80/365 March 27: Airbus A380 to Singapore

No photos from March 26.  We rose early and our taxi picked us up shortly after 7:30.  We made good time to the airport and were able to see Diane to her check in line before finding the shuttle and heading to our terminal.  

The flight was long – more than 13 hours.  The Airbus A380 is a lovely plane. It has more room. The seats recline differently somehow so it doesn’t wound the knees of tall people sitting behind.  The cabin pressure is better so you don’t end up quite as dry on these long flights.  Each seat has its own entertainment system so I watched movies all the way home, including Avatar, Percy Jackson and the Olympians,  a Disney movie about the frog prince set in New Orleans, an Irish comedy about two weddings, and a Japanese comedy about physics.  The food was fine.  

The only bad part was that French security had confiscated by wooden knitting needles.  I pointed out that they were the same size and shape as a pen which he allowed. He concurred but confiscated them anyway.  So I knit with the innards of two pens.  Not an easy task and at one point the pens began leaking!  Still I am now on the last edge of the blanket I have been knitting for months.  I hope I can get new needles so I don’t need to continue using the pens.

As we disembarked, I realized I wasn’t the only one interested in the plane.  Many, many of the passengers were lined up snapping photos.  I only had my phone so this photo doesn’t do it justice.

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Our furkids were delighted to see us and stayed nearby where ever we were.  Here’s Batu snuggled against me while I work on the computer. 

 


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Later that evening she snoozed beside me. She looks so big here.  It must be the camera angle.

 


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Unfortunately, we were bad and went to sleep when we arrived home at 8 am.  We had almost no jet lag in Paris but since we did this I expect we will have some here.

 

79/365 March 25, Lunch and the Cluny Museum

Steve’s family was up early with many places to visit on Thursday. Kent, Diane and I had a late start because we couldn’t figure out the French phones. We were trying to make arrangements for our trip to the airport the next day, but none of the numbers we had did anything but give us a busy signal. Finally we sent emails to a number of options (none of which were replied to) and headed out.  

Unfortunately, the predicted rain has started. I decide the trip we had planned to a garden should be postponed. We ducked into a restaurant in our neighborhood to revise our plans.   Kent and Diane shared a cheese and meat plate.

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It came with the ubiquitous salad and was delicious.

 

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Since it was my last day in Paris I ordered the fixed price three course meal. It started with a mushroom salad with a lovely lemon dressing. That was followed by liver. It was well prepared, but I discovered that I still don’t like liver.

 

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The restaurant was decorated with toys. There was even a fish bowl next to me.

 

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Over lunch we mapped out how to get to the Cluny Museum. By the time we were done eating the rain had stopped. 

The Cluny is set in one of the only two remaining house from the 15th Century.  However, house is a bit misleading – it was large.  It houses art from the Medieval and Renaissance periods.  It has a truly lovely collection of stained glass.  Diane was enraptured with it.

 

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These little scenes are carved on narwhal tusks.

 

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We never did figure out what this man is doing to that lion.

 

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The museum has a fabulous tapestry collection.  It has the 5 panels of The Lady and the Unicorn tapestry. However, the lighting in that room was low to preserve the tapestries so I didn’t take any photos.  Here’s a different one intead.

 

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Kathy, Here’s a dog figurine for you.

 

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Here’s another one.

 

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More of the lovely glass. 

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I liked this small window.  Not sure if those are quails or pigeons.

 

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The museum has lovely illuminated books. Here’s an illuminated letter from one page. 

 

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The ceiling in the chapel was amazingly complex.

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The last display room had shields and armor.  (This ones for you Dad.)

 

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On Wednesday the temperature went up to 72º F so by Thursday blossoms, flowers and buds were bursting forth everywhere.

 

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From here we tried to go home.  I got us on the right bus, but it was going the wrong way so we ended up riding almost the entire route. The bad part was that we were on it for more than an hour. The good part was we saw a lot of Paris that we wouldn’t have otherwise seen.

