Tag Archives: france

A Day at Versailles and a Night on the Seine

Tuesday, Sept 13, 2016 – Day 3

<– Previously, we drank all the champagne

That next day, we did get to sleep in a bit.  Not all day though, as we did want to do some stuff before heading off to our excursion at Versailles at 1pm.  So we went to a cafe for breakfast across from the Notre Dame which ended up being our low point for food, as the service was awful and my omelette was the runniest thing I’d ever seen.  Ah well, can’t all be winners.  

After that, we walked back to the area by our hotel to find a bakery – happily there was one and we could get some croissants.  We took the croissants back to the hotel’s little patio area, and got some cafe creme from the hotel.  Nice way to spend the morning, and made things a bit better.  

Morning in Paris

After some more relaxing at the hotel, we took the Metro over to Ecole Militaire, which was near our meeting point for the Versailles tour.  We did take a walking detour from the Metro stop to walk through the Champ de Mars in order to get some good views of the Eiffel Tower during the day.   It was also really effing hot that day too, so while it was a beautiful day, it was still really hot. Continue reading A Day at Versailles and a Night on the Seine

Visiting the Champagne Country + Moulin Rouge!

Monday, Sept 12, 2016 – Paris, Day 2

<– Previously, an action-packed day in Paris seeing Notre Dame, the D’Orsay Museum, and the Eiffel Tower at night

An Early Start

So we weren’t able to sleep in too much as I had booked us on a champagne day trip in Reims, which is located smack dab in the middle of Champagne Country.  But first we had to get to Reims on our own as the tour wasn’t a Paris-based one.  Hence we were going to get our first experience with the SNCF trains, but even before that we had to get to Gare de L’est by taking the subway.  After we got to the train station, we had enough time to grab a quick croissant at a vendor as we knew there was going to be lots of champagne ahead of us that day and it’s wise to not drink on an empty stomach.   Larry even did the ordering and used the advice of adding ‘si vous plais’ when doing so, as it drastically helps in getting the French to be nice.  The train ride there was very comfortable, as I had booked us in first class, and very smooth and VERY fast. Reims is quite a ways from Paris but via that train, it’s only 45 minutes. I love European trains.

Getting to Reims

paris-to-reimsI wanted to use this map to help give you a sense of how far away we were from Paris.  By car, it takes nearly 1 3/4 hours, but our high speed train made quick work of that in 45 minutes.  Nice!

Visiting our first champagne facility: G.H. Mumms

mumms-in-reimsIn Reims, we found our meeting point  at the tourism office and after waiting in the line there briefly, I looked back to see that our minivan group was waiting and we didn’t need to wait in the line. Our seats were up in the front as we were the last to arrive and it was a crazy wide Mercedes minivan.  Our host was a cute French/Brazilian guy who was not only our driver but also the tour guide for the day.  We got a quick drive-through tour of the city of Reims first, before heading to the Mumms factory in the city.   While waiting outside the facility for our tour to begin, we all got to meet each other.  There were 3 couples in addition to us, making a total of 8 people.

Once inside Mumms, we first watched a movie of their history, but after that, we then started walking throughout the vast complex that exists underground.  We learned about the various grapes used, the various bottle sizes, and just quite a bit of how champagne is made.   Some of the things I remember, others not, but that link is helpful.  Deeper underground, we got quite a cool tour of the workings, including walking around the huge underground city that is filled with endless rows of bottles and bottles.  We got to really see in practice the part of the process in which bottles of champagne are kept stored at various inverted angles. Continue reading Visiting the Champagne Country + Moulin Rouge!

Day 5: Versailles & Eiffel Tower

(2014 Note:  These pages are transfers from my original site so I can better view the many pictures I have from that trip and so it’s searchable within WordPress Search. Here’s a link to the original page!)

Day5

So it took me quite a bit of time (a month or so) to continue the recap of the amazing European trip…from over 2 months ago. Yes, I suck. But I endeavor to get these cranked out sooner than later, as hell, I’m beginning to forget just what it was we did! Part of my delay has been the fact that there are a TON of freakin’ pictures to go through…still. This page and the next have a fuckton of pictures to look through so persevere with me!

Let me bring you back into the vacation mode though – that’s the least I could do. The night before, we all (me, Jeff, Susan, Shannon and Brian) had gone on the kick-ass nighttime taxi ride through Paris. I must reiterate what a fantastic thing that is to do. Do it, if you are ever in Paris. We got back around midnight or so, but had to make sure to get some rest because we were going to get up first thing in the morning because it was time to beat the crowds to Versailles!

day5_versailles

To get to Versailles, you actually have to take a train out to it from Paris, as it’s not exactly right in town. We planned for this endeavor by making sure to leave early enough to get to Versailles shortly after opening, so we all met at our hotel lobby first. This morning, we added another to our crew, Mike. Mike is a friend of Susan’s and is currently stationed over in Germany so he took the train over. He is a pretty cool guy and got along well with the existing group of us.

