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FRANCE - A WEEK IN PARIS

A more leisurely revisiting of some favourite places and a few new ones

13 °C

We arrived back in Paris on Saturday night, 8 November. Our taxi from Gare Du Nord cost 25 € within sight of our hotel. We decided to walk the extra distance after we were caught in a traffic jamb. The taxi on Thursday going the same route cost 10€.

After vowing to have an easy day we couldn't help ourselves getting on the Metro to Concorde and walking the entire length of the Champs Élysées both sides. here are a few photos from this mostly grey and overcast day.
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Place de la Concorde
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The Palais Royale
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getting ready for the Christmas Markets
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Well dressed Parisians even on a Sunday afternoon
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The Arc de Triomphe
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View from near the Arc de Triomphe
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A quiet Sunday on the Champs Élysées
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The Lido - no plans to go again.

On Monday 10 November, we took the subway over to the south side of the Seine. Our Metro station was undergoing renovations so we hopped off at the station past it. We had a very good walk as we fumbled our way to where we wanted to go - 24 Rue Edgar Faure where Fat Tyre Bike Tours were located. They were the first to offer Segway Tours. Colleen and I signed up for a three hour Segway tour of Paris starting at 2.00pm.

We retired to an artisan Boulangerie for lunch before we could change our minds.

When we returned at 1.30pm we met Costi, our leader. The six of us - two Americans, two Mexicans and we two Australians, had a short introduction to the Segway and quickly learned to find our centre balance and how to lean forward and back to start and stop.

Both of us thought we may have difficulty in riding this contraption but after a little practice and actually setting off single file we adapted quickly. Our first stop was at the Ecole Militaire we had a fabulous view also of the nearby Eiffel Tower. Here are some pictures taken during our travels from the bast to the Ecole Militaire, over the Alexander 111 Bridge over the Seine then past the Grand Palais to the Champs Élysée, the Place de Concorde, The Tuileries Garden, the Louvre then back over the Seine past the Quay D'Orsay and back to Rue Edgar Faure after a long ride back along the banks of the Seine.
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Walking back from Commerce Metro to Dupleix Place
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First practise at handling the Segway
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The Ecole Militaire, the parade grounds across the road now house the Eiffel Tower. Napoleon Bonaparte was a student at this school.
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L'Hotel Invalides - built by King Louis XIV as a hospital for wounded soldiers.
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Musee de L'Armee - Army Museum
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The River Seine viewed from Alexander 111 bridge
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One of the statues on the end of the bridge with the Palais Royale in the background
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The Obelisk in the Place de La Concorde
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Plaque showing where the guillotine stood which was used to decapitate King Louis XVI a and Queen Antoinette (and about 3 000 others).
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Statue in the grounds of the Tuileries with the Louvre in the bckground
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The replica Arc de Triomphe used as the gateway from the Louvre to the Tuileries.
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Colleen on her Segway on the north bank of the Seine
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The bridge over the Seine with locks installed by people to express their love for each other.
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The Quay D'Orsay Museum was built in a disused railway station
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View west down the Seine showing the Palais Royale in the background
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Colleen and I with the Eiffel Tower in the background
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Us again on our Segways.

Tuesday, 11 November is Armistice Day holiday in France. many places were closed. We took the wonderful Metro to Abbesses Station which surely must have about 100 steps up to ground level before we walked up another couple of hundred steps to Sacre Coeur Cathedral at Montmatre.
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The narrow and steep roads of Montmatre.
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The view from the top.
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Cathedral of Sacre Coeur
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Inside the Cathedral

We caught the Metro to Notre Dame de Champs station as it is closest to Luxembourg Palace and Les Jardin de Luxembourg. The Palace and grounds were built in 1614 for Marie de Medici, the wife of King Henry IV of France.

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A pink Cadillac parked on the corner. Around the corner was a convertible Mustang.
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Walkways and chairs abound in these gardens
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One of many statues in the gardens
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The Palais with the pond to the right of picture
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The L'Orangarie of the Palais
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This is just one example of how cars are parked in these crowded streets.

Wednesday 12 November proved to be a beautiful sunny day with clear skies in the morning and some cloud in the afternoon. So, we changed our plans for the day and went first to the Musee de l'Orangerie and then had lunch on a restaurant just off the Champs Elysee. After lunch we walked up the Champs Elysee to the Arc de Triomphe and took the lift up to the top to sample the magnificent 360 views.

The Musée de l'Orangerie is an art gallery of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings located in the west corner of the Tuileries Gardens next to the Place de la Concorde in Paris. Though most famous for being the permanent home for Eight Water Lilies murals by Claude Monet, the museum also contains works by Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri Rousseau, Alfred Sisley, Chaim Soutine, and Maurice Utrillo, among others. We were lucky enough to see a major exhibition of the work of Emile Bernard (1868-1941).

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Women on the Nile by Emile Bernard

We were disappointed that Claude monet's home at Giverny was closed for the winter so we went to the Musee de l'Orangerie to see his water lilies.

