Teresa and I had always wanted to see more of Europe. She received another business trip to Germany this year, so we both took a little bit of time off before she had to be there, and took a week's vacation in France. Here is our JAL 777 getting ready for a 12 hour flight.
We spent a night in Frankfurt Germany to recover from the flight, and flew the next morning into Charles de Gaulle airport. A shuttle picked us up and took us to the Ramada Hotel, near the Eiffle Tower. We drove next to the Arc du Triumph on the way there. It was built by Napoleon to honor his soldiers in his many victories.
It was commissioned in 1806 by Napoleon, shortly after his victory at Austerlitz, it was not finished until 1836.Engraved around the top of the Arch are the names of major victories wonas well as those of 558 generals, are to found on the inside walls. Generals whose names are underlined died in action. Beneath the Arch is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and eternal flame commemorating the dead of the two world wars.
Across the street from our hotel was an elevated train tracks station. Just past it down the street was a subway station. There were may pastry shops around, as well as restruaunts. The Eiffle Tower was about a half mile away. The weather was cool, but not realy cold. Mornings were a bit brisk tho.
We were pretty tired our first day, so after wandering around for just a short time, we decided to call it a night. Here is a shot looking outside our window at dusk. I was not impressed with French TV...only a dozen or so channels for a big city like Paris!
Looking out over the city in the morning, you can see church steeples and the Eiffle Tower. The train tracks in front of our hotel were not a problem. The trains were eletric, very quiet, and did not run from 11pm to 6am.
We found a really nice little bakery that opens up at 6am each morning. We went there almost every morning for breakfast. Sandwhiches and quiches, and hot coffee! Every day almost we ate here. We tried a different freshly made quich each time. Deserts too.
Eating breakfast at the bakery...ready for our first day exploring Paris! The bakery staff were always very friendly and nice. We were prepared for the "rude" parisian, but for the most part, everyone was pretty nice!
The first day we wanted to check out the Louve Museum. So we took the subway about two miles to the Louve. The French Government workers selling the tickets were quite rude....and some of the Louve employees were too. But they were the only ones we met on the whole trip in Paris that were that way. We also didn't speak any French, but that was not a problem. It was pretty easy to get around and buy/ask/see things.
Originally on this site was a large statue of King Louie the 15th. Later, here was located the guillotine that executed in particular Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette, Danton, Robespierre, and 2800 others between 1793 and 1795 was here. Then later this replaced by the Obelisk of Luxor given by the viceroy of Egypt, Mohamed Ali, to Louis Phillipe. The obelisk, 22.83 meters high and weighing 230 tons, which marked the entrance to the Amon temple at Luxor, was installed in 1836
The streetlights were very ornate all around the historic old town area. It must have taken a pretty good sized staff to keep everything looking so good.
The gilded gates to the west entrance to the Louve. We exited the subway system by the Obelisk, and came in the West Entrance, so we could wander the large gardens on the West side.
The Louve originally had been a fortress, then a castle, and then finally a palace before it was turned into a museum. Only some foundation stones remain for the original fortress/castle structure. The Palace was used until Versaille was built, in the 1700's. Versaille is about 20 miles out of Paris, and we toured it later.
There was a hundred acres or so of garden grounds outside the Louve main buildings, filled with ancient and modern sculptures.
We were visiting way after the summer season, so the outside ponds and cafe's were pretty much all closed. There was also alot of construction and repair crews going around almost every "tourist" place we went to in Paris.
I really liked all the statues of warriors and such...so I took alot of pictures of these kinds of statues. If I ever got my own castle, these would be my prefered sculptures...:)
Here is a distant shot of the main Louve Building. The layout is sort of like a big capital letter "A" with a flattened top.The building is 5 stories tall, plus basement areas. It's huge, with over 300,000 items in the Louve inventory.
Here is a small portion of the bottom left porition of the "A" figure. On this side, Napoleon III lived for a while. Not Napoleon the first, but the Third.
The Arc de triumph du Carrousel, located inside the Louve Grounds, built between 1806 and 1808 by Napoleon I following the model of the Arc of Constantine in Rome. The two arches built by Napoleon to commemorate his victories, and the grand army who had won them. The bronze horses on top of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel were originally taken from Saint-Marc of Venice
Teresa and I before the Arc. Behind us is the famous Glass Pyramid that was built to house the entrance to the Louve.
Guardian statues of these winged valkeries were on both sides.
Another shot of me in front of the Arc. Napoleon has this Arc built as well to honor his Grand Army that was conquering most of Europe.
The Louve officially started in 1793, and was enormously expanded by the loot and triubute accumulated by Napoleon. In 1848, the museum became property of the State. It has over 3000,000 items, including the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Winged Victory, and the famous painting "Liberty leading the People"
Under the glass pyramid of I.M. PEI. Is Mary Magdelane really buried under here? :) We got in just as the museum opened, so the crowds were not bad yet. Plus it was a Thursday, so many people were working, plus it was in November.
We rented some "self tour" headphones and started off. We decided to take the tour ourselves instead of paying for a tour, which was over $80. So, we tried the $10 headphone tour.
I took a large number of pictures, almost 300, but here are just a few...
We determined pretty quickly that the recorded tour was pretty bad, and not worth the $10 per person charge. Very few items were available to be described by the little computer inside the box.
Ancient greek statues. And if there was a description by the tour computer of an item, it almost always said something like "Here is pretty scultputure, magnificently done by the artist of a man/woman/bird, etc." and that was about it....:(
Coffin cover of a warrior. There were alot of very nicely done sculpture pieces that were made for peoples mausoleums.
The famous St. George vs. the Dragon carving...I had seen images and pictures of this famous carving for many years in many different books and stories.
A life sized wooden carved tomb covering from the 15th century.
Tons and tons of marble statues....
Although the contents of the Louve were impressive, Teresa and I were just as impressed by the architecture of the building. Many different styles, all elegant and very impressive!
I really liked the dragon lamps like this that was in this wing of the Louve...
The apartments of Napoleon III
What a shack....!!!
Very pretty...but the chairs don't look real comfortable! I likeour modern recliners better...heh.
Very nice ceilings tho. It is the kind of room you can check out for hours.
The formal dinning room. You can just imagine what it must have been like to have 100 people eating, with 100 servants behind serving food, with exotic uniforms, dresses and music...
I want a room like this in my castle!
A bust of Napoleon the first.
The throne of Napoleon III.
Then we started looking at the paintings. I took about 80 pictures of paintings, mostly ocean or fighting scenes. Preferably both!
One of the enclosed courtyards inside a wing. Filled with statues of course.
An ocean scene...
Lookingoutside from the apartments of Napoleon III at theArc de triumph du Carrousel
And down to the pyramid.
Some of the paintings were pretty big...and all were hundreds of years old.
There were alot of these "medium sized paintings"...
And a few that were even bigger....
Fortunately there were alot of benches for people to sit on. A good number of people were making their own paintings of the paintings.
Here is me with a "big" painting...bigger than my house in Tokyo!
Looking out a window to the government buildings outside the Louve grounds.
There was a huge collection of Egyptian artifacts as well. The Louve is famous for it's Egyptian Collection...