I ended up using some more of my admittedly limited French skills to buy a Versailles Rail Pass which gets you a round-trip ticket on the RER AND a ticket into Versailles, allowing you to bypass the ticket line there, which is a definite plus. Easily enough, we got there and walked the brief journey from the train station to the palace gates, which you arrive at and immediately are overwhelmed by the sheer grandiosity and Size of the Palace of Versailles. It was the retreat from Paris politics and hubbub that the Sun King, Louis XIV, built – and it’s freakin’ amazing in its scope and over-the-topness. It definitely earns its reputation as Europe’s Top Palace, because while the palace itself is huge, when you actually get to the back of the palace, you see the immenseness of the palace grounds – which you’d need a whole day to walk around and explore on your own.

Anyways, we were able to walk right in and begin the self-guided tour throughout the palace. Jeff and I had downloaded the Rick Steves iPod walking tour which was very informative and fun to listen to – Rick Steves is kind of a dork. But it was a good tour, although the recording was based on an old tour route, as you see, Versailles’ tour path has been reorganized because they’ve finished restoring some sections that you weren’t able to visit before, including the Hercules grand entrance hall and, most exciting, the Versailles Opera House. It was amazing to see that, especially since it was featured prominently in the recent movie by Sofia Coppola called Marie Antoinette (boring movie, but beautiful). There was plenty to see in Versailles, but it mostly served to illustrate how much freakin’ money was spent on lavishness. Incredible. Oh, but if you really want to know more about Versailles, here’s a Wikipedia entry all about it! We finished the tour, walked around the top portion of the gardens briefly, but then headed soon enough back on the train to Paris, which was good timing on our part, as the place got PACKED by the time we were leaving. A Saturday is definitely not a ‘light’ tourist time for one of the biggest attractions in France!

March 31, 2007: Journey to and Exploring Versailles

Jeff and Susan are ready for their French breakfast
Jeff and Susan are ready for their French breakfast31-Mar-2007 07:38, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 141
Keeping it real, yo
Keeping it real, yo31-Mar-2007 07:38, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 141
Guess I'm trying to keep things in control here
Guess I'm trying to keep things in control here31-Mar-2007 07:44, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 192
 
31-Mar-2007 07:45, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 141
The map of Paris on the wall of our hotel's restaurant
The map of Paris on the wall of our hotel's restaurant31-Mar-2007 07:48, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 9.0, 10.487mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 141
Us in line to buy our Versailles passes
Us in line to buy our Versailles passes31-Mar-2007 08:42, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 315
 
Walking the long plaza to the palace gates of Versailles
Walking the long plaza to the palace gates of Versailles31-Mar-2007 09:38, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.002 sec
The Hercules entranceway
The Hercules entranceway31-Mar-2007 09:55, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.025 sec, ISO 800
31-Mar-2007 09:58, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 800
 
A better view of the Hercules' ceiling
A better view of the Hercules' ceiling31-Mar-2007 09:58, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 800
Golden something or an other
Golden something or an other31-Mar-2007 10:00, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.04 sec, ISO 800
Me lounging in the halls of Versailles
Me lounging in the halls of Versailles31-Mar-2007 10:01, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 141
 
Jeff and Susan
Jeff and Susan31-Mar-2007 10:03, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 644
31-Mar-2007 10:03, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 800
Hanging out by the windows
Hanging out by the windows31-Mar-2007 10:14, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.017 sec
 

day5_arc

What visit to Paris would be complete without visiting a few choice sights: the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Champs Elysees …. and of course, the Arc de Triomphe! This was built to commemmorate the many victories of Napoleon Bonaparte – and it certainly has one of the premier locations in Paris to be situated in, as it is directly at the end of the Champs Elysees away from the Tuileries and Louvre museum. And it is amazing to see it as you travel up the Champs Elysees. Here’s some more info on the Arc de Triomphe from Wikipedia.

We got back from Versailles and hopped off the Metro at the Champs Elysees in order to walk up it a bit towards the Arc. You have to approach it in order to really get a good look at it. The weather started to turn a little dreary and when we were up on top of the Arc, it actually did start to rain. But even with the dreary weather, there’s nothing like being on the top of the Arc and seeing all of Paris in 360 degrees. It’s amazing to see the crazy road turnabout that lives around the Arc but you can also see every main tourist landmark from the top as well. So here are some pictures from our time atop the Arc!

