Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Paris Day 3: June 25, 2017

Today we decided to leave the city area and to see the Basilique Du Sacré-Cœur   which is another famous Cathedral up on a mountain outside the city.  The view from here was supposed to be one of the best around Paris.  It was beautiful and the area around it was filled with little shops and cafes.  The walk up the mountain and to the Basilica was a workout !

I didn't take many pictures inside, but I did take some of this... the mosaic work in the cathedral.  I cannot imagine the time and attention to detail that went into this cathedral.

 View from the top of the stairs.

Stairs to the city area.

 Time for lunch.

We saw these in one of the shops, I think it's going a little too far !

 Happy Cheese Utensils !

Paris Day 2: June 24, 2017

Traveling is tiring so we got up relatively early, (about 8), but it took us time to get moving.  Our host Tristan was home so we talked and laughed some more with him.  By the time we got out in the city it was 11:30am.  It was time to head to the Eiffel Tower.  I wanted to look up how to get there, but Rachael just wanted to "walk around and find it".  We lost a lot of time "looking" and eventually we used Google maps to get there.  From far away, it doesn't look that nice.  In fact, Rachael's first reaction was "that's it, ?-- We came all the way here for this ?".  I must admit I was thinking the same until we got closer.

 We were going to go up into the restaurant, but since I didn't plan ahead, reservations were out of the question.  In this part of the city we met MANY Americans on vacation. We also saw a lot of Chinese tourists.  There were a lot of beggars on the trains and metro as well.  Every large city has its poor. 😟 

After the Eiffel Tower Rachael and I decided to try to find the Tourist Information center where I hoped to get a city map and list of attractions to better plan our time in Paris.
We found the French Equivalent of our Museum of Natural History, the building was beautiful, but we decided not to pay the admission as we had been to several of  these type museums in the states and felt that nothing could compare with the Smithsonian in DC.  Rachael's persistent arguing about "planning everything" caused us to abandon our plan for the Tourist Info center so instead we headed for the Louvre.  On our way there, we were told that one of the metro stops was closed due to a LGBTQ parade going on.  We decided then that we would join the march if we encountered it and march in support of our friends at home for a bit.  When we arrived at the Louvre, I have to say, I was amazed at the buildings.  The whole complex is HUGE and encompasses several city blocks !  I spent over an hour just looking at the buildings which are a work of art themselves !  Rachael and I split up because she wanted to see other things and couldn't understand why I wanted to just look at buildings.  Here are some pictures, but they do not do it justice.

After about an hour I got a call from Rachael, she had found some marchers and was snacking with them in the garden at the Louvre.  She told me where she was and I went to meet her new friends. 

We decided to join them in the march for a few blocks. There were THOUSANDS of people from all over France, Germany, and Belgium.

 After a few blocks we found a cafe where we could have a snack, drink some wine, and watch the parade.  It was VERY HOT today.

We lingered quite a while in the cafe talking with people. It was a great day !

Paris Day 1: June 23, 2017

The mistake I made on this trip was NOT planning out the days like I've done before.  While we knew some of the things we wanted to see, I didn't know where they were, what they cost, or anything else including the days and hours they are open.  I was trying to be more "spontaneous", but all that happened was that we lost time trying to figure out what to do next. 
Our first agenda item was to get something to eat so we went to eat a a little cafe across from our flat. 

After a wonderful brunch, we decided to get groceries for the next few days. Of course, again, it was an adventure.  Here they have stools to help people reach the shelves!  I think Walmart needs to learn from them.
Then it was time to take off into Paris ! Walking into the metro we were welcomed by art exhibits.
Art in the metro station
Our goal was to see Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, and then go from there.  We finally found our way to the city center and were amazed at the beauty of the city.  Paris really is beautiful.  It was also very clean.  I noticed street cleaners out keeping the area spic & span.  There were also a lot of army guys keeping the area safe.  Lots of security.

Then we headed towards Notre Dame.  On the way we saw beautiful buildings !

 Finally we made our way to the Cathedral of Notre Dame !  It is very beautiful.  Pictures cannot fully illustrate it.  You could look at it for days and not see all the detail; and that was only the outside !  We were excited to go in, but found that it was closed today for some reason. 😢

We were disappointed, but planned to go back in a few days.  We walked around the city and made our way back to our flat.  We chatted with our host about life in France and really enjoyed our conversation.