Paris 9/95 40th Birthday

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I decided that if I was actually going to turn 40...

Champs Elysees from the top of Arc de Triomphe

...I was going to do it in style in Paris with my family. This trip was the culmination of a mountain of planning and was a significant milestone and memory for me. Although Mary Lou and I had been to Europe before, none of us had ever been to Paris. We pulled both kids out of school for a week and brought along their former babysitter, Denise Hendon, to be the kids' au pair, allowing Mary Lou and I to enjoy the nightlife of Paris. Each day we did sightseeing together, but in the evening Denise took the kids to dinner and entertained them until they went to sleep.

The trip was short, but we saw a great deal of Paris. Guide books like Fodors and Frommers were helpful in planning, but did not tell the whole story. Cheap Eats and Cheap Sleeps in Paris books by Sandra Gustafson were also useful. The people of Paris were very friendly and helpful to us throughout the trip. We arrived in the early evening on September 19th and checked into our two rooms at the Hotel le Jardins d'Eiffel on the Left Bank near Invalides. The hotel was situated on a narrow street (first picture below) within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower. Our rooms were small, but comfortable.

Fountains at Palais Chaliot

Wednesday September 20th

We walked to the Eiffel Tower (second picture above) and took the elevator to the top.  The views from the top deck were very good (third through fifth pictures above), but it was windy and cold that morning, limiting our time outside. Walking across the street to the Palais Chaliot, we got some excellent views of the Eiffel Tower and the fountains (large picture above right and first picture below). After lunch, I figured out how to use the Metro by finding my way to the Opera House and back. From that point on, we could move about the city with ease. In the late afternoon we took the Bateaux Mouches, which is an open boat tour of the city (second picture below). Mary Lou and I took a late evening city tour (third picture below) after dinner at Petit Paname.

Thursday September 21st

We headed out on our second full day for the top of the Arc de Triomphe at the end of the Champs Elysees. The views from the top were great as shown in the large picture at the top of the page and the fourth picture above. We then spent the day walking the entire length of the Champs Elysees (shown in the first picture below from the other end - Place de Concorde).

Friday September 22nd

We started early with a long Metro ride across town to Pere Lachaise, the cemetery where Jim Morrison of The Doors (second picture above) and Chopin (third picture above) are buried. We then traveled across town to the Paris Opera House. We took a short walk to Harry's New York Bar (fourth picture above) where I had one of their famous Bloody Marys. After a quick Metro ride back to our hotel, we did a half day afternoon tour to Versailles (three pictures below). We had a small cake back at the hotel (fourth picture below) before Mary Lou and I headed out for the evening show at the Moulin Rouge, where they seated us right by the stage.

Saturday September 23rd

We headed out to Notre Dame and climbed the 400 steps to see the view and the gargoyles (first and second pictures below). From Notre Dame, we walked along the Seine to the Louvre (third and fourth pictures below). The Louvre is not a museum for kids in any way. There are massive amounts of art, the building was hot and stuffy, and it was hard to find what we were looking for. I visited the Orsay Museum in Paris a couple of years later which was much better, probably because it covered a time period I know (the impressionists) and was smaller in scope. Mary Lou and I had dinner at Au Poule a Pot, which was excellent and finished our last night in Paris with a night stroll with a view of the Eiffel Tower.

Sunday September 24th

We had to leave in the afternoon for LA, so we did the local sights in the morning. We started with Invalides (first picture below) and then walked to Napoleon's Tomb (second picture below). From there, we headed for CDG and home. Thank you Denise, for putting up with all of us (third picture below). The fourth item below is a copy of our ticket for the Moulin Rouge.

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