Blogs from Paris, Île-de-France, France, Europe - page 7

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Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris August 15th 2013

The one day I decide to sleep in a little, and all hell breaks loose. I got out to Versailles just a bit later than I had planned, maybe an hour, and the crowds had truly arrived. I've seen so many people, swarming and churning everywhere. And even though I had my ticket before arriving, the line to get in, which is slow because of security, wound literally like a snake around the entire front square. Up and down probably for like 8 twists. I just simply refused to stand in such a line, in the baking hot sun. I probably would have been there for 2 hours, just to get it! And the crowds inside! Oh-la-la. Thoroughly disturbed by the endless crowds, I limped away - I decided I strained my right foot, which I ... read more
Are These People Insane?
Odd, if not Cruel
The Orangerie

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris August 14th 2013

Today was... inspiring and disillusioning, touching and dull, and invigorating but so exhausting that I gimped my way back, hobbled and crippled. The best part was honestly leaving Paris, getting out early on the 8 bullet train only 45 minutes to the city of Reims (pronounced rance). Yes, I visited yet another cathedral, but this one was especially important because it served as the coronation spot for French kings, and, frankly, is just a beautiful place. You can stand gawking at the west portal facade forever. More just so impressed that people could actually build such a thing. A monumental achievement driven by sheer faith. But, in Reims, the absolute best moment was the least expected, and one I didn't even think I'd have time to see. Reims was where WWII officially ended - papers were ... read more
Joan of Arc
Coronation of Mary
Welcoming Angels

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris August 13th 2013

Today was a busy and tiring day. I left early for the hour or so train ride to Chartres. This town is famous for its grand cathedral, and a series of paintings Monet did of it. And you really can't miss the thing. The train pulls up, and the two massive towers dominate the town. I bet you can see them from nearly every point in town. Also enjoyed the church because I was early enough that I pretty much had the entire place to myself. Nothing quite like escaping the crowds, and being alone in a massive place. Truly changes the dynamic. Back to Paris by noon, and basically spent the entire day walking and walking and walking. I know the Metro is always nearby, but I enjoy seeing the city, and walking around between ... read more
Door Carving
Towering Nave
The Blue Virgin Window

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris August 12th 2013

Today was a near flawless day of travel. I left Pontorson after a nice breakfast, and playing around with the owner's cute dog, first for Rennes, and then the fast TGV into Paris Montparnasse. Here by 1ish. This is when I got this perfect rhythm down. Easily found my hotel, which is literally right next to the Luxembourg Gardens, my balcony looks out over it, got situated, and then, with my route down, I started at St. Sulpice Church, which is just up from the Gardens. This place is more like a temple than a church, and is oddly famous for its big fountain in front that appears in The Da Vinci Code. From here I walked up another couple of blocks, crossed the busy Boulevard St. Germain, dropping by St. Germain-des-Pres. I loved this little ... read more
Typical Parisien View
Painted St. Germain-des-Pres
Sculpture Paint

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris August 11th 2013

Our last full day in Paris and there were still a number of places we wanted to see so taxis were the go. Not cheap but not any more expensive than back home. Today we fell in love with Paris. Montmartre is beautiful and just how we imagined Paris would be. Undulating cobble stone streets, inviting cafes and beautiful old homes. Everything here has warmth and character including our first stop, the Basilique de Sacre Coeur. It is one of the few buildings in Paris not made of limestone but of a type of travertine and is a beacon of light on one of Paris' highest peaks. A short distance away are artists busy painting and offering their work for sale. We came across one elderly artist whose work was uncannily similar to that of a ... read more
Paris
Paris
Paris

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Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris August 9th 2013

Well we've now been in Paris for just over two days and we have mixed feelings. Is it beautiful? No we don't think so. Don't misunderstand, much of what we have seen is beautiful but the city itself, no. For a city to be beautiful it has to have more going for it than just magnificent historical buildings. It has to be warm and welcoming and that is something we have not felt. The people are somewhat indifferent, not unfriendly but not friendly either. I expected aloof and that's what we have received. 'That' part of me has at times wanted to mention on occasion that if it were not for tourists then France would be in a much worse economic predicament than it is currently in. A smile goes a long way . . . ... read more
Paris
Paris
Paris

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris » Sarcelles August 8th 2013

Day 84 – Paris Ok, time to explore Paris. I kicked off the day with a croissant AND a chocolate croissant just for good measure. Kel and I planned on heading to the Louvre first up seeing as we are so close to it. It was closed. Good start by us. We had a few pictures there and changed our plans to the hop on/hop off bus. We got a two day pass seeing as there are four different routes included. We jumped on the main one and snapped away at all the cool locations. We drove down the Champs Elysees and passed the Arc De Triomphe. Once we got to the Eiffel Tower we HAD to get off and explore of course. We climbed the Eiffel Tower to get some awesome photos and ... read more

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris August 7th 2013

We rose early this morning to ensure that we got to the train station in plenty of time. We were scheduled to catch a regional train from Bruges to Brussels at 10.00am but chose instead to catch an earlier train so that we made our connecting train to Paris without any drama. Pleased to say all went well. A good thing we did catch the earlier train as the train to Paris which was scheduled to leave from Platform 5 left from Platform 3 instead. Not even the railway stewards new why! Changing platforms takes a little time as again this train station was multi levelled. The number of trains that travel through Europe is mind boggling. It works but you have to be on the ball. The high speed train from Brussels to Paris was ... read more
Paris
Paris
Paris

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris August 4th 2013

Well that's the title I am going with - when the going gets tough just keep walking! I had a night last night in Santiago. Followed by a trip to the bus station and then to the Santiago airport. A two hour or so wait there and then a 1.5 hours plane ride to Charles DeGaul Airport in Paris. Spent at least an hour there looking for the AirFrance bus that was to take me to Orly. Finally found it but the bus had just left so I had to wait another 25 minutes to get the next one. Then a one hour bus ride here. I now have 14 hours before my next plane ride, but I started with 17! I fly from here to Heathrow (another 1.5 hours) and then get to sit there ... read more

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris July 8th 2013

The start of July marks the time for summer guests. Nonni and Poppy, Drea's parents, have flown in from Norfolk for the month. We are definitely looking forward to plenty of adventures with them. We start with a quick trip down to the Jurassic Coast of England for some fossil hunting before heading to Paris for 5 days. We didn't find as many fossils as we had hoped. Some that we found we had to collect with pictures because they were too big to bring home. None the less fun times on the beach always. In Paris we had an apt next to Republic Square. There was an ongoing concert in the square every night we were there that had several bands we have heard on the pop stations. Jake Bug and Bastille are a couple ... read more
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