What About Those Lovelocks In Paris

It wasn’t until my last trip to Paris that I began to finally find
something about this beautiful city that upset me, made me
yearn for the old Paris, before the lovelocks took over all the
bridges in this dazzling and captivating city.

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When I first arrived in Paris I remembered thinking, “isn’t this
sweet”, how romantic that lovers would write their names or
initials on the locks, attach to the bridge and throw the key into
the Seine, vowing their love forever. This lovelock craze has taken
over almost every bridge in Paris.

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This tradition started around 2008, shortly after a young couple
in Italy began attaching padlocks to the Ponte Milvio, a bridge over
Rome’s Tiber River playing out a popular Italian novel. After
Rome started banning the locks, people from all over Europe
started coming to Paris and this is the results.

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As I walked along the bridges, I must say that I have to totally agree
with the residents of Paris, they are certainly unhappy, as the
Parisians see the locks as a tourist gimmick that damages the
legacy of the city’s architectural history.

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These lovelocks are spreading throughout Europe and many cities
have removed them along with banning them altogether. These
cities include Dublin, Florence, Venice and are now spreading to
New York City, Las Vegas and Atlanta, GA.

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In September 2014 the French Government issued a ban on the
locks due to the damages causing part of the railings of the bridges
to collapse. They are slowly replacing the panels with a thick
shatter-proof glass in the hope this will work.

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The Pont des Arts is a lightweight pedestrian bridge with over 1,102.3
pounds of extra weight on the panels from the locks causing the
collapse of the panels.

I love Paris and it was very disturbing to see the destruction of the
locks to the beautiful bridges that line the Seine so majestically for
so many centuries. I understand that this is a romantic gesture for
couples to express their undying love for one another, but not at the
risk of destroying a part of history that is Paris. There is so much
beauty in this city and coming here for so many years, I can’t help
but remember when the bridges were free of the locks and all you
would see from the bridges would be the magic of Paris surrounding
you.

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A One Way Ticket to Paris, Please – Day 11

This is it, our last full day in Paris. With mixed emotions on leaving
this wonderful city tomorrow, we were up early, as today would be spent
at the Louvre. A quick metro ride to the Palais Royal Musee du Lourve,
we entered the museum through the Carrousel entrance to avoid
the long lines through the Pyramid. For the first time ever, I did not
purchase a museum pass, which I will never make that mistake again.
But with a lot of luck, the ticket line was pretty short and we breezed
through and quickly made a decision to start in the Richelieu wing to
visit Napoleon III’s Apartments, which are absolutely dazzling.

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The Grand Salon is an opulent and dazzling room that is one of the main
areas of the apartments. You stand here only to imagine the men
dressed in their best apparel and the women in their full crinoline hooped
gowns, sitting in this room, maybe listening to a piano recital or exchanging
conversation with others in this magnificent setting.

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Just look at this marvelous ceiling with these gorgeous chandeliers casting
a sparkle from the crystals.

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Can you imagine sitting in this Dining Room amongst the many guests
having a sumptuous meal with Napoleon III and the perfect Empress
Eugenie.

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The ceilings just amazed me in the Louvre. Not only in Napoleon’s
apartments but throughout the entire museum, but after all, this was once
a royal residence for the Kings of France for several hundred years.

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A portrait painting of Empress Eugenie.

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The Winged Goddess of Victory standing on the prow of the ship on the
island of Samothrace. One of my favorite movies is Funny Face, when
Audrey Hepburn is running down the steps of this beautiful statue for
a photo shoot. Seeing this always makes me want to be her and run
down the steps with a beautiful flowing wrap, as she did. Thank goodness there is always a crowd, because I would surely fall on my face.

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This really is a beautiful piece of art. We were very lucky to be able to
view it, as it was taken off exhibit for cleaning and just recently went
back on display.

