Friday, July 17, 2009

Je t'aime Paris!

Oh gosh, I have been neglecting my blog! This post is about the Paris portion of our summer trip. Paris is beautiful to say the least. It is also different than any other city on Earth. It is obvious that beauty is a high priority in the French culture. In Paris, some sort of beauty is everywhere. The buildings, the trees, the monuments, the people, the food, the street performers, the art, the flowers - they are all beautiful in different ways.

We drove down the Champs Elysees and saw the Arc de Triomphe. The traffic was horrendous but it was worth it because the Arc is so large and impressive. It was built in 1836 during the reign of Louis Philippe. Since 1920, it houses the tomb of France's Unknown Soldier and commemorates the dead of World Wars I and II. It is really breathtakingly beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes!

We visited the Louvre, of course. We even took naps in the lawn just outside.

We saw the Mona Lisa. There were so many other people also visiting the Mona Lisa - WOW!

This is a better shot of the mysterious lady.

We saw the Venus de Milo, too. She was created sometime between 130 and 100 BC and is believed to depict the Greek goddess, Aphrodite (the goddess of love and beauty).

We took a train to the Chateau de Versailles. Days could be spent here exploring the gardens. It was a little eerie touring the chateau because I kept thinking of the mob of people invading the palace during the Revolution. I was also amazed at the access given to the hoards of people touring the building. I wish I could have toured the kitchen area and the work rooms, etc.

How strange that the Treaty of Versailles was signed here in the Hall of Mirrors ending World War I? The history associated with this place is mind boggling.
The Chapel....

We stayed at Hotel du Louvre which was really nice, right in the heart of things.

Isn't the bar beautiful?

The lobby is also very pretty.

We visited the Paris Catacombs. There are over 1 million people's bones in this particular catacomb. Over 6 million Parisians are in all the catacombs!

The pretty!

I love the art installations around the city.

We ate at a neat little restaurant called Quai Quai on the Ile de la Citi. The food was fabulous and the service was excellent.

Sidewalk street performers...

We climbed the stairs to the top of the Eiffel Tower. The lines were too long to wait for an elevator! The Eiffel Tower itself is way more beautiful than I thought it would be. It is amazing how much thought went into making the structure beautiful. It is more than just a tower.

Me at the Jardins du Palais-Royal. There was a group of men playing boule on the other side of the trees. It was so neat and relaxed and enjoyed by many.

The view from our hotel balcony...

The next post will cover Bourgogne and some of the countryside. Au revoir!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

London Highlights...

I am back from London and France. We had a great time! I am posting just a few photos from the London portion of the trip.
We only spent five days in London but covered a lot of ground!
The streets were clean and beautiful.

The street signs were very polite, too!

We rode the London Eye the first day. It offered a bird's eye view of the city.

We visited the National War Museum one afternoon.
It is very interesting. I would definitely recommend this to anyone visiting London.
There was a neat exhibit featuring a complete home from WWII
with all original furniture, groceries, etc. that showed how people
lived during the war -
always waiting for a bomb.
I saw lots of "KEEP CALM - CARRY ON"

The London Tower was cool. We saw the Crown jewels. Of course, I was drawn to these bright blue doors next to the dark brick - so smart!

The weather was beautiful, cool, and clear.

We walked through Kensington Park and Hyde Park.
It was wonderful!
There were off-leash dogs everywhere - all so well behaved!
The flowers were beautiful. It was definitely the most beautiful park I have ever seen.

We went to the Portobello Street Market one day. There was so much to see! Antiques, clothing, food, fruit, flowers, musicians, street performers!
I ate this yummy tart and did a lot of people watching.

We went to a wonderful market in Greenwich, too.
It was really fabulous because there were booths with handmade items, one of a kind clothing, food, and even a psychic/stylist that could update your look
tell you about your future at the same time!
I didn't visit that booth because I was too afraid of what he might say about both
my future and my fashion!
Isn't this funny?
I wonder how many knives it collected?

Stay tuned - my next post will feature Paris!