That night, we dined with the daughter of one of Kent’s childhood friends. She is studying in Paris. It was a true delight to see her.  The restaurant we chose served duck. Lots of it in lots of different ways. It was a good way to end our trip.

 

78/365 March 25: Rodin Museum

We took the bus to the Rodin Museum.  When we disembarked, we saw this view of the Eiffel Tower. It was the tallest building in the world from the late 1800’s until the 1920’s when the Chase Tower was built.

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On the way we walked past the military museum. Napoleon is buried there. There were small but lovely gardens on the grounds.

 


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Here’s Steve feeling pensive in front of The Thinker.

 

The Rodin Museum is held in his former home.  The gardens are lovely and there are many sculptures in the garden.

 


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Here’s a shot of the museum.

 


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There were many birds enjoying a small pool in the gardens. This bird is larger than an American Chickadee, and it has yellow on its back. However, it acted and flew like our chickadees.

 


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There were artists sketching the statues in the garden.

 


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There are many lovely domes in Paris.

 


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Being spring break, there are also many sleepy teenagers.

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I hadn’t realized that The Thinker was originally part of Rodin’s huge Gates of Hell doorway. It is a scene from Dante’s Inferno.

 


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That top picture makes the doors look white.  They are actually closer to the color below.

 


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Inside the house is Rodin’s private collection.  Kent says that many of the Parisian artists traded their art with each other. Here is a Renoir.

 


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a Van Gogh,

 


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and another Van Gogh,

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This view out one of the windows shows the interesting read branches about to bud out.

 


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Edvard Munch painted The Thinker.

 


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A lovely Roman statue in Rodin’s collection.

 


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From there, we stopped at a small cafe for lunch. I was able to order in French. The staff looked surprised and appreciative.

 


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Diane had a ham and cheese sandwich. 

 


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Kent and I both had traditional French sandwiches with Orangina.

 


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From there we went to Musee d’Orsay. That museum is in a beautiful old train station.  It has a fabulous collection of Impressionist paintings.  Unfortunately, they don’t allow photographs. I was even challenged by a guard for listing to Rick’s Steve’s podcast of the collection because my iphone has a camera.  

After the museum, we went home.

 

77/365 March 24: Food

We met up with Steve and his family at St. Chapelle. While we had a leisurely start to the day, the visited the Concierge where people where held before their trip to the guillotine during the revolution.  

From the chapel we took the train to the Bastille station. It was the closet stop to meeting our friends from school for lunch.  In the metro, I snapped these photos of the vending machines.  Lots of American treats, but a few European ones as well, such as the Haribo candies and the waffle.  I never see waffles in American vending machines, but here they are street and cafe food as well.

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Paris is the only place where Evian is not outrageously priced.

 


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We were dining at Le Petite Bofinger, the little sister of the famous Bofinger restaurant.  We had the three course fixed price menu and it was fabulous. I had a cheese soup as a starter, salmon for the main, and a lovely citrus fruit compote for dessert.  Everyone else had creme bruleé for dessert.

 


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Across the street is the grand Bofiner.

 


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The Bastille metro station is beneath this monument to the Bastille.  

 


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We waited in vain here for a bus to the Isle St. Louis. There was a Communist protest gearing up that was forcing the closure of many roads. Police presence was increasing so we decided to start walking.

 


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The island has been inhabited for a long time. It is quaint and lovely.  Here’s a shot of a window box for Mom.

 


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We had planned to go shopping but it was getting late so Kent, Diane, Steve and I headed home.  Here we are crossing over the Seine to get to the right bank.  

 


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Even the light posts are lovely in France.  Here’s a detail from one of them.  It’s for you, Dad.

 


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76/365 March 24: Our Apartment Courtyard and the St. Chapelle

This is the view of the courtyard of the apartment we stayed at on 16 Rue du Croissant 75002 in the 2nd androissement.

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 By Wednesday, the blossoms were opening on the trees.

