S: Europe's Highlights - A Tour of Western Europe 2010
FC: Tish and Elaine Riffe | Europe's Highlights | A Tour of Western Europe July 2010 | England, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France
1: Europe's Highlights: July 11 - 26, 2010 | We began our adventure with a transatlantic flight to London. We explored the British capital then crossed the English Channel by ferry and drove through Belgium to the exciting city of Amsterdam. Then we traveled southward to the beautiful Rhineland area of Germany. Next we rode along the Autobahn to Austria through the magnificent Tyrolean Alps. Then onward to Italy-Venice, Assisi, Rome, Florence, and beautiful Pisa. Next we journeyed northward through the Tuscan hills, crossing into Switzerland where we viewed the splendid Swiss Alps with its beautiful lakes. Finally traveling through the French countryside to Paris where we enjoyed the arts, museums, food and entertainment before departing for home. It was truly a trip of a lifetime... | Cover Photos, Top row: Notre Dame-Paris, France; St Peter's Basilica-Rome, Italy; Maus Castle-Rhine River, Germany; Tyrolean Alps, Austria; Trevi Fountain-Rome, Italy. Bottom row: Gruyeres, Switzerland; Lake Lucerne-Switzerland; Amsterdam, Holland; Statue of Dante-Florence, Italy; Windsor Castle-London, England. Back Cover: Tour Group in front of the Coliseum-Rome, Italy.
2: We landed in London at the Heathrow Airport and checked into the Novotel. After settling into our room, we went down to the lounge and had a glass of wine and relaxed for a while before getting ready for our big evening. We toured London by coach then had dinner at the Prospect of Whitby, on the River Thames, followed by a cruise on the river at sunset. The next morning we went shopping on Portabella Street where Tish bought a beautiful ring and Elaine bought a wool throw. We got a veggie and cheese pie for lunch at a café called Humble Pie. That afternoon, we toured the amazing Windsor Castle. Later we enjoyed dinner at the Queens Head Pub. The following morning, we left England by ferry and crossed the English Channel into France. | Leaving the airport in Memphis - we were pretty excited! | Landing in London | Relaxing a bit before our big night out! | Our first gelato - so yummy! | The lounge at the Novotel London. | After settling in, we went down to the lounge for a bottle of Pinot Gregio and hors d' oeuvres | Pretty flowers and a pretty girl | Our first bottle of wine. | London, England
3: 1. The Queen's Head Pub, where we had dinner our last night in London. 2. Some beautiful English architecture. 3. We got a kick out of the red headed bicycle girl. 4. Saw a lot of Double Deckers. 5. Pretty shop in Bershire. 6. Shopping on Portabella Street. 7. The Aquarium. 8. Parliament Square- protesting the war in Iraq. 9. Barbed wire around Buckingham Palace. 10. Mad Hatters- a term created due to the Hatters of London's continuous exposure to mercury & poor ventilation in the workplace causing them to literally go mad, later popularized by the movie Alice in Woderland 11. The Angel of Peace tops Constitution Arch at Hyde Park Corner. 12. Norfolk Place. Other sites we saw on the Coach Tour, but not photographed include: the house where the Beatles lived early in their career, the hospital where Princess Diana had her children, Kinsington Gardens, house where penicillin was created, St. James Park, and Hugh Grant's Elementary School. | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12
4: The Pub was rich with interesting history of the building as well as great food. It was first built in 1520 & was a favorite spot for not only fisherman & sailors, but also smugglers, thieves, & pirates, including the infamous Captain Kid; which helped it earn it's nickname the Devil's Tavern. "Hanging Judge Jeffries" was another frequent patron in the 17th century. He would eat his lunch out on the balcony, while watching hangings in progress on the nearby execution dock. The gibbet & hangman's noose are still there today. The Pub's pewter topped bar is the oldest of it's type still surviving. After reviving itself at the end of World War II, it became a more high quality restaurant bringing celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Kirk Douglas, Richard Burton, Grace Kelly, and even royalty such as Prince Rainier, and Princess Margaret just to name a few. When we dined, we shared Steak and Ale Pie, & Fish and Chips. | The Prospect of Whitby | Enjoying a pint of Foster's Lager | Gibbet and Hangman's noose | 1. The London Eye- is 443 ft tall, & was built in 1999, it is partly powered by the Thames River 2. World War II ship 3. Whitehall Court- Built in the mid 1880's, today it is in two parts, including Hotel and Residential areas 4. The Tower Bridge- was officially opened by the Prince of Wales in 1894, it took 8 years and 5 different contractors to complete, at a cost of $156,000,000 US Dollars 5. Waterloo Bridge- one of twelve bridges on the Thames River. It opened in 1817 as a toll bridge. It's name is in memory of the Battle of Waterloo of 1815. 6. Westminster Abby- First stone section was built in 1065, with rebuilds and additions throughout, the two Western Towers were completed in 1745. Big Ben is at the North End and first ticked in 1859, & remains the largest 4-faced chiming clock in the world. 3,200 people are buried in Westminster. 7. Shell Mex House- erected in the 1930's, home of the famous Royal Dutch Shell company. The clock is one of the largest in Europe . 8. Victoria Tower- located at the South end of Westminster Abby, named after Queen Victoria, stores the Acts of Parliament. 9. Hay's Galleria- a riverside shopping, arcade' & entertainment venue | Sites From our Thames River Cruise