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Then there is the Mona Lisa. You immediately know when you have
reached the room that holds this small but interesting painting. It’s
almost more interesting to see the crowds of people trying to view this
painting, heads poking up, people standing on their tiptoes, as I was,
just trying to get as close as we can. It’s interesting to listen to the
comments of those around you as you view this painting. Some are
star struck and others are maybe a little disappointed. Not sure how
I feel, yes it’s small, but yet powerful at the same time. Being small,
Leonardo da Vinci carried this painting with him towards the last years of
his life and lived in France, which is why the French owns the painting and
not the Italians, which some are still bitter over that, to this day.

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I was surprised to see so many artist in the museum painting from the
many wonderful pieces of art hanging on the walls. Some were pretty
good, but this particular artist was exceptional in his craft. I thought his work was excellent.

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A view of the courtyard from inside the museum.

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Leaving the Louvre, with my head spinning from all I tried to take in
today, but yet excited and empowered from the beauty of it all, I must
say I cannot wait for my next visit to Paris, and know that the Louvre will
be my first stop.

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There was one place I wanted to find before I left Paris. The Le Grand
Colbert restaurant that was featured in the movie, Something’s Gotta Give.
The movies featured Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson. Situated in the
district of the Bourse, not far from the Galeries Vivienne, 5 minutes from
Palais Royal. It is a lovely Brasserie that has the feel of the old Paris.
Peaking in the windows we saw high walls with beautiful chandeliers,
mirrors, and bistro seating. Unfortunately, we had eaten a big lunch
at the Louvre and was not the least bit hungry. This will be the number
two place I will return to on my next visit to Paris.

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Well it is late evening now and we did our nightly walk and reluctantly
am returning to our wonderful little hotel to finish last-minute packing,
as we need to wake up at an ungodly hour for our flight back to Detroit.

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This has been an unbelievable trip. I did not do all that I wanted but
tried to pack in as much as I could. My travel friend had never been
to Paris before, and being in her late 70’s, I applaud her energy, her
positivity, her hunger for the arts and her passion for this beautiful
city. I have been here many times, and it was surely like seeing Paris
for the first time through her eyes.

Paris is truly an experience you will never forget. Now when can I return?

A One Way Ticket To Paris, Please – Day 10

Only two more days left in Paris. Yesterday we roamed the streets of Paris
and decided that we would do the same today, only after we attended
morning mass at Notre Dame.

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Attending a mass at Notre Dame was quite a treat, especially listening to a
mass with Gregorian Chant. Not being a Catholic and not really totally
understanding what was going on around me, I figured, I was in church, in
Paris, at Notre Dame, understand it or not, it was beautiful and an experience I will always remember.

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After church we were famished so we decided time was running out and
we needed to try a crepe. We frequented this little establishment more
then once on this trip, so we figured the crepes had to be as good as the
ice cream.

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I had a jambon and fromage (ham and cheese) crepe and I was not
disappointed. It doesn’t take a Frenchman to make a good crepe.

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The metro entrance for the Palais Royal, one of its kind.

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Every Sunday certain streets in Paris are blocked off to cars, so the
rollerbladers can have the streets to themselves.

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A little wall art. One with a lamp post surrounded by these beautiful
leaves, and then there was the wall with the French graffiti.

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I never can get enough of seeing the Eiffel Tower. We took another
boat ride on the Seine. Paris is so beautiful at night and we wanted to
see as much as we could these last two nights.

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Tomorrow would be our last day in Paris. We were planning on spending
the day at the Louvre. So after a nice glass of wine and pastry, we were
headed back to our hotel for a good nights sleep, we would need all the
energy we could muster up, after all we were going to a Palace where
there is the never ending art and the Mona Lisa.

More tales and photos to come – Au revoir.

A One Way Ticket To Paris, Please – Day 9

Waking up to a beautiful sunny day, we decided today we would just
walk the streets of Paris. We would walk till we could not longer
feel our feet, which believe me, is very possible for me. But this is
Paris and any pain or numbness would be tolerated, after all I was in
Paris, my favorite city in the world, I can get physical therapy when I
hobble off that plane in Detroit.