March 31, 2007: Living Large at the Arc de Triomphe

The Arc from the Champs Elysees
The Arc from the Champs Elysees31-Mar-2007 14:04, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.008 sec
An even closer view
An even closer view31-Mar-2007 06:05, SONY DSC-W100, 9.0, 18.7mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 125
I had to take another picture that was similar to one I took in 2002...
I had to take another picture that was similar to one I took in 2002...31-Mar-2007 14:16, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.003 sec
 
Looking up at the Arc from the ground
Looking up at the Arc from the ground31-Mar-2007 14:26, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 116
More detailed shot
More detailed shot31-Mar-2007 14:26, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.02 sec, ISO 141
At the top and looking out
At the top and looking out31-Mar-2007 14:32, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.005 sec
 
There's Sacre Coeur in the distance
There's Sacre Coeur in the distance31-Mar-2007 14:32, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 4.9, 23.1mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 100
Looking straight down at the turnabout
Looking straight down at the turnabout31-Mar-2007 14:34, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.01 sec
Looking toward the modern Paris business downtown
Looking toward the modern Paris business downtown31-Mar-2007 14:34, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.005 sec
 
You can see La Grande Arch - the hollowed out square building in the middle
You can see La Grande Arch - the hollowed out square building in the middle31-Mar-2007 14:34, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 4.0, 15.599mm, 0.005 sec
A view of the rainy Arc roof
A view of the rainy Arc roof31-Mar-2007 14:35, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 4.0, 15.599mm, 0.006 sec
More Paris scenery
More Paris scenery31-Mar-2007 14:35, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 4.0, 15.599mm, 0.008 sec
 
The Eiffel Tower!
The Eiffel Tower!31-Mar-2007 14:36, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.003 sec
31-Mar-2007 14:36, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 4.0, 15.599mm, 0.004 sec
31-Mar-2007 14:36, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 3.5, 10.487mm, 0.003 sec
 

day5_sacrecoeur

So a part of Paris that I had always wanted to see was more of Montmartre, especially after seeing the movie Moulin Rouge. Within Montmartre, I’ve always wanted to see the cathedral of Sacre Coeur, mainly after seeing it in Amelie and just having seen it in the many guidebooks of Paris. So while we were strolling around the Champs Elysees in the rain, and everyone was kind of like “What Do We Do Now?” (and at the same time, driving Susan insane…), I suggested going to the Montmartre area and seeing not only that eclectic neighborhood but the Sacre Coeur cathedral. So off we went on the Metro to Montmartre!

Arriving there, you get to street level and are immediately enveloped in a sense of exciting activity and ‘alive’ness. It is a very interesting neighborhood to say the least. Lots of vendors and lots of people. To get to Sacre Coeur you have to walk uphill through the area, eventually getting to the main plaza below the cathedral. And then you have even more uphill walking to do to just get to the cathedral, but it’s well worth it, as the view from the top of Montmartre is stellar, just like from the Arc. Unfortunately the weather was still gloomy, so while the view was still great, it could have been better with some clearer skies. A few of us toured the inside of the cathedral, which is amazing in its own right, but in a town full of ancient landmarks, this one is almost a baby: it was built in the 1800s, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at it. Again, more information to be found at Wikipedia.

After visiting the cathedral, we met up with everyone and started walking along the main street in Montmartre, which takes you through the red light district of Paris (where all the sex/porno shops are) and to the illustrious Moulin Rouge! It is certainly interesting to see all those strip clubs and stores – interesting things that are sold there!

Finally, it was dinner time and we found a cool restaurant in the area that served us great food, but most importantly, red wine and chocolate mousse (our first round of chocolate mousse for the trip – but rest assured, there would be more chocolate mousse, let me tell you!).

March 31, 2007: Exploring Montmartre and Sacre Coeur; having dinner in town

The bustling neighborhood of Montmartre
The bustling neighborhood of Montmartre31-Mar-2007 16:35, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 133
There's Sacre Coeur atop the Montmartre hill
There's Sacre Coeur atop the Montmartre hill31-Mar-2007 16:39, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100
Closer view
Closer view31-Mar-2007 16:40, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 3.5, 12.523mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 124
 
ME
ME31-Mar-2007 16:40, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.006 sec
The carousel at the bottom of the hill - it was in Amelie too
The carousel at the bottom of the hill - it was in Amelie too31-Mar-2007 16:42, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 111
The cafe at the bottom of the hill - and Susan crossing the street
The cafe at the bottom of the hill - and Susan crossing the street31-Mar-2007 16:43, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 4.5, 18.776mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 400
 
The same curvy walkway up the hill to Sacre Coeur as seen in Amelie
The same curvy walkway up the hill to Sacre Coeur as seen in Amelie31-Mar-2007 16:48, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 209
Sacre Coeur
Sacre Coeur31-Mar-2007 16:49, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 4.0, 15.599mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
31-Mar-2007 16:50, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.006 sec
 
31-Mar-2007 16:50, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.002 sec
There's Mike hiking up the hill
There's Mike hiking up the hill31-Mar-2007 16:54, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 204
Jeff and Susan making their way up too
Jeff and Susan making their way up too31-Mar-2007 16:55, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 4.5, 18.776mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 400
 
Looking down the hill to Montmartre district
Looking down the hill to Montmartre district31-Mar-2007 16:59, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 151
31-Mar-2007 17:02, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 265
looking right close at the cathedral
looking right close at the cathedral31-Mar-2007 17:05, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.002 sec
 

day5_eiffeltower

After dinner, I invited myself along with Brian and Shannon to go visit the Eiffel Tower at night – it was time for Jeff and Susan to have some alone time….