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6: Windsor Castle Windsor is the largest inhabited castle in the world dating back to the early 1100's. Queen Elizabeth II spends many weekends at the castle using it for both state and private entertaining. Some of the highlights of our tour included: the beautiful gardens, the State Apartments, St. George's Chapel, the Round Tower, the Drawings Gallery which included drawings by Leonardo Da Vinci, and our favorite: Queen Mary's Doll House and the Doll collection given to Princess Elizabeth by the French government. The wardrobes were made by leading designers such as Hermes, Louis Vuitton and others, as well as jewelry fashioned by Cartier.
7: We traveled through the lush English countryside to theDover port and caught our Ferry to cross the English Channel to Calais, France. Then traveled through Belgium in route to Holland. Even though our visit to Belgium was very short it left quite an impression! It was our first experience in Europe where we encountered a language barrier. We stopped at a restaurant in Brussels . Our waitress was an extremely intimidating Belgian who only spoke a few words of English. She seemed immediately annoyed with us and gave us a menu which we could read about five words! Three words we knew were salad, steak, and pollo so that is what we ordered. She asked what we wanted to drink and we both ordered water, then she said with .... or without ...... we were not sure what .... was, thinking ..... was ice Tish said "with'. Turns out it was bubbling water, YUCK. Neither of us liked it. Then what we thought was going to be a small lettuce salad before our meal was the Housser salad in this picture. Tish asked for a Belgian beer which she brought out. We had only a 45 minute stop there, so not sure why we thought we had time for steak. It was time to get back on the bus where 38 people were waiting for us, and we had not even gotten our expensive food yet! Annerieke talked to the waitress and the waitress looked very angry about having to prepare our food "take away". I don't think they even do To-Go boxes because she put both of our meals together in a gigantic 20 X25 inch cake box. Tish tried to apologize to the waitress for all of the trouble in which she yelled, close to Tish's face "IT DOESN"T MATTER!!!" Then we literally ran to the bus with our giant box and felt so embarrassed. One of our funniest memories of the trip. We will never forget our lunch in Belgium. | Belgium | n | AMsterdam Holland
8: Arriving in the evening we went straight to our beautiful hotel where we enjoyed a swim. The next morning we spent the day in Amsterdam exploring the city. We visited a Diamond Center. went on an informative canal cruise to see Amsterdam from water level . We went to the Dam Square where we shopped and had a delicious chocolate muffin. The houses and buildings were each so unique. The shapes and styles of the rooftops tell the age of the time they were built. Amsterdam has more canals than Venice. Bicycles are the main form of transportation in Holland, There are 700,000 bicycles in just the center city. We departed from Amsterdam and headed to the Rhineland Area in Germany. | This is the narrowest house in Amsterdam, only 6 1/2 ft wide & 20 ft deep. The reason for the tall narrow buildings is, the houses were leaning against each other due to lack of proper resources by the home owners. The government finally decided they would do the pilings themselves and taxed the residents based on how wide the house was. | The canals were lined with beautiful colorful house boats | We are just getting onto our canal cruiser with commentary about all of the beautiful sights and history of this city,
9: People everywhere were enjoying the cones of French fries. We found the Manneken Pis, voted #1 in Holland fries, which are the most famous food in Amsterdam. They are served with mayo and absolutely delicious! | The very first Heineken brewery is in Amsterdam. It is currently a museum | Westerkerk Western Church