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Paris-Sorbonne University at Place de la Sorbonne Square, right down
the street from our hotel.

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We decided to walk behind the Sorbonne, past the Pantheon to the area
where the working class of Paris has always lived and still does. This is
the market street of Rue Mouffetard. The Place de la Contrescarpe is a
square surrounded by cafés and taverns where at any time you might have
seen Balzac, Victor Hugo, James Joyce and of course Hemingway sitting
at a table with a drink in front of them, perhaps a cigarette in one hand
and pen in the other, writing their novels that we so enjoy today.

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Walking down Rue Mouffetard is always a sort of feast for the eyes. There
is always something interesting going on. Street musicians ready to
entertain the people on this colorful market street.

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At the bottom of Rue Mouffetard this late gothic and early classical
style church, St.-Medard. We happen to be there as a mass had just
started, so we stayed and even though we could not understand any of
it, it was still an experience that we were happy to be part of.

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Yes you are seeing correctly, we had Asian food for our lunch today
in Paris. It sure was good.
After leaving the Rue Mouffetard area, we jumped on the metro to
visit an area I had discovered many years ago, Rue Montorgueil in the
heart of Paris, near Les-Halles and the George Pompidou Museum.
This area boasts some of the best meat and fish markets, along with a
renowned pastry shop, cozy bistros, boutiques, and bars. It is a sort
of up-scale market area that is always bustling with locals, tourist and
families, just enjoying the everyday happenings that this area provides.

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Stohrer is the oldest pastry shop in Paris. The inside of the shop is
exquisite with a killer ceiling. More on that later. Walking this area,
going in and out of shops, and of course a pastry from Stohrer, we walked
a couple of blocks and saw this covered passage with shops and cafés.

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Walking back to the market area we had dinner at a little bistro where
we sat outside enjoying the sweet crisp fall evening watching all the activities
of a neighborhood market street on a Saturday night.

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Back in the area of our hotel, we would again do our nightly ritual of
walking the Seine. It was Saturday night in Paris and it was crowded.
Stopping for a glass of wine at a cafe facing the Seine was a perfect way
to end this fabulous day in Paris. But wait, there was one more thing
I needed before calling it a night.

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Now you might ask what is a Kouignette? It is sort of like a croissant
in its layer goodness, only with fewer layers. Basically its dough with
lots of butter and sugar, caramelized so that they create a nice crusty
layer over and between the baked dough. It is definitely not good for
you, but one bite and you throw all caution to the wind, thinking “I’ll
take my chances”. Pure heaven.

More tales and photos to come – Au revoir

A One Way Ticket To Paris, Please – Day 8

It’s October 31, Halloween, but not in Paris. There are absolutely
no signs of pumpkins, costumes, or bowls of candy in any of the
stores. When we inquired about it from our hotel, they told us that Halloween is not celebrated there, but perhaps we might see a few
in costume, or perhaps not.

Today we are headed to Sainte-Chapelle in the center of the Ile-de-la-Cite.
The Chapel was built-in 1242 and 1248, to house the relics of The Passion
of Christ. The most famous of these relics was the Crown of Thorns.

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The Holy Relics had belonged to the emperors of Constantinople since the
4th century. King Louis IX purchased the relics from them in 1239 and
therefore had this beautiful two floored chapel built to house them.
This lower chapel displays a statue of the Virgin Mary, the sanctuary’s
patron saint. Straight ahead is a statue of King Louis. The chapel is
lovely with fleur-de-lys decorating the ceiling and columns. As you enter
the chapel a serene atmosphere, feeling, whatever you want to call it,
let’s you know you have walked into a place of holiness.