We Metro’d over to the Rue Cler area and proceeded to walk to the Eiffel Tower from the L’Ecole Militaire section, so you get a good long approach to gaze at the wonder that is the Eiffel Tower at night. As you’ll see below in the pictures, the Eiffel Tower is truly amazing to see at nighttime with all its lights on. We also went and walked up the first two levels of the Eiffel Tower via the stairs which is always a fun experience and I think Shannon and Brian enjoyed doing it. To get to the very top though, you do have to take the elevator, which is not exactly my favorite thing to do…but at least at night, it’s not nearly as scary as it would be during the day. The night we were there, it was still a bit murky out there, so the view wasn’t as crystal clear as it sometimes as (see Jeff’s pics from the next day).

Well, there are lots of pics to see, so no more blathering on by me…this has been a lot of freakin’ webpage to write. To say the least. And there’s still THREE MORE DAYS to write about!

March 31, 2007: Journeying to the Eiffel Tower at night with Brian and Shannon

Looking at the Tower from the Ecole Militaire area
Looking at the Tower from the Ecole Militaire area31-Mar-2007 21:27, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 3.2, 9.028mm, 0.2 sec, ISO 800
There's Brian
There's Brian31-Mar-2007 21:28, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 3.5, 12.523mm, 0.3 sec, ISO 800
We would soon be walking this distance to the Tower
We would soon be walking this distance to the Tower31-Mar-2007 21:30, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.2 sec, ISO 800
 
31-Mar-2007 21:30, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.3 sec, ISO 800
Shannon poses with her umbrella
Shannon poses with her umbrella31-Mar-2007 21:30, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.125 sec, ISO 233
A WWII memorial at the end of the lawn
A WWII memorial at the end of the lawn31-Mar-2007 21:33, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.077 sec, ISO 800
 
Getting closer to the Tower
Getting closer to the Tower31-Mar-2007 21:33, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 4.0, 15.599mm, 0.2 sec, ISO 800
So cool - even with the spotlight
So cool - even with the spotlight31-Mar-2007 21:35, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.2 sec, ISO 800
Different flash settings of that same pic
Different flash settings of that same pic31-Mar-2007 21:35, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.125 sec, ISO 233
 
Here's the Tower again (notice the theme)
Here's the Tower again (notice the theme)31-Mar-2007 21:35, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 4.0, 15.599mm, 0.2 sec, ISO 800
Doing my impression of the Eiffel Tower
Doing my impression of the Eiffel Tower31-Mar-2007 21:37, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.125 sec, ISO 233
Brian and Shannon sing a happy French song for the occasion
Brian and Shannon sing a happy French song for the occasion31-Mar-2007 21:38, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 3.5, 10.487mm, 0.125 sec, ISO 233
 
Even jumping to show their joy
Even jumping to show their joy31-Mar-2007 21:38, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 3.5, 10.487mm, 0.125 sec, ISO 233
31-Mar-2007 21:39, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 3.5, 10.487mm, 0.125 sec, ISO 233
Getting real close
Getting real close31-Mar-2007 21:47, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.077 sec, ISO 800
 

Day 6: Louvre & Miscellaneous Paris

(2014 Note:  These pages are transfers from my original site so I can better view the many pictures I have from that trip and so it’s searchable within WordPress Search. Here’s a link to the original page!)

Day6The night before I didn’t get back till pretty late, and it had been a very tiring day. So that resulted in me passing the hell out…and when we woke up, and it was 1 April, I told Jeff and Susan I had no interest in going to the Louvre. Jeff thought I was playing my April Fool’s Joke – I wasn’t. I just was exhausted and didn’t really care to see the Louvre. I’d been there twice before and while part of me would have liked to see it, especially since the release of the DaVinci Code, my tiredness overrode all that. So the whole gang went on without me. In fact, many of the pictures from today are primarily Jeff’s. So with no more further ado, here are the pics from the Louvre. It was a Sunday, so it was Free Museum day in Paris, and accordingly much more crowded. But it is such a huge place that even with a ton of people in it, you can’t really feel overwhelmed (except at the Mona Lisa, of course).

day6_louvre

I really don’t have too much to write about for this portion of the page. I was resting peacefully back at the hotel. But as you can see below, they made it to the main sights to see in the Louvre, including the Venus de Milo, the Winged Victory of Samothraces, and the Mona Lisa (which you can’t take a picture of anymore). This visit also started a bit of an unofficial DaVinci Code tour, as you’ll see that Jeff went to where the two pyramids meet (see or read the DaVinci Code to understand the significance!). By the way, Jeff takes some fantastic pictures – especially the ones of the Eiffel Tower at the bottom of the page. He actually knows how to use his camera’s night features!

