Thursday, February 3, 2011

French Finale...

Though historic architecture and world-class museums beckon...Paris has so much more to offer.  We so enjoyed the farmer's market that set up several times during our stay...right across from our hotel.

We may speak a different tongue...but food is a universal language...and we enjoyed browsing.

We also strolled Rue Cler...a thriving traditional Parisian neighbourhood with a certain workday charm.  The street is traffic-free...and the vendors spill out onto the roadway.  The butcher, the baker and the chocolate maker could all be found here!

And when in Paris...of course we strolled the Champs-Elysées.  This is Paris' grandest and most celebrated street...where high-fashion shopping, big business, and glitzy cafes find a home.  We 'window shopped'...and watched people.  We found it interesting to see car dealerships with showroom windows right next to the banks and boutiques.  Oh...and we found a favorite and familiar cafe on Champs-Elysées that we frequented several times.  McCafé...where the coffee was good and so was the price!

Though a visit to the army museum didn't sound all that appealing to me...

...I changed my mind when we arrived.  The museum is in the beautiful Hotel des Invalides...built by Louis XIV in 1670.   We entered the complex at Napoleon's Tomb...beneath the golden dome.  So much history re-told right here! 

And we made several attempts to tour the Arch de Triomph before we succeeded (we found most tourist attractions were closed on New Year's Day).  Many stop to pay their respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  We climbed the 284 steps to the observation deck...where we had unobstructed views of the city in all directions.  It was a great place to watch the crazy traffic down below.  We still have no idea what the rules of the road are in Paris...the traffic circle around the Arch de Triomph looked like a free-for-all.

Though the line-ups to go up the Eiffel Tower looked rather daunting...we decided it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and worth the wait.  Did I mention that it was very cold...and standing in one spot is not a good way to warm up? 

While we waited we were entertained (and hounded) by the street vendors.  They do not wish to have their photo it seems they are running from the law.  They set up shop on a wee blanket that gathers up to form a bag...and when the police arrive they gather up their wares and flee.  It was quite funny to watch. 

After an hour and a half of people watching...we made it to the front of the queue for our chance to ride up to the observation deck.  And yes...the wait was worth it!

Darkness had settled on the City of Light...and the views were amazing. 

A few parting thoughts about Paris.  A little knowledge of the French language would be a good idea if you plan to visit.  There is not much English spoken here!  We found a little cafe where a waiter went out of his way to help us understand the menu...and so we went back to visit him several more times.  As for getting around...the Metro system works great...and we had no trouble figuring it out when we put our four heads together.  All in was a fabulous adventure. 

Next stop...London. Soon.


  1. You have such wonderful photos of your fabulous trip! May the memories stay with you forever so that you can relive them whenever!!

  2. Marvelous photos! I, of course, love the ones that feature you and Elmer. The fresh produce and eggs and breads look fantastic! Hope that you enjoyed some delicious foods where the waiter was so helpful. Paris certainly is a beautiful city with many wonderful things to see. Because I speak so little French, I don't think that I should try visiting France; I'm scared to visit Montreal for goodness sake. ;>

  3. Amazing photos Judy.
    286 steps you must have been 'huffin and puffin' when you got to the top!

  4. Oops I gave you 2 more steps:)

  5. What a fabulous visit to Paris - I almost feel like I was there, too! The history is what amazes me - coming from such a young area in a young country! Looking forward to London!

  6. I loved the photos - so Parisian, the two of you!
    The array of food really impresses me - it's almost an art form, the way everything is displayed.

  7. Lovely Paris! How nice that you found a good little restaurant where someone was helpful. The Parisians can be quite 'haughty'!

  8. Wonderful Judy. I'm glad you braved the cold to get in some unforgettable views. I'm looking forward to London. My favorite big city across the pond...

  9. I would have had to taste a few of those cheeses that were for sale in the market!
    I had to smile at some of the similarities I saw between Paris and NYC..we seem to have the same annoying "blanket" vendors, and Brooklyn has a very similar looking Arch de Triomph in its Grand Army Plaza.
    Of course there is nothing as grand as the Eifel Tower, and I'm so happy you braved the cold to go to the top! It was also very interesting to see Napoleon's tomb.
    Looking forward to seeing London!

  10. Such a beautiful photo of the two of you in front of the Eifel Tower ... something about the bare tree branches reaching into the sky in front of the tower.

  11. French cuisine and highlights of a city worth seeing. It's always fun to walk through those markets and people watch...You saw so many things in such a short time, plus at the same time receiving an excellent workout...
    I can't imagine standing at the top of the Eifel Tower.

  12. Take me! Take me next time! I can get along in French!

    I enlarged your photos to see the details - what wonderful produce, so neatly arranged, and clean. And those cheeses, mmmm.

  13. Oh I'd love to wander down those streets and markets! I was in France many years ago - but only on my way from Greece to the UK. Next time I'll make sure we make a stop over!

  14. Oh just wonderful. I so would enjoy walking through the market. It looks ever so fresh. Did you eat lots of lovely croissants?
    It's a good thing we live in a bilingual country .. at least we have the benefit of reading all those cereal boxes over the years. .that must have helped some.

  15. That fantastic! realy! these website is way better then everything I ever saw.

  16. I wonder how Tim Hortons would do in Paris? Hmmmm.

  17. Judy - thanks for taking us along on your trip to Paris. We visited the Eiffel Tower on Easter Weekend and my already sore feet could not bear the thought of an extremely long wait so we picnicked close to where your picture was taken enjoyed people watching instead. Looking forward to the next installment...

  18. You did a wonderful job of documenting your fabulous trip. I know your family is so glad you did!

  19. Next time we should meet you there - and help out with the french! To think you were so close...!
    Ute + Pierre + Marc


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