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The upper chapel is breathtaking. It is sumptuously decorated with 15
stained glass windows depicting 1,113 scenes telling the story of mankind
from Genesis through Christ’s resurrection. Fourteen of the windows,
depicting episodes from the bible, should be read left to right. From the
bottom upwards. Straight ahead is the altar where the Crown of Thorns
and other relics would be viewed only by the King, his close friends and family.

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Unfortunately, they were doing a restoration on the upper chapel and we were not able to view all the windows. My friend, who has never been
to Paris, still was totally overwhelmed with the beauty of this upper chapel.
I have been here many times, even attended a Christmas concert here,
and can truly say, this place always manages to amazed me at the beauty
surrounding me.

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After leaving Sainte-Chapelle, we jumped on the metro and before long
was standing in front of the Basilique du Sacre’Coeur in Montmartre.
It is one of my favorite places in Paris. This stunning church can almost
be seen from most places in Paris and when you actually see it up close,
it is magical. The stunning white exterior and dome facade looks like
a grand palace that you would see in perhaps India.

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The view from in front of the church overlooking Paris. It is usually
crowded day and night with locals, tourist, and entertainers just enjoying
the beauty of this unique place.

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Just a few streets from the Basilica of the Sacre’ Coeur is Place du Terte,
a square where artist have set up their easels to paint the streets and
people of Montmartre. You can’t help but walk these streets and
try to imagine the days of Renoir, Picasso, Utrillo and Modigliani, when
they were perhaps penniless and walked these same streets, giving them
the inspiration that have made their paintings priceless today.

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La Mere Catherine is one of the oldest restaurant located in this square
and in Paris. Founded in 1793, it is a popular place for locals and tourists.

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Spending the rest of the afternoon into early evening in Montmartre was
such a pleasant experience. It was a beautiful day and the back streets
of this area was so interesting to walk. It was nothing to see an artist
on a corner painting the street in front of him or her. I truly love this
colorful part of Paris. It oozes the Paris of yesterday.

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Back in the center of Paris, it is now evening and we are walking the
area around the Seine as we have every evening of this trip. What a
great way to end another beautiful day in Paris.

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More tales and photos of Paris to come – Au revoir

A One Way Ticket To Paris, Please – Day 7

This morning we would be heading to my absolute favorite museum
in Paris, The Musee D’Orsay. A converted train station, opened in 1983
to house art from 1848-1914, which holds a grand collection of the Impressionism art of Manet, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Van Gogh, Cezanne.

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After purchasing our tickets, we immediately headed to the top floor
to view the Impressionist art, before the crowds got to heavy.

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The grand clock on the first floor of the Museum.

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The Cafe des Hauteurs on the top floor serves good food at reasonable
prices. This is usually where I have a nice lunch breaking up my
visit to the museum.

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A gorgeous turn-of-the-20th-century restaurant on the middle level,
Musee D’Orsay, that is stunning. I have never had the pleasure of a
lunch here, but promised myself that the next visit I will splurge and have
a meal in this stunning restaurant.

After spending a great part of the day in the Orsay, we decided to walk
back towards our hotel and just take in the sights and sounds of this
city.

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On St. Germaine street there were markets set up selling everything
from olives from Provence, to delightful pastries, jewelry, leather goods
and candles.

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Fontaine Saint-Michel, Place Saint-Michel, Paris, constructed in 1858-1860
during the French Second Empire by architect Gabriel Davioud.
It’s a very congested and crowded square. It’s a great meeting place
for locals and tour groups.

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Mimes are often seen on Paris streets performing for those walking by.
They rely on tips by performing as statues for the tourist. I will say
some are quite interesting and good.

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Parisian’s love their books. The 5th arrondissement has a lot of these
book stores scattered throughout, due to the student population of the
Sorbonne being right down the street.

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The Metro at St. Michel.

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After hours of walking the streets of Paris on our 7th day, we were
exhausted and I will say my ankles were screaming for help, but Paris
has a way of erasing anything the least bit negative and keeps you wanting
more. But my body was aching and tomorrow was another day, so off
to our wonderful little hotel, where a good nights sleep would be so
appreciated.

