and was followed on the throne by his great-grandson (who was only 5 at the time)?  Well, I didn't.  During his reign, France was indeed a most powerful country and his patronage of the arts brought him much glory.  French theater and literature flourished under his protection.  Painting, music, architecture all gained prominence.   And he converted the hunting lodge at Versailles into a magnificent palace that would become the royal court of France in 1682.  At one time, the palace alone housed 14,000 people.  That's a town!

We took a train trip to Versailles - about 30 minutes outside of Paris.  The day was like most of our days had been, lightly overca…

Paris - Day 5

First, I realized that I forgot to mention dinner last night.  Oops - my bad.  Dinner was okay.  The French onion soup was divine!  Bridgete had escargot.  And a creme caramel desert was mighty tasty. 


Day 5 - The Louvre.  That's the big museum - with all the famous paintings - and the glass pyramid.  And it is every bit as amazing as you might imagine.  It's the one time I acted like a rude American - but there is no other way to get close to...that picture....without elbows and rudeness.

I took pictures of what I could.  There's this one.  She's quite lovely.










And then look at the look on this little girl's face!




So here's the moment you've waited for - literally sweated for - my hair was dripping wet by the time we reached this room.    That's her - the little dark square on the other side of that sea of people.  Elbows up....


yessir...I saw her.  She's pretty amazing.  You wish all these other people would just go away so you could have some time a…

Paris - Day Four

It's Wednesday.  By the end of today our week in Paris will be more than half over!  :-(

We started with Breakfast.  You know the drill.  Coffee and croissant.  Cheese and fruit.  And really...what else do you need?  This morning, there was a little construction going on next door, it's August and vacation month for many French people.  It seems like every other shop we past has a sign on the door, "En vacances pour le mois d'août."  And lots of them are having face-lifts or renovations done while en vacances.   Well apparently our concierge, Arnaud (not to be confused with our guide Arnaud (who has his own blog here) decided that he'd had enough.  Out the front door he went and the jack hammer stopped.  Back in he came with a look to me that said, 'we'll have no more of that until you are all out and about.'  The rest of breakfast was peaceful and pleasant.

Today we started at the Pompidou Center.  The ugliest building in Paris, Arnaud has succes…

Paris - Day Three

Some of you know my strange and colorful history with squirrels.  Well, we didn't see any actual squirrels in Paris.  But this was the wallpaper in our room.

Look at his little ears! How they are kind of spiky?  Now that's a stylish squirrel.  Apparently this is a pretty close representation of the real thing.  They are red and do have little tufted ears.  And it's quite a blessing if you see one in person as they are quite shy and not at all inclined to scold you from the trees.  Just another example of polite French society.
Day Three started out with breakfast.  This time we were early enough to get croissant - a fine, flaky, buttery thing that melted on the tongue - and of course coffee.  A word about the coffee here.  I've always been a coffee with cream person.  I love the smell of coffee, but the taste of it has always been bitter to me and the acidity does a number on my stomach.  So I have my one little cup with cream or milk each day when at home.  But in Pari…

Paris - Day Two

Day Two
After a perfectly wonderful night, in which I snored, but due to the very cozy arrangement of our beds, Bridgete merely stuck her arm out and patted me and I would roll off my back, we woke up for our first full day in Paris.  

Started out with breakfast of bread and cheese, a little fruit, perfect coffee - what else do you need?  Really?  The morning looked a little cool and the forecast called for rain.  So every one set out with the necessary jackets, sweaters and umbrellas.  We walked to the Metro and got our first instructions in how to use this wonderful system. 

Our stop was Ecole Militaire on the Ballard/Cretiel Line 8.  For today we would be traveling to the Ile de la Cite - the heart of Paris and would need to change Line 1 - La Defense/Chateau de Vincennes at Concorde where the two lines intersect and then get off Line 1 at Hotel de Ville.    When we made the change at Concorde and were walking toward our next train, we were treated to the sound of a tuba and an acco…

Paris - Day One

We arrive in Paris at about 1:00 in the afternoon, after flying overnight from Boston.  So it's actually about 7 AM for us and we haven't slept a wink.  But excitement overtakes us.  We are in Paris.  CDG is a strange airport.  There are moving sidewalks that are more like escalators, going up and down the central core of the airport.  Other than that, it looks pretty much like any airport of any major city.  We collect our luggage, and since we went through passport control in Reykjavik, we just leave like any other EU passenger.  
We neatly avoid the illegal taxi services right outside of baggage claim and proceed to the taxi stand.  After we get all the baggage into the taxi, we give the address of our hotel - Hôtel de Londres Eiffel 1 rue Augereau.  He mumbles a few things in French and off we go.  
There's a middling sense of deprivation.  It's a big city, with high rises and graffiti and trains - then suddenly, you leave La Defense and you are in PARIS.  Beautiful …