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Our Hotel is in the Latin quarter, in the Left Bank.  Our first day in Paris was a Saturday, and we decided it would be a good day to hang out in a park or two.  We decided on the two closest to our hotel.  First, we went to the Jardin des Plantes as there was rumor of a labyrinth and a paleontology museum. 


Jardin des Plantes


I love the French gardens!  These hedge trees are great! 


IMG_1688.jpg A dragon made of squished cans!

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Anika's comment, "I wouldn't want to be the night watchman here!"






IMG_1704.jpg ZE2G9341.jpg What a cool prehistoric armadillo!!!











Kaelin has noticed that this guy has three digits on his hand, and thus cannot be a T-rex, he must have been some sort of Allosaurus. 


ZE2G9344.jpgOne of Anika's favorites - Archaeopteryx!  Not a dinosaur - this is the first bird!


ZE2G9323.jpg Paris in the age of the wooly mammoths





Used only briefly as a church, this magnificent building has become the final resting place for famous Parisians!  Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Marie Curie, Rousseau...











ZE2G9386.jpg Focaults' pendulum experiment recreated - demonstrating that the earth rotates

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                                                                   Anika holding the Eiffel Tower between her fingers!



Jardin de Luxembourg



A self portrait! 


French parks are amazing.  They have the most spectacular hedges, trimmed just so, some made out of fully grown trees.  And yet, much of their parks consists of fine gravel, rather than grass or other ground cover.  This is probably practical, but it is dirty and unattractive, if you ask me!  In this park, in particular, there was a large woods, but under these beautiful trees was only gravel on hard, hard ground.  

Notre Dame de Paris




So, someone decided that the Notre Dame area could use more parking, and they planned to put an underground parking garage in the plaza in front of the church.  In digging down, however, they found the vestiges of the Roman settlement on the Seine - Lutetia.  So, instead of a parking lot, they built an underground museum in which you can see walls and doorways and baths and heating system of the old Roman city.  You wouldn't even know it was there - there are a set of stairs that go down at the far end of the plaza - you would just assume they are to a metro station or a parking garage.  There is little signage. 




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The Eiffel Tower



There it is in all its glory.  Even if you know what you will see, the size is impressive. 


So the Fat Tire tour guy, who happened to be chatting near where we were resting, said that Gustave Eiffel won a competition to build the entrance archway to the 1889 Worlds Exposition.  Then the planners decided it would be too expensive.  So in the end, Eiffel poured all his own money into the tower, which was called something like the metal tower in his day.  He was allowed to charge an entrance fee during the Exposition, and made back his investment in 6 months!!!  When it was built, it was the tallest building in the world, and remained so until the Chrysler Building was built in New York 40 years later!  The Tower was built on land for which there was a 20 year lease.  Eiffel lived in and managed the tower for the next 20 years.  He just wasn't ready to have the tower torn down in 1909, and so he had a brilliant insight.  He invited the military to mount a 50 foot antenna to the top and use it for radio transmissions.  Now the tower was too useful to the French government to ever tear down! 


Yannis Gets Creative:


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Up Close:


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The View from above:

Watching a storm come into the Paris metro area

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At Night






The Louvre

"The Louvre Light" refers to the tour of the Louvre focused on the Mona Lisa.  We got separated the day of our visit, so Yannis and Anika did the "Louvre Light" while Newenka and Tasha saw a little bit more (though given the size of the Louvre, you'd really need several days to really do it justice).  If you miss the signage for the Mona Lisa, just follow the crowds.  Also note the signs everywhere indicating "no photos" of the Mona Lisa...these signs are in the halls, at the entry to the room, and within the room housing the Mona Lisa.  But we guess there would be a riot if anyone tried to enforce this...this may be on of the most photographed items in Paris!









The Arc de Triomphe



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Invalides War Museum


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Ornate armor - and just in the right sizes!

ZE2G9698.jpg  ZE2G9712.jpg Anika's desired helmet - check out the dragon!



Those gorgeous pictures you see in the brochures of the Pompidou Center - where are they taken from?  They must be taken from the rooftops of the adjacent houses, this is the best we could do (Yannis' French wasn't good enough to finagle an invitation up to someone's roof ;-) ).

ZE2G9921.jpg  Yes, this juggler is balancing a fish bowl on his head, and yes, it has water in it and a swimming fish!   The kids spotted him from the 4th floor and had to watch for a bit.


 ZE2G9906.jpg Up, up, up we go!  ZE2G9901.jpg Like the family portrait in the art project?

 ZE2G9934.jpg ZE2G9938.jpg Just a taste of the exhibits.

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^ Anika's favorite art piece!  Minimalism at it's best!





< This is a walk-in piece of art! 



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Now there is the piece of furniture I

need in my living room!  I knew I was

holding out for something. 


Église Saint-Eustache

Just down the road from the Pompidou Centre

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The Cluny Museum of the Medieval Age

Now this is an interesting museum!  It is housed in a medieval church, which was built on a Roman ruin! 















The label on this item said that you could use this piece for hiding your chocolate and rubies!  Anika thinks that makes it quite useful! 



The courtyard of the Roman bath - the hot one.  (Andrea informs us this is called the Caldarium.) 



Looking into the Roman bath - this is the cold one the Frigidarium (Thanks again, Andrea!)




Versailles is getting a face lift.  Just to the left of the photo below the estate is covered with scaffolding and plastic! 


ZE2G0071.jpg Look at that line! 


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The famous Hall of Mirrors




It was interesting to see Peterhof and Versailles in the span of just two weeks.  It forces comparisons.  In my opinion, Peterhof was the more impressive and the more dramatic.  Versailles was definitely larger, but certainly no more ornate that what we saw in St. Petersburg.  Peterhof also had a more beautiful setting, on a hilltop overlooking the Bay of Finland, and the fountains at Peterhof were much more interesting. 



World Schooling


ZE2G9285.jpgZE2G9773.jpg Recess!

Six full days in Paris left us with only a glimpse of Paris.  But it was time to move on to Normandy


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Last modified: 06/13/08