More tales and photos of Paris to come – Au revoir.

A One Way Ticket To Paris, Please – Day 6

I was very excited to start our day today, as we would be going to the
Christian Dior Fashion Exhibit at the Palais Galliera located in the 16th
arrondissement . So after a quick cafe creme and a wonderful
croissant, that you can only get in France, we were off and running.

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Taking the Metro, M10, to LaMotte Picquet-Grenelle, then changing to the
M6 line, 4 stops, we arrived at the Trocadero, where there is a lovely view
of the Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately, when we arrived they were doing
work on the lovely square that you see in so many pictures leading to
the Eiffel Tower. With half of the square surrounded by large boards,
sealing off a lot of the area, the view was not as I hoped.

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Because we wanted to see the Trocadero, it was a long walk to the
museum. But this is the 16th arrondissement and it is a lovely area, so
we really didn’t mind. Passing neighborhoods, we were able to see
an area of Paris that was quite different then where we were staying.
There are beautiful buildings, boutiques, and many museums, including
The Museum of Modern Art, which I visited last time I was in Paris, and
thoroughly enjoyed it. The walk was pleasant and the sun was shining
so before we knew it, we had arrived at the museum.

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The Palais Galliera is located in a beautiful building set amongst a lovely
park area, with a small garden of beautiful flowers, bordered by benches
to sit and admire the setting.
The museum is only open for exhibits and has no permanent collections, so
we certainly were lucky to happen to be in Paris to see the Dior exhibit in
this lovely building.

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The exhibit started with everyday dresses from the 40s

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Everyday dresses from the 50s. Didn’t i see Lucy wearing this in the
I Love Lucy episodes?

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A great evening dress by Dior. Ok, now I have been told twice, no pictures.
There were no signs anywhere that I could see. There were so many
lovely dresses, suits and gowns. If I knew I wouldn’t have been thrown
in the Bastille, I would have taken more. Darn.

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I know, I know, I am bad. Just one more quick one. Right after I took this
I was again told by someone else, “no-no madam”. I am sorry, I just
couldn’t resist. Just to say in my defense, others were also sneaking pictures whenever they could. I had to grin watching others get scolded.
I guess it’s comforting to know I would not be alone in the Bastille.
But seriously, this exhibit was fantastic. It was certainly worth the hour and
a half we had to stand in line to get our tickets and enter the exhibit.

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Because most of our day was spent at the Dior exhibit, we decided to
take the metro back to the area around our hotel for an early dinner and
an evening boat ride on the Seine.
This was a chicken and vegetable Calzone with a small salad. It was
absolutely delicious. I had never had anything like this and was pleasantly
surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

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I usually take the boat Vedettes Pont Neuf which sails from Ile de la Cite.
These boats are a little smaller and more intimate, which adds to the
ambience of the ride. I love Paris at night. The lights are brightly shining
on all the monuments, buildings and cafés. You always will notice so
much more in Paris at night due to the abundance of lighting all around
you.

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The one hour cruise was over before we knew it. Because it was a
mild evening, we were lucky to get a seat on top of the open-aired boat,
making the cruise all the more nicer.

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Right alongside the boat entrance sits this magical tiny park, Square du
Vert-Galant, located on the western tip of Ile de la Cite, just below the
imposing statue of King Henri. It’s a sweet setting where you can sit day
or night and just enjoy the River traffic and the lighted buildings in the
distance.

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What a beautiful way to end our day in Paris. The boat ride along the
Seine and now sitting in this wonderful park digesting the beauty of
this perfect night and watching the magic of Paris around us, especially when the lights are on. Hemingway was right, “Paris is a Moveable Feast”.

