April 2009 Paris

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We left the boat in Barcelona and flew to Paris for a week. We had a view of the Eiffel Tower from our hotel!  Not only does it light up at night, but each hour it twinkles for a few minutes with little white lights.  The Tower is on the River Seine and looked beautiful when we took an evening riverboat cruise up the Seine.
Our friend Emmanuelle (whom we met while cruising in Isla Mujeres, Mexico) met us at the airport (with gifts, no less!) and became our invaluable guide for Paris.
These flowers were so perfect, I thought they were plastic!   There are different sections of Paris, each with it's own personality.  We loved walking around the city.
Inside Notre Dame Cathedral is as beautiful as you can imagine. This picture shows a small portion of the horseshoe shaped Louvre.  We logged 5 miles on our pedometer walking these halls.  Housed in a 16th century palace, this museum is a key landmark for Paris.  Mike sits on the edge of the fountain studying our guidebook.
Of course, we saw the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, but you know what they look like, so I didn't post those pics. We saw hundreds of Greek and Roman masterpieces, medieval jewels, Michelangelo statues, and paintings by the greatest artists from the Renaissance to the Romantics (mid-1800s).  It was overwhelming.
The museum itself is as beautiful as the art it holds. In case you need some decorating ideas.
Sainte Chapelle (built in 1242) has 6500 square feet of stained glass.  My camera could not grasp the beauty (or the camera operator couldn't!).  It was breathtaking. No white, sandy beaches.  You enjoy what you have.

We went to the top of the Arc de Triomphe for the view.  It was foggy that day, however you can see the Eiffel Tower through the mist.


Emmanuelle introduced me to 'hot cinnamon wine', common in France.  I loved it!  Those are 3 of my favorite words anyway.
  Opened in 1667, the Champs-Elysees was the place to cruise in your carriage.  From 1920 until the 1960s this boulevard was pure elegance.  People actually dressed up to come here.  In 1963, the subway was put in and suburbanites had easy access - bam, there went the neighborhood!  It's more casual now, but the finest stores still line the boulevard.  We practiced for hours to pronounce Champs Elysees correctly - Mike still can't say it. As hard as I tried to be nice, respectful of the culture, and non-assumptive in any expectation, I still had one of those unbelievable experiences.  The waiter at the Berthillon was so rude to us!  It was like he hated us, for no reason!  And later he turned into me with a tray full of coffees just as I was returning from the ladies room, and coffee went everywhere.  I gushed an apology even though it wasn't my fault, but he wouldn't even look at me or acknowledge me.  I think it's karma.  The coffee got on him, not me. By the way, the waiter in this photo is NOT the rude one.
Built on Paris' highest hilltop in 1875.  One block away is the haunt of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and the original bohemians.  It was fun to go there.  I bought the perfect hat (then I lost it later in the train station, darn!) Emmanuelle is a such a warm, lovely person.  We enjoyed seeing her again and getting to spend a little time together.  Hope we see her again when we cruise the French Riviera this summer.  

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