S: Paris & Rome
FC: Paris & Rome 2000
1: We arrived at Charles de Gualle at about 11 am on Tuesday, August 1, 2000. We had to wait a long time in the crowded and smoky airport for our luggage. | Then we took the Roissybus to the stop near the Opera and walked the rest of the 4-block walk through the crowded streets of Paris. Next we went on the L’Open Tour bus around the city until we reached the Luxembourg Gardens. The garden is famed for its calm atmosphere and is full of old statues, fountains, and monuments. After walking around the gardens, we visited the grocery store to get bread, cheese, and desserts for dinner. The next morning, we ate breakfast in the hotel and then hurried to the Eiffel Tower.
2: Built for the French Exposition in 1889, the Eiffel Tower was the tallest building in the world until the Empire State Building was built some 40 years later. | Next we walked to Napoleon’s Tomb, known as Les Invalides to the native Parisians. Then we found Angelina, a famous and beautiful tearoom and café, where we ate some lunch. | We traveled on the elevators to the 3rd level of the Eiffel Tower, which is 905 feet hight. From there, we had a great view of the city.
3: Next we went to the Musee d’Orsay, a contemporary art museum housed in a former train station. That night we went to a restaurant that Dad frequented during his stays in Paris, where we feasted on lamb, escargot, and a flaming apple tart sitting outside in front of the restaurant. By the time we finished dinner, it was dark and we decided to head to the Arc de Triumphe. It was beautifully lit as we walked up in the dark. We walked up the windy spiral staircase to the top, which had a beautiful view of the Champs Elysee and Eiffel Tower.
4: On Thursday morning, we boarded the RER train and made our way to Versailles, the famous palace built by King Louis XIV. Much of the 700 rooms of the palace were painted with a faux marble technique. The Hall of Mirrors is the central gallery of the Palace of Versailles and is renowned as being one of the most famous rooms in the world. The Germans were summoned to Versailles to sign the Treaty of Versailles to end World War I on June 28, 1919. After we visited the famous palace, we ate lunch at a french restaurant nearby.
5: In the afternoon we took the metro to the Montmartre area of the city and to Sacre Coeur. Montmartre is a popular artsy area of town with a large hill, on which Sacre Coeur was built. The basilica has managed to keep its beaming white color even in the polluted air of a big city like Paris due to the use of Chteau-Landon stones, which secrete calcite when it rains, which acts like a bleacher. We looked around the famous church and ate crepes at a nearby restaurant before returning to the city for the night.
6: On Friday, we headed back to the grocery store near the Holiday Inn that Dad used to stay at for me to get some baking supplies to take back home, and then took the metro to the Louvre. After walking around for a bit, we took a tour including the part of the museum where the remains of the old castle that it was built on. Then we took the metro to Angelina again for lunch and shopped around Rivoli Street.
7: Then, we decided to head to A. Simon, where Parisian chefs come for their kitchen needs—from plates and glasses to pans, dishes, and wooden spoons. After Tina enjoyed her kitchenware shopping, we took the Metro back to the Latin Quarter for a lunch of crepes and Haagen Dazs. | On Saturday, we had seen most of the sights of Paris that we were interested in, so we headed off for a day of shopping. We first visited E. Dehillerin, an old fashioned store for professional chefs, but it was closed. | We then continued our shopping extravaganza by visiting some local department stores, Printemps and C&A. After dinner in the Latin Quarter, we headed back to the hotel to pack for Rome.
8: At this point, we decided to visit Notre Dame, whch was so crowded that it required a 2 hour wait to enter. So, we decided to head to Pompidou Center, a modern art museum. By this time, everyone was exhausted, but we looked at some of the very strange, but intriguing art. | Then we headed back to the hotel, and I went to Fauchon, an expensive food and pastry store. After dinner on the I'lle St. Louis, we headed back to the hotel for the night.
9: We got up at 4:30 am on Sunday and headed to the bus stop at 5:10 to go to Charles de Gualle to catch out 7:15 flight to Rome. Our flight arrived in Rome at 10:30 and we took the train to Rome Termini, RomeÂ’s main train station. We then walked about 5 blocks to our hotel, Hotel Brittania. After getting our bags unloaded, we walked to a nearby pizza place for lunch and decided to go get more information on tours from the train station. After walking around some of the quaint piazzas of Rome and enjoying some gelato as a snack along the way, we headed to Pierluigi on the recommendation of our hotel. Founded in 1938, Pierluigi is located in Piazza deÂ’ Ricci, which takes its name from the nearby building, which is famous for its faade fresco painted in the 16th century.