More photos and tales of Paris to come – Au revoir

A One Way Ticket To Paris, Please – Day 4

After a quick breakfast we decided it would be the day to go to a museum
I have been wanting to visit, but have not had a chance yet. It is the
Jacquemart-Andre Museum, set in a lavish home of a wealthy, art-loving
Parisian couple, who traveled the world collecting not only wonderful
art but exquisite furniture and precious objects to adorn their home.

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Edouard Andre and his wife Nelie Jacquemart had no children, so they
spent their lives and fortunes designing and furnishing this stunning
mansion.

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Edouard was a successful banker and Nelie was an artist who loved
French and Italian art. Their marriage in 1881 raised eyebrows as he was
a dashing bachelor and a Protestant, and she, being no beauty, came from
a modest Catholic family. Still, they had a happy marriage and would
travel mostly to Italy for six months every year and would hunt for works
from the Renaissance, their preferred period.

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Their collection of art includes paintings by Fragonard, Francois Boucher,
and Dutch masters Van Dyke and Rembrandt, along with the Italian
masters from Florence and Venice.

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The museum was having a special exhibit on le Perugin, whose art had
a major influence on the young Raphael.

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The bedrooms of Edouard and Nelie

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This opulent Mansion was not only lavish but was such a pleasant and
refreshing museum to tour. The Italian art was incredible and ever since
touring it, I’m thinking Italy. Yes I’m in Paris and already thinking about
“Wouldn’t a trip to Italy be wonderful”. Ah the power of good art.

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After leaving the museum, we decided to walk over to the Opera House
on Blvd. Haussmann. It was a bright beautiful day making the walk
very nice, we were in no hurry. We had the rest of the day to spend
in this area. We wanted to tour the Opera House and walk over to the
Galleries Lafayette Department store, as that is always a treat to see and
also wanted to go to the rooftop to view Paris in all it’s glory.

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Finally arriving at the Opera we signed up for an English tour, just to be
sure we would not miss anything. What a wise choice that turned out
to be. I have been in the Opera House before but this tour took me to
lavish rooms I had not seen in the past.

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The Palais Garnier is a 1,979 seat opera house that was built-in 1861 for
the Paris Opera. The Palais Garnier is probably the most famous opera
house in the world. It is known for its setting of the play, (my favorite play
of all time) Phantom of the Opera, in 1986 by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based
on the book by Gaston Leroux in 1910. We were able to hear the real
truth regarding the legend, but will not spoil it for you.

The Grand Staircase is simply amazing. The entire opulence of this
staircase with all its glory is certainly overwhelming. The statues, the
gold, the magnificent ceiling, are all breathtaking.

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The ceiling of the Grand staircase

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The Grand Foyer

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Ceiling of the Grand Foyer. This foyer was so spectacular, it was like
being in Versailles in the Hall of Mirrors, which it was meant to make you
feel that you were actually there.

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One disappointment was we had to sit in the auditorium in the dark, as they
were preparing for the evening performance and were working on the
lights.

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Some costumes from previous performances.

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What a great time we had touring Palais Garnier. The tour was so
fascinating and I am so happy we took the time to do the tour. I
am determined to see a performance here, the next time I visit Paris.

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Next we were on our way to the Galeries Lafayette Store to watch the
sunset.

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I love Christmas in Paris. Imagine my delight when I walked in to find
their Christmas Tree was almost completed. I was like a kid in a candy
store. Yes, it wasn’t even Halloween so that was the last thing I expected
to see. Not only was it up, but it was beautiful and upside down.
Paris certainly does a wonderful job decorating their city for the holidays.

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A view of the back of the Opera House from the rooftop of Galeries
Lafayette.

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There it is, in all it’s glory. The Eiffel Tower with a red sunset.

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And then it Sparkled. What an amazing sight this was. Paris is so
beautiful and nighttime only makes it so much more unbelievable.

