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
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.
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