 


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That morning we visited St. Chappelle. This church was built by Louis the XV to house Christ’s Crown of Thorns.  Purchasing the crown coast three times as much as building the chapel.  It is well known for it’s amazing windows.  Each set of windows tells a different section of the Old Testament.

 


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The rose window was built 200 years later in a different style of glass.

 


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75/365 March 22: Lunch, Batobus and Eiffel Tower

After the Louvre we walked to a nearby restaurant for lunch.  On the way we saw a Trane van.  My sister works for Trane and I see either one of their vehicles or one of their heating or cooling units in pretty much every country we visit.  Even Nepal.  I am never looking for them and I always laugh when I see them.  This one’s for you, Kathy!

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At lunch, video games were played.

 


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Paris style open-faced sandwiches, covered with delicious melted cheese were eaten.  Almost every lunch and dinner we ate came with a salad. It wasn’t even listed on the menu. All were good with fresh ingredients, not like the wilted, slimy ones served in Singapore and the US.

 


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Chris discovered many new foods in this salad included beets, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes and Parma ham. She didn’t fall in love with any of them.

 


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Here is my Quiche Lorraine.  It was so light and fluffy you could almost think it was low-cal. Almost.  I had Orangina to drink with it. Kent has a great Belgian wheat beer.

 


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From there, we took the Batobus. It is a river taxi. Our ticket allowed us to get on and off it all day.  We took it to the Eiffel Tower.  The lines to take the elevator were very, very long.  It was around 4pm and people were in line to purchase tickets for the 9pm trip up the tower.   Instead, we looked around and ate ice cream cones – a much better use of our time.  The next time I go to Paris, I will go online weeks ahead of time and book a lunch at the restaurant on the second level. It has great views and from there you can take the elevator to the top.  It is much cheaper than the restaurant at the top. That one costs hundreds of dollars for a dinner.

 


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Here is our Batobus.

 


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Diane really enjoyed the Batobus.  It was a great way to see many sights from the comfort of your chair. 

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From here, Kent, Diane, Chris and I went home.  The rest went on further adventures.

 

74/365 March 22, 2010: The Louvre Museum

On Monday morning we found a bus stop and figured out how to get to the Louvre Museum.   We decided to start with the Dennis wing since that is where the big three are.  Before we tracked them down, we strolled through a room of sculptures.  Here is a statue carved by Michelangelo Buonarroti.

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I loved this statue. It truly looks like he’s taking his own photo on a cell phone after killing the dragon.

 


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Here’s the Venus d’Milo, as lovely as ever.

 


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Formerly, the Louvre was the palace of the kings and queens of France.    The ceilings are works of art in themselves.

 


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I loved this one. It is gloriously overdone.

 


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I really liked the Winged Victory of Samorthrace, or what’s left of her.  Interestingly, in the room of paintings by the French Romantics, there is a huge painting of Liberty and she is in this same pose minus the wings and plug a head and arms.

 


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Near the Winged Victory were a number of Botticelli’s paintings.  Like Renoir, all the people in his paintings appear to be related.

 


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From there, we headed to the Grand Gallery of the Louvre.  It is full of artists I recognized,

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such as Raphael.  

 


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and Leonardo DaVinci.  The Mona Lisa is actually in a room off the Grand Gallery, but the other DaVinci paintings are in the Grand Gallery.

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In a room of French Romantic paintings there was an artist copying the painting that has the Winged Victory as LIberty.

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We entered and existed through the controversial pyramid entrance to the Louvre.  It fills the underground lobby with light and caused an uproar when it was built, both because it is so modern to be in the courtyard of a historical building and because the architect was American.

 


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You can rent audio tours of the Louvre.  I didn’t do that but I did have Rick Steve’s Paris podcasts on my iPod.  They covered the exact area we visited. It is not nearly as in depth and only covers a view objects of art, but I enjoyed it very much. You can download it from the iTunes store for free. It is meant to be a companion to his Paris guidebook.