Paris

Notre Dame--see the Hunchback?
Notre Dame--see the Hunchback?
Notre Dame
Notre Dame started in 1163
The River Seine
The River Seine
Alexandre III Bridge
Alexandre III Bridge
Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower
All lit up!
All lit up!
Ooh, la, la
Ooh, la, la
Chapel of Versailles
Royal Chapel of Versailles
Hall of Mirrors
Hall of Mirrors
Versailles
Versailles wrapped in a trompe l'oeil canvas
Versailles
Backyard view of The Palace of Versailles
Tuilleries Garden
Tuilleries Garden
Entrance to the Louvre
Louvre built in the 12th century
Venus de Milo
Venus de Milo
Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe
Paris is for lovers
Paris is for lovers
Our hotel
Our hotel

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain


Oct 23, Day 19 - 21 Paris, France
Paris
View from on top the Orsay Museum

After a nice breakfast of croissants and coffee we said goodbye to our lovely hostess and headed to Paris, our last stop. We arrived in Paris at lunchtime and dropped off our luggage at our hotel. On the ride to Paris, Martin gave us some advice on dealing with the French. He said to be sure to greet anyone who waited on us otherwise we would be considered "rude" and not get good service. We made sure to smile and say "Bonjour" before ordering and say "Merci" afterwards and we never had a problem. We took a short walk from our hotel and found a Boulangerie where we sat outside and had a delightful Parisian lunch of quiche, croque monsieur (ham & cheese sandwich dipped in egg) and a chocolate macaroon. After lunch the group gathered for a subway ride to the Notre Dame area. After touring Notre Dame, we chose to walk along the Seine back to the hotel rather than take the subway back. There were many vendors along the riverwalk selling souvenirs, old books and pictures and many bridges crossing the Seine, each with its own unique architectural style and history. We saw a bridge covered with locks where couples attach a lock and throw the key to their hearts into the river and a bridge dedicated to Thomas Jefferson. We ended up at the Eiffel Tower and saw it lit up. We got a little lost on the way back to our hotel but stopped at a pharmacy for help. The nice girl working there pulled up a map on her computer and got us back on track. Remembering to smile and greet her really paid off. Wherever we went on this trip, we found that people were kind and helpful.

Nighttime cruise down the Seine

So much to do and so little time left, we decided to go to Versailles on our free day. We took the RER with another couple from our group and made our pilgrimage to Versailles armed with our Museum pass courtesy of Rick Steves. We had become spoiled by never having to wait in lines before, but we were forced join the masses in the line to the entrance. The palace's rooms were opulent-the ceilings had beautiful murals. My favorite room was the Hall of Mirrors. I smile each time I see it in a perfume commercial. The gardens outside were enormous-paths, statues, fountains, plantings as far as the eye could see.

Our last group dinner together was bittersweet. We'd done so much together, it was sad to think this was the end of our tour. We did have one last "wow" moment together as Martin took us on a nighttime cruise down the Seine. Paris, the original City of Light, did not disappoint.

Day 21, our last day. We left our luggage at the hotel's front desk and set out with another couple to make a whirlwind tour of a couple of Paris' art museums. We took the metro to the Louvre. Unfortunately, being Saturday, the museum was crowded so we just tried to see a few of its masterpieces: the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. Leaving the Louvre, we walked through the Tuileries Garden to L'Orangerie and viewed Monet's murals. We wanted to see more of Monet's works so we walked over to the Musee d'Orsay. Lunch in the cafeteria was a nice break. The museum is in a grand old train station and was a lovely setting for all the great works we saw. There are works by Cezanne, Dega, Manet, Monet, Gauguin, Renoir, van Gogh, and many, many more. We didn't do our homework, however, missed seeing Whistler's Mother. How did that get there? Best of all, even on a Saturday, it was not as crowded as the Louvre. We were able to get right up to the paintings to admire them for as long as we wanted. It was our favorite museum of the tour. Alas, our backs and feet gave out and it was time to head back to the hotel to retrieve our luggage and make our way to the airport. Au revoir, Paris!


ON GETTING INSPIRED!


Paris

Ah, Paris! What a great city in which to end our tour. Its people, art, history, food and architecture were wonderful. There are, however, so many more things we would have liked to see and experience. Now that we've had a taste of Paris, we need to go back and savor the experience. We'd like to walk down the Champs-Elysees, eat at more sidewalk cafes and watch the Parisians go by, visit the Louvre and several other museums at a leisurely pace, go to Montmartre, and more....


Highlights


    • Eiffel Tower (especially at night)
    • Notre Dame
    • Louvre & Musee d'Orsay
    • Versailles
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