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Paris in the Spring

Paris has many icons to choose from, perhaps none more beautiful than this

Paris has many icons to choose from, perhaps none more beautiful than this.

Our decision to visit France was based on two economic factors. First, we had plenty of frequent flier miles  accrued so the airfare was free. Second Avalon Waterways was offering very reduced rates for a float down the Seine River. And then, a third factor popped up, the Dollar was stronger against  the Euro than it had been for years.  So oohlala we packed our berets, brushed up on our French (neither really) and took off.

When we got to the airport in Sharjah, things were normal, But in the time it took us to check-in and hang out in the lounge, a sandstorm of almost biblical proportions swept in. By the time were supposed to be boarding, our plane could not land and we were left to wonder if we would could get there at all.

But our airline, Qatar, came through as they always do. They put us in a taxi to Dubai where planes were still landing and more importantly taking off. It took a while, and we got to Paris almost a day late.

My wife, the ultimate travel planner booked us in a hotel one block off the Champs Elysee, and equal distance between the Eiffel tower and the Arch de Triumph.  I always wanted to walk through the Arch de Triumph

I always wanted to walk through the Arch de Triumph. I felt like I was in a movie! Actually I felt triumphant to finally  be in Paris after the long delays.

this is one view from up i the Eiffel tower

This is one view from up in the Eiffel tower. It shows a 1/9 size replica of the Statue of Liberty, given as a gift to France from the USA. Our guide made sure we knew it was only 1/9 the size of what they gave us.

When you go to Paris (or any massively popular tourist monument in the world) be sure to go with a guide service which allows you to “skip-the-line”. The day we went up into the tower, the line was probably two hours long, and it was windy and rainy.

This view is from the other side of the Eiffel Tower. In this cathedral is the finl resting place of Napoleon. His is buried in Seven caskets, just to be sure he cannot get out and rule France ever again. The French regards him in high esteem. I put him the same boat as Hitler.

This view is from the other side of the Eiffel Tower. In this cathedral is the final resting place of Napoleon. His is buried in Seven caskets, just to be sure he cannot get out and rule France ever again. The French regard him in high esteem. I put him in the same boat as Hitler.

The Louvre

How can you go to Paris for the first time and not visit the Louvre? Maybe the world’s premiere art gallery, it is a must visit location for the novice visitor to Paris. This is another place you absolutely need a “skip-the-line” tour service. People who just showed up without a guide service waited in line for hours to get a ticket to get in. The entrance to the Louvre is now a shopping mall. With thousands of people waiting in a long line, the Starbucks in this mall does land office business. The second longest line is the line to the restrooms. Hundreds of people nervously shifting from foot to foot trying to make their bladders hold in the coffee they thought would help them survive the ticket line is not a pretty sight. But once inside  the collection of art is absolutely amazing.

Of course everyone wants to see  La Joconde. The what? Well in France that is what they call the Mona Lisa. This is probably the most viewed painting on the planet.

Separated from humanity by a barrier and behind a wall of Glass this masterpiece is somehow less impressive than I had expected.

Separated from humanity by a barrier and behind a wall of glass, this masterpiece is somehow rendered less impressive than I had hoped.

It is protected because of the mobs of people who come to see it. you have to jostle your way close enough to get a decent photo, and then there are the idiots with selfie sticks who want to make it look like they are having a personal meeting with La Jaconde

It is protected because of the mobs of people who come to see it. You have to jostle your way close enough to get a decent photo, and then there are the idiots with selfie sticks who want to make it look like they are having a personal meeting with La Joconde. This is a large room with many other impressive portraits, all ignored while everyone, including me, pays homage to to the smile.

 

In the Louvre there are many, make that many many famous and beautiful statues. The name of this one Winged Victory, or formally, Nike. No, she was not wearing a pair of Air Jordans

In the Louvre there are many, make that many many famous and beautiful statues. The name of this one Winged Victory, or formally, Nike. No, she was not wearing a pair of Air Jordans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I once had a friend who lived in an apartment complex called the Venus de Milo Arms. Well hre she is in all her glory. Just another example of the collection in the Louvre that makes it a must-visit location in Paris

I once had a friend who lived in an apartment complex called the Venus de Milo Arms. Well here she is in all her glory. Just another example of the collection in the Louvre that makes it a must-visit location in Paris.

This blog gives no justice to the scope, the size, or the splendor of the Louvre. I heard that if you spent thirty seconds in front of every treasure kept here it would take you at least six months to get through it. Maybe after waiting in line to buy a ticket you would be tempted to do just that. But even an organized rush-through tour makes a person feel enriched with the glory of human achievement.

Something in Paris for Old Hippies.

There was no way this old hippie was leaving Paris until Ipaid homage to the great Jim Morrison

There was no way this old hippie was leaving Paris until I paid homage to the great Jim Morrison.

 

 

Right before I found his grave I found mine. of course they spelled it wrong...

Right before I found his grave I found mine. Of course they spelled it wrong… But it is the location that counts. Hi Jim!

Jim is buried in a very old and very big cemetery called Cimitierie de Pere Lachaise. It is two short metro rides from the middle of town. So short I only had one person try to pick-pocket me.

Walking through this cemetery, where many artists and authors are buried is awe-inspiring. Some of the graves are nothing if not audacious. It opened in 1880 and is 40 hectares in size. Jim is located in area 6. But all you really need to do to find it, is follow the other old hippies. His grave as you can see is a simple last resting place. It has been fenced off because people are always marking it with graffiti. If you believe Lonely Planet, people come there to do drugs and have sex on his grave. I saw neither of these, however I had my IPAD and I played Break on Through to the Other Side while I stood there.

Last Comments on Paris

Paris is a movable feast. Every block has at least one, and most more than one, Brassiere. Even the simplest looking one has excellent food, great bread, and superb coffee. I think that must be a law. I cannot figure out why I did not see any fat people there. I think I put on twenty pounds.

Parisian clothing, even in a simple setting is stylish. Everyone wears scarves.

Everyone smokes, alright!!

One last photo of Paris before I take you on a river trip up the Seine to the Normandy beaches.

The two most beautiful things in Paris that week The Eiffel tower lit up at night and my wife.

The two most beautiful things in Paris that week The Eiffel tower lit up at night and my wife.

 

 

OK, this post has gotten too long. Thank you for staying with me until the end. Stay tuned for some wonderful sights along the Seine river.

Please share this with a friend, put it on Facebook, and make a comment. Merci.

 

 

 

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One Response so far.

  1. Leeann says:

    Thanks for the virtual trip to the City of Lights. Venus de Milo Arms…really? I could just see you standing there with your iPad playing Break On Through…
    Another great post!
    Love you lots,
    Your Favorite Sister

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