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France June 2012

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1: At 5:00 PM on Monday, June 11th 2012, we all gathered at the United Airlines gate at Dulles Airport wearing our GCS t-shirts! The Meitzlers – Tristan, Erin, Jonathan & Rich, Kathy Heartly, Miss Polly, Debbie Lieberman, Paulette Bruno, Sue Mitchell, Corey, Ruthie, and Madame Hadad behind the camera. We were ready for the trip of a lifetime and a great adventure!

2: Our 7 hour flight was awful from beginning to end (the flight home was fabulous!). Kicking kids behind us and no food were just SOME of the problems. But who cares? We were going to FRANCE!

3: Our first day in Paris! It was rainy and cold and we were tired from the flight, but we couldn't be stopped. We walked around the city and the Champs-Elysees and spent some time at the Arc de Triomphe. We also had lunch at a place Madame Hadad called the French Burger King. The food was great.

4: The Arc de Triomphe

5: The arch is for the people who fought for France, especially during the Napoleonic wars.

6: Engraved on the inside and at the top of the arch are all of the names of the generals and wars fought.

7: The Tomb of The Unknown Soldier from World War I and The Memorial Flame. A daily ritual pays tribute to the Great Dead. Every evening at 6:30, a flame is rekindled by one of the 900 associations of former soldiers.

8: Academie Nationale De Musique

9: The Palais Garnier at the Academie Nationale de Musique. Opened in 1875, this is the home of Paris Ballet and some classical operas.

10: Corey's most treasured souvenir!

11: Our first dinner was at Le Bistrot d'en Face, a cute little restaurant within walking distance from our hotel, Mercure 20. Corey LOVED the creamed ravioli and wondered if I could make it at home.

13: After dinner, we took a detour on the way back to the hotel and stopped for a photo op a the Eiffel Tower. When we got to the hotel, we were surprised by the illumination of the Eiffel Tower. Beautiful!

14: Le Mur De la Paix

15: Inspired by the Wailing Wall of Jerusalem, the Wall for Peace in Paris is the work of artist Clara Halter and architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte on the Champs de Mars, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. Inaugurated in March 30, 2000, the glass and metal monument, called Le Mur de la Paix, has “peace” written in 32 languages and 18 alphabets, and allows visitors to put their messages in the chinks of the wall. Viewing the Eiffel Tower through the glass is a thrillingly beautiful experience.

17: The next morning, our first full day in France, we made a quick stop for a photo op at Le Tour de Eiffel and Le Mur De la Paix.

18: Avenue de la Motte-Piquet, Paris. Bronze statue of Joseph Jacques Césaire Joffre (1851-1932). Joffre was a French general during World War I and defeated the Germans at the First Battle of the Marne.

19: Pictures that Corey took, but we don't know what they are.

21: At the Chapel of Saint-Louis-des-Invalides (Église Saint-Louis des Invalides). Showing our GCS Pride!

22: Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris

23: more notre dame pictures. | We had lunch outside of the Cathedral. We bought sandwiches (our first Croque Monsieur - so yummy!) from a nearby cafe and brought them back. We sat on stone benches and enjoyed the beautiful scenery and weather. The boys had a blast "playing" with the pigeons.

25: Stained Glass Windows inside the Cathedrale de Notre Dame

26: We walked around the grounds of the Cathedral and found a park. It was obviously designed for young children, but ours jumped right in!

29: Musee du Louvre

30: Inside the Louvre

31: There was a large crowd in front of the Mona Lisa, but we were able to make our way through the elbowing masses. Of course, as true Americans, our first response was like that of many of our countrymen... "Wow! It's a lot smaller than I thought it'd be."

34: We stopped for a photo op at the famous Moulin Rouge. Our boys hopped up on a subway grate and guess what happened?

36: After the Moulin Rouge, our tour guide, Terry, thought it would be nice to ditch the bus and walk to dinner. We walked up a very big hill and started to wander through the winding streets when all of a sudden it was POURING! Very few of us had umbrellas or rain jackets and their was no place to duck into because it was a residential area. We finally made it to our restaurant in Montmartre, but we were all soaked.

37: Montmartre is an artistic and cultural neighborhood that happens to have a fabulous view of the city.

38: more view pictures from montmatre? | Montmartre is an artistic and cultural neighborhood that happens to have a fabulous view of the city.

41: Louis XIV's palace a Versailles

42: more vesailles

43: We were able to enjoy Versailles by bike tour to discover the estate's gardens and grounds.

45: The goat farm- goat cheese tasting and tour of farm and processing area. in the Loire Valley

46: chateau de chenonceau the chateau of six ladies.

48: chambord

50: winery

53: playing petanque in Jardin du Lexembourg | the aim of the game, to get your boules closer to the jack than your opponent. the jack is a wooden cochenet. the boules are steel. play in a circle marked on the ground. we used a hoop to stand inside.

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