After getting surprise notification of a 4-day weekend, we were quick to make reservations to visit Paris, France. You could never see everything in 3 days in Paris, but we sure tried. We came back tired, but with a love for the “City of Lights” and the people within it.
Day 1: The Good Weather Day
We started the day with our train departing around 8:00am. We rode in a 6-seat compartment with a U.S. civil servant taking one last trip before he headed back to the States, and a Russian composer and her husband on their way to hear one of her pieces played for the first time. As soon as we were settled, we took advantage of the fairly good weather to view the higher landmarks of Paris.
We went next to the Montparnasse Tower, a 59-story skyscraper that had a great observation deck. We sat at the restaurant and talked with a charming clerk while waiting for sunset. This is a view at dusk of the Eiffel tower and the golden dome of the Les Invalides where Napoleon was buried. It was unbelievable how packed the city was!
Day 2: The Marathon Sightseeing Day
As our only entire day in the city, we did our best to see all the major landmarks. After about 10 subway rides and blocks of walking, we came away with some great pictures and memories.
We visited the Arc de Triomphe first thing Saturday morning. We were glad we weren’t driving…this 5-road intersection was busy and full of impatient drivers honking their horns! We got to go on top of the Arc, and had another great view of the city complete with Tour Eiffel disappearing into the mist.
As we’ve often found in the more touristy places we’ve visited, there are places that are not nearly so publicized as the major attractions but are often much more rewarding! Sainte Chapelle cathedral was one of these treasures. It was a contemporary of Notre-Dame, but completely different. The lower section, made for the castle workers, was painted with intricate designs and gold trim.
It was really cold, so we had to take a break from the action to let Riley warm up and get a nap. It was late by the time we got back out, so we didn’t quite make it in time to see the inside of Les Invalides and the Rodin museum. I did get in the garden for a quick picture of Rodin’s “The Thinker” with the dome in the background.
Day 3: The Rainy Museum Day
Fortunately, the resident meteorologist of the family knew rain was on tap for Sunday, so we planned our trip accordingly and saved the Louvre for the last day.
Our Louvre visit had a really funny start. Shortly after we entered, and used the restroom and changing room, several attendants just “knew” that Dale was Dr. Green from ER (Anthony Edwards). Despite Dale’s repeated attempts to persuade them otherwise, they insisted on autographs. So somewhere, a happy fan has “Dr. Green” autograph that resembles Dale’s chicken scratch of a signature!
Anyhow, I could never capture the beauty of the Louvre and its wonderful exhibits, but here’s a few shots. You can tell I was especially enamored by the Greek and Egyptian artifacts.
Riley was incredibly well-behaved. There was one hall though where he discovered the acoustic effects and he kept us laughing (and slightly embarrassed) as he made a high-pitched “Aah!” repeatedly just to hear the echo.
After we were maxed out at the museum and got something to eat, we decided to squeeze in one last stop at Place de la Concorde before we had to catch our train. The sun had just come out, and I got this great picture of one of the Cheveaux ailes, or “Winged Horses,” that guard the entrance from the Champs Élysées to des Tuileries, a beautiful garden.
In the Tuileries, there was a pond circled by marble sculptures and lots of birds! I found a use for all the extra Cheerios I had stashed for the trip. Riley had a lot of fun tossing cheerios and watching the birds flock to eat them. Dale and I also had fun watching the gulls catch them in mid-air and also discovered that the pigeons would land on our hands to eat out of them! It was a great finish to a wonderful trip!