Thursday, August 13, 2009

PARIS!! (and a day in Geneva)

A few days ago I was in Geneva, Switzerland just walking around the city. We walked along the Rhone River, went to a nice park and sat beside the lake watching the people go by (a couple of people even asked me to take their picture with the fountain in the background--I was going to start charging 10 francs--okay, not really). We went to lunch at a very nice restaurant where I had...a burger, fries and a Coke! An American lunch in Geneva! After lunch we walked along the lake to a large park and botanical garden. They even had little zoo there. Max was disappointed that the Cockatoo exhibit was closed. I think if we go back to Geneva, I might buy a Swiss Army knife!

Lake Geneva and the fountain

The next day, very early in the morning we took the train to Paris! We arrived around 9:30ish, took a taxi to our hotel where we dropped our bags and then headed straight to the Musee d'Orsay. Home of the most famous Impressionists. I saw Monet, Renoir, Pissaro and many others. We had a fabulous lunch in the museum.

After the Musee d'Orsay, we walked to the Concorde Plaza where we saw the Obelisk and the Eiffel Tower (in the distance) and the Arc de Triomphe (also in the distance). We safely crossed the street (not as easy as you think) and took the subway to the Eiffel Tower (yep, first time on the subway). Of course, the Eiffel Tower was spectacular! There was a group of Italian cyclists singing directly under the tower. It appeared that they had just finished some big ride.

From the Eiffel Tower we walked to the Musee Rodin. There, of course (in french, bien sur), was "The Thinker". Also "The Gates of Hell", "The Kiss" and many others. The museum was actually Rodin's house. Nice house! On the way to Musee Rodin, we went to Napoleon's Tomb. There are also alot of other military generals and such buried there.

After Rodin we took the subway to Notre Dame. Very impressive! At Notre Dame there is a very unobtrusive stone that marks the very center of Paris (this is something maybe not every tourist would learn--I'm lucky to have the best tour guides!)

Since we were going to take a night boat tour on the Seine, we decided we would not go back to the hotel, but instead we would hang out for awhile then go have dinner. We sat along the Seine on Cite Island just watching the boats go by and enjoying the sun (it had rained briefly in the morning). Marie-Claire was dreaming about how nice it would be to live in one of the apartments here.

We had dinner at a nice place. I had a shrimp salad appetizer, braised beef in sauce with carrots and creme brulee for dessert. It was all very yummy! During dinner we watched an interesting group of people at a park across the street playing Patank (like Bocce). They were just clustered around several park benches with food and wine. Looked like they were having a good time.

We waited until it was dark for the boat tour (which meant 10:00). The tour was really cool and the tour guide spoke English with a very strong French accent. It was quite comical. We saw the Eiffel Tower all lit up. We passed under 13 bridges.

After the tour it was back to the hotel (we took a taxi). I was in bed around midnight. Pretty tired, but, WOW, what a great day!

The next morning we started with the Louvre. Of course we only saw a fraction of it. It would take many days to see all of it. We saw the Mona Lisa and Venus di Milo. We then concentrated on the Egyptian exhibit. We saw all the Egyptian artifacts that you can imagine! Mummies (even cats), sphinxs, jewelry...everything. They really were an incredible people! What is going to be left behind from us????

After the Louvre, we found a little sandwich shop and picked up some food to go (we found it by following the people carrying sandwich bags). We took our food to a park and had a nice lunch sitting on a bench (I've yet to see picnic tables in any of these parks). I had croc monsieur (spelling probably not right, but it is a grilled ham sandwich with alot of cheese on the top). Very good! I had a chocolate eclair for dessert. After the park we walked to the area of Paris where all the jewelers and haute couture is. Spendy spendy! Mary-Clare and I each bought a pair of red shoes that were on sale. Mine are flats and Mary-Clare's are heels (bien sur!).

We took the subway to Sacre Couer (Sacred Heart) which is high above Paris. It affords a spectacular view (once you climb all the stairs to the top--we were sweating like crazy by the time we reached the top). Montmartre is close to Sacre Couer and is where all the artists are. You could have your portrait done by any number of artists (some good, some not so good). I bought a small painting of a Chocolatier shop. Then we walked the stairs all the way back down and started the mad dash to get back to the hotel to pick up our bags and get to the train station to catch the 5:50 train to Annecy. By this time we were getting pretty good at the subway (well, Mary-Clare was) and we thought we had it figured out. When we came out of the subway station, we didn't know where we were. Turns out we were just on the other side of the block from the hotel. We raced to the hotel, called for a taxi and made it to the train station only to find out the train was late (only 10 minutes). We got something to drink (as we had sweated out all fluids in th race to get to the train on time) and waited for the train.

For spending just two days in Paris we sure did alot! I can definately say I have seen Paris!!!

Look! It's me actually at the Eiffel Tower in Paris!!!

A whole line of rental bikes.

A group of Italian cyclists underneath the Eiffel Tower They were singing.

The Louvre ala Da Vinci Code

Just hanging out along the Seine River in Paris.

Good night Paris!

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