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The 8 panorama panels of Monet's Les Nympheas (The Water Lilies) are displayed in two oval rooms lit by natural light.
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One of the panels of The Water Lilies
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The Musee de l'Orangerie
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The Musee de l'Orangerie is set in one corner of the beautiful Tuileries Gadens
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Auguste Rodin's Le Baiser bronze sculpture is displayed in the grounds in front of the Musee de l'orangerie.

The Champs Elysee is always a good place to walk and people watch. We strolled up to the Arc de Triomphe. The Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile (Arch of Triumph of the Star) is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle (originally named Place de l'Étoile), at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. It should not be confused with a smaller arch, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, which stands west of the Louvre. The Arc de Triomphe honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.
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Napoleon promised the troops after the victory at Austerlitz that they would return home under a triumphal arch.
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View East along the Champs Elysee
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View west along the Avenue de la Grande Armee
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View to the north showing the spires of Sacre Coeur
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View to the south showing the Eiffel Tower to the right and the gold dome of the Hotel des Invalides to the left.
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The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Eternal Flame light in 1921.

Thursday 13 November saw us visit Saint-Chapelle. The Sainte-Chapelle is a royal medieval Gothic chapel, located near the Palais de la Cité, on the Île de la Cité in the heart of Paris, France.

Begun some time after 1239 and consecrated on 26 April 1248, the Sainte-Chapelle is considered among the highest achievements of the Rayonnant period of Gothic architecture. Its erection was commissioned by King Louis IX of France to house his collection of Passion Relics, including Christ's Crown of Thorns - one of the most important relics in medieval Christendom.

Along with the Conciergerie, the Sainte-Chapelle is one of the earliest surviving buildings of the Capetian royal palace on the Île de la Cité. Although damaged during the French revolution, and restored in the 19th century, it retains one of the most extensive in-situ collections of 13th-century stained glass anywhere in the world.

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Sainte-Chapelle
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Some information about the stained glass windows
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The stained glass windows 15.5 metres in height
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The upper level with the amazing stained glass windows 1242 to 1248

We decided to have another visit to Notre Dame de Paris. Notre-Dame de Paris, also known as Notre-Dame Cathedral or simply Notre-Dame, is a historic Catholic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France. The cathedral is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture and among the largest and most well-known church buildings in the world. The naturalism of its sculptures and stained glass are in contrast with earlier Romanesque architecture. Construction started in 1160 and was mostly complete by 1350.
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Cathedral Notre Dame
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Statue of Charlemagne in the grounds. Charlemagne, also known as Charles the Great or Charles I, was the King of the Franks from 768, the King of Italy from 774, and from 800 the first emperor in western Europe since the collapse of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier.
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The beautiful carved doors
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The nave of the Cathedral
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The western stained glass window

After lunch we made our way to the Louvre.The Louvre or the Louvre Museum is one of the world's largest museums and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, France, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement (district). Nearly 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited over an area of 60,600 square metres. The Louvre is the world's most visited museum, and receives more than 10 million visitors a year.

The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace, originally built as a fortress in the late 12th century under Philip II. Remnants of the fortress are visible in the basement of the museum. The building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace. In 1682, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles for his household, leaving the Louvre primarily as a place to display the royal collection, including, from 1692, a collection of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture. In 1692, the building was occupied by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres and the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, which in 1699 held the first of a series of salons. The Académie remained at the Louvre for 100 years. During the French Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum to display the nation's masterpieces.

The Museum was opened on 10 August 1793 with many exhibits mainly confiscated from churches and royalty.
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One of the walkways into the museum

The museum entrance is under the glass pyramid. The Louvre Pyramid is a large glass and metal pyramid, surrounded by three smaller pyramids, in the main courtyard (Cour Napoléon) of the Louvre Palace in Paris. The large pyramid serves as the main entrance to the Louvre Museum. Completed in 1989, it has become a landmark of the city of Paris. Designed by architect I.M. Pei it was designed to allow people to descend into the Pyramid lobby before ascending into the Louvre buildings to cater for the huge number of people visiting the museum.

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The pyramid viewed from one of the wings of the Louvre when we entered.
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The pyramid viewed from the second floor of the Louvre just before we left at closing time.

There are many items of interest in the Louvre so I have picked just a few of the best known art works.
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Art works on display
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Another favourite piece - Les Noces de Cana by Paolo Caliari, known as Veronese 1568. This very large oil painting is on the opposite wall to the most famous painting - The Mona Lisa.
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The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vincilarge_AA09B50CAF5A1726A16B53A3D3D26C31.jpg
Jacqueline Louis David's Inauguration of Napoleon 1
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Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, also known as Venus de Milo.

Friday 14 November was another day at the Louvre. It is really hard to imagine the scale of the art collections. Some people think they can see it all in one day.....absolutely no chance even if they were on roller skates.

On Friday night we saw How to be a Parisian in One Hour. Trip Adviser recommended it as number 10 of 792 things to see and do in Paris. Olivier Giraud is a thirty year old comedian who manages to poke fun at the French and all nationalities and has the audience engaged.

We leave on the Eurostar on Saturday for London and then a quick change to a slow train that will take us almost across England to Camborne in Cornwall. We have a week at the Clowance Estate which is half a mile outside Praze-An-Beeble.

Posted by Kangatraveller 23:56 Archived in France

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