We arrived at the airport in Paris on Sturday morning, took a cab (actually two, the first one broke down on the way), and arrived at the hotel meeting place around noon. We could leave our luggage at the hotel until the bus picked us up at three, so we wandered around and ate some lunch at the Carousel Cafe on the Rue de Rivoli. The Louvre was right across the street so we bought our museum pass for the next weekend and found an ATM to get some more Francs.
These are two looks at the arch between the Louvre and the Tuillieres Garden. We saw at least one other arch in Paris - seems popular. This one is much smaller than the Arch de Triomphe but the statue on top is quite impressive.
The obelisk that Napoleon brought back from Egypt is topped with gold and is at the end of the Tuilliers Garden where the Champs Elysee begins.
In the center of the Louvre buildings is the pyramid - I have no idea why.
On Friday, we returned to Paris for a two night stay at the Tulip Inn Little Palace. We arrived around 11am after getting up before 6 so the bus could get into Paris early. Apparently the traffic on Fridays is legendary.
We checked into the hotel. Comfy room (huge compared to our barge cabin), friendly staff. But have you ever been in an elevator for two people - or one with luggage?
We bought a pass for a get on/get off type of tour and took off across Paris.
It was a beautiful sunny day (a little chilly) so we opted for the open top level for photo opportunities.
The road parallel to the Seine River had sidewalk vendors one after another.
I took this quick shot of Notre Dame since the weather was nice and rain next day was possible (good thing, too).
The Arc de Triomphe is located in the middle of an intersection but to reach it, you walk through a tunnel under the road.
View through the arch.
Details on one of the legs of the arch.
From the Arc de Triomphe, the view down the Champs-Elysees toward the Louve. The Carroussel is at the far end.
The Eiffel Tower at dusk was really stunning since the millenium celebration lights were still there and the set it twinkling for about 15 minutes.
It cost us 36 FF to nearly kill ourselves walking up to the first level which is as far as we got.
Three views of Paris from the first level.
Back down to earth, it's a few steps to the Seine River where we watched this merry-go-round as the sun was setting.
Dinner wasn't quite the same. On the other hand, the creme brulee was very tasty.
Saturday was our day to see everything else in Paris!! Of course, it rained all day. Sometimes a downpour. But we bravely faced the weather with rain gear and umbrella. It seemed like a good idea to go to the Louvre early so we headed there via the Metro which we found to be easy to use.
Another good choice was a pass to many of the museums (at least 40) in Paris which we used all day. Among other things, you can use a "secret" door to the Louvre and avoid the worst lines. It turned out the the Louvre wasn't very crowded and we were able to visit almost all out "must see"s. You could easily spend a week in there - we spent less than 2 hours.
Sometimes, the galleries themselves were the art.
There were quite a few artists rendering copies of the paintings - perfectly legal.
The Winged Victory of Samothrace.
Two works by Michelangelo
The Venus de Milo
Apollo with a lizard (?)
Medieval parts of the original castle around which the Louvre has grown have been recently excavated. This is inside the moat whose walls date to the 15th century.
We ate some lunch then back to the tour bus. Unfortunately, it began raining on and off.
Sacre-Coeur Basilica in Montmarte. It's on top of a steep hill and can be seen from many parts of Paris.
The main dome of Sacre-Coeur.
Some of the art work inside the basilica.
This pieta is located down in the crypt which is extensive and has side chapels and the remains of many cardinals and bishops.
We returned to Notre Dame and the rain increased. After we left the bus and walked across the square, we were soaked. Not being anxious to return to the rain, we really got a good look at the catherdral. It's not the most decorated but the sheer height of the ceiling was awesome.
We even bought a ticket to tour the Treasury which contains relics and some old vestments and books but mostly gold and silver items. The smell of decomposing bodies was quite strong.
Inside Notre Dame Cathedral it is very open with high ceilings and graceful arches.
The famed Rose Window.
One of the cases in the Treasury.
Jean d'Arc
Notre Dame
Notre Dame Cathedral in the rain.
So - back on the bus - the rain had let up some. Next stop was at the Musee de Moyen Age, better known as Cluny. This is one on the top of my list because of the tapestry of the Lady and the Unicorn.
There were several displays of stained glass, nicely back-lit.
Small knightly decorations.
Headstone from a knight's grave.
Inside the Musee.
A group of headless statues?
One of the SIX Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries. They all hang together in a room - quite a sight.
So - at this point, the happy couple went back to the hotel, wet and tired. Trying to agree on a dinner location was too much. We walked up and down the streets around the hotel in the rain until we finally gave up and bought cheese, baguettes, juice, and pastries at the Monoprix which we ate in our room. In the morning, the cab arrives at 7 am and we begin the long trip home. But I think we will be back.....
top Loire Sancerre St. Fargeau Gien
Briare Cosne Ch. Meillant Canal de Briare
Canal Lateral Chanterelle Nevers