What a way to end our fourth day. Seeing the amazing and opulent
mansion this morning, the glorious art we were able to view, the Opera
House that can only leave one speechless, and now watching the sunset
over Paris, with the Eiffel Tower aglow. How lucky am I.

more photos and tales of Paris to come – Au revoir

A One Way Ticket To Paris, Please – Day 2

Having been up for more than 24 hours the day before, we managed
to sleep in this morning without even trying. After a quick cup of
cafe creme at the hotel, we finally hit the streets of Paris at 11:30 a.m.
Staying a few blocks off boulevard Saint Michel, I remembered from
my last visit that there was a Monoprix store right on the boulevard,
proving to be a real convenience during our stay.

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Monoprix would be considered our Target store in the U.S. They sell
everything you can think of including a great eating area, where you can
purchase anything from fruit, ready-made sandwiches, wraps, salads,
drinks, cheese and even an assortment of different pastries and croissants.
We decided to stop here for a quick-lunch, as the day was almost half
over and we had just begun our day.

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The Cluny Museum houses important medieval artifacts from the seventh
and eighth centuries. Being so close to our hotel this was a must see.
In all my visits to Paris, I had never been to this particular museum and
had always heard about the beautiful Lady and the Unicorn tapestries
from the late 15th century. We decided to take the English tour which
was very interesting. Walking amongst the statues, paintings, and
six beautiful tapestries was a real treat, but seeing the world’s oldest
Latin Bible and the original statues from Notre Dame Cathedral was a
real surprise.

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After a major cleaning and restoration these magnificent 15th century
tapestries are considered the Mona Lisa of woven artworks. Having
inspired many novels and songs, along with being featured in Harry
Potter movies, these tapestries that represent the five senses, have
intrigued not only historians but all that experience the delight in viewing
them with their beautiful colors and message. The sixth tapestry bares
a motto “A mon seul desir” (To my only desire) is depicted in the 2003
Tracy Chevalier novel, The Lady and The Unicorn.

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This statue of Adam was originally inside Notre Dame standing along
side a statue of Eve, which has been lost. Adam now stands alone in
The Cluny Museum.

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Beautiful stained glass from many centuries ago, including some that
were originally in San Chapelle.

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The gothic ceiling in the Cluny Museum.
I will say I really enjoyed this museum. For years I have bypassed it and
am so glad I took the time to go through it. The tapestries are truly
outstanding and we were very lucky to have seen them, as they have just
gone back on display after major restoration.

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After leaving the Cluny we decided to walk over to the Ile Saint-Louis,
another one of my favorite areas in Paris. This elegant island neighborhood
is connected to the rest of Paris by four bridges to both banks of the
Seine River. It is considered one of the most authentic and unaffected the
17th- and 18th-century neighborhoods of Paris. The island’s Main Street
consists of a handful of very nice hotels, several shops, many restaurants
and cafés. I have been lucky enough to have stayed here on two different
occasions and have totally loved it. Even though it can get crowded, it
still can be serene and peaceful away from the Paris crowds.

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We explored the area, going in and out of many shops and just admiring
the beauty of the buildings standing so elegant in the beautiful fall day.
What tales these streets and buildings could tell. I think that is what is
so intriguing about Paris to me, not only its history but the people who
have lived it through the years.

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As night has approached the lights of Paris are brightly shining and it
truly turns into a magical sight. Passing Notre-Dame with all the lights
aglow was beautiful. It is true, this is the City of Lights.

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More photos and tales of Paris to come – Au revoir

A One Way Ticket to Paris, Please – Day 3

It would be a Sunday in Paris, so after a great breakfast at our lovely
hotel, we decided to go to mass at Saint-Sulpice Church within walking
distance from where we were staying. You might recognize the name
from the movie, The Da Vinci Code, movie and book. It is the second
largest church in Paris with a Grand Organ of 7000 pipes, that will captivate
your attention.

Now just a side note, I am not catholic but my friend who traveled with
me is a very devout Catholic and this was one thing at the top of her list,
to attend some masses in Paris. Well it turned out to be a real experience
for me, so we both benefited.