April 1, 2007: In and Out of the Louvre

The interior courtyard of the Louvre
The interior courtyard of the Louvre01-Apr-2007 01:05, SONY DSC-W100, 5.6, 7.9mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 125
I.M. Pei's controversial yet beautiful pyramids
I.M. Pei's controversial yet beautiful pyramids01-Apr-2007 01:06, SONY DSC-W100, 4.5, 18.7mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 125
01-Apr-2007 01:08, SONY DSC-W100, 5.6, 7.9mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 125
 
A great, shadowed portrait of the pyramid
A great, shadowed portrait of the pyramid01-Apr-2007 01:14, SONY DSC-W100, 5.6, 7.9mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 125
See through the pyramid to the main Louvre building
See through the pyramid to the main Louvre building01-Apr-2007 01:16, SONY DSC-W100, 5.6, 7.9mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 125
Jeff at the corner inside the Pyramid
Jeff at the corner inside the Pyramid01-Apr-2007 01:21, SONY DSC-W100, 5.6, 7.9mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 125
 
The Venus de Milo
The Venus de Milo01-Apr-2007 01:45, SONY DSC-W100, 3.2, 10.7mm, 0.02 sec, ISO 400
Jeff and Venus
Jeff and Venus01-Apr-2007 01:47, SONY DSC-W100, 3.2, 9.2mm, 0.02 sec, ISO 125
Hallway of Antiquities in the Louvre
Hallway of Antiquities in the Louvre01-Apr-2007 02:10, SONY DSC-W100, 2.8, 7.9mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 125
 
More Hallway goodness
More Hallway goodness01-Apr-2007 02:12, SONY DSC-W100, 2.8, 7.9mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 125
01-Apr-2007 02:13, SONY DSC-W100, 2.8, 7.9mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 125
The Winged Victory of Samothraces - it's such an impressive sight; also the basis of Nike
The Winged Victory of Samothraces - it's such an impressive sight; also the basis of Nike01-Apr-2007 02:15, SONY DSC-W100, 3.2, 9.2mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 400
 
01-Apr-2007 02:16, SONY DSC-W100, 2.8, 7.9mm, 0.05 sec, ISO 400
a model of the Louvre castle wayyy back in the day
a model of the Louvre castle wayyy back in the day01-Apr-2007 03:17, SONY DSC-W100, 2.8, 7.9mm, 0.025 sec, ISO 200
01-Apr-2007 03:17, SONY DSC-W100, 2.8, 7.9mm, 0.025 sec, ISO 200
 

day6_cafe

After they visited the Louvre, they came back to the hotel to get me (awww….they care). Shannon, Brian and Mike were all leaving from Paris this afternoon, so instead of trying to cram in more sights, we all thought it would be nice to actually relax. What better way to relax in Paris than letting a Sunday morning/afternoon roll on by while you’re sitting at a sidewalk cafe? Even better? It was a beautiful day, the temperature was amazing, and we were at a cafe situated right on the Seine. Truly, it was awesome. We all got some delicious food and top it all off, we had chocolate mousse!!!!!! I LOVE Chocolate Mousse.

April 1, 2007: Enjoying a Sunday Afternoon in Paris at a Sidewalk Cafe

Walking on the Ile de Cite to the Seine
Walking on the Ile de Cite to the Seine01-Apr-2007 12:31, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.006 sec
The view to Notre Dame from our cafe
The view to Notre Dame from our cafe01-Apr-2007 12:48, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.004 sec
Panning to the right, with French lady as a bonus
Panning to the right, with French lady as a bonus01-Apr-2007 12:49, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.006 sec
 
Further panning to the right
Further panning to the right01-Apr-2007 12:49, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.008 sec
Hey there, who's this dashingly handsome guy?
Hey there, who's this dashingly handsome guy?01-Apr-2007 12:57, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.003 sec
Brian and Shannon
Brian and Shannon01-Apr-2007 12:57, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.006 sec
 
01-Apr-2007 12:58, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.003 sec
Jeff, Susan, and Mike
Jeff, Susan, and Mike01-Apr-2007 13:27, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.002 sec
I love this pic of all 6 of us. Taken by a precocious British girl
I love this pic of all 6 of us. Taken by a precocious British girl01-Apr-2007 13:33, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.005 sec
 
Notre Dame from our cafe
Notre Dame from our cafe01-Apr-2007 14:16, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 4.9, 23.1mm, 0.001 sec
Cosmopolitan Susan and Mike
Cosmopolitan Susan and Mike01-Apr-2007 14:17, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.008 sec
Susan and Jeff
Susan and Jeff01-Apr-2007 14:18, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 3.5, 12.523mm, 0.003 sec
 
Brian and Shannon
Brian and Shannon01-Apr-2007 14:18, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 3.5, 12.523mm, 0.002 sec
Shannon and Me
Shannon and Me01-Apr-2007 14:18, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 3.2, 9.028mm, 0.002 sec
Me with the girls
Me with the girls01-Apr-2007 14:18, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 9.028mm, 0.008 sec
 

day6_seine

We said our goodbyes to Brian, Shannon and Mike after our 3-hour lunch was over. They had been great travelfriends but they had to go back to work the next day (Monday). We didn’t though, so after goodbyes, we strolled across the Seine and began our quest to look for the St. Sulpice church, which continued our unofficial DaVinci Code tour, as that is the chapel which in the book is the place that houses the Rose Line and also where Silas did a bad thing to a nun. Of course when you go to the church, they disavow all the speculation that Dan Brown put in his book and illuminate exactly what the purpose of the Rose Line was (I honestly don’t remember it’s purpose, alleged or real – that’s what waiting 3 months to write this page up will do to ya).

