1: Here we are this time in Paris, and Haley has already had enough of hangin' with the 'rents. No, I didn't shave on this trip in an attempt to fit in with the locals. I failed though when I SHOWERED everyday. | She did eventually flash us her perfect smile.
2: I have to start with my favorite stop on the entire trip, The Louvre.
3: A simply fabulous place with art that stands the test of time.
5: It's a mommoth structure that once was a castle. It has hundreds of rooms on predominately three floors that sits on the Seine River in central Paris. Awesome!
6: The glass pyramid is the iconic entry and the only thing, inside and out, that is at all modern.
7: It's hard to describe what the main entry area was like with the sculptures but they were all stunning.
8: Wall space was well used and little went without something on it, unless, of course, you're the Mona Lisa, then you get the whole wall and quite the crowd.
10: The paintings were out of this world and forgive me for the next few pages but I couldn't go without recording some. And, yes, as I shoved the camera in and out of my pocket, I moved the dial to black and white which was a bummer at first but in the end, I rather like these images. | That's Nise standing up by the painting. They did 'em up big a few hundred years ago.
11: Just look at the composition of this painting. Quite possibly the most detailed painting I have ever seen. An old theatre with side balcony seats, hundreds of people, old master architecture and a stage & scenery that's a perfect depiction of an early 1800's setting.
12: With the stroke of a brush and the use of light, this artist painted two people from different generations, different backgrounds, different social standings and you can tell who is teaching who. Look at those hands! | Most of the paintings in The Louvre are older than this guy but when the first President of United States comes along, you paint him.
16: Can you just reach out and touch this person? Sheer brilliance in the hands of an artist.
18: She's even more beautiful in real life. Like seeing an old friend since she was on every end table we had while growing up
19: The above photos are inside looking out, even the statues on top of the building are great. A final look back at a small arch on the grounds. I truly hope to go back one day.
20: The Eiffel Tower,or Tour Eiffel, really is a sight. It was cloudy, rainy and sunny on our day there. You can easily see the three sections in this picture. We bought tickets and walked up to the first level (took a little break) and then trekked up to the second level. It rained while we were on this level and were lucky that we could go inside. Then we bought tickets to ride the elevator to the top.
21: Views to the east and the west from the second level.
22: From the ground looking up the center and from the second level looking down onto the people.
24: Step number up to the first level...and the second. | And then it rained...hard.
25: This one's for Mom. | By the way, if the rivets ever give out, I think the coats of paint will hold it up.
26: Awesome views from on high.
27: Even awesomer from on higher.
28: Paris, unlike Rome, has a real downtown. It is not in central Paris where we, and all of the tourists, hung out. On the list for the next visit. The above photo should give context.
29: Some of the little unknown details of the Eiffel Tower include these little thingys at the top. Paris is a huge city, second only to London in all of Europe. From the top of the Tower in every direction was city and it was all the white five story buildings. At 11 million+ people, Paris was the most expensive city to live in, anywhere, in 2010.
30: Rather spectacular at night too. You can see it from most places in the city and we took this shot from a bridge many miles away. The shot on the right | was taken at some time between the top of the hour and five minutes past when they light up thousands of strobe lights and it looks like it's sparkling.
31: Arc de Triomphe
32: The Arch is huge! And it is unbelieveably decorated. Started the building project in 1806 for Napolean when he was at his height for his army to come home and march through. They returned in 1810 and it wasn't done so they built a wooden temporary one. It was finally finished in 1836 and they took Napolean through it on his funeral processional. It is surrounded by the worlds biggest (read that as craziest) roundabout. There are 12 avenues that go to the Arch and they all use the same roundabout. You have to take a tunnel to walk to it.
34: A couple 'Paris in the movies' shots. Moulin Rouge and the Pont Neuf bridge from Bourne Identity. | We tried to get to a show here but the way it worked out was the day after I had to leave. So, Mom and Haley went. The Burlesque style was a bit over the top according to them and the drunk Japenese men didn't help the experience any.
35: It took us a bit to figure out which bridge was which but this is it, the Pont Neuf. The building where Jason Bourne hid behind the letters to spy on the CIA guys, is the only one around with any letters atop.
36: Notre Dame
37: Some of the more traditional views. Truly an architecural masterpiece. Not entirely done in marble so it has weathered but still in remarkable condition. Its actually on an island in the Seine River.