10: We traveled along the Autobahn to the Rhineland area for an overnight, staying in Andernach, a beautiful village on the Rhine River. Founded in 12 BC by the Romans, Andernach is one of the oldest towns in Germany. We had the most beautiful view of the Rhine from two huge windows in our room. The inn where we stayed was very quaint, but had such a great atmosphere. We arrived late and had dinner at the hotel - the most delicious leek soup, fish, fries, mixed vegetables and an ice cream dessert. We also enjoyed some Britburger beer, which is one of Germany's finest beers since 1817. After dinner, we walked across the street to the park on the river just in time to see the sunset...it was so beautiful! We had a bottle of German wine and went through the stone arch next to the hotel and took some photos. It was such a beautiful old village. We got a great night's sleep with the windows wide open. We left early the next morning for a cruise on the Rhine River. | Germany | The Autobahn
12: We cruised down the most legendary section of the mighty Rhine through the river's narrow gorge and saw hilltop castles, medieval towers, half timbered wine villages, and terraced vineyards perched on the hill sides. We passed the Lorelei Rock, where legend has it that the beautiful Lore Lay was falsely accused of maliciously bewitching men and driving them to ruin; later pardoned and on the way to a nunnery she passes and climbs the Lorelei rock, watching out for the lover who abandoned her, she falls to her death; the rock still retains an echo of her name.... | Rhine River Cruise
13: Maus Castle built 1353-1388 | Rheinfels Fortress founded 1245 | Castle Liebenstein built in the 13th century | Lorelei Rock | The Church of Our Lady - Oberwesel begun in 1308. | Ochsenturm (the Oxen Tower) dates back to Roman Times | Katz Castle was built in 1371
14: Austria We had a wonderful surprise as we were leaving Germany and heading into Austria, we watched The Sound of Music! Oh boy it really made the hills come alive. We arrived at our hotel, the Rumerhof, at dinner time. We had an excellent salad bar and some delicious asparagus soup. The hotel was very pretty but had no AC and was extremely hot! After dinner we sat and visited with Sonny and Jackie and laughed and laughed of all the funny stories of our trip. The next morning we got off to an early start and headed through the Tyrolean Alps to the floating city of Venice.
16: After crossing into Italy these are our first glimpses of the astonishing Italian vineyards. It was amazing to see all the different rows with the workers out picking the grapes. We also saw some enchanting apple orchards. | We had to park the Coach and ride a Taxi boat across the Adriatic Sea to the floating city of Venice. When we landed we went to watch a demonstration of a Venetian glassblower fashion his delicate objects just like they did centuries ago. He made a horse in our demonstration, it was unbelievable and the best, Murano Glass, was extremely expensive. Elaine got a stunning blue Murano necklace, and the saleslady dropped 2 fancy little wrapped packages in our bag and said here is something to take back with you to Mississippi We were so excited and could hardly waiting to get outside to see what they were.... two pretty blue rings! Then we went shopping and Tish got a green Venetian glass ring, and Elaine bought her an exquisite Venetian glass wine bottle opener. Elaine also got a hat and we bought several gifts for family and friends. It was fun to go by all the big designer stores like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Hermes, and many many more! Then we enjoyed another Gelato as we walked along the canals, and bridges, there was charming Italian music played by a live band as we strolled along, it was magical.... Then we headed to the Gran Caffe Chioggio on the St Marks Square , where Elaine enjoyed a cappuccino and Tish had a lemon soda, and we each had a delightful orange cake with chocolate chunks in it. While we enjoyed the most brilliant view, there was a live band playing 1O feet away from us! Afterwards we reunited with our group and headed for our hotel, Poppi, where there was a huge grocery store within walking distance. We went and got 5 bottles of wine for only 1-5 Euros each! We had a fabulous Italian dinner at the hotel, pasta with meatballs, salad, and the best green peas we have ever had. Then we headed out to the patio to have some of our good Italian wine with Sonny and Jackie. It was a really fun evening. Then we had a long travel to Assisi, but it was a picturesque drive through the Umbrian Hills, past vineyards, neat Italian homes and the most amazing fields of sunflowers! | Venice
17: Our brilliant view from the café | The Venetian Glassblower | Our treats from the Café | Elaine at the Café writing in her journal with the band right behind her
18: It was the first night of the trip that we did not pack up the night before to be prepared to leave early the next morning. Someone was knocking on our door and we both thought it was still night time, so we were hesitant to answer. Elaine went to ask who it was, and Tish was asking her' "who is it, who is it?' Elaine shouted, "It's Annerieke"!!! Annerieke said it is 7:2O and we are leaving in 1O minutes.We had to dress, pack, turn in our key, and get on the coach in 1O minutes..... and we actually made it!
