Monday, January 20, 2014

Merci Paris for your Beauty

Paris was beautiful. I was not so much the museums and the art (although those were beautiful too) that caught my eye, but the people, the food, and the neighborhoods. We lived on baguettes, croissants, salami, and oranges. We walked miles and miles and learned the metro (underground train) quite well by the time we were done. We stayed in an apartment in the Montmartre area just down from the Sacre Coeur. I loved it. Our apartment was sparse, but it had everything we needed. Made me want to go home and get my clothes, but leave everything else behind and move in! Never mind the language barrier.

The view from our living room window.
The Sacre Coeur with the merry go round.
The Sacre Coeur.
Yep! We were there!
This to me was Paris. The beautiful neighborhoods.
The sun was starting to set and it just lit up the tops of the buildings in a magnificent warmth.
The famous windmill from Moulin Rouge.
Don't you just want to go in and buy something?
So many delicious chocolates.
The mirror was a perfect assistant to take the picture of Christian, Lisa, Thomas, and I.
She was beautifully lit up in the dawn of the morning.
Stained glass inside of the Notre Dame.
Hello Joan of Arc.
You always hear of the gargoyles. And there they are.
The day we did the Rick Steve's walking tour around Notre Dame, was beautiful. So much to learn.
And we were there too.
We found the lock bridge. Legend says that if you leave a lock and throw the key in the river is symbolizes eternal love.
Street vendors.
Square René Viviani with Notre Dame in the back ground.
Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald frequented this shop.
Sainte Chapelle had beautiful stained glass on 3 of the 4 cathedral walls.
I love this.
And this.
And this.
River Seine.
And there she is.
View looking up.
Christian and Lisa headed to the top.
Funny story... Thomas decided he was done on the first level. So I followed Lisa and Christian up to the second level to get in line to go to the top. When you climb that many stairs... you might want your ticket. Oh well. So I trucked on down and hung out with Thomas instead. And took lots of pictures.
To the left is the Sacre Coeur.
We were able to see the Eiffel Tower light up on the hour when were were up there. Pretty amazing.
Did you ever wonder how people move into the 5th floor of a building that has a 2 person elevator? This amazing contraption has taken the place of good ol' buddies helping you out.
The Louvre.
Yep. This is the line that continues from the picture above. Our museum pass was well worth NOT waiting in this line.
I don't know why I love these guys.
We saw the Venus de Milo.
This painting was the size of the floor plan of our house. Crazy!
This was Thomas' favorite painting. Not sure what I think about that.
This is an example of what our next year Christmas card will look like. Can't you just picture it? hehe
The Mona Lisa. And the dozens of people who wanted to see her.
It was insane.
After the Louvre we went to the Musee de l'Armee or the War Museum where Thomas got his fill of tanks.
They had more then just French military history and this was Thomas' patch when he was in the Army.
I seriously want to know who came up with the idea to stuff Napoleons horse. Seriously? Who thought that was a good idea?
The Orangeries at Versailles. I imagine it is beautiful in the spring.
The sun came out for a moment to shine on Apollo Fountain.
The property was endless.
The Grand Trianon was built by Louis XIV in 1670 to escape the pomp and rigid formality of court life at Versailles with his mistress Madame de Montespan.
Could you imagine sleeping here?
Just down the road was Marie Antoinette's estate. Here was her room. If I sat straight legged on her bed, I am not sure I would fit. Midgets the whole lot of them.
This was Marie Antoinette's Hamlet. She created a place where she could live as a peasant, without really living as a peasant. It had the look and feel, although the servants still did all the work. This was my favorite house.
And across the water, this was Thomas' favorite house.
This was the metro which we came to know so well.
The Arc de Triomphe.
There in the walls was the name Molitor. Thomas' mom's maiden name. Most of them are generals who served during the First French Empire (1804–1814) with additional figures from the French Revolution (1789–1799).
This is the view from the Arc de Triomphe down the Champs-Élysées.
It was New Years Day and there had been a parade of older cars which completely made Thomas' day.
Our last stops included the Musée de l'Orangerie and the Musée d'Orsay which we were not allowed to take picture at. The Orangerie was a small little museum, but in it was Monet's paintings of the Water Lilies. If you ever visit Paris, stop by. It was totally worth it. And the Orsay was in an old train station. So not only was the art neat, but the building itself was exquisite.

Paris was an enchanting city and after 5 days we took the Eurostar across the Channel Tunnel or the Chunnel to London.

The biggest advise I can give to anyone traveling to either Paris or London is this. Buy Rick Steve's pocket guide and get a map of the metro system. The book was right on about what to see when. And the walking tours were a fun bit of history. With those 2 things you will have a fantastic time visiting the best of the city.