S: Our 10th Anniversary Paris 2011
BC: To an amazing trip and many more happy years together. Cheers ! | Thank you , honey.
FC: Our 10th Anniversary | Paris | 2011
1: Michele: Honey, why do you need a passport? Where are you going? Chris: (silent, pensive) Michele: Well? Chris: Because. You are going to be spending your 10th anniversary in France! You'll be having dinner on the Eiffel Tower. Michele: (stunned) Huh? Chris: Happy Anniversary! Michele: What about the kids? Chris: Already taken care of. Michele: I need to tell work for days off. Chris: Already taken care of. Michele: When are we leaving? Chris: October 14 through the 21st. Plane tickets are already purchased. There's no getting out of it. Michele: Wow! Okay, then. | Michele & Chris 10-20-11 Ten years later
2: After getting over the initial shock of the idea that I was finally going to Paris, it was time to talk to Heidi, the travel agent. She was very happy to be able to plan an amazing trip to a place I have only dreamed of. Where to start, so many places to visit and things to see. The flight was already arranged. Dinner reservations needed to be made and tours to be booked in advance. The hotel was chosen and booked. Everything was ready. Suitcases were packed, car was on the way. My stomach was in my throat. With our hands holding strong to one another, we head to the airport and begin the destination of a lifetime and a honeymoon ten years in the making.
3: Paris, France Charles de Gaulle | After an 8 hour flight, we have arrived. After going through the airport and getting our bags, all I wanted was to go outside and smell the fresh French air. We were here. I was actually standing in France! We grabbed a taxi and I used my French for the first time to tell him where the hotel was. Let the experience begin.
4: METRO | Whether you hopped on at an entrance that looked like a ride at Great America during Fright Fest or at one of the more contemporary signs, the Metro system was clean, fast and easy to use. If we had known how wonderful it was, we would have had a pass for the entire trip.. At first, it was intimidating but we were pros after the first day. We even helped another tourist find her way. | /
5: Hotel de Ville | No, this is not a hotel. This is Paris' city hall and is not open to the public. On the exterior, you can see the 136 statues representing historic VIP's in Parisian history. The square in front of the building was used for municipal festivals and executions. In the winter, the water fountain is turned into an ice skating rink. | <
6: After a day of wondering, we started Sunday off early with a day trip out to the Champagne region. First was a stop at the GH Mumm Champagne cellars in Reims, renowned worldwide for its famous Cordon Rouge label. We toured the cellars that are still being used to age the wines. We learned about the process of making champagne. After some photos of machines that were used in the early processing, we proceeded to the tasting room. There we enjoyed two different types of their supply. We continued to Notre Dame of Reims and went inside this amazing cathedral. We stopped for a brief bite to eat and then walked for a bit for more photos. Our journey continued to Epernay for a visit to Moet & Chandon. This prestigious house produces the most popular champagne in the world, Dom Perignon. After walking a small portion of their cellars and reviewing the same process as at Mumm, we moved on to their tasting room and enjoyed a glass of their selections. Our tour came to an end and we headed back to Paris. | A trip to Champagne region
8: Notre Dame of Paris
9: Even the side door is beautiful | Place a lock on the bridge to show your love and throw the key into the Seine | The construction of Notre Dame started in 1163 and took over 200 years. After changes that were done including replacing all the stained glass windows with clear glass and whitewashing the walls in the the 18th century and then the revolutionaries converting it into a temple of reason, the cathedral was in poor shape. Victor Hugo's novel " Hunchback of Notre Dame" drew attention to its state of despair. Many artists and writers called for the restoration of the cathedral. Viollet-le-Duc was the primary person responsible for the attention to detail in the recreation of its original beauty. The three enormous carved portals depict the Coronation of the Virgin, the Last Judgment, and scenes from the lives of the Virgin and St.Anne.
10: Don't forget to look up | There was no "one thing" that I can say was the best part of seeing Notre Dame. The view from just seeing it from a distance makes you gasp at how large it is. Then you start walking closer and you look up to the top of the top. and you feel dwarfed in comparison. The carvings and windows are just some of the beauty of this cathedral. The peacefulness that overcomes you when you walk through the portal is palpable. Then to climb to the top and see Paris from that level made this monument even more impressive.
