Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sept 18 - Day 2 of France - Paris

Day 2 (Sept 18) of our trip to France was our last day in Paris.  We were all pleasantly surprised when we woke up after a full nights sleep and not much of a trace of jet lag. 

Matt, Ted and I started our day off by taking a 2+ hour tour on the hop-on, hop-off red bus (Les Cars Rouges).  I would highly recommend this to anyone who visits Paris.  It passes by all the famous landmarks of Paris and allows you to hop-on and hop-off at about 5 different locations. We caught the bus right outside of our hotel at the Louvre stop and then enjoyed the views of Notre Dame, Musee D'Orsay, Opera, Arc de Triomph, Grand Palais, Trocadero, Eiffel Tower and Hotel de Invalides. 

We had lunch in the Latin Quarter near Notre Dame and then Matt and I set off to explore Sainte Chapelle which is easily one of the most beautiful churches we have ever seen.  It is located near Notre Dame on the island in the middle of the Seine River.

The fantastic Gothic exterior of Sainte Chapelle - Consecrated in 1248 and housing the Crown of Thorns
The upper chapel of Sainte Chapelle - Fantastically high and ornate stained glass windows - As you would your way up the spiral staircase from the lower chapel and emerged into the upper chapel, you could not help but say "WOW!!!"
 Matt and I then explored the Latin Quarter on foot and came across the Pantheon of Paris.  It was a beautiful building.

The front facade of the Pantheon - Modeled after the Roman Pantheon of course.
The interior domes of the Pantheon - Magnificent murals and statues.
We really enjoyed Paris and it seemed that everywhere that you looked, it was a gorgeous site.  Here is a view from the street on which the Pantheon was located - what a view!!

Is that the Eiffel Tower peaking out?  I believe so - Not a bad view anywhere in the Latin Quarter.
We met everyone back at the hotel to take our Seinne River Cruise in the evening.  We were all quite excited to be doing a cruise at sunset to marvel at the great views of Paris at night.  We were a bit disappointed as the boat was huge and we were going to be one of the last ones to get on (and have to sit outside).  We elected to take the next boat, but did not realize that in doing this, we would miss our bus transportation back to near our hotel.  It started raining during the boat ride (thank goodness we were inside) so we had to find our way back from the Eiffel Tower area to our hotel.  It involved lots of Metro stops and we even  managed to get lost in the Metro.  Not to mention that I became a criminal during one of our last transfers, my metro ticket stopped working so I had to jump the turnstile to get on the subway.  It was quite the late night as we had dinner at 11pm and managed to make it back to the hotel by 1am. 

We were rewarded with a wonderful view of the Eiffel Tower at night.
I'm still working on photos for the next couple of days so look for more posts soon.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Update & Day 1 of France - Paris

Hi Everyone - Sorry we have been MIA for about a month, but its been a busy one.  We enjoyed our few final days in Maine, loved visiting France and Belgium and survived the 2,000+ mile drive to get back to Denver from Portland.  We are now relaxing and resting after a very busy 3 weeks in Golden, CO.  We will be in Colorado until we leave for Alaska on Oct 31 where we will be in Haines for the month of November.  After Alaska, back home to Colorado for a bit.

I thought I would start to post some of our photos and adventures while we were in Europe.  We left Portland Maine on Friday, Sept 16 for the long flight over to Paris, France.  We arrived in Paris about 6:15am on Saturday the 17th.  We waited at the airport for the rest of the Shetzer family to arrive.

Annie had planned a wonderful tour of France for us.  We would visit Paris, Caen, Mt St Michel, Tours, & Versailles.
 While we were quite sure that we would be really jet lagged because of flying through the night, time changes and very little sleep on the plane, we were all pleasantly surprised that we got in a full day of sightseeing on Saturday.  Annie did a great job with finding the perfect location for our hotel near the Louvre so we were able to walk everywhere. 

Our first stop was the cathedral of Notre Dame.  This was an amazing church just a few blocks from our hotel.

The front facade of Notre Dame

The detailed carvings of the entryway arches

Beautiful stained glass

Opps....  Looks like someone lost their head - Are we sure we aren't in England during the reign of Henry VIII?

We then walked from Notre Dame to visit the crypts under it and then headed back to our hotel apartment for a very short rest.  After our nap, we decided to walk to the Arc de Triomphe which was down the Champs-Elysees from our hotel. 

We walked through the huge complex of the Louvre.
Matt and Ted outside the main entrance of the Louvre.
We walked down the Champs-Elysees with a beautiful view of the Arc de Triomphe all the way.  The walk was a bit longer than we anticipated, but it was well worth it as when we arrived at the Arc, we were able to take the elevator to the top and have great views of Paris.

Arc de Triomphe

The Arc was huge, look at how little Ted and Matt are in this photo.

Ted and I posing from the top of the Arc in front of the Eiffel Tower.

View of the Eiffel Tower from the top of the Arc de Triomphe

We were all a bit tired from our walk to the Arc so we decided to take advantage of our hop on and hop off bus tickets on the Les Cars Rouges to get back to our hotel.

Ted enjoying the view from the top deck of the double decker bus.

Matt enjoying the view from the Les Cars Rouges

My view of Matt and the Eiffel Tower from our bus tour.
The landmark of Paris...  The Eiffel Tower
We then walked to have a wonderful fondue dinner at Pain, Vin, Fromages.  We were quite surprised when we exited the basement caverns of the restaurant and found it raining hard outside.  This is really the only bad weather we experienced on the whole trip.  We found the nearest Metro (subway) station and proceeded to figure out how to get back to our hotel.  This was the end of the first of two days in Paris.  More to come later...