Saturday, August 21, 2010

19 August 2010 Paris 1st full day

Arc de Triomphe

Lyn under the Arc. The Champs Ellysees stretches out behind her

The River Seine

Eglise du Dôme (Dome Church) part of Les Invalids

Notre Dame Cathedral

Gardens in front of
the Hôtel des Invalides a place where disabled French soldiers are housed.

The Musée de la Marine in Paris (Maritime Museum) Palais de Chaillot and the Trocadero Gardens. The views from the Trocadero esplanade which is the spot between the buildings are terrific and you get a great view of the Eiffel Tower where the following 2 pictures were taken

The Eiffel Tower - Magnificent

Mick and Lyn at the Eiffel Tower

Queues waiting to go up the tower in one of the four lifts - or you can walk to the first level > 350 steps and to the second level about 350 steps then you have to catch the lift to the top.

Join the queue

The Ritz where Diana left on her fateful trip

Lyn on a Crystal staircase at the Swarovski shop

Lyn at the shops

A French ladybird

A French keyboard

19 August 2010

When we got to France we had to put our clocks forward an hour to French time. That meant we were getting up an hour earlier than we were used to but we didn’t mind as we wanted to get on the move as there was a lot to see in Paris.

We caught the 10am train to Charles de Gaulle Etoile station which is about a 10 minute train ride from our Hotel. When we alighted from the train and took the escalator up to ground level and found ourselves right in front of the Arc de Triomph which is much more imposing in real life than in pictures.

We had planned to take the open top tourist bus around the city and as luck would have it, the stop was right next to the Arc de Triomph so after having a look around this most imposing monument, we paid our 24€ (24 Euros)each for a bus pass. This was valid for 2 days and allowed us to hop off hop on again at the many attractions around the city. The loop around the city on the tourist bus took about 1½ hours to complete.

This turned out to be a masterstroke as we were able to visit the attractions without having to walk great distances. Half way around the first circuit on the tourist bus we decided it was time for a coffee break, so hopped off the bus and found a nice little roadside brassiere where we enjoyed a Latte. The cost of 2 Latte’s was 8€ 40 which we thought was a bit on the pricey side as that would be $10+. After our coffee break we hopped back on one of the many tourist buses that come every 8 minutes and continued the tour.

We had to find some shops to buy Mick some clothes. Why would Mick need clothes? Good question. It goes like this. This morning Mick was fishing around in our suit case for a shirt to wear. Lyn told him to get out of the way and she would get it for him, as she doesn’t like him messing up the suitcase. Only problem was Lyn forgot to pack Mick some shirts.

Mick was very good about it and said he would wear the same shirt for 3 days, but Lyn had other ideas. We waited for the automated commentary on the bus to describe a major shopping area and then got off the tour bus to find a very large shopping area called the Lafayette Galleries “The Department Store Capital of Fashion”. This turned out to be a sort of exclusive DJ’s of about 7 stories of departments selling all sorts of fashion items.

At first we thought the prices were a bit on the high side but eventually we did manage to find polo shirts at a reasonable price of 20€, or 19.99€ (don’t they always do that!

After more sightseeing, Lyn was really loving the place which surprised Mick as the previous evening she said she was out of her comfort zone just being in a foreign language country where very few people seem to admit to speaking English. However today, she was genuinely excited about the beauty of the city, it’s cleanliness, the ease of traveling around it and the wonderful architecture everywhere she looked. As the bus slowly traveled around, there were many times when it was difficult to know which way to look as in every direction there were more beautiful things to look at.

The Eiffel Tower, of course, was pretty special and we spent some time just gazing in awe at it from different directions.

We mostly used the first day to familiarize ourselves with the city in general and take lots of pictures. At the end of the day the picture count was 273 but with culling, Mick reduced this quite a bit. The reason for this was that we took pictures in the morning of buildings and monuments in shade and then later in the afternoon in full sun which highlighted the wonderful architecture much better.

We spent quite some time on the Champs Ellysees just watching the people and the traffic. We watched a police van driving up behind illegally parked cars and moving them on and later when more illegal parkers returned, tow trucks arrived to tow them away. There were some interesting arguments when shoppers returned to their cars to find them missing or in the process of being lifted up to be carted away.

We decided to have dinner in town at an exclusive place and found a cosy little restaurant on the Champs Ellysees. And the McDonalds food was excellent although this may have been due to where were eating rather than what we were eating. Lyn had a Big Mac meal with a coke and Mick had a Fish burger Meal with a Fanta which was beautifully prepared and cooked! We hadn’t been to a Mcdonalds since the children were small.

Hunger taken care of, we decided to do another lap of the city, stopping for a long look at the Eiffel Tower before again boarding the bus to take us back to the Arc de Triomph where we headed down into the metro station to catch the train home.

The weather had been perfect for touring around, dry and sunny and about 23c

Both of us can’t wait to get out there again tomorrow.


Since we don’t have our UK Internet here and the hotel doesn’t have free WiFi (15€ a day is too much), Mick had to go the local Internet café to send the first day’s blog which he had previously prepared off-line.

What he didn’t realize was that all of the operating systems are in French and even Google defaults to the French version. The PCs were also using Firefox which was also in French and when he used the Help function to find out how to get it in English, he found a forum where someone had asked the same question and the response was that you had to download the English version.

Obviously he couldn’t do that.

The problem he had was also compounded by the fact that the keyboard isn’t the normal QWERTY type and it was an aweful job to find where all the letters were. He never did find out how to get an @ sign.

Anyway, with perseverance and no help from Lyn who just wanted to go back to the hotel (as according to her the problem was un-solvable), he managed to publish the first day’s Blog. By Lyn: Lyn knew that Mick could fix the problem as he is a computer nerd by trade. By Mick: Well if that was the case why didn't she just shut up and let him get on with it!

An hours Internet time was 2€, a bargain.

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