11: To get this view, we climbed up the old stone spiral staircase that led up 226 feet or 422 steps! | I can see her, the Iron Lady. Standing so tall over the city.
12: Crypte Archeologique | de Parvis de Notre- Dame | In 1965, archeologists were brought in when excavations for a parking lot under the Notre Dame esplanade uncovered a vast network of ruins. | The Crypte Archéologique de Notre-Dame is an atmospheric time capsule which explores the lives and artifacts of the tribes and civilizations that dwelt in Paris long ago. Here are located the telling remains of a house from Lutce, the precursor to Paris. There are numerous Gallo-Roman artifacts, which provide a fascinating insight into the lives of the mighty Roman Empire and how they lived in Paris. This fascinating attraction includes a splendidly recreated settlement of the Parisii, the Celtic tribe that first settled on the site of Paris 2000 years ago and from whom the city takes its name. It is a powerful reminder that the city of Paris has stood for thousands of years in the center of a great cultural storm. To be honest, I did not know much about this crypt when our visit was made. It wasn't until I came home and read more on this place, that I was upset that I didn't pay closer attention to what I was walking through. | /
13: St. Ambroise | This church was seen on the way to the Hard Rock Cafe along Boulevard Voltaire. I didn't know its name or its history but saw that it was a magnificent church and had to photograph it. Now I know that Saint-Ambroise was built during the reign of Napoleon III between 1863 and 1868, shortly after the construction of the new Boulevard du Prince-Eugne, which was later renamed Boulevard Voltaire. It has two beautiful towers 68 meters high and they dominate the skyline in the area.
14: PLACE DE LA CONCORDE | Egyptian Obelisk | The place de la concorde is a magnificent collection of fountains and statues, including the obelisk, a gift from Egypt in 1829. This vast plaza once sat on the edge of the city , its fountains and gardens opened out into the countryside. This awesome square was once bathed in blood, as it was the stage for public executions, where King Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette both bowed to the guillotine along with many others. After the Revolution, the square held less lethal events like festival and trade expositions.
15: Palais Royal | Jacques Lemercier was commissioned to build the palace, known as the Palais Cardinal, in 1624. The palace was renamed as the Palais-Royal when it was the Louis XIV's home as a child. The palace, however, was damaged in 1871 during the Paris Commune but was rebuilt.
16: Hotel des Invalides | Louis XIV initiated a project in November 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers. It was then felt that the veterans required a chapel. It was finished in 1679. | <
17: Turenne, Marshal General of France under Louis XIV and one of France's greatest military leaders. | The most notable tomb at Les Invalides is that of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821) made of red quartzite and resting on a green granite base. | Inspired by St. Peter's Basilica in Rome the original for all Baroque domes, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. | Tombeau de Napoleon
18: Musee de L'Armee | / | /
19: Musee d'Orsay | It is housed in the former Gare d'Orsay, an impressive Beaux-Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900. Best known for its extensive collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces (the largest in the world) by such painters such as Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin and Van Gogh. | I was able to snap a couple of pictures before they stopped me. This was one of them. It was impressive to walk into room with paintings you have only heard about or seen in a magazine or on TV, and have them there in front of you. Unfortunately, the area that had Monet and Manet was under renovation. | /
20: Musee Rodin | Set in an 18th century mansion, the museum is where Rodin once had his studio. Some of his 6,600 pieces are on display. The Thinker sits in the courtyard, and The Kiss sits in a room filled with other romantic famous marble statues and carvings. One room contains works done with Monet..Rodin's wife , Camille Claudel, even has a room devoted to her overlooked talent. | /
21: Le Pantheon | Built in 1758, taking inspiration from its namesake in Rome, the Pantheon was a tribute to Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris, from Louis XV. Since the Revolution, it has been the final resting place of many of France's greats including Voltaire, Victor Hugo, and Marie Curie. Best admired from the outside unless you are a fan of one of those who are buried beneath the building, the only inside attraction would be Foucault's Pendulum hanging in the dome. Its swinging motion demonstrates the rotation of the earth. Unfortunately this was something not seen on this trip. | /
22: Sacre Coeur | Sitting atop Montmartre Hill, this majestic basilica will make you gasp. After wandering up the steep brick streets and taking a moment to rest on a park bench, it comes into view. Due to its location on the Montmartre hill, the basilica towers over the city. Its highest point is even higher than the top of the Eiffel Tower. After taking in the splendid view, one can choose to venture back down the street or take the Funicular back down to the level in front of Square Louise Michel. That walk was an exercise routine all by itself. Next time I'll use the Funicular both directions! | /
23: St. Sulpice | During the equinoxes and winter solstice, sunlight runs up the bronze line that runs north-south along the floor, climbs an obelisk to a globe and lights up the cross. This bronze strip marks the original zero-longitude line, which passed through Paris before being relocated to Greenwich, England. This is one of Paris' largest churches with an organ dating to 1781, that is a work of art itself.