19: Assisi We had an interesting drive southward, cutting across the Po Delta, then through the gentle Umbrian hills to Assisi, where St. Francis was born in 1182. We were awed by the world famous Basilica with its beautiful frescoes by Giotto. There was no talking allowed inside and your shoulders and knees must be covered. It was one of the most amazing places that we went. Upon leaving Assisi, we headed to Rome...
20: Rome - The Eternal City | Treasures of Rome by Night and Dinner We arrived in Rome for our evening tour which included some of the city's fountains and majestic squares. Work was begun on the Trevi Fountain in 1732 and completed in 1762. A traditional legend holds that if visitors throw a coin into the fountain, they are ensured a return to Rome. Of course we tossed our coin in and now we can't wait to return. Next we went to the Spanish Steps which are a set of 138 steps climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinit dei Monti, dominated by the church of Trinit dei Monti. The Scalinata is the longest and widest staircase in Europe. After climbing the stairs we strolled through the beautiful, ancient city to our Roman dinner... | Trevi Fountain | Spanish Steps
21: Dinner in Rome!!! Our Favorite! | 6 Course Menu Bruschetta with Prosciutto, Sliced Cantaloupe Sausage with Wild Mushroom Pasta Lasagna Salad Beef and Potatoes Italian Ice Cream with Blueberries | Our group of 30 had a room all to ourselves at the restaurant. The 2 musicians serenaded us throughout the dinner and everyone enjoyed singing along to "That's Amore", which means that's love. The unlimited wine added to the groups festive mood! Salute!! The waiters also made it so much fun and really put on a show, they even gave each girl a kiss and a rose at the end of dinner. It was just so much fun! When we arrived back to our hotel room, we were laughing and reminiscing of our wonderful night when our phone rang and it was the Italian front desk man. He seemed a little ticked when he told us that there was "a complaint of loud laughter, could that be us?" Tish laughed and said, "why yes it is!" So we quieted down and went to sleep. | AT MANGROVIA
22: We began an early day of sightseeing in St. Peter's Square. We first toured the Vatican Museums, which were established in 1506 and admired the beautiful tapestry gallery and the Sistine Chapel with masterpieces by Botticelli and Signorelli. We saw the "Genesis", Michelangelo's "Last Judgment", and numerous works of Greek and Roman sculpture. It was so amazing. | St. Peter's Square: Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St Peter's Basilica | A large pink granite obelisk can be admired in the center of the square. | Tish with one foot in the Vatican City and one foot in the city of Rome. | This beautiful tapestry gave an optical illusion that Jesus was turned to you whether you were to the right or to the left of the tapestry.
23: St. Peter's Basilica at night. | St Peter's Tomb | La Pieta (1499) is a masterpiece Renaissance sculpture by Michelangelo, depicting the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother, Mary, after the Crucifixion. | St Peter's Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world, holding 60,000 people. The iconic dome dominates the skyline of Rome. | There are 140 saint statues on the colonnades.
24: The Mighty Colosseum and Roman Forum | The Colosseum is an elliptical amphitheater in the center of Rome. It is considered one the greatest works of Roman architecture and Roman engineering. Construction was begun between 70 and 72 AD. Capable of seating 50,00 spectators, the Colosseum was used for gladiatorial contests and spectacles. The Roman Forum emerged as the political and economical center of Rome during the Republic and maintained this position well into the Imperial period. It was mostly abandoned by the End of the 4th century. After touring, we returned to the hotel and had a much needed rest. We decided to order in for dinner and had a delicious Italian pizza, fresh tomato and mozzarella salad, and fresh fruit.