After going through the church, we Metro’d back to the Pont Neuf area, which is where the Seine River cruises originate (you can also pick them up at the Eiffel Tower, but we weren’t there, obviously). We got there with enough time to spare so that we could both get a good seat and also spend some time on the point of the Ile de Cite where there’s a little park. It’s awesome there. Anyways, we ended up getting great seats on the top deck of the boat at the front row, which while cold when going upwind, it was nice when going downwind. Anyways, on the boat ride you head up the Seine to the Eiffel Tower, passing under all the famous and beautiful bridges along the Seine. Here’s a Wikipedia entry on the Seine River. Read all about it.

April 1, 2007: Checking out the St. Sulpice Church and Taking the Seine River Boat Cruise

01-Apr-2007 05:42, SONY DSC-W100, 5.6, 7.9mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 125
Great shot of the Metro structures
Great shot of the Metro structures01-Apr-2007 05:43, SONY DSC-W100, 9.0, 18.7mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 125
Notre Dame
Notre Dame01-Apr-2007 05:46, SONY DSC-W100, 5.6, 7.9mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 125
 
The Seine
The Seine01-Apr-2007 14:53, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.004 sec
A stoic Seine shot
A stoic Seine shot01-Apr-2007 04:36, SONY DSC-W100, 5.6, 7.9mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 125
Susan and Jeff on the Seine
Susan and Jeff on the Seine01-Apr-2007 06:56, SONY DSC-W100, 5.6, 7.9mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 125
 
Me and the Seine
Me and the Seine01-Apr-2007 14:54, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.005 sec
Widescreen version
Widescreen version01-Apr-2007 15:07, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.004 sec
01-Apr-2007 05:38, SONY DSC-W100, 5.6, 7.9mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 125
 
Sad Selfie
Sad Selfie01-Apr-2007 15:30, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 107
Me in my Paris
Me in my Paris01-Apr-2007 15:31, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.005 sec
Susan looks so French here!
Susan looks so French here!01-Apr-2007 15:35, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.003 sec
 
And here
And here01-Apr-2007 15:35, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.01 sec
Me
Me01-Apr-2007 15:36, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.01 sec
Again
Again01-Apr-2007 15:36, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.01 sec
 

day6_jeff_et

Susan and I were done sightseeing after dinner. But Jeff wanted to still see the Eiffel Tower at night and I had just done that the night before. Susan was still done though, so I ended up escorting her back to the hotel while Jeff Metro’d over to the Eiffel Tower. He ended up taking some fantastic pictures over there, because like I said above, he actually knows how to use the night picture feature of his camera. Plus, it was a clear night, unlike the night before. Just take a gander at the pics below. Bravo, Jeff!

April 1, 2007: Jeff heads to the Eiffel Tower and takes some awesome photos

01-Apr-2007 00:03, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.05 sec, ISO 800
01-Apr-2007 00:05, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.05 sec, ISO 800
01-Apr-2007 00:07, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 800
 
01-Apr-2007 13:08, SONY DSC-W100, 2.8, 7.9mm, 0.2 sec, ISO 125
01-Apr-2007 13:11, SONY DSC-W100, 2.8, 7.9mm, 0.25 sec, ISO 125
The Ecole Militaire
The Ecole Militaire01-Apr-2007 13:44, SONY DSC-W100, 2.8, 7.9mm, 2 sec, ISO 125
 
Closer view
Closer view01-Apr-2007 13:45, SONY DSC-W100, 5.2, 23.7mm, 2 sec, ISO 125
There's the Les Invalides
There's the Les Invalides01-Apr-2007 13:46, SONY DSC-W100, 2.8, 7.9mm, 2 sec, ISO 125
Trocadero across the Seine
Trocadero across the Seine01-Apr-2007 13:51, SONY DSC-W100, 2.8, 7.9mm, 1.6 sec, ISO 125
 
01-Apr-2007 13:51, SONY DSC-W100, 2.8, 7.9mm, 1.3 sec, ISO 125
Looking down from the first level
Looking down from the first level01-Apr-2007 13:54, SONY DSC-W100, 2.8, 7.9mm, 0.4 sec, ISO 125
Looking straight up from the second floor
Looking straight up from the second floor01-Apr-2007 13:59, SONY DSC-W100, 2.8, 7.9mm, 0.05 sec, ISO 125
 
The Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe01-Apr-2007 14:01, SONY DSC-W100, 5.2, 23.7mm, 2 sec, ISO 125
Another view up from the corner
Another view up from the corner01-Apr-2007 14:05, SONY DSC-W100, 2.8, 7.9mm, 0.077 sec, ISO 125
01-Apr-2007 14:05, SONY DSC-W100, 2.8, 7.9mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 125
 

Day 7: Paris Stroll & Back to London

(2014 Note:  These pages are transfers from my original site so I can better view the many pictures I have from that trip and so it’s searchable within WordPress Search. Here’s a link to the original page!)

