Thursday, February 28, 2013

Paris, Day 2

Please excuse my lack of French characters.  I cannot figure out how to add them:(

Our second day in Paris began a lot like our first day.  We enjoyed a nice, leisurely morning in the apartment making breakfast, drinking coffee, reading and letting Ava take her nap. Side note- it is so crazy that Ava is awake for only 1 hour and the girl needs a nap.  After much debate, we decided to save the Louvre for another visit and planned to spend out day checking out the Arc de triomphe, the Eiffel Tour (or La tour Eiffel to the Parisians) and Musee De L'Armee

After all the walking we did yesterday, we decided to take the Metro to the Arc. Our apartment was located really close to the Metro.  The Metro lets out right across the traffic circle from the Arc and then you take a tunnel under the circle to the Arc.  This traffic circle is INSANE; 12 roads all converge at this circle.  I would like to see all the crazy folks from Pinehurst navigate that circle. 

We are standing right at the entrance of