Friday, May 25, 2012

Gay Paree

 We flew into Charles De Gaulle airport with our very heavy suitcases and were efficiently transferred to the Westminster Hotel in downtown Paris.  Immediately we knew we weren't in Kansas anymore.  What an active city!  Not an overweight person in sight.  (Well, except the tourists.)

Our hotel was very close to the beautiful opera house.

And also the Lafayette Galleria mall.  Whoa!  Needless to say, we didn't buy anything.

After roaming around in a jet-lagged haze the first day, on day two we took a bus tour around town and learned a lot of facts which I promptly forgot.  Every where we looked were gorgeous old buildings.

We stopped to see Notre Dame cathedral which is technically Notre Dame de Paris since there are other churches with the same name.  (Hey, I did remember something.)

I didn't get a good shot of the outside.  I'll blame it on being rushed and the sun on the wrong side.  But as you all know, it's incredible.  

I was fascinated by this headless statue.  
The guide said it was Saint Denis and that after he was beheaded, he picked up his head and carried it for six miles, preaching a sermon the entire way.  I bet that inspired a lot of converts.

Ron liked this water fountain that looked like a lady from this angle.  Oddly it just looked like a post from the other direction.

We also made a short stop for a photo op of the Eiffel Tower although it was pretty far away.
Did you know it was built for the 1889 Worlds Fair as a temporary structure?

And the bus took a death-defying loop around the Arc de Triomphe for drive-by pictures.

There were two things that really surprised me about Paris.  One was how clean it was.  I had heard (maybe 40 years ago) that Paris was dirty and that misconception has stayed with me all these years.  Happily, I can report that is not true and Parisians obviously take pride in their lovely city.

The other surprise was the traffic.  I never saw anything like it even in New York City or, my personal nemesis, Boston.  Paris has masses of tiny cars going every direction every minute of the day.  And yet, we saw very few dents in all those cars. 

Our guide mentioned that although Paris streets have marked driving lanes, if you stay within the lines, you'll never get anywhere.

And then there are the motorcycles which drive anywhere they want between buses and cars and even down the wrong side of the street.  And bicyclists are almost as daring.  I swear the people of Paris must be the bravest in the world.

In the afternoon, Ron and I took off on our own walking tour,  attempting to hit all the high points.  We walked the Champs Elysees to the smaller Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel.  Both arches were commissioned by Napoleon in the first decade of the 1800s.  I guess you can never have too many war monuments.

Although we didn't have time to go in, we had to admire the architecture of the Louvre.

When we crossed over the Seine, we wondered about the purpose for all the locks on the bridge.

Ah, somebody came up with a clever idea.  Don't you just love free enterprise?
(And notice the sign is in English.  I guess we know who the suckers are.)

Finally we made it to the Eiffel Tower.  That long distance look just wasn't good enough.

One of the two elevators to the top was down for repairs so the wait was two hours.  Rather than waiting, I decided to just walk up to the first level, 57.63 meters or 189 feet above the ground.  Once I got my second wind it wasn't bad.
I thought about walking up the second level, but Ron was patiently waiting for me down below.  LOL

On the way down, I got a look at the two level elevator.  I wondered if the passengers realized they were being transported by a dummy!

Here's a closer look at the operator.

Obviously we needed about a week to really experience Paris, but I think we did a pretty good job in the time we had.  We were pretty tired after all that walking.


  1. Looks like you had a grand time in Paree. Wonderful photos.

    Bet you were glad you were not driving your motorhome in all that traffic!

    Did you buy a lock? ;c)

  2. awww so thats where you been!! Wonderful shots of a beautiful city for sure! The traffic does look confusing----at least they do drive on the Right side of the road!

  3. Great pics. Looking forward to seeing more!

    Welcome back. See you soon.

  4. Pleased you enjoyed itas it is a beautiful place. I would say that any way as I love France. We hope to get over there again this summer. Thats one benefit of the Euro crisis is that we get more Euros to the £.

  5. My only trip to Paris was not long after I graduated high school. It was actually a side trip from Frankfurt, Germany. We had only a couple of days to explore, so I hope to someday return to see all that I missed then.

  6. Woweee! I must be pretty wierd, because my favorite picture is the one with all the cars. But beautiful shots of all the gorgeous sites too!

  7. OK, this has been worth the wait. So happy for you two. Leon and I have talked about going since his daughter is living outside London.