Day7pThis next and final day in Paris, it was just Jeff, Susan and myself and we had most of the day to just kill time and walk around the beautiful city. And so we did! We walked a helluva lot, actually. It was a beautiful day to do so, with the temperature pretty much perfect and sunshine-y.

(2008 Disclosure: I’m writing this page update about a year and a quarter after this trip actually took place. Yes, I’m lame and I have no excuse for not finishing this set of pages. So I don’t have a crystal-clear recollection of all that happened, but I’ll certainly do my best to remember!)

April 2, 2007 – Last Day in the Hotel

Looking outside our hotel window into the sunny weather
Looking outside our hotel window into the sunny weather02-Apr-2007 10:26, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.008 sec
There's the sign right outside our window
There's the sign right outside our window02-Apr-2007 10:27, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.008 sec
Susan 'busily' packs her stuff up
Susan 'busily' packs her stuff up02-Apr-2007 10:27, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 141
 
The chaos of our room before checking out
The chaos of our room before checking out02-Apr-2007 10:27, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 141
That's my little bed right there
That's my little bed right there02-Apr-2007 10:27, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 141
And one more view. Yep, Susan is still busy.
And one more view. Yep, Susan is still busy.02-Apr-2007 10:27, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 141
 
How'd this get in here? I was never this lazy.
How'd this get in here? I was never this lazy.02-Apr-2007 07:25, EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY KODAK CX7430 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA, 4.1, 13.5mm, 0.011 sec
 

We checked out of our hotel in the morning, leaving our luggage there of course, and proceeded to begin our walk. We first headed a roundabout way to a Metro stop, going through some back streets and such, based mostly I think on Susan’s guidance. I blame her, at least. 😉 Okay, seriously though, I think we walked to the Metro stop and then got off around the southern end of the Champs Elysees – near the Pope Alexander bridge on the Seine. We walked around over there and took some snapshots of the beautiful scenery, and at that point it became apparent we were all hungry, so we put our makeshift French to use and ordered some food at a cool cafe on the Champs Elysees. It was pretty sweet, from what I remember. I believe we walked the boulevard a little bit more but then headed back to the Seine, in order to stroll along that. As you pretty much have to do that when you’re in Paris. We made it to the Place de la Concorde area, which we had seen at night during our Taxi Tour, and then headed into the Tuileries Garden and walked through that. It was quite crowded with everyone else seemingly taking advantage of the beautiful spring weather too. We walked through the Tuileries and into the Louvre Courtyard, which is just such an amazingly beautiful place, whether during the day or night.

Walking Along the Seine, Tuileries, and Louvre

Ah, here we are on our walk. This is me at the Pope Alexander bridge
Ah, here we are on our walk. This is me at the Pope Alexander bridge02-Apr-2007 11:42, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.003 sec
It's a very beautiful bridge
It's a very beautiful bridge02-Apr-2007 11:43, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 9.0, 10.487mm, 0.002 sec
yes, i like pictures of me on bridges
yes, i like pictures of me on bridges02-Apr-2007 11:47, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.004 sec
 
This is my 'deep in thought' picture on the Alexander bridge
This is my 'deep in thought' picture on the Alexander bridge02-Apr-2007 11:47, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.004 sec
Jeff and Susan too!
Jeff and Susan too!02-Apr-2007 11:48, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.004 sec
For the life of me, I cannot remember what the hell that building is
For the life of me, I cannot remember what the hell that building is02-Apr-2007 11:50, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 4.9, 23.1mm, 0.002 sec
 
I thought this was enough of an artsy-fartsy pic of the Eiffel Tower
I thought this was enough of an artsy-fartsy pic of the Eiffel Tower02-Apr-2007 11:50, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 10.0, 12.523mm, 0.006 sec
A picture of our lunch on the Champs Elysees. And that's actually Diet Coke in the glass.
A picture of our lunch on the Champs Elysees. And that's actually Diet Coke in the glass.02-Apr-2007 12:22, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.004 sec
The hectic Place de la Concorde during the day
The hectic Place de la Concorde during the day02-Apr-2007 14:38, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.004 sec
 
Me!
Me!02-Apr-2007 14:38, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.003 sec
02-Apr-2007 14:40, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.005 sec
Ah, Paris!
Ah, Paris!02-Apr-2007 14:41, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.003 sec
 
There is Susan and Jeff and the Place
There is Susan and Jeff and the Place02-Apr-2007 14:41, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.004 sec
My trademark "Let Me Point it Out to You" pose
My trademark "Let Me Point it Out to You" pose02-Apr-2007 14:41, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.003 sec
I like this pic of me and the Eiffel Tower (in the distance)
I like this pic of me and the Eiffel Tower (in the distance)02-Apr-2007 14:48, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.003 sec
 

