Finally as promised, pictures from our recent vacation to Europe. I took several hundred photos in the three days we were in Paris, narrowed those down to 68 favorites and then narrowed those down to the following 22 photos. It was not an easy task!
I studied French from 7th grade through senior year in high school with a teacher who included a lot of information about the geography, history and culture of France, including the major landmarks in Paris. Needless to say, Paris has been romanticized for me since then as a place that I always dreamed of visiting. So to have finally visited Paris this past August was a lot like a dream come true for me. And to be there with my husband and daughters made the dream all the more sweeter.
Without further adieu... Paris!
Our hotel in Paris, The New Orient Hotel. Isn't it so charming?
On the first day we went to the Montmartre district where we walked around enjoying the architecture and scenery and then later that evening we took the metro to Centre Georges Pompidou which showcases high-tech architecture and is the home of a public library, a center for music research and the largest modern art museum in Europe.
This is a view of the Eiffel Tower from Montmartre:
Sacré-Coeur Basilica. One of the most famous basilicas in Paris:
Centre Georges Pompidou:
On day two in Paris, we went to the Louvre which is one of the world's most largest and the most visited art museum. The Louvre was established in 1793 and is also an historical monument. Honestly, the museum itself is an intricate and beautiful work of art and so immense.
Musée du Louvre . . .
Daughters in the courtyard of the Louvre. There is an entrance through the pyramid!
It's really big inside! Just look at the hallways and staircases:
The museum is so big, that sometimes you're the only one around:
And you can take the time to make all sorts of fun poses for the camera. ;)
You literally walk for miles inside the museum . . .
From left to right: eldest daughter (who took the photo), me and youngest daughter. The other two people are strangers.
. . . and benches are welcomed by the weary:
Venus de Milo:
The museum itself on exhibit. This is the base of a turret, part of the original construction of the Louvre.
The painting below is Projet d'aménagement de la Grande Galerie du Louvre  by French artist Robert Hubert [1733-1808]. It is an imaginary painting of artists painting paintings of the paintings in the Louvre which can be found in the Louvre. Including this painting. :) Later, Hubert's ideas for lighting decor as seen in his paintings like this one were actually used by architects in renovations to the museum.
After returning to the hotel to recharge our batteries--both literally and metaphorically, we went back out later that evening to see the Eiffel Tower. My husband planned it at just the right time of day so that we would be able to see the Eiffel Tower in both the daylight and night. He also purchased tickets for us to go to the top of the tower several months in advance, so we didn't have to wait in any lines. It was fantastic!
La Tour Eiffel dans le journée:
La Tour Eiffel le soir:
On day three, we went to the major business district called La Défense where the architecture is modern and wherein many of the city's tallest buildings lie. The main attraction here was definitely the monument and building called La Grande Arche de la Défense. The building was completed in 1989 and completes the historic axis of Paris called Axe historique. The Axe historique is the line of monuments, buildings and thoroughfares that extend from the Lourve, through Tuileries, La Place de la Concorde to the Champs Elysées, the Arc de Triomphe, and finally to La Grande Arche. It's similar in concept to The Mall in Washington, D.C.
La Grande Arche:
We headed along the Axe historique to L'Arc de Triomphe. This monument is massive--way more so than I think I expected. Once again, my husband's foresight in purchasing a city museum pass upon our arrival in Paris and we avoided the lines and walked right in L'Arc de Triomphe and climbed the stairs to the top of the monument where the 360° views of the city were spectacular.
L'Arc de Triomphe:
Making our way along the Axe historique, we took the metro to La Place de La Concorde and had lunch in a nearby restaurant before walking through the Jardins des Tuileries, which is the public gardens between Place de la Concorde and the Lourve. It was established in 1564 as the garden of the Tuileries Palace and later became a public garden in 1667.
The Ferris Wheel in the Jardins des Tuileries. I'm pretty sure this is the famous ferris wheel known as La Grande Roue:
Children were racing sailboats in one of the ponds not too far from the Ferris wheel. These toys were old fashioned model boats made of wood, string and cloth sails. No motorized boats here. Children would push the boat out into the pond with a wooden stick, the sails would catch the wind and sail across the pond, children racing to the other side to give it a push again. You can see a child holding the stick used to push the boats in the upper right hand corner of the photo below.
We traveled the entire length of the Axe historique and sat for a few moments on the lawn outside the Louvre.
Finally, we took the metro from the Louvre to Notre Dame, which is just a few stops away.
This was our last day in Paris. The following morning we packed our bags and boarded the train for the Netherlands.
The little things I loved about being in Paris:
• Pastries for breakfast.
• Café au lait.
• The metro. Once you have a map and figure out the color coding, it's SO easy to get around!
• Finally putting five years of high school French to use after 25 years. :)
Stay tuned for vacation stories and photos from Amsterdam!