Sunday, November 27, 2005

Paris - amazing city

I left for Paris early Saturday morning and arrived by noon. It was snowing in Luxembourg but I didn't expect it in Paris. When I arrived, it was still coming down and it was wonderful to feel the city in winter. I've discovered that I enjoy getting to know cities by walking (as evidenced by the Berlin blog entries). Well, I did it again.

If you know anything about Paris, the Saturday afternoon/evening walk started from Paris Est rail station, proceeded to il de la Cite' (the island where Notre Dame, Palais de Justice, and the Conciergeric are), through the Latin Quarter, St. Germain, to the Hotel des Invalides, the Grand/Petite Palais, up the Ave des Champs Elysees, the Arc de Triomphe, across to Montmartre, and back to the area of the Paris Est rail station (where I found a $50 Euro hotel).

I took several fun pictures that I hope you'll enjoy. The first below is Notre Dame. The second is the bridge looking back from the Grand Palais toward the Hotel des Invalides with the Dome Church of Louis XIV's reign in the background. The third is my first picture of the Eiffel Tower.

This entire walking journey was designed to familiarize me with the city while not doing things that I knew Diane, Darbi, and I would be doing when they get here. All in all the walk, with stops, took the next nine hours after I got to Paris. The last image I'll leave you with is the Ave des Champs Elysees just after the holiday lights came on. This event was absolutely hysterical. There were tens of thousands of people on the avenue at dusk when all of a sudden the entire area lit up with lights. The crowd cheered and ran for the middle of the street (obviously the location of my picture as well). The flashing of cameras was almost as bright of the lights. It was great celebrative fun and I called Diane while it was happening so that she could experience it vicariously.

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