Finally though, it was time to catch the train to the airport so we could catch our flight back to London – it is a lot cheaper to take the Paris Metro out there than taking a cab (although when your options are severely limited like they were when we arrived in Paris, you do what you must to get to the hotel!) so we embarked on that journey. As I type this, I remember that it was a bit stressful to do that part – there was a point where we had to transfer from the Paris Metro to its extended regional-type train, and we soon discovered that at the Metro station we were at, there were no places to buy tickets! And we were in the midst of rush hour so it was a nightmare, as everyone uses that particular stop to transfer to those trains to get to the airport. So Jeff and Susan stayed put near the point where you had to have a ticket and I went on a mad-dash search for a ticket – I ended up having to leave the Metro station and go outside to the ticket booths (that’s pretty jacked up, I must say) to purchase our tickets, which of course ended up being annoying as I remember it wouldn’t take my credit card! So I then had to wait in line for an actual ticket person and use my limited French (si vous plais!?) to get 3 tickets to the airport. Oy. I got the tix though, had to rebuy a Metro card to get back into the subway system, and rejoined Susan and Jeff where we then made it into the complex to get on the train. About 30 minutes later, we were at the airport (Orly, I think…), walked over to the terminal, and then waited around for our flight to board, killing time at an airport cafe and within the terminal. Luckily there was no drama going back to London like there was coming to Paris….. until we actually got into London.

Heading Back to London

My snack of choice when lounging in airport terminals
My snack of choice when lounging in airport terminals02-Apr-2007 18:46, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 141
02-Apr-2007 18:13, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.006 sec
We made it to the Airport Train! Yay
We made it to the Airport Train! Yay02-Apr-2007 18:13, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.01 sec
 
All good
All good02-Apr-2007 18:13, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 141
Here we are back in London - very late and we pretty much have the Tube to ourselves
Here we are back in London - very late and we pretty much have the Tube to ourselves02-Apr-2007 17:39, SONY DSC-W100, 2.8, 7.9mm, 0.025 sec, ISO 320
And that was because it was about to shut down. Here we are hoping that another train comes back
And that was because it was about to shut down. Here we are hoping that another train comes back03-Apr-2007 01:20, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 141
 
Didn't look good. Fortunately, one last one did, but it stopped just short of being helpful.
Didn't look good. Fortunately, one last one did, but it stopped just short of being helpful.03-Apr-2007 01:20, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 315
Regardless, we made it to our hotel!
Regardless, we made it to our hotel!03-Apr-2007 02:08, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 141
I'm thrilled we had a place to stay for the night and the next night
I'm thrilled we had a place to stay for the night and the next night03-Apr-2007 02:08, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 141
 
Yes, we had a place to put makeup on. Thank God.
Yes, we had a place to put makeup on. Thank God.03-Apr-2007 02:08, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 141
I can bend over apparently.
I can bend over apparently.03-Apr-2007 02:11, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 141
Jeff is happy too!
Jeff is happy too!03-Apr-2007 02:11, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 141
 
03-Apr-2007 02:12, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 141
Our room at the hotel
Our room at the hotel03-Apr-2007 10:09, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 8.0, 7.7mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 141
03-Apr-2007 10:09, Canon Canon PowerShot SD900, 2.8, 7.7mm, 0.05 sec, ISO 141
 

That was when we realized that first we had to get in the queue for the Easy Van back to London, which wasn’t all that bad, but it still takes about an hour to get into Central London from Gatwick airport. And at that point in time, the London Tube shuts down very shortly. So after getting dropped off somewhere (?), we made a mad dash to the nearest Underground station and hopped into what I thought was the right train. But the problem with the main Central Loop of the Tube is that you HAVE to pay attention to the ultimate destination of the particular color train you’re boarding. Actually, you just need to pay strict attention to the train’s final destination as well as where you need to go….as I was just panicked to get on the Tube before it shut down. Well, I chose poorly. We were doing good on the Tube while it was on the loop but then I realized, a stop too late, that the train we were on was heading to the suburbs and not staying on the loop, which we needed to stay on. Oops! So we got off at the next stop and crossed over to the other side of the station, hoping to take it back in to the city and loop. Well, we did manage to finally catch the last train back into the city, but it was the final train for anything and it dropped us off at some station that was not close to where we needed to go. And since it was a different hotel than where we stayed the last time, we had no clue how to get there. So after looking at a few of our maps and thinking that perhaps we knew where we needed to go, we started walking outer London, hoping to catch something recognizable. It was dark and late and all of us were exhausted….so when we saw a black cab driving by, we all madly flagged it down! And we all got to finally ride in a London cab – and let me tell you, those are nice cabs. We gave him the address of where we going and got promptly to our destination – yay!

I can’t remember the hotel off-hand now, but it was open, and we got to our room which was fairly nice, to be honest. And we got to sleep. Yay!