24: Champs d'elysees The widest boulevard in Paris, this street cuts through this area like an asphalt river. You can find restaurants, boutiques and museums along its massive stretch from the Arc de Triomphe down to the Obelisk. | From the top of the Arc de Triomphe | La Sorbonne | Robert de Sorbon founded a college in 1253 for theology students without money. The pope approved of the idea, and it later became the University of Paris. The school is located in the famous Latin Quarter of Paris on the left bank. In 1970, the University of Paris was divided into thirteen different universities. This is still a functioning university. | /
25: Pont Neuf | The Pont Neuf is Paris' most well-known and oldest bridge. Built in 1578, Pont Neuf was the first bridge in Paris without houses built on it. It was also the first bridge with pavements. When illuminated at night, it gives an almost eerie glow to the faces that line the bridge. | Musee du Luxembourg | Initially housed in the Palais du Luxembourg that Marie de Medici had built between 1615 and 1630, the Musée du Luxembourg was the first French museum to be opened to the public, in 1750. Visitors could admire paintings from the Royal collection by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Veronese, Titian, Poussin, Van Dyck and Rembrandt. | /
26: St. Chapelle | Built in the 13th century to hold a crown of thorns that King Louis IX believed Christ wore during his crucifixtion, this chapel's 15 stained glass windows comprise over 1,000 scenes depicting the Christian story. St. Chapelle is a gem of French Gothic architecture. In 1246, fragments of the True Cross and the Holy Lance were added to Louis' collection, along with other relics.
27: "breathtaking" | "stunning" | "mesmerizing"
28: Palais de Justice | By the Renaissance, the kings had moved to the right bank of the Seine and into a new castle. As part of the royal palace it was originally built as, this section became the seat of the parliament and has served a judicial function ever since. | After the bloody days of the Revolution, the palace remained a courthouse. Today, the vast building has suffered many fires and has been reconstructed and enlarged over the centuries.
29: La Conciergerie | The Conciergerie began its life as a royal palace in the early 14th century. By 1391, the palace had been converted to a prison for both common and political criminals. The French Revolution (1789-1799) was one of the most violent periods in French history. During these years, the Conciergerie became famous as the location where prisoners were held before they were taken to the guillotine to be beheaded. The building was decommissioned for official use in 1914 and then opened to the public as a national historic monument. You can visit the cell where Marie-Antoinette stayed and walk the courtyard.
30: St. Germain des Pres | This is a quiet, rather unimpressive little church in the 6th Arr. It is the oldest church in Paris and a rarity in France. It dates back to the 6th century. It was one of the most important churches in France, and the final resting place of the Merovingian kings.
31: St. Etienne du Mont Located in the Latin Quarter, this church dates back to the 16th century. Its facade combines Gothic and Renaissance styles. The ornate shrine to St. Genevieve and her empty sarcophagus is one thing to see at this pilgrimage site.
32: La Bastille | The most notable thing about Place de la Bastille is the building that is no longer there, the Bastille prison. Over the centuries, kings and queens condemned rebellious citizens to stay within its walls. Such prisoners included the Man in the Iron Mask and the Marquis de Sade. By the time of the Revolution, it was barely in use. When the angry mobs stormed the prison on 14th July 1789, there were only seven prisoners left to be set free. The giant bronze column in the center of the plaza honors the victims of another revolution in 1830.
