Saturday, May 30, 2015

European Experience -- "We'll Always Have Paris"

After spending three days in London, our tour group went to the train station in Kent and boarded a high-speed Eurostar headed to Paris. 

I don't recall much about the Chunnel -- the tunnel beneath the English Channel that connects England and France -- other than we were viewing the French countryside dotted with church steeples in no time as the train zipped along at 185 mph. 

And then Paris -- a city that is a feast for the eyes. So much to see and do, and like London, so little time to take it all in.

Basilica of Parve du Sacre-Coeur
After Mary and I got settled in our hotel, we had dinner and then climbed a hill -- Montmartre (the highest point in Paris) -- overlooking the city to the Basilica of Parve du Sacre-Coeur. The cathedral was completed in 1914.

The following day a local guide took us through Gardens of Luxembourg and Notre-Dame Cathedral as well as giving us a feel for how some Parisians live in this city of 2.2 million. Notre-Dame, which took nearly 200 years to build before completion in 1345, is an architectural marvel of French Gothic design. 

One of the many places in the Gardens of Luxembourg

The western side of Notre-Dame.

The next day we took a bus tour of some of the sights, which gave us a feel for the lay of the city. Mary and I then ventured out on foot to take in some other places.
The Arc de Triomphe

While walking down the Champs-Elysees, after viewing the magnificent Arc de Triomphe, Mary wanted a milkshake so we stopped at McDonald's. She went to the counter and placed her order, and came back with a warm cup of milk and a packet of chocolate mix -- for hot chocolate. I ended up drinking it. (I did go out later that day at a McDonald's near our hotel and bought her a chocolate sundae).

The Grand Palais, home of French presidents
We saw the Grand Palais and The Louvre as well as other stunning architecture along the way. We didn't go inside The Louvre -- it's huge, lines of tourists, and a place we'd want to spend more than a few hours. It will be on our list, along with a lot of other places when we return.

The Louvre

Our accordion player
On our final night we had a nice dinner at Noces de Jeannette, where we were serenaded by a delightful accordion player ("I'll be back!" she said sweetly after playing a few tunes and going to another dining area). It was at the restaurant where I tried to scoot my chair over, but it didn't move because of the carpet. I did, however, nearly tumbling into the next table. 

Night cruise on the Seine
That was followed by  an unforgettable boat ride on the Seine, taking in the more sights and watching the locals partying and relaxing on the banks. And then we were all dazzled by the brilliant and glittering  Eiffel Tower lighting up the clear night sky.

A glittering Eiffel Tower

One guide was upset about the Tour Montparnasse skyscraper (689 feet) as well as other tall buildings being planned as being distractions for the cityscape that has been dominated for so long (since 1889) by the iconic Eiffel Tower. I agree. The Eiffel Tower is a signature structure, one of the most recognizable in the world that helps define the elegance and grandeur of this breathtaking city.
The Eiffel Tower as seen from The Louvre's grounds

Here are a few more images:

A young couple having wedding photos
taken at the Basilica of Parve du Sacre-Coeur
National Academy of Music

Church of St. Augustine

A garden area shared by apartment dwellers

French philosopher and statesmen JulesSimon

Notre-Dame Cathedral

Rear of Paris Opera Building

One of the many impressive buildings

As novelist Ernest Hemingway once wrote: "If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast."

I'm glad I was able to experience three days in Paris as an old man for I know it will stay with me until the day I die.

And finally, that famous line in the movie, "Casablanca," when Rick Blaine said to Ilsa Lund, "We'll always have Paris."

Yes, thankfully, we will. 

Until the next time...


  1. I lived in Paris for four years and not once was that queue at the Louvre small enough to tempt me.

  2. I know what you mean, Roger. Lots of folks want to see the Mona Lisa, but I'm content seeing it in prints and art books.

  3. Lovely post. I enjoyed thoroughly.
    Its better then never. I hope you had a great trip. Many places here pictured in Da vinci code.

  4. Thank you, Kiran. Paris is a beautiful city. If you have never been there, I would recommend you do so.