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Saint-Sulpice has always had a lot of discussion as to its history, as implied
in many books, such as The Da Vinci Code. Whether you believe in the
unfounded rumors, it is a beautiful church in a lovely area in the St. Germaine area.

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Dominating the plaza in front of Saint-Sulpice is a large Fountain of the
Four Bishops. The three-tiered octagonal fountain was built in 1848 by
Joachim Visconti, who was also responsible for fountains in the Place De La
Concorde. The area surrounding the church is lovely with many stores
including Versace and Sonia Rykiel.

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Our Lady Chapel

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A statue of the Virgin and Child by Jean-Baptiste Pigalle (1714-1785) is
located within the Lady Chapel.

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The beautiful baroque Pulpit.

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The great Organ of Saint-Sulpice dates back to 1781 with 7000 pipes
making it one of the largest and finest instruments of its kind. The Organ
has been associated with world-renowned musicians and organist
composers. After the service you are given at least a half hour of the
most beautiful music you can imagine. What a treat.

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The lovely sounds of the Saint-Sulpice Choir. I truly enjoyed this service.
Even though I did not understand the language, it proved to be extremely
beautiful and inspiring and only proved language is not really a barrier.

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After services at Saint-Sulpice, we took the metro to Champs-Élysées,
Getting off the metro at the Franklin D. Roosevelt stop, we strolled this busy
exciting street, trying to take in all the excitement that only this street will
give you. This particular Fall Sunday it was jammed with people, dashing
in and out the stores, sitting at the cafés, maybe munching on an ice cream
cone, as we were, it sort of reminded me of New York City on a lovely
day, perhaps on Fifth Avenue or even Times Square. I am not trying
to compare the streets at all, but Paris seemed to be extremely crowded,
and this was nearing the end of October.

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Fouquet’s cafe and restaurant is a popular spot amongst French celebrities
serving an expensive shot of espresso.

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Seriously, this was the entrance to the Abercrombie & Fitch on Avenue
des Champs-Élysées and there was a double line to get in. You go through
the opulent gates through a garden area to get into the store. Only in
Paris. That’s why I love it so much.

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Stopping for a late lunch, I had to have a favorite of mine, a Croque-Monsieur. A grilled ham and cheese sandwich, that originated in French
Cafés and bars as a quick snack.

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The Pont Alexandre lll is the most ornate extravagant bridge in Paris.
It connects the Champs Élysées quarter and the Invalides and Eiffel Tower
quarter. It was finished in 1900 for the Exposition Universelle or Worlds
Fair in Paris. You might remember it in the movie, Midnight in Paris,
at the end of the movie when Gil decides he is moving to Paris and meets
his new French girlfriend from the antique market, where I assume they
live happily ever after.

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As beautiful and opulent as this bridge is, not all bridges in Paris are looking
this good. I was totally amazed and disappointed that so many of the
bridges in Paris have been taken over by Love Locks.

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At first it seemed to me like a sweet idea. You attach a lock on the bridge
representing your love of one another and throw the key in the River.
I get it, but some of the bridges have had to put boards over the locks,
as they are endangering the safety of the bridges. I will write a separate
post on this in the future.

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Back in the St. Germaine area, we slowly walked back towards our hotel
passing so many interesting sights. A children’s toy store.

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This was an upscale exhibit of a cardboard sculpture. Not sure what it
represented, but I am sure the meaning of this is important. I think.

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Loved this window.

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A car with grass growing on it. Was I seeing things.

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We found this restaurant by our hotel that we ate at often. This was just
one of the many great dishes they served. Thank you Jessica for the
great service.

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It had been a long but fulfilling day in Paris. We went to a beautiful
church service, heard the most beautiful music, ate some good food,
walked some amazing streets, passing so many wonderful sights that
only Paris can feed you. Why is it I never tire of this city. I fall more in
love with it each time I visit and always know that it will never disappoint
me.

More photos and tales of Paris to come. – Au revoir