Friday, October 14, 2011

England/France - Day 13- Last Day in Paris!

Just for fun...some pictures of our hotel room.  It wasn't anything fancy but it was more spacious than we expected and was very clean.

We requested a room with a view of the courtyard.  This is the view of the courtyard. Ha!  Oh well - it was quieter than having a room facing the street.
Other views from our window.

The blow dryer.
The bathroom was bright, cheery and clean.
Anyway - enough of that.
On to our last day in Paris!  Becca and James decided to spend the morning at the Palace of Versailles.  They had purchased a museum pass and wanted to take advantage of it.  We decided to spend the morning seeing a few more sites in Paris.  We first stopped to visit a store Gabby had recommended called Merci.  This store had the coolest and most interesting clothing and home products!  And the proceeds go to charity.  I wish I knew more about this store but I couldn't really find much on the internet.  It was very hip and modern!
Next we visited the Place de la Concorde.  During the French revolution this was the location of the infamous guillotine where Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were beheaded.  The very next year there were more than 1300 people beheaded here in 1 month! (Notice our little homage to Rick Steves - we saw many people walking around with his guide to Paris.)
This obelisk stands at the site where the guillotine was.  It is 3300 years old and was given to France by the Egyptian government in the 1830's.
Our walk begins down the Champs-Elysees.
Charles de Gualle - French general and Prime Minister during and after World War II.  He led the Free French Forces against the Germans who had invaded France.
We stopped by a creperie for one last nutella and banana crepe.
Avenue des Champs-Elysees - one of the most prestigious streets in the world.
We saw these large, ornate iron gates with two very attractive young men in preppy clothes and flip flops standing by saying "hello, how's it goin'" to everybody.  We thought...what is all the commotion? What is this place?  ...Abercrombie and Fitch.
So we decided to take a peek.  After walking down this long, manicured pathway - we found the entrance to the store.  There was a handsome young male model standing there without a shirt on and a girl there to take pictures of whoever wanted to stand next to him.  Tempting!  In the store everything was black - dark - and rock music was pounding in our ears.  As we perused the store - everywhere we turned we ran into these hot young models in flip flops asking us if they could help us.  And everywhere we walked, someone was literally walking behind us with a dust mop, erasing our footsteps from the black glossy floor.  It was quite the experience and made us feel very old.
We stopped in the Mercedes store.

Did you know the company was named after the owner's daughter, Mercedes?  Interestingly enough, Mercedes herself never owned a car.
We finally made it to the Arc de Triomphe.  This was built in the early 1800's to commemorate those who fought for France during the Napoleonic wars.  The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I is also located under the arch.
The Arc sits smack dab in the middle of the Place Charles de Gaulle - also known as Place de l'Etoile.  12 Avenues converge on this huge round-about making it a traffic nightmare!
We had planned to meet Becca and James here so while we waited we sat on a bench on the bottom of the arch and inevitably fell asleep in the warm sun.  Wes even decided to lay down.  A few minutes later two policemen woke us up and told us that sleeping was not allowed.  Oh well.
Waiting for the metro to take us to our next destination.
The Rodin museum.  The Thinker.

Auguste Rodin - a portrait.  The museum is located in a mansion where Rodin lived and sculpted.
We then made our way, with the help of the funicular (tram that transported us up many, many stairs) to the Sacre-Coeur Basilica.  Located on the top of the highest point in the city - we saw lovely views of Paris.
There was large group of people listening to this man sing and play the guitar.  We wished we could have stayed to listen - he was playing U2, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, and John Denver!
Instead we listened to the nuns sing inside the basilica.  It was beautiful!

We wandered around the Place du Tertre to find a place for dinner.
We decided to eat the Chez Eugene - which seemed fitting since it's Weston's middle name.
We had a yummy dinner and enjoyed sharing our memories of the trip.  What an amazing experience it was!

After dinner we wandered around the small shops which were mostly tourist shops.  But we found a chocolaterie and spent our last Euros there.  So sad to leave.  Such a wonderful trip.  It was life-changing in so many ways.  But our family needed us and we needed them.  Time to go home.

Random Memories of Paris:
-The sound of the bells in the train stations
-The sad beeping audio-guide on the steps down to the river
-Our metro tickets only working 50% of the time
-2 drawings done of Poppy from 2 different street artists (one much better than the other!)
-James yelling "nous descendon!" on the crowded metro
-Asian woman with the little stuffed hedgehog who played with Poppy the entire metro ride and then stood by the window waving, chasing the train as we rode out of view
-The two older men, walking outside the hotel early in the morning playing the trumpet and euphonium
-Poppy planking at Versailles
-Deaf and dumb girls trying to get signatures so people will donate money then spotted speaking to a homeless man shortly after.
-Weston's frequent references to Jason Bourne
-James lugging the stroller up and down the stairs of the metro
-The men selling Eiffel tower keychains that would disappear when the cops showed up
-The never-ending meringue
-James teaching us that the most important word to know in French is "machin" which means "thingy."  We joked about it the whole trip and then James used it one last time with the hotel desk clerk when we checked in on our last night.  It was hilarious!


katik said...

I have loved every bit of your recap. Thanks for sharing it with all of us! So glad you had such a marvelous adventure.

Becca said...

Is that it? What a lovely job you've done!