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Paris, France

picture Arc de Triomphe Paris France

The Arc de Triomphe is actually more spectacular, up close, than you would expect from guidebook pictures. If you buy your museum entry card before going to see the arc, you can climb included in the price of the Paris Museum Card. Paris morning traffic is zipping around the Arc in this picture.

Champs Elysees sign Paris France

If you start at the Arc de Triomphe, you can continue with a walk down the Champs Elysees with it's combination of fancy shopping, coffee shops and even some less fancy shopping in minimalls. The end of the walk on the other end will be Jardin des Tuileries which is one of the largest Paris parks, just west of the Louvre.

Plaza de Concorde Paris France
Fountain on the Plaza de Concorde where the seat of Goverment lies in France.

picture of Eiffel Tower Paris France
A beautiful day around the Eiffel Tower.

picture of unknown building Paris France
Paris is a City of great architecture everywhere.

picture of park and building Paris France
Paris, France is a city of parks and gardens surrounded by neat buildings.

street market picture Paris France
Street markets are all around Paris. We were very glad to be staying in Bill's Apartment as there was an abundance of take away foods. Fruits and veggies from the market, breads from the bolongerie, stops to the fromagerie and the patisserie made for some wonderful gatherings at the 11th Floor table overlooking the Seine.

picture of eiffel tower and flowers in Paris France
By the time we left, Spring was coming up all over Paris. Now we know the meaning of the song April in Paris as the buds come out on flowering trees all over the city.

joke picture of tweety bird from Paris France.  "Tweety, The original Blonde"
The Parisians have a great sense of humor but are more reserved than many cultures so they get the reputation of not liking Americans. We had a great time in Paris and found the Parisians to be warm and friendly once engaged. They, like most city dwellers can be aloof when simply met on a subway train or in line for bread.

Seine River - Paris, France

picture of boat on Seine River Paris France
View from the Seine towards buildings in Paris with a private party yacht berthed on river.

picture of boats on Seine River Paris France
Our apartment is in the cluster of buildings on the right past the bridge. This picture of the Seine River in France is shot from near the Eiffel Tower.

Picture of Ile de Cite Paris France
On a cold blustery day in March. Parisians and tourists sit by the Seine River to get a few mid day sun rays. Ile de Cite is a famous island in the middle of the Seine and this point is wher the river splits.

Day Trip to Reims, France to see Champagne Country

Picture of Marc Chagall stained glass window Reims France
Even in this decade, beautiful churches are still be built/refurbished in Europe. The Reims Cathedral has been lovingly restored after World War 2 damage. You can still see the pock marks from bullet holes in the cement outside. Marc Chagall the famous glass maker made these fantastic blue stained glass windows that were installed in 1974.

Picture of Reims Cathedral Reims France
Same Cathedral in Reims on a cold Spring morning. Flowers were just beginning to bloom across Northern Europe in the fading days of March. We took the train from Paris which was about 2 hours and got off to a town that seemed closed for business on a Wednesday. What we found later was that this was the morning that the traveling market opened in Reims and everybody was on one long street with temporary vendors lining the road. After lunch, the City was alive as people opened the shops late after shopping at the market. We wished we had more time as we ate and wine tasted our way down the street. John had seen a restaurant in the morning that caught his eye and we went back to find a classic Italian Restaurant with a Restauranteur from Southern Italy. Being that the last time we had all gotten together was in Sicily, it seemed apprpriate to share a meal in this spot in France. Full and happy, we all laughed about John's restaurant radar in strange places after working as a road salesman for twenty years. We toured the Cathedral and caught our appointed train to be whisked across France on a grey afternoon that turned out to be fantastic when we first assumed we had come to Reims on a day that the whole town was closed.

picture of champagne storage Reims France
We took a tour and a tasting at the Taittinger Champagne House. The Roman caves that they used for aging and storage were very neat. The process for making champagne was explained that it was white cuvee that gets hand turned until the yeast settles out, then frozen to pull the plug of yeast with extra sugar added depending on how dry or brut the wine is. We hand carried home a bottle of Taittinger for the Next New Years with some champagne flutes from the House of Taittinger.

d'Orsay Museum - Paris, France

picture of museum d'Orsay in Paris France
The Musee d'Orsay was formerly a train station in Central Paris. Somehow, I was drawn to the place that the art was housed as much as the art itself. The museum has a broad spectrum of art, sculpture, design elements like furniture and we caught a great exhibition Cezanne and Pissaro contrasting the work of the two artists who lived and communed during the same time in history. This was a temporary exhibition but was well worth the extra 8 euros they charged on top of admission.

picture of museum d'Orsay in Paris France
Another view of the d'Orsay from the top. The restoration of this grand train station has given Paris another great museum.

