01 August 2010

I think I heart this city

Our last day in the city of lights. What better way to spend it than enjoying bread and cheese in the park followed by some local shopping with intermittent cafe stops for a cold beer and some people watching. I'll miss this place.

Park De La Villette

Cite Des Sciences Et De L'Industrie

We closed out the vacation with a fabulous French dinner at L'Absinthe and then strolled through the Jardin Du Carrousel to check out the Louvre all lit up. This was definitely a trip of a lifetime and one we'll never forget!

Avoir Paris

Tour Eiffel

We decided on a low key day by the Eiffel Tower, followed by some wandering of the Champs-Elysees.

At 11:30pm we caught the infamous Moulin Rouge which lived up to all its hype.

Retail therapy

We needed a break after 10 continuous days of site seeing...to the Galleries Lafayette we went. Nothing like an American department store; 3 buildings with a total of 18 floors. Al parked it with a jug of wine in the food hall at the top of the steel and glass dome where we'd occasional pop in to drop bags and grab a brew. 6 hours later we called it a day.


It was nice to remove ourselves from the city for a day and enjoy the quiet. We rented a car and headed northwest towards Normandy with a quick stop in Poissy to visit Villa Savoye. Having studied Le Corbusier's work throughout college, it was a bit surreal to be standing in something so monumental to the architects of the 20th century.

Two hours later we pulled into Omaha Beach, the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial where over 9,000 soldiers were laid to rest. And then onto the battlefield of Pointe du Huc. There was an underlying sense of quiet and appreciation to these places...I'll leave it at that.

The Visitor Center

Omaha Beach & the English Channel

The Graves

Pointe du Hoc - Paulie P standing inside an impact crater.

The cliffs the army rangers climbed.

The remanence of an exploded bunker.

Modern kind of day

After a week of ancient architecture it was time for some modern art! I was even able to talk Al into joining us, although even I agreed that some of the exhibits proved to be a bit out there. The Centre Georges Pompidou houses the Modern Art Museum designed by Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano. Turning the building inside out, all of the mechanical piping is color coded on the outside along with an external escalator which climbs the facade in a plexiglass tube with spectacular views of the entire city. This was definitely one of my favorite places.

Our afternoon was consumed with shopping at Le Bon Marche, Paris's first department store and another scrumptious dinner at L-Epi Dupin.


If you ever get to Paris you have to check out the Catacombes. After snaking through 500m of underground labyrinth, you're surrounded by the skulls and femurs of some 6 million Parisians, artistically stacked in the 19th century. This place was incredible.

Paulie P and I spent the early afternoon perusing the bird market and enjoying Sunday brunch surrounded by the locals. Chris would never have survived.

The 6 of us spent the evening in Montmarte climbing our way to Sacre-Coeur, the highest point in Paris. The contrast between the white stone and the blue sky was beautiful. The place was jam packed with people and we even got to catch part of mass. We wandered our way back down the hill through the crowded streets stopping here and there for some beverages before taking the metro back to Oberkampf for a delicious dinner at the local L'Estaminet.

Have I mentioned that the sun doesn't begin to set until 10:30pm?!

City of lights

When you sit back and think about it, sometimes it's a little crazy how many historical landmarks you can take in in one day. We started the morning off meeting the infamous Mona. We arrived when the museum opened to insure a front row look. It's true what they say...she's pretty small in the grand scheme of things inside the Louvre.

The Louvre was amazing in the amount of ancient artwork and artifacts it houses, but I have to admit it's a bit overwhelming. We enjoyed the architecture just as much as the exhibits.

Next up were the Invalides, home of Napoleons tomb which rests in the crypt below the golden dome. He rests in an over scaled cocoon of six coffins.

For dinner Ms. Sara suggested we take an evening and spend it eating wine and cheese in a park; enjoy the local atmosphere. Where could be better than the Champ-de-Mars park at the foot of the Eiffel tower, followed by a tour.