25: After a memorable few days in Rome, we traveled to Florence or Firenze, enjoying the beautiful Tuscany countryside along the way. The fields of sunflowers were especially breathtaking. First we went to Peruzzi's for a demonstration of their leather goods. Elaine had been looking forward to buying a leather purse and we had so much fun looking at all of them. Then we went shopping at the outdoor markets and bought some beautiful pashminas and several gifts. We had the most wonderful lunch at an outdoor café in the Piazza di Santa Croce. Later we stopped and got some Nutella gelato...mmm so good! After an enchanting day in Florence, we traveled to Montecatini for an overnight. | Florence, Italy | Statue of Dante | Basilica of Santa Croce | Tish at the café | Peruzzi's Leather | Outdoor lunch at the Piazza. | The Piazza di Santa Croce | A beautiful view along the River Arno. | Sunflower Fields | River Arno | A beautiful street in Florence
26: Montecatini When we arrived we took a stroll around town and did some window shopping and finally found some stamps! We visited the town square and then headed back to our hotel, the Minerva Palace, we had an amazing view of the Tuscan hillside from our room window! We were happy to sit with our good friends Sonny and Jackie and enjoyed a bottle of wine with them over dinner. After dinner we had a little rooftop party. Elaine stayed for a glass of wine, then headed to bed. Tish stayed with Sonny and Jackie and 8 fun Australians from our group joined them. They told us that they had nicknamed us the "Southern Belles". It was such a fun night that really brought the group closer.
27: Pisa | The Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square) is a wide, walled area at the heart of the city of Pisa, Tuscany, Italy, recognized as one of the main centers for medieval art in the world. Partly paved and partly grassed, it is dominated by four great religious edifices: the Duomo, the Leaning Tower (the Cathedral's campanile), the Baptistery, and the Campo Santo. The heart of the Piazza is the Duomo, the medieval cathedral entitled St. Mary of Assumption. Construction was begun in 1064. The Baptistery, the largest in Italy is dedicated to John the Baptist. The Campo Santo is a wall cemetery which many claim is the most beautiful cemetery in the world. The Leaning Tower is the freestanding bell tower of the Cathedral. Although intended to stand vertically the tower began to lean after the onset of construction in 1173. | From left to right: the Campo Santo, the Baptistery, the Duomo, and the Leaning Tower.
28: Right before crossing into Switzerland from Italy we got a quick glance at famous Lake Como. George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Gianni Versace are some of the many celebrities that own a Villa in this amazing city | At the McDOnalds in Lake Lugano we had to buy something to use the toilets, so we ordered 2 small Sprites for about $7, then had to use the code from the receipt to get into the locked door! | Lake Lagano, Switzerland | After leaving Pisa we traveled through the Tuscan Hills across the River Po and on into the Lombardy Plains. Lastly passing by Lake Como and into Switzerland. We had a nice long stop in Lake Lugano which was just magnificent! We spent the afternoon leisurely strolling through the gorgeous town taking pictures and trying to soak it all in. The window shopping was incredible, including all the biggest designers. It was a VERY expensive city. Then we headed to our hotel, the Hirschen, had a quick dinner, and then headed to the Swiss Folklore Show.
29: Swiss Folklore Night | We saw the most amazing double rainbow on our way to the folklore show... absolutely breathtaking! We had great Swiss beer and cheese fondue while we watched the show. Tish was called on stage to blow the 15ft Alp Horn, the first two people were unsuccessful but she made a powerful LOUD blow and the crowd cheered! The show also included: an accordion player and his band,instrumental glass bottles, broom and stick music, and TONS of yodeling. They also taught a funny dance and finished the night with a hilarious yodeling/ beer chugging contest. The ride home was extra fun, since we had such a small group we rode on a different Cosmos group's bus, and we cut up and joked with their tour director, we were the naughty children on the back of the bus!
