Paris, France
(continued from our last page -- there was just too much to do in one shot)


The photo at the left shows one of the entrances to the famous Louvre museum.

The building, originally a palace for French monarchs, was built in 1546.  When finished, the building and grounds covered a total of 48 acres.  In 1793 the Louvre was opened as a public museum.

Beneath the museum is it's original foundation.  We are walking in what would have been the moat.  The center photo is the base of  a round house and the third photo shows the base of a bridge that spanned the moat.  Brick makers used to mark their work with a unique shape -- squares, circles and hearts can be seen in the bricks from the different masons.
This old helmet was found during the excavation of the moat and dates to the origin of the Louvre.

Greek Statues

French Crown Jewels
Egyptian Artifacts

No Subtitle Necessary

More Egyptian stuff


The Coronation of Napoleon, (he's crowning Josephine -- he's already crowned himself as Emperor)

The Louvre, by far, has the largest collection of historical European artifacts anywhere.  If you spent a week at the Louvre, you wouldn't be able to see it all.  Only a small sampling is shown here.  Do you want to see the rest?  Well, get going ... it's well worth the visit.



Next Stop?  The Palace of Versailles
We hopped on this double decker train at one of the subway stations and headed to Versailles (pronounced ver-sigh).  It's about a 45 minute train ride from downtown Paris.   Traveling musicians would go from car to car, playing for tips.

The envy of kings everywhere, the Palace of Versailles was the residence of French monarchs for about 100 years until the Revolution of 1789.

Originally his father's hunting lodge, King Louis XIV spent half of France's total income for a year transforming the lodge into a palace fit for what he considered himself to be -- France's divine monarch.  The extravagance here is unbelievable -- and that's apparently what the hungry citizens of Paris thought too.  In 1792 King Louis XVI refused to submit to the demands of the citizens, and in 1793 he, and his queen Marie Antoinette, lost their heads because of it.

 

This photo is of the beautiful Hall of Mirrors -- 250 feet of arched mirrors facing windows overlooking the royal garden, (this is when mirrors were a rarity.)  There are gilded candelabras and busts of Roman emperors.  The ceiling is painted with exquisitely detailed stories of King Louis' triumphs.

Imagine what it must have looked like filled with powdered wigs, silk gowns and lit with thousands of candles.
The grounds are as extravagant as the palace is.  Louis even had an orange grove on wheels that could be wheeled in and out of a greenhouse according to the weather.  Before the French Revolution the grounds were enclosed by a 25-mile-long fence. 
This little cart caught our eye --  we'd seen one of these before.

It's a mini traveling-throne.  The king or queen sits in it and four guys carry them around.  (Our guide said that they would use it just going from one room to another.)

Then we remembered that we had seen one in Philadelphia.  It was when we were touring Benjamin Franklin's last home.  He had spent several years in Paris and often visited Versailles.  In his later years, when he was suffering from gout, he had one built for himself so that he could get to Independence Hall and back home again every day.


Back to Paris
Don't you hate it when you poke a dagger into your eye and give it a twist ....

And don't you hate it when you reach for your goblet of wine but grab your knife instead ...

I think that this guy does.


OK everybody, take a guess what this place is .....

We'll give you a hint .... it's name is in the title of a Disney animated movie ....

I'll bet you know now ... of course, it's the Cathedral of Notre-Dame.  This 700 year old church is covered with medieval art and gargoyles.  Everywhere you look there's a symbolic story.  Unfortunately, by the time we got here, the boys had enough sightseeing for the day, and we only made a brief stop.
Do you remember hearing about the floods in England last winter?  Well, France got their share of the rain too.  These stairs usually go down two more steps to a walkway along the side of the Seine River.  The Seine runs right through the middle of Paris, with the Left Bank on one side and the Right Bank on the other.

We were so impressed with this city -- it's easy to navigate, not difficult to communicate in, and it reeks of old-world culture and European ambiance. 


Oh crud -- it's our last night in Paris and we haven't gone to the top of the Eiffel Tower yet.
Each elevator holds about forty people.  The lower elevator took us to the first level.  From there we had quite a view.  Then we boarded another elevator and rode it to the top.
It's a little hard to see in the dark, but here Mitch and Max enjoy a little breeze on the windward side at the top of the tower.  Winds were near fifty miles and hour, (which was normal.)  It's all caged in, so even if the wind picked them up, they couldn't get blown over.
Below are some shots of the Arc de Triomphe taken from atop the Eiffel Tower, (one with the zoom in.)
Here, I found a soccer game in progress at a roof-covered soccer field.  In the third picture the building is in the center, (zoom out.)

A soccer game

On the top floor of a four story building

Across town
And finally, a view of our hotel from the top the Eiffel Tower.

 
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