Arrived in Paris at 8:30. After an hour, I had my bags and was on the shuttle to my hotel. The driver pointed out many of the sights of Paris on the way. After a quick nap, met up with Aunt Marie & aunt barb, for a walking tour. We stopped to look at many shops along the way. I got a piece of bread with chocolate in it, very good. We found a small shop where we purchased many souvenirs and spoke with the owner, a delightful woman who'd been in many places in California. We left feeling quite happy with our haul; the dollar goes very far here. We stopped into St. Germain, the oldest church in Paris. It was breathtaking to say the least. Beautiful stained glass windows and carvings and paintings on the walls and ceiling.
Next stop was Notre Dame. HUGE!!! Breathtaking is all I can say about it. It had been pure white granite when it was built. I can only imagine how amazing it must have looked. Sainte Chapelle is next. When we first walked in, we were in a tiny room. We all looked at each other and said, "This is it??" then laughed when we realized there was an upstairs. On the next floor is a room full of stained glass windows; all together they tell the story of the bible. Hundreds of individual pictures in stain glass. Truly amazing. It's incredible the amount of detail that went into everything here.
We walked through the Louvre's courtyard (haven't been inside yet). OMG… there are hundreds upon hundreds of beautifully carved statues along all the outside walls. AMAZING. And it is by far the LARGEST building I have ever seen, it stretches for blocks. There are people along the street who dress up like statues and stand perfectly still all day!! We saw them filming a movie, maybe we'll be in it :-)
That night, we had dinner at a wonderful restaurant. Goat cheese salad. Sauerkraut w/ meat, and then an AMAZING chocolate cake in cream sauce with coffee for dessert. Lots of wine with dinner, got tipsy :-)
Then on to a boat tour along the Seine. The Eiffel tower is lit up at night and every hour there are lights on it that sparkle. Very beautiful. The tour was wonderful; I will have to get a book on Paris so that I can remember all the sights I saw.
Apparently in WWII, there had been an order given to blow up Paris. Thank god they general did not see that through, as it would have been such a tragedy.Also, in it's hey-day, Paris was all white granite. How it must have sparkled.
Slept in all morning, jet lag. Took a quick stroll around the area. Today is the day the rest of our group arrived. Met everyone at 2 for a personal van tour. Saw lots of the city. Took a family picture, had my drawing done by artist, not very good, but oh well, is part of the experience just the same. Visited Sacre Couer, a very beautiful church. OH LOOK.... A CHURCH!!! Spent the afternoon in my cousins' room with everyone tasting different wines, eating baguettes and laughing lots. Went for a quick dinner (not very good) had a chocolate croissant for dessert. Walked along the Seine with my aunts and then through the Champs-Elysees with Aunt Marie. Had my picture taken in front of the Arc de Triumph. A much slower pace than yesterday, since most of the group was jetlagged. Tomorrow Aunt Marie and I are going to go sightseeing.
Today we met at the Louvre at 8:30 am. We stayed for hours walking throughout the place. Even the building itself was incredible. I can't imagine actually living in it; it's the largest building I have ever seen. Venus De Milo, and the Mona Lisa were incredible. There was a huge huge painting of Napoleon's coronation, and the Napoleon apartments were also amazing. Met up with Barbara at 1 for lunch and then the three of us went up to Monmart to see Sacre Couer again and to visit the artists up there. I got a beautiful drawing of myself done while there. Also watched a lady feeding birds. It's very interesting how they do it in Paris. After waiting for about ½ an hour, we realized that our bus wasn't coming, so we walked to the Metro and took the train back to our hotels. Changed quickly and met everyone for Gail's birthday dinner. It was so much fun, with a lot of laughing and some crying (Marie). Dinner was exquisite, and we were even visited by a handsome young French man who gave Gail a kiss
Back at the hotel, we were delighted by a hilarious story of a day in Paris by Clare, Betsy, and Mary Joan. Lot's of "click-click-click-click"s in the story.
Everyone was going to Notre Dame for mass this morning, so I took the opportunity to walk around the city. After mass, I met up with Marie and Barb. We took the Metro to the Catacombs. It was creepy yet amazing, hundreds of thousands of bones, not just piled, but piled decoratively, far far below the city's streets. After that, we took the Metro up to the D'orsay Museum. This was mostly impressionist art. Some VanGogh and Monet and Whistler's Mother. Was very amazing seeing so many paintings that I had only seen in books before.
Had a nice dinner in a small café and then Barb Marie and I walked around the rich part of Paris window shopping. We spent a few hours window shopping all the jewelry stores and clothing stores around the Ritz.
Last full day in Paris L I awoke early and took the Metro over to Les Invalides. Walked around Napoleon's tomb there. For such a small man, he certainly had a large tomb and coffin. Next I took the metro to the Paris Opera house to take pictures. Very very beautiful in there (like most of the buildings here). This is where the "Phantom of the Opera" takes place, although, interestingly, there is no mention of it here at all. Then met up with Marie and Barb to go shopping. Spent time both wandering around the Latin Quarter and the area around their hotel. Met up with the Woodards for dessert at 5, then went to the Eiffel Tower with Marie while everyone else went back to the Regent. The tower is great, with a wonderful view of all Paris. Afterwards, I met up with everyone at Aunt Peg's room for wine and cheese. Mary Joan then acted out her day's adventures in Paris for the rest of us. Very hilarious.
Time to go. Had a nice breakfast with Mary Joan. Then went and grabbed my bags and headed to the airport. More shopping!! On the plane, I had to sit next to this man who seemed to be a big show off. Talking about his business and how Paris is so boring to him because everything is so old. Found him very vulgar, was more than happy to have them turn off the seatbelt light so I could leave him and visit with my aunts. We'll be in New York in a few hours. This was a great trip, with lots of wine, women and song!! I'm very happy Mom talked me into going!!