Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Day in Paris

We had a busy day today! We did a lot, saw a lot and we definitely learned a lot!

We started off with a guided tour of the city in the day light where we made stops at the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. We then toured the beautiful Notre Dame and the Latin Quarter.   Our guide director, Bernie was extremely knowledgable and took us on a historical journey from the start of our tour right to the end today at the Louvre.  Our driver, Chris, basically was a magician as the driving here in Europe - especially France is crazy!!!  There are very few lines on the roads in the city of Paris and it pretty much is every person to themselves in the roundabouts.  Pedestrians have to go underground to get to the monuments that are situated in the middle of the roundabouts.  Everyone knows about "touch" parking here and there are many cars with dents in their bumpers.  Touch parking is basically doing a parallel and then backing forward and backward while hitting both cars in front and back until you get in the spot.  Alternatively, some people just park anywhere - Bernie described it as "abandoning" their cars.  We witnessed that more than once!

The city is a spectacular and calculated design.  Everything is about aesthetics and perspective is extremely important to the French.  Most famous monuments or buildings are situated at the end of what you might call the arms of a star - everything radiates out from the Place de Concorde - the main square.  The city is a circle with 12 arms (of a star).  (The actual centre of the city is in front of Notre Dame Cathedral).  So when you look down any arm of the star you see a beautiful monument or building.  Some of the pics might show this.

We headed to the Louvre and spent about two hours there looking at Greek and Roman art and sculpture.  Then we left our group and headed out on our own.  It was about 23 degrees - just a beautiful day so we walked and walked and walked.  We ate dinner in an outdoor cafe - escargot, duck and red wine - yum.

 War Museum.
 Church behind War Museum.

 Arc de Triomphe

 Mary Magdalene Church.
 Sorry for the glare - a pic from the bus.  The Paris Opera House.  You just wouldn't believe the opulence.
 Notre Dame.

 Rose window inside Notre Dame.

 Altar at Notre Dame.
 Mitch this is for you...there are many side rooms dedicated to various patron saints.  This is the patron saint of Mexico...who is????
 Notre Dame from the Paul the Pauvre park.
 The Latin Quarter.

 Guess who?
 Nice bum!
 Venus de Milo
 Smush, smush...the Louvre court.

Wow is she strong or what?

Long Journey to Paris

Sorry for the missed post. We had to either spend 20 Euro for internet or go without. We went without... Don't forget we are on the budget tour HAHA.

Yesterday was"bum numb" day as we spent most of the day traveling from Switzerland to France.   Still we enjoyed the scenery from our coach window and the naps weren't bad either!

When we finally made it to Paris we went on the "Paris at Night" tour on the Seine River and through Paris in our coach.  OMG!!!!  What a magnificent city.  In all our lives we never thought that we would see such sites...words just can't describe how it feels to witness the architecture and culture of this city - especially at night.  Truly the city of light.

Cas took these pictures using a night setting on her camera.  So interestingly - it doesn't even look dark - which it definitely was.

 Pont des Invalide bridge.
 The Eiffel Tower in a distance.
 Some of the most exclusive condos in Paris.  (Some rent for 14,000 Euros for one square meter)  In other words, the space around our seat in our coach.
 Musee D'orsay which houses many of the impressionist paintings. (Monet, Manet, Renoir etc.)
 Louvre Museum...OMG biggest building we have ever seen.  Goes for blocks.  Used to be the Royal Palace for the kings of France.  Today it holds more than 35,000 works of art including the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.
 Notre Dame Cathedral.  Look at the beautiful rose window!!!!
 Side of Notre Dame.
 Back of Notre Dame.
 Bohemian section of the River.  You wouldn't believe the number of people who line the shore of the Seine at night.  In this one spot many young people gather, play their music and dance the night away.  It is not uncommon to see folks laying out blankets by the river and enjoying baguettes, cheese and vino.  So civilized!
 Marie Antoinette and her husband Louis the XX1V was held in this prison during the French Revolution.

 You guys know what this is!

 Ruth and Conrad's 25th Wedding Anniversary.  They are from Winnipeg.  Remember - the photo bomber???
 Marg and Reuben's 33rd Wedding Anniversary.  They are from P.E.I. Thanks for all the laughs!!!

 The Effel Tower "sparkles" on the hour every hour starting at 9 pm and ending at midnight.  This is a picture taken from the Pont Alexandre 111.  Interesting, this bridge is used for many fashion shoots and to our right that is exactly what was happening!!!  Of course, we were asked to join the shoot as we looked so stunning but we had to pass.
 Sorry this is blurry, we were driving. This was the tunnel that Princess Diana died in.
 The side view of Arc de Triomphe
 Champs D'Elysees. If you zoom in on this picture... you might think you can see a ghost. You're not crazy, it really is there but it's not a ghost. It's the reflection of our tour director Bernie!
This is the church dedicated to Mary Magdalene.