Sunday, September 27, 2009

Saying Goodbye to Paris

Our seats on the train back from Bayeux. Started off comfy but soon the train filled up to almost capacity. Next time, avoid the local ;-)

Early the next morning we said our goodbyes to our hotel

We arrived very early for our flight because someone (not saying who but he visits here and I read his blog of the same trip) who advised that four hours ahead was appropriate due to the long wait at the ticket counter.

It's certainly a good thing that these were available right near our gate. What a fabulous idea. There were more below us via a stairwell just to the left and in front of the windows.

View all photos of trip
and here

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Bayeux and Normandy

On our last full day in Paris we took a train from St. Lazare to Bayeux for an afternoon tour of Pointe Du Hoc, Omaha Beach, American Cemetary and the Gun Battery. We had the most fabulous tour guide, Christophe. He was amazing in his ability to cite details of D-Day and the aftermath as well as in his ability to speak perfect English. He even managed to give an Austrialian accent to the 3 from down under. Below are some pictures. No words can describe, except that I want to mention that the two markers I've joined into one photo are of the family that inspired "Saving Private Ryan". Unlike the movie, however, only 2 brothers were killed and are buried in France. The oldest brother was shot down and presumed dead but eventually was found to be a POW and later released.

Bayeux, France

Pointe du Luc

Omaha Beach

American Cemetary

The real "Ryan" family

The Gunnery

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cemeteries, Morrison, Princess Di and the Eiffel Tower

Our last full day in Paris was spent going to the Pere Lachaise Cemetery to see James Morrison's grave. You all know who Jim Morrison is don't you? Sure you do.

We also found Chopin's grave

After that we had lunch and returned to the Opera area of Paris and visited the Ritz to see where Princess Di spent her last night...morbid we seem to be.

You'll probably recognize these doors. They are the back doors that Lady Di left from that night in order to avoid the media. We all know how that turned out.

That night we had dinner at an Italian (yeah not French) restaurant on Avenue des Champs-Élysées .

After we went to see the Eiffel Tower lit up. Once an hour they "sparkle" the lights like a Christmas tree. I caught it on video

Links of interest (history of Pere Lachaise Cemetery)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More from the Louvre

I don't know what this painting is of, but on doing a google search I found a lot of paintings from this time period of acts of beheading and I found it disturbing that many doing the beheading in these pictures were women.

After the abduction of the Sabine women by the neighboring Romans, the Sabines attempted to get them back - David depicts this episode here. The Sabine women are intervening to stop the bloodshed. Hersilia is throwing herself between her husband, the king of Rome, and her father, the king of the Sabines. David is using the subject to advocate the reconciliation of the French people after the Revolution. His increasingly simple style is inspired by Ancient Greece.

Example of Egyptian pottery

Men, Size and Mummies in the Louvre

Commissioned by then French president François Mitterrand in 1984, it was designed by the architect I. M. Pei, who is responsible for the design of the Miho Museum in Japan among others. The structure, which was constructed entirely with glass segments, reaches a height of 20.6 meters (about 70 feet); its square base has sides of 35 meters (115 ft). It consists of 603 rhombus-shaped and 70 triangular glass segments.
The pyramid and the underground lobby underneath it were created because of a series of problems with the Louvre's original main entrance, which could no longer handle an enormous number of visitors on an everyday basis. Visitors entering through the pyramid descend into the spacious lobby then re-ascend into the main Louvre buildings. Several other museums have duplicated this concept, most notably the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. The construction work on the pyramid base and underground lobby was carried out by Dumez.

Photos of any Egyptian Mummy

Proof that men haven't evolved. Satyres En Atlante apparently were the base of a fountain and are half man/half goat from Greek Mythology.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ahh Paris

Well we arrived in Paris and I have to say the metro in Paris unfortunately doesn't compare to the tube in London. While in London they had people to assist you, there was no one around in Paris and catching the tube from Gare Du Nord was "exciting" to say the least. First we had trouble getting our luggage through the turnstyles. After one got stuck we saw a small opening for the luggage to be put through. It was small. Then one of our party got separated from us when the doors closed (on my hand). But we finally made it to the hotel in somewhat fine shape determined we'd get a taxi to the airport when we left. With all this excitement I didn't manage to catch a picture of anything, unfortunately. It would have been a funny picture. Instead one of my first photos was a view of the Eiffel Tower. You could see this from almost anywhere in Paris.

Parisian's seem to love the naked statues. I'm not sure what's up with this one.

This lady is pretty covered up, though. I don't know who she is but she was outside the Musee d'Orsay in the Jardin des Tuileries.

One of the "strangest" sites to me was the sunbathing in the park. Strange I guess because the lawn chairs seem to come with the park. No umbrella's though. Next best thing to the beach I guess. I prefer the beach or at least a pool I can go into.

Somehow, we kept walking all afternoon and ended up at the Eiffel Tower. Let me tell you, that is a long walk from Tuileries.

I think my feet might have appreciated a dip in the pond.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The London Eye and Leaving London

The London Eye is 135 meters (442 feet) high, contains 32 capsules and carries about 10,000 visitors a day.

A group in the capsule ahead of us were pointing cameras at me and started waving so I waved back while they snapped my picture. They obliged me back and waved while I snapped them. Hi guys!

The views from above were absolutely amazing. I must also note that my camera is fabulous. It might have been a tad heavy carrying around on my neck but the zoom quality was absoultely out of this world.

This picture was taken from the top

Look down the river from above

Leaving London on the 10:25 Eurotar for Paris.