Picture of Monet's Le Jardin de Lartiste a Giverny
Claude Monet Le Jardin de L'artiste a Giverny from the collection of the Musee d'Orsay

Picture of Van Gogh Portrait de lartiste
Vincent Van Gogh Portrait de l'artiste from the collection of the Musee d'Orsay

Louvre Museum - Paris, France

picture of Louvre Museum Paris France
The entrance to the Louvre which has parts underground and in the old Palaces surrounding this square. One of the finest museums in the World.

picture of unknown staute from Louvre
Unknown Sculpture from the collection of the Louvre.

picture of Napolean's Apartment at the Louvre in Paris France
Napolean's Apartment in the Richelieu Wing of the Louvre Museum. We spent almost three partial days in the Louvre. March was a wonderful time of year to go as the museum was not crowded like the summertime except our last day on FREE Sunday where the Parisians can go one Sunday a month without cost. Luckily, we had already seen the Mona Lisa and some of the more famous wings on the off days. Bill and Regina had a yearly membership and went along with us one day. It was slow enough that we were able to get a table in the restaurant made from the old stables at the Palace. Fine lunch dining in the Louvre with a good bottle of French wine, it does not get much better than that. Best 100e we spent on the trip on a rainy day where we did not want to leave the museum to find food. Very classy, but not something you would get availability to do in the summertime with peak crowds.

picture of sculpture at the Louvre
Again at the Louvre, the space is almost as grand as the exhibits.

Sculpture Garden at the Louvre in Paris France
This sculpture garden at the Louvre is below a glass roof with great reflective light in the late afternnoon.

Sculpture Garden at the Louvre in Paris France
Another view of the same sculpture garden at the Louvre.

ornamental rooftop picture from the Louvre in Paris France
Some of the fabulous ornamental rooftops on the palace part of the Louvre in Paris France.

Venus de Milo from the Louvre in Paris France
Venus de Milo from the collection of the Louvre in Paris, France

Notre Dame Cathedral - Paris, France

John and Gina Rice Travel Agents in front of Notre Dame Cathedral
After a big lunch of moules and frites (black mussels and french fries) at Leon de Bruxelles we are off to tour Notre Dame. This is a chain offers cheap eats as everybody gets a bowl of mussels with a different sauce and we pass them all around. Extra fries are on the house, but avoid the temptation as the bowl is big, the sauce is rich and the ice cold Belgian beer on tap might require a refill if you are sane. This place serves so many plates of fresh mussels each day that they have a picture in the restaurant of them loading them with a backhoe. But each pot is served steaming on the table with only the touch that a French chef can do. 4 people about $50 e for lunch.

stained glass picture from Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris France
Notre Dame stained glass from the inside.

Notre Dame Cathedral picture from Seine River in Paris France
Take a Seine River Cruise while you are in Paris. The City has a different perspective from the river. Here is the long shot back to Notre Dame Cathedral from the river.

Picture of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris France
The "flying buttresses" outside hold the weight of the building so no columns have to be used inside. They are also an ingenious rain catchment system to hide gutters in the building and occasionally climbed by some crazy french kids protesting things or looking for thrills.

Alter at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris France
The alter at the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Pompideau Center - Paris, France

Picture of outside of Pompideau Center in Paris France
The Pompideau Center for modernt art.

Rodin Museum - Paris, France

Picture of Rodin's thinker at the Rodin Museum in Paris France
The Thinker from the Rodin Sculpture Garden at the Musee Rodin in Paris, France. Get a Paris Museum Pass if you are staying in the City for any length of time as you will go see more museums and Paris has a great array of interesting museums. We may not have done the Rodin or Dali museums had we not had FREE admission with the pass. This card is available in 1, 3 or 5 day increments and offers FREE Admission to the permanant collection of 65 museums in the City of Paris, plus it offers priority admission which saves time in line.

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