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Paris - l'Orangerie

Deans last day

sunny 78 °F
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Since Dean leaves tomorrow early, this is really his last day in Paris - wow the time flies. He has some souvenir shopping to do, so the rest of us set out for the L'Organerie without him. Though I had been here before, and been amazed by it before; I had failed to appreciate its splendor until the visit brought it all back to life for me. The Monet's are spectacular of course, as is the room designed to hold them.


However, the other famous paintings housed here are astonishing as well and reminded me that although I fancy myself as having a preference for sculpture mediums over paintings, I do really enjoy fine artwork in any form - Renior, Modigliani, Laurencin, Utrillo, Demain, etc. We might have spent more time here than at any other museum (although this one is much smaller).


Off to montmartre area, where we were surprised to stumble by the Paris Duck Store - and more surprised that it really was a store that sold ducks - rubber ducks - only rubber ducks modeled after famous people.


Up the venicular (sans Phil, who took the steps) to the Sacre Coeur - a really fabulous church with spectacular views (inside and out).


Then a nice stroll down the montmartre, with lots of artistic, usual and unusual sights (guys playing Bocce ball, garden of jeans, lots of cute stairs and one strange squirrel - for Gwen).


We ended up at a nice restaurant in Pigalle with a terrace that overlooked the busy square. They served very reasonably priced drinks (wine and soda) in their own branded bottles.


It seems we were at the edge of the red light district, which was confirmed as Phil was propositioned twice while waiting outside after the meal (just taking a picture).

Dean was ready to join us, but took a bit to track us down as we were on the move to the Centre Pompideu area. Phil and Kate decide to visit the modern art inside, we did some more strolling and browsing. Dean finally caught up with us - of course, then he and Rishaun had to get some more gelatto (italian ice cream).

With Dean we decided to check-out the FIFA Fan Fest area for the Germany game - to see it and decide if we wanted to stay for the France game tonight. It was a nice park, but not that great of a venue (screen was not too big, small beers for 5 euros and no food, no real seating either).


We went in search of somewhere else to watch - but it seems that no placed pleased everyone - chairs without backs, screen too dim, or inside was too hot (no a/c or breeze). After a few different attempts, we decided to go back to our hotel area where there was supposed to be a restaraunt showing the games. Unfortunately, it was all reserved seating. About to give up, we found the place just next store with a large TV, a little breeze and open sitting. I very honest bar, Les Quais, and a very nice owner (one-man operation). We had a group of young kids watching and enjoying the game with us. And I found a new favorite drink - not the green one - but Ricard Pastis (anise based liquor)


Dean says his goodbyes after half time, and we are down to 5 now. Safe travels Dean, it was great to have you along!

Posted by M6-Greg 22:45 Archived in France Comments (0)

Paris - St Chapell

Second Game Day

sunny 76 °F
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RIshaun's Birthday today!
Gwen had ordered a birthday cake to be delivered to the hotel - but the time was not set - so we planned to bounce back and forth from the hotel.
Breakfast at Dean's favorite place - USA as he likes to call it - really US Atelier for a nice omelette. Also, had to get a picture of Dean in typical garb - his blazer and flip flops (which he claimed were special plantar fasciitis orthopedics).


We are traveling out to see Notre Dame - too sad a sight for pictures I guess (I thought I took a couple - but I have plenty of good ones from prior visits). We did get into St. Chapell which is a small but lovely church.


Next was a quick trip to the Champs-Elysees - Rishaun wanted to shop there - which I didn't expect. There were lots of fast food chains (Five Guys, McDonald's, etc) which we were going to let him eat at, but the lines were too long for him, so no luck - thank goodness :) There was a failed attempt at buying a soda from the vending machines as well...


Back to the hotel - and the birthday cake had arrived! Turning 15 in Paris might be something he remembers fondly in the future (hopefully), but not really right now. Phil and Kate add their 2 extra birthday songs after the traditional Happy Birthday To You chorus from all of us. Oh, and no surprise, the cake was very good!


Second Game Day. We depart for the stadium in time to hopefully catch some of the early game (Sweden/Thailand) on TV (and because we figured the metro would be even more crowded closer to game time). Despite our usual lack of luck finding the games, we did find a pub with it on - but they were overwhelmed, but finally did get some food and drinks.