30: Swiss Alps just outside Lucerne | Lake Lucerne | In the morning we traveled through some splendid Alpine scenery and through the St. Gotthard Tunnel, which took 17 minutes to get through, to find that the mountains were much bigger on the other side! Lake Lucerne is nestled in the snowcapped Alps, by the clear mountain waters of the River Reuss. One of the city's famous landmarks is the Chapel Bridge, a wooden bridge first erected in the 14th century. Another impressive site is Bertel Thorvaldsen's famous carving of a dying lion, the Lion Monument, is found in a small park just off Lowenplatz. The carving commemorates the hundreds of Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution, when the mob stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris. We took a Lake cruise and were able to admire spectacular views of the city and mountains even more from the boat. The Meggenhorn Castle was yet another splendid sight with its park, vineyard, and manor, built in the 19th century. However, our favorite site along the cruise was the Statue of Christ by Josef Vetter which was dedicated in 1900. After our cruise we headed to our much anticipated Mount Stanserhorn excursion. | Lion Monument | Statue of Christ | Jesuit Church on River Reuss
31: The wooden Chapel Bridge | Lake Thun | Meggenhorn Castle
32: Mount Stanserhorn | One of the highlights of our tour was our trip up Stanserhorn mountain in the Swiss Alps. We boarded a train, then a cable car to climb to the top of the 6227 foot mountain. It had a special significance, because when Elaine was sick a couple of years earlier, Tish had painted her a quote that said, "It's easier to go down a mountain than up, but the view is always best from the top." Being at the top of Stanserhorn was a celebration that she had survived and made it to the mountain top and wow what a view! It was such a great moment!! We had a delicious lunch at the top while we enjoyed the panoramic view of the Swiss Alps and Lake Lucerne. | A beautiful view of Lake Lucerne | There were lots of cows on the mountain. | A couple of yodelers. | We enjoyed a great lunch on the mountaintop | Beautiful wildflowers | Riding the train up the mountain with Sonny and Jackie | The views were just breathtaking! | Ticket
34: Gruyeres, Switzerland | Upon leaving Stans, we followed the shoreline of Lake Thun to the delightful hilltop village of Gruyeres. This historical town is located on top of an isolated hill, north of the Alps. The village with it's 800 year old history is known for it's delicious cheese. We bought some cheese, crackers, cheese straws, and wine in a little shop and had it for supper in our hotel room in Lausanne. It was so good! We got a good night's sleep before leaving for Paris the next morning!
35: FRANCE | It was so hard to leave Switzerland, but we were excited to begin our adventures in France! It was one of our longest travel days so we played hangman to help us pass the time. We had a nice long lunch break in the city of Beaune, it was the only rainy day we had, but we were still able to admire the beauty of the town and enjoyed a wonderful lunch of different types of French pizzas, and a beautiful lemon meringue tart. When we arrived at our hotel, Forest Hill La Villette, we had to quickly get dressed and head to our Cabaret Show. The next morning we got an early start on a sightseeing tour of France. We then headed to the Louvre Museum which was SPECTACULAR. Next, we had a leisurely stroll through Paris, just the two of us for the rest of the day. We both chose a pretty top during our shopping and also visited a gigantic department store, the Gallery Lafayette, where Elaine got a fancy silk scarf. We also enjoyed a banana and Nutella crepe at a sidewalk café. We were so proud that we navigated ourselves back through the large metro system back to our hotel. We went to dinner across the street and enjoyed some kabobs and one of our favorite deserts, a waffle cone filled with raspberry sorbet and whipped creme, topped with fresh raspberries. The next morning we went to Mass which we enjoyed so much, on the way we passed an extremely busy local market which was really something to see! Our last evening we went to Montmartie, Bohemian Paris, where we shopped, got matching earrings, saw the Sacre-Coeur Church and then went to our farewell dinner. We departed from the Charles de Gaulle airport the following morning to head home. We were so very sad to be at the end of our amazing European adventure but so happy to be going back home. | The Eiffel Tower!!! It was built in 1889 as the entrance arch for the World's Fair marking the centennial celebration of the French Revolution. Standing at 1,063 ft tall, it is the tallest building in Paris. | A hotel picnic... one of our favorite meals! We had really been looking forward to trying some French pastries and boy did they live up to our expectations! We found them at the most amazing pastry shop on our walk back after church. We paired them with a bottle of Chardonnay, a baguette, the last of our Gruyere cheese, and fresh fruit, YUM! | The Palais Garnier, also known as Paris Opéra, was completed in 1875. It is an exquisite 2,200 seat opera house. Also you can see the entrance into the metro steps which we took back to our hotel. | The Musée de l'Armée is a museum at Les Invalides in Paris, established in 1871. Originally built as a hospital and home for disabled soldiers by Louis XIV, it now houses the Tomb of Napoleon and the museum of the Army of France.
