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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Paris, Île de France, France

May 25, 2018 - Walking Among the Dead

I like visiting old cemeteries and there are two within central Paris. One is called Pere Lachaise, opened in 1804, whose “residents” include famous artists, writers, statesmen and musicians such as Chopin, Edith Piaf and Jim Morrison (yes, that U.S. musician). Another is the Montparnassee Cemetery, opened in 1824, with notable writers such as Samuel Becket, Simone de Beauvoir, and Susan Sontag. We learned that it is quite acceptable to visit the cemeteries in Paris. Parisian’s enjoy the peace and quiet within a cemetery while tourists come...

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May 21, 2018 - The Louvre

The Louvre in Paris, once a former royal palace, is now the world’s largest museum of arts and antiquities in the world. Nearly 8 million people a year visit the museum and it displays only about 35,000 of its 550,000 objects on multiple floors. It is home to one very famous portrait that people from all over the world flock to see. With so many other art and antiquities on display, what makes this one so special? Is it her sly smile or the myth surrounding who she really was? Is it the theft in 1911 or perhaps the acid thrown on her face...

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May 20, 2018 - Intuitive - NOT

(Art writing) When we arrived at our apartment the manager went over the appliances quickly. Basically she mentioned that “all we had to do is push a couple of buttons” to get them going. OK, no problem. I should be able to handle this. If these appliances were really intuitive I should be able to program them without the use of a manual. Let’s start with the microwave. Most microwaves in the States have a keypad with zero to nine buttons along with a couple of other buttons such as “clock”, “power level” and perhaps a couple of cooking...

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May 19, 2018 - Montmartre

We’ve been making good use of our monthly transportation pass this time taking us to a section outside of central Paris called Montmartre. Despite crawling with tourists, it has a number of things that are unique. First, at a mere 420 feet, it is the highest point in Paris. Once you get to the top of the butte, the century old white Basilica of Sacre-Coeur dominates the skyline providing an amazing view of Paris. At one time, artists such as Rodin and Renoir made Montmartre their home. It was cheap living compared to Paris and most...

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May 14, 2018 - Parisian Bakeries

Before coming to Paris I read about the flaky, buttery croissants made here along with the long, thin crispy-crust baguettes. I’ve seen pictures of people toting around their banquettes in paper bags. I heard that both these items were “to die for” but being the skeptic that I am, I didn’t set my expectations too high. However, I am happy to say YUMMMMMMY. Near our apartment and in nearly all the other neighborhoods we’ve visited, there are many bakeries on every short block. Each bakery has its own personality and often has something a...

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May 11, 2018 - Time for History Lesson 101

(Art writing) One of the first things that struck me as we walked the streets of Paris was the design of most of the buildings. I mean that all of the building are 5 to 7 stories and look the same. You can stand in the middle of the street and see a mile in either direction with no obstructions. Hmmm, there must be a story behind this… In 1853, Paris was dark, dirty, foul-smelling and overcrowded. Aside from a few wide thoroughfares, the city was a tangle of narrow, twisting streets that made travel difficult. Between 1800 and 1850 the...

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May 10, 2018 - Mastering Paris’ Metro and Bus

After a week in Paris we have gotten a really good understanding of Paris’ metro and bus systems. We purchased a monthly pass and we’ve used it nearly every day. The metro is the busiest system after Moscow with 133 miles of track, 302 stations and a ridership of 4.2 million people a day! On some days it feels like we encountered half of those 4 million people on one train car. Still, we prefer the metro over the bus. It is quick, efficient and easier to use. Despite the crowds, the people are actually fairly civil and orderly. Unlike the...

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May 8, 2018 - Luxembourg Gardens

With a population of central Paris being at 2.5 million, land is at a premium. As you can imagine, there isn’t a lot of open space for parks. There are mostly “pocket” parks or postage-sized parks in some odd places and parks in the back of some of the cathedrals. The one park that is a favorite with the locals is Luxembourg Gardens. It is only about 60 acres but is quite a refuge in the city and has something for everyone. It is flanked by the huge Luxembourg Palace which is now the home of the French Senate but that is not why people...

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May 6, 2018 - Hello from Paris!

Our flight to Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport in Paris was, thankfully, uneventful. Boy, this airport is huge! It took about 30 minutes just to leave the terminal (there are 3 terminals that comprise CDG airport). No need to pick up our luggage since we pack light but we had to get a transportation ticket to use in Paris. We opted for a monthly pass since it would give us the flexibility of getting on any train, metro or bus within Paris proper. Everything was going smoothly until we got off the train in central Paris and tried to find...

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Apr 27, 2018 - Eiffel Tower Exploration

We needed to be back to the resort by 5:00pm to sign paperwork for the rental car which will whisk us to Reims (which we now know is pronounced "rance") tomorrow, so we planned an easy day back and forth to see the Eiffel Tower up close and personal. The RER A took us to Charles de Gaulle-Etoile and then we boarded the Metro to Trocadero. When you come up out of the station and walk around the corner, there it is, in all its glory! We also were met by hoards of tourist groups so, after taking pictures, we walked across the bridge to the...

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Trip Journal


Grand Tour

Apr 26, 2018 - Back to Paris

I didn't make an entry yesterday because I stayed at the house all day nursing a sore throat with green tea and honey. It seems to have knocked the cold to the next stage and I felt much better when I woke up this morning - still dependent on throat lozenges, and now also tissues, but fully ready to head to Paris with Steph and Dennis. We rode the train in to town and our first stop was Montmartre/Sacre Coeur. We went up in the funicular and looked at the view, searching for the Eiffel Tower that was hidden by a building from that angle. In...

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Trip Journal


Grand Tour

Apr 23, 2018 - Pantheon, Luxembourg Parque, Notre Dame, L'Arc de Triomphe

Today we were greeted with cloudy skies and cooler temperatures. Nice. We walked to the Pantheon. It is a large Christian church built by Napoleon. He modeled it after the ancient Greek and Roman temples. Inside it has several cupolas and lots of columns...cement not marble. Of great interest was the astrological clock which uses Foucault's Pendulum. The pendulum moves always in a straight line but as the earth turns, the pendulum appears to tell time. By our watches it was correct. Using this methodology Foucault proved the earth was...

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