Paris: week 2

It’s hard to find time to write posts, with all the action, plus work plus the baby.

The 2nd week here in Paris has been a whirlwind.  We have run ourselves to exhaustion, where her, on our last day, we didn’t get out until 4 PM. I’m hanging at a FedEx to send 10 kilos of effects home (lighter bags!!!), and k has the kids exploring Montmartre.

My last post ended with the Eiffel Tower.

The next day, we visited the Champs d’Elysee and window shopped.  When we reached the end, we climbed the steps to the top of the Arc de Triomphe.  There is a huge room up in the top of the arch.  The views were great, and we had some flurries fly about our heads while at the top.

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I got a new pair of sunglasses! I lost mine the week before in the race from the snow.

On Wednesday, we hit 2 major sites: saint chappelle and the Sacre Coeur.

Saint chappelle is renowned for its huge stained glass panels, and they are indeed gorgeous. There are so many stories in the glass – it would require serious scholarship to know and understand all the meaning… But, as a visitor, the effect was beautiful.  There was also a video about how they cleaned many of the windows. It took years, and they were so gross…now the light is so clear.

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Here is the Exodus window with baby Moses in the basket of reeds.

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With full understanding of the events in Paris in November, the Parisians are taking security VERY seriously. My backpack was deemed “too large” at the Arc, so we used the kid’s packs. Also, my Swiss Army knife was nearly confiscated at Saint Chappelle, but a kind security guard held it for me.

After St. Chappelle, we came back to ‘our neighborhood’, and climbed the stairs to the Sacre Coeur.  We further climbed up to the dome. This was really awesome, as the stairs were stone on the side of various roofs, and some of the paths double as rain gutters. Here is a lion spout feeding into the walkway:

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And the walkway ends in a goat gargoyle:

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There were beautiful carvings hidden in the top walkway of the dome:

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Just as we were heading down, the wonderful spring weather treated us to a rainbow:

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We spent the next day at the Louvre.  We used the map to hunt all the famous pieces: the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, Venus de Milo, the giant Ruben murals of the Queen (I’m forgetting her name, but she was a Medici).  Not to mention the Napoleon III  rooms, and EVERY ornate room with gold leaf and ornate ceiling art and inlaid marble.

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We walked MUCH  more of the Louvre than any of us expected. We couldn’t linger in EVERY too., but we saw some many amazing things. We went home with happy hearts (and tired feet)

After those big days, we did a slower day with the hopon boat down the Seine. Nice to see all the same sights from the water. Sunny and warm- it was a perfect day on the water. (All my photos are of the kiddos, so check out Facebook for these). The next day was a lovely brunch, farmers market, and then kid directed afternoon playing with the bubble artists and watching Street dancers at the city hall.

Our last big outing in Paris was to Versailles.  Again, we were really surprised how much fun we had.  We took the train out, and walked to the palace. It was sunday- so pretty busy, even for the low season.

It was sunny and warm.

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The inside rooms are just over the top. We’ve seen this in every palace, and they are all big, but this place seems much much bigger.

We have been to Schoenbroen palace in Austria, where Marie Antoinette grew up, and now we’ve been here, where she had a small palace on the grounds(to get away from the big palace) on the grounds makes it sound close- it is a MILE away. We took the choo choo mini train 🙂

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The hall of mirrors was where the treaty of Versailles was signed, ending WWI.

(So much history, over so many centuries still boggles my mind)

The grounds were a bit bare, as it is mid March, and spring is just beginning it’s bounce into green.  The immensity of the gardens is still clear. We will have to return in summer to see the fountains.

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The kids had red that there were rowboat rentals on the grand Canal. We hopped the mini choo-choo the the canal, but all the boats were chained up.  There was a crew regatta!  We got there just in time to see the men’s 8 championship race. Surprises around every corner 🙂

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We made our way back to the palace, saw costumed riders

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We had some awesome Thai food, and took a late train home.

After Versailles, our last day involved packing, cleaning resting, and walking Montmartre some more. On Tuesday, we hopped a train to Rouen in Normandy.

To make the transfer easier, I ordered a taxi. I did it all in French, but the cab arrived at Rue Percival, not Rue PaulFeval. So much for easy.

But we had plenty of time to get to the Metro and get our train. All with smiles, and a joy of the adventure. I’m so happy that the kids are getting these life lessons in addition to everything else we are experiencing this year.

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