36: We walked about five blocks from our hotel to Mass at Église Saint-Jacques-Saint-Christophe de la Villette (built in 1844). Although we could not understand the language we were able to follow along and even tried to sing a little. It was an amazing experience! | Joan of Arc Monument, built in 1880 | We visited the medieval Burgundian town, famous for it's delectable wine! | Dainty French Flower Shop | World Famous Maxims Restaurant | The City Hall of the Vth district of Paris
37: The Arc de Triomphe honours those who fought for France, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. On the inside and the top of the arc there are all of the names of generals and wars fought. | The statue of George Washington in the Place d'Iéna | 'La fontaine des Mers' (1836), located at the octagonal Place de la Concorde is the largest square in Paris. | The Panthéon, was originally built as a church from 1758-1790, ordered by King Louis XV. It now functions as a secular mausoleum containing the remains of distinguished French citizens
38: PARIS CABARET SHOW | We loved seeing all of the beautiful extravagant costumes.We were so close that Tish's knees were actually touching the stage! She even had to lean back during some of their kicks! There were two men juggling bowling pins, a hilarious"acrobat", a strange statue mime, and tons of dancing girls! They called people from the audience up to participate in some of the skits. They called one man up and sat him in a chair; with sunglasses on his face, a cigarette in his mouth, and a hat on his head. The jugglers then began lugging heavy bowling pins in front and behind his head, until they knocked all three items off! It was incredible. | This is John and his wife, two Australians from our tour group. They called John on stage for a dance contest. It was so hilarious and he beat three other dancers! We were so proud! | What an experience to go to a Paris Cabaret Show! The Nouvelle Eve, built in 1898, is located in the heart of Pigalle, and situated at the foot of Montmartre. We sure enjoyed our glass of REAL champagne!
39: Notre Dame Cathedral | French for "Our Lady of Paris". It is a Gothic style Cathedral whose construction began in 1163 and was not completed until 1345. The gargoyles along the outside were so intriguing, as well as the intricate sculptures at the entrances, especially the Last Judgment, pictured here.. The South Rose stained glass is absolutely magnificent, some included details are The twelve Apostles, Saints and Martyrs, 20 Angels, and scenes from the New and Old Testaments, and much more. There are five bells at Notre Dame, the great bourdon bell, Emmanuel, is located in the South Tower and weighs just over 13 tons.
40: The Louvre Museum is one of the world's largest museums, the most visited art museum in the world and a historic monument. Nearly 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 19th century are exhibited over an area of 652,300 square feet. The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace which began as a fortress built in the late 12th century under Philip II. Remnants of the fortress are still visible. The building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace. In 1682, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles for his household, leaving the Louvre primarily as a place to display the royal collection. During the French Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum, to display the nation's masterpieces. The museum opened on 10 August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, the majority of the works being confiscated church and royal property. Because of structural problems with the building, the museum was closed in 1796 until 1801. The size of the collection increased under Napoleon. After his defeat at Waterloo, many works seized by Napoleon's armies were returned to their original owners. The collection was further increased during the reigns of Louis XVIII and Charles X, and during the Second French Empire the museum gained 20,000 pieces. Holdings have grown steadily through donations and gifts since the Third Republic, except during the two World Ward. | We had really been looking forward to the Louvre. It was truly amazing, our guide said that it would take 6 months of touring it to see each piece. So we hit the highlights! The Mona Lisa was much smaller than we imagined but so lovely! We saw 5 of Leonardo Da Vinci's 9 surviving paintings. | This fountain was right outside of the Louvre with TONS of people all around its edges. Tish took her shoes off and ran into it for a photo!
41: Leonardo Da Vinci's 5 Paintings
44: Our Last Evening in Paris | Enzo our Italian Coach driver and Annerieke our Dutch Tour Director | What a wonderful last evening in Paris! We started with a visit to Montmartre, the heart of Bohemian Paris where we saw the beautiful Sacre-Coeur Basilica, which is built on the highest point in the city. After enjoying the panoramic view, we had a four-course Farewell Dinner Party. It was hard to say goodbye to all our new friends., so we had an after party at the restaurant across the street from our hotel.... au revoir! | Enjoying a Kir Royale before dinner | Menu French Onion Soup Shrimp Prawns Beef Bourguignon Assorted Cheeses Creme Brulee Chocolate Mousse | DINNER AT L'ESCARAMOUCHE