We are altogether, but our seats are not as good for this game, second row on the second deck, in the corner. Unfortunately, the seats are extremely cramped (regular PSG stadium). Rishaun and I are trying to sit sideways just to fit. Having enough of it before the game started, I tried to stand in the entrance to watch. But once others tried to do the same, we all got chased off. Despite the over 45k people present for this game, I was lucky enough to find 2 empty seats on the front row - and I needed 2 seats because of the concrete wall, I had to sit sideway just to fit. Assuming you know the result, but another good win for us (albeit a much closer game). I was odd to see the Chilean goal keeper be award the Player of the Match (having given up 3 goals) - but she did make some phenominal saves (at least 3-4) - and these were all on our end of the field.


We found a nice Pizza place for Rishaun and enjoyed waiting out the crowd for the return home on the subway. Birthday complete with one more trip to Tarmac for Rishaun's favorite - the Dame Blanche.


Posted by M6-Greg 04:41 Archived in France Comments (0)

Paris - Louvre

The race to see it all

sunny 74 °F
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As many Paris tourist, the Louvre is one of the top sites on the list. Today is our day to go. Gwen is not feeling great, so she is headed to the doctor today instead of with us. Rishaun has been doing a fairly good job putting up with all the museums and old churches, so I decided he could lead the way to whatever he wanted to see at the Louvre - and more importantly at whatever pace he wanted to do it. I think he had the idea that he was going to "see" the whole thing. And we did cover a lot of ground, several of the floors, but somewhere along the way, the magnitude sank in and we slowed down a bit...


Gwen saw the doctor and got a prescription - without being too political and without any insurance, it only cost 25 Euros (about the same as a copay back home). She joins us for a late lunch in the Tuileries Garden at a nice outdoor cafe. With everyone museum'ed out for the day, we head back to watch some games on TV. Rishaun got out of the Metro first and a little fruit stand vendor ask him to watch his stand while he went to the restroom - funny. We tried a new cafe that was supposed to have the games but didn't, so we headed for the Tarmac stand-by.


One reason to come back to home base early in the day was that we had late dinner planned with a river cruise (for Rishaun's birthday fortnight). It was a nice meal with very nice views...


Posted by M6-Greg 01:49 Archived in France Comments (0)

Paris - Versailles

King Louie's grand place...

sunny 65 °F
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Contrary to the last blog entry, we all get up early for the trip to Versailles. It is a bit over an hour by metro and train out to the city where the complex is. There are three main parts - the Chateau/Palace, the Gardens and the Trianons. I had only seen the gardens, so I was looking forward to it. The Palace opened at 9am and we were in line as planned by 8:30am. It started a bit unimpressive, but quickly gained momentum with all the fabulous rooms and the tremendous Hall of Mirrors...


The gardens are extremely vast (they rent golf carts). There are "roads" between areas as well and many musical water fountain displays. Loads and loads to see.


As we made it up one side of the garden, we stopped for a lunch break in the park. Next a few of us rented bikes to ride to the Trianons (riding on cobblestone roads was an experience). The Grand Trianon is amazing by itself.


Gwen called and made reservations at a place we wanted to eat near our hotel. So after a long day and some struggles with the laundry mat, we had a very nice sit down meal.


Posted by M6-Greg 00:51 Archived in France Comments (0)

Paris - Eiffel Tower

Traditional sightseeing

semi-overcast 68 °F
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Sleeping in seems to be a hit with our crowd (although maybe not with Dean), so we head out a little before noon towards the Eiffel Tower and Rue Cler. The plan was to shop the market for picnic items and enjoy them on the lawn outside of the tower. Rue Cler is a very short street but packed with shops and options for fresh produce, prepared food, cheeses, wine, etc. But we our group separates due to impatience and my own misguided stubbornness (and lack of direction), so we meet up in time to go inside. Perhaps we didn't prepare well enough - but Rishaun didn't mind eating chicken this way...


Unfortunately, the security is changed and painfully slow - but Phil and Kate and have nice bottle of wine to share while waiting in line (although we probably had time for 2 or 3 bottles). Once inside, it was not crowded (as everyone was late for their planned times). The Eiffel is really an amazing experience...


We went over to the Rodin Museum, which is a very nice museum, mostly sculptures of course, with a very nice outdoor area. Unfortunately, there was a private event in some of the garden, so we didn't get to see it all.


We headed to the Le Marais area to find a place for dinner - our 1st choice of course required reservations, but we found a nice place nonetheless with very good traditional french cuisine.

All in all, a pretty great first day in Paris - looking forward to much more...

Posted by M6-Greg 00:24 Archived in France Comments (0)

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