38: These main doorways get more and more interesting the closer you get until you see the unbelieveable detail on the next page.
41: There are stories being told in the sculptures and some of them are freaky and some are sad. The details are almost hard to phathom and how it was created so many years ago. Then there are, of course, the gargoyles. Creepy little things hanging out on all sides but the front.
43: The interior was amazing too. The ceiling must be close to 50 ft. high and the stain glass windows were far better than our old camera recorded. The only drawback was the selling of trinkets and stuff inside the church.
44: From the back where you can see the steeple best and the flying buttresses that Quasimodo slid down while singing in the Notre Dame movie!
45: A cruise on the Seine River and Paris at night | The Lourve
46: With spotlight and strobelights | The Louvre
47: Just some peoples homes on the river. | Rounding the island on the east end
48: Runnin' around Paris | Outdoor restaurants were again the norm and dotted many corners. Food was not as good as Italy though. | Ya, I'm gonna have to check with the engineer on this one. Not sure what he had in mind for the steps to...
49: We found ourselves here in a multi cultural district that had extremely narrow streets and it was hoppin'. The guy in the middle of the picture just came out of a shop with an arm load of fresh French bagguette bread.
50: We saw two excellent sunsets. A local woman said to us that she has lived in Paris for 20 years and never seen a sunset like this. It really was very nice.
51: Some crazy youngsters climbed over the edge of the Pont Neuf bridge and chilled about 30 feet above the water. The whole getting back over bit was probably no fun. Or they exited by taking a swim.
52: Rather serious about their security. Not sure if it was scary or reassuring knowing that loaded machine guns at the ready in the hands of trained folks were always near by. We just minded our Ps and Qs and never found out. | Big N inscribed on a bridge. Ya, not Pont Neuf, but it faked us out for a bit.
53: We never did figure out what the rats in the window were there for but it was certainly one of the stranger things we came across. Hey, Haley, what do you think of the rats??...
55: Hey girls, you'll never guess what Mom befriended on this trip...nope, not a squirrel but birds this time. Not sure why they were not afraid of people...maybe it had something to do with it being by Notre Dame.
56: A steel structure in the middle of the block looked very out of place. | We had to wait on Mom a few times at places like this.
57: Are you kidding me? Chocolate and Denise in the same sign? It's like they knew she was coming. | Atop the Eiffel Tower. | Even when there wasn't food in hand, the birds followed. Then I found out there were lunch scraps being snuck around by none other than...well you know, and it wasn't as much of a mystery.
58: A couple more unkown car brands. Both were small cars. | Just what I thought a Paris street would look like.
59: The main east/west street just north of the Seine River in central Paris is called The Avenue des Champs Elysees. It is a retail/tourist/restaurant meca that goes right under (well, uses the roundabout) the Arch de Triumph. The top left picture is east from the Arch and the right picture is west. It stretchs from The Louvre to Le Defense which is the downtown area. They call this stretch the Historical Axis. The right picture shows downtown and you'll see the square building in the middle. This is called Grande Arche and was built in 1989 as a memorial to humanitarianism and dedicated to the bicentennial of the French Revolution.
60: Another poor begging woman and this one with only one leg. She did not address people but was kind of humming as we went by. Many folks walked passed so Mom went back and gave her 5 Euro. This time she spoke and thanked Mom.
61: Avenue des Champs Elysees | One of Mom's friends.
65: Great architecture was everywhere in Paris. The Museum Rodin must use the sticker system as this greeted us outside. We thought the painting above was an early M & H with one of the fantastic artists whose work adorns the walls of The Louvre. The final Harry Potter film came out while Haley was in London (she went to the world premier and got to see the author J. K. Rowling) so we were all enthralled with its worldwide audience capture.
66: I missed a couple photos from Rome so I'll stick them in here.
67: On the left page is the Borghese Gallery, one of Rome's great art museums. It was however, a long walk to get there and my vacation mates were less than thrilled to make the jaunt (bottom left). We finally got there and went in and they would not sell us a ticket because they were 'full for the day' and it was early afternoon. So we begrudgingly left and to get those two off the bench and excited about the walk back, we had to include some shopping of some kind (bottom right). We did come across the large statue in a park and peered down on another plaza before we got on the train.