10: We woke up on Monday and had breakfast at the hotel. Then a bus picked us up to take us to the main tour bus headed for the Vatican. After waiting in the long line to get inside the Vatican, we finally entered the Vatican galleries, filled with beautiful frescoes and tapestries. Then we edged our way to the Sistine Chapel to see some of the spectacular paintings by Michaelangelo. We learned that the The Vatican City is the smallest country in the world, with only about 900 residents, and has a city/country wall that separates it from the rest of Rome.
11: The Vatican Museums are among the greatest museums in the world, since they display works from the immense collection built up by the Roman Catholic Church throughout the centuries, including some of the most renowned classical sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world. Pope Julius II founded the museums in the early 16th century. The Sistine Chapel and the Stanze della Segnatura decorated by Raphael are on the visitor route through the Vatican Museums.
12: As we walked along the nearby shopping street ("Via Cola di Rienzo") after leaving the Vatican it started pouring down rain. We decided to go to a nearby ice cream shop and then get a taxi back to the hotel. After the rain stopped, we decided to go shopping, which turned out to be unsuccessful due to the high prices. We decided to take the metro to the Spanish Steps, the home of the Spanish Embassy. Then we headed off to some more expensive sho pping streets "Via Frattina" and "Via Condotti." Then we made our way to the Trevi Fountain.
13: The Spanish Steps are located near Piazza di Spagna, “Spanish Plaza.” The stairway of 137 steps and over 12 different flights was built in 1723 & has long been a gathering place for foreigners. | The Trevi fountain is one of the most famous fountains in the world. There is a legend that visitors who throw a coin in will get to return to Rome.
14: On our way back to the Piazza Navona, we passed the Pantheon. | The Pantheon, a Roman temple, was built in 126 AD. It has a coffered dome with a hole in the top to allow light in. As we ate dinner at a cafe in Piazza Navona, Dad decided to make me negotiate for him for a neat picture of dolphins for the condo in Gulf Shores. We ate dessert after all of this commotion at "Tre Scalini", a renowned pastry and ice cream cafe before returning tot he hotel that night.
15: We ate an early breakfast on Tuesday at the hotel before heading to meet our tour. We set off to Naples on about a 3-hour drive. This beautiful coastal city was also full of history. Next we headed to Pompeii where we visited a cameo factory and had lunch. After our visit to Pompeii, we headed along the cliffhanging, windy roads to Sorrento. The beach clubs along the way were packed with people. In Sorrento, we visited a wood factory. Mom insisted that Shelley and Tina get jewelry boxes like the one she had purchased there 20 years before. As we headed back to the hotel, we got caught in traffic for over and hour and didnÂ’t get back to the hotel until after 10 pm.
16: The Mausoleum of Hadrian, the Castel Sant'Angelo, is a towering cylindrical building in Rome. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in 135 AD as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The building was later used by the popes as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum. The Pallazo Venezia is a renaissance era monument build partly with materials quarried from the Colosseum. Mussolini used it as his official residence and made some of his famous speeches from the balcony.
17: The Roman Forum existed almost intact up to 1503 when the Pope pillaged the area for building materials to rebuild Rome. Ancient marbles were ground up to make concrete. | The Arch of Septimius Severus was erected in 203 AD to commemorate the victories against the Parthians in the East. | On Wednesday, we got up early, ate breakfast, and headed right to St. Peterâ€™s Basilica so we could get in line early to go up in the dome. We tried to take a subway, but it was jam-packed so we took a taxi. As we approached and asked some guards, we realized that there was a service at the Basilica and that we wouldnâ€™t be able to get in. After getting some pizza and window shopping, we set off on a tour to various historical places in Rome. First we went to Capital Hill where we saw where the new government is housed. It was designed by Michelangelo and was built around the ruins of the older version of the Roman Forum. Next we ventured to St. Paulâ€™s Cathedral. Another of the Vatican churches and a smaller version of St. Peterâ€™s Basilica, St. Paulâ€™s was beautifully decorated with mosaics and churches. Next we headed to the Colosseum and Roman Forum.
18: We werenâ€™t able to go inside the Colosseum because there was a very long line, but just seeing the outside was amazing enough. | The Colosseum was inaugurated in 80 AD and could seat 50k spectators.
19: Our dinner for the last night in Rome was in an outdoor restaurant overlooking the city. We took a taxi from the hotel and arrive about half an hour prior to our reservation, so we had a chance to enjoy beautiful views. We also got a chance to see the filming of a commercial for a Honda motorcycle right in front of the restaurant. It was a great night until we returned to the hotel and found out that Tippy had to be taken to the doctor with complications.