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
Jardin des Plantes
I love the French
gardens! These hedge trees are great!
A dragon made of squished cans!
Anika's comment, "I wouldn't want to be the night watchman here!"
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.
of Anika's favorites - Archaeopteryx! Not a dinosaur - this is the
Paris in the age of the wooly mammoths
briefly as a church, this magnificent building has become the final
resting place for famous Parisians! Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Marie
Focaults' pendulum experiment recreated - demonstrating that the earth
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
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:
The View from above:
Watching a storm come into the Paris metro area
"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
Invalides War Museum
Ornate armor - and just in the right sizes!
Anika's desired helmet - check out the dragon!
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 ;-)
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.
Up, up, up we go!
Like the family portrait in the
Just a taste of the exhibits.
favorite art piece! Minimalism at it's best!
< This is a walk-in piece
Now there is the piece of
need in my living room! I
knew I was
holding out for something.
Just down the road from the
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
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!
Look at that line!
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.
Six full days in Paris left us with only a glimpse of Paris. But it
was time to move on to Normandy