Day 48, July 28, 2014 – Monday – Paris

Today was a long day. We left early for one of Paris’ most famous and lively districts, Montmartre. Here we visited the famed Basilica of Sacre Coeur, with its high perch on top of the Montmartre hill. We were able to experience a beautiful view of Paris and the excitement of watching many artist at work as they have been for hundreds of years in this district.

The famous Moulin Rouge Cabaret.

Here we have the smaller but older St. Peters Cathedral of Montmartre built in 1147.

The cathedrals’ inside beauty is not foretold by it’s exterior.

One of the beautiful stained glass windows.

On our walk we came across this tragic loss. Several motorcycles had been burned to the ground.

Beautiful ivy covered wall. Artist have come to this area to paint for hundreds of years due to its wonderful light and proximity to Paris but still away from the crowds.

Some of the local art humor.

Montmartre is a hilly town with winding roads.

The Sacre Coeur, A beautiful cathedral, but they would not allow photos inside.

Street Artists in the plaza.

More artists and their wares. Many artists just wandered the streets and would draw a portrait for you for you while standing on the sidewalk or in the street for a reasonable number of euros.

Another view of the Basilica of Sacre Coeur taken from the “city” area of Montmartre below.

We after returning to the hotel, we had a typical French lunch of bread, butter and cheese, got a little rest and then headed back out about 2:00 PM not to return until about 11:00PM. We caught the underground, only about a couple hundred yards from our hotel. The French transit system is efficient, clean and easy to navigate, especially the subway. The buses can be a little more challenging.

For you A&F fans, this is Kay standing by the Abercrombie & Fitch sign on the Champs Elysees.

This is the actual entrance… We did not venture inside: still too many things to see and do.

We found this also on the famed boulevard. A store front for Toyota. No standard cars here….

My first good photo of the Arc. The thing is HUGE. Napoleon was small, but he sure thought big…

A different viewpoint, taken from directly underneath the Arc.

Inside the circle plaza at the Arc de Triumph, Janet and Kay practice their French greeting.

View of the Arc from one of the 12 avenues which radiate from the center.

Kay and I with the Eiffel tower in the back, taken at Trocadero. The place was named in honor of the Battle of Trocadero, in which the fortified Isla del Trocadero, in southern Spain, was captured by French forces led by the Duc d’Angoulême, son of the future king, Charles X, on August 31, 1823. France had intervened on behalf of King Ferdinand VII of Spain, whose rule was contested by a liberal rebellion. Trocadero restored the autocratic Spanish Bourbon Ferdinand VII to the throne of Spain, in an action that defined the Restoration. Being located across the Seine River on a hill, from the Eiffel Tower it affords a beautiful view of the tower.

We continued our walk/bus ride to the Concorde square. In 1763, a large statue of king Louis XV was erected at this site to celebrate the recovery of the king after a serious illness. The square surrounding the statue was created later, in 1772, by the architect Jacques-Ange Gabriel. It was known as the place Louis XV. At 20 acres in size the octagonal Place de la Concorde is the largest square in Paris. It is situated between the Tuileries and the Champs-Elysées.

In 1792, during the French revolution, the statue was replaced by a another, large statue, called ‘Liberté’ (freedom) and the square was called Place de la Revolution. A guillotine was installed at the center of the square and in a time span of only a couple of years, 1119 people were beheaded here. Amongst them many famous people like King Louis XVI, Marie-Antionette and revolutionary Robespierre, just to name a few. After the revolution the square was renamed several times until 1830, when it was given the current name ‘Place de la Concorde’.

In the 19th century the 3200 years old obelisk from the temple of Ramses II at Thebes was installed at the center of the Place de la Concorde. It is a 23 meters (75 ft.) tall monolith in pink granite and weighs approximately 230 tons. In 1831, it was offered by the Viceroy of Egypt to Louis Philippe. Three obelisks were offered by the Viceroy, but only one was transported to Paris.

The obelisk – sometimes dubbed ‘L’aiguille de Cléopâtre’ or Cleopatra’s Needle – is covered with hieroglyphs picturing the reign of pharaohs Ramses II & Ramses III. Pictures on the pedestal describe the transportation to Paris and its installation at the square in 1836.

Walking to the end of the Square, we find the Luvrer, It was rather dramatic with the threatning storm clouds looming.

A closer view of the famed and contriversial glass pyrimide entrance to the museum.

From the Concord square, we caught a bus to the Champ de Mara area near the Eiffel tower. We have a skip the line pass for the tower at 8:00 PM. After finding the office of the tour company where we were to pick up our passes, we decided to have dinner.

We had a very pleasant dining experience at this small café near the tower. We found that by following a few very simple rules of curtisy with the French, they were most accomidating and would go out of their way to help you, not only with the menu but with diretions or general information. It was amaizing what doors a simple bonjour would open and always rember to say merci and au revoir when you part. It is really an expected part of French culture.

Our approach to the base of the tower.

View from the tower of the Champ de Mars. The Ecole Militaire is located at the end of the mall. The tall black tower in the distance is the Tour Montparnasse. Our hotel is the white building just to its right.

We received a thrill, when Kay and Janet spotted our ship the Bizet. It had taken on a new group of passengers and was on its way back to Honfleur from Paris.

The M/S Bizet

Kay and I on top of the Eiffel Tower.

Sunset from the Eiffel Tower.

The Bizet sails away…

Twilight over Paris. The lights are just beginning to come on at 10:00 PM.

We decided to descend the tower by the stairs. This is a view during the decent.

The illuminated tower taken from the ground. Gustave Eiffel was truly a genius.

It was about a 15 minute walk from the tower to our Metro Station and only required one transfer to get to our station. When we exited this is what we saw..

The Tour Montparnasse building illuminated around 11:00 PM, on our way back to the hotel.

It has been a long but very satisfying day in Paris.

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