33: Opera Bastille | Built in 1989, this massive structure is the home of the Opera National de Paris. Operas performed here have more floor space and top notch acoustics. More operas are performed here than the Palais Garnier, which hold more dance performances. | / | /
34: Moulin Rouge | Immortalized by Toulouse-Lautrec, little has changed since it opened in 1889, including the red windmill. Be prepared for lots of glitz, strip routines and such. You won't be disappointed as you sip on an absinthe.
35: Centre Pompidou Musee National d'Art Moderne | Built in 1971, President Pompidou searched for an architect that could design the transport, ventilation, and the other systems on the outside of the building, freeing up the interior space for a museum. The result was a grid like exterior with a tubular escalator inching up one side. Much more than an art museum, its floorspace includes a vast library, a cinema, and a performance hall. The actual museum, located on the 4th and 5th floors, has a collection that is in constant rotation. Although the emphasis is on the second half of the 20th century, it is impossible to say what might be there during the visit. | /
36: Musee du Louvre | Originally built in the 12th century as a fortress, it was converted into a royal palace in the 14th century. The Louvre became a public museum at the end of the 18th century. The glass pyramid was built in 1989 by the renowned American architect I.M. Pei. There are about 35.000 objects on display, spread out over three wings. A large part of the collection consists of European paintings and sculptures. Other rooms contain Roman, Egyptian, Greek and Oriental art. When you walk under the glass pyramid to enter into the museum, you can decide which wing to start in and go from there. There are the must-sees that I made sure I laid eyes on and then everything in between.. This collection was so vast, it would have taken at least a day in itself to see it all. | /
37: dates around 220 -190 BC | Winged Victory (Nike) of Samothrace | Venus de Milo | dates to 100 BC | another outstanding ceiling | Mona Lisa | it is an understatement to say some paintings were big | a curious painting
38: Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from the Great War | The view from under the arch | Arc de Triomphe | This monument was about as breathtaking as the Eiffel tower with regards to its size and beauty. The arch stands 50 meters tall (164 ft) The arch was built (1806-1836) by Chalgrin for Napoleon I to honor the victories of his Grand Armee. The arch is engraved with the names of hundreds of generals who commanded the French troops in Napoleonic victories. After Waterloo, construction ceased, as did the Empire. Building resumed in 1823 by Louis XVIII to celebrate his army's victory in Spain. Today the arch is a focal point of state funerals. | /
39: spiral staircase to the top | You can see Sacre Coeur | The view of Paris' business district | The wedge of a block beginning at the "etoile" that surrounds the Arc de Triopmhe | Underground tunnel | (I'm getting closer) | /
40: Tour Eiffel | The Eiffel Tower was built for the World Exhibition in 1889, held in celebration of the French Revolution in 1789. The structure took more than two years to complete. Each one of the about 12,000 iron pieces were designed separately to give them exactly the shape needed. The tower rises 300 meters tall (984 ft). Once the tallest structure in the world, the Eiffel Tower is probably Europe's best known landmark and Paris's most famous symbol. I was here. I finally was standing in Paris at the foot of the Eiffel Tower! I was actually speechless. To be in the presence of the monument I have surrounding me at home, in model and in print, was more than I could have dreamed. | The backdrop of Paris | A view down the Seine | We finally made it!
41: The romantic glow of the tower at night reminds you that this is truly the city of love. | The tower is a remarkable monument that can solicit different emotions depending on if it is seen in the bright sunshine of a clear day or in contrast to the dark night sky.
42: Hotel Quartier Latin | 9 Rue Des Ecoles Paris, France | a view from the hotel room balcony | Our cozy little room | /
43: Our Anniversary dinner on the Eiffel Tower | the surprise re-proposal... | the acceptance... | the overwhelming emotions | Dinner at 6:30 at "58" on the first level of the Eiffel Tower to celebrate 10 years together. After some champagne and a delicious dinner and dessert, I was delightfully surprised to be re-proposed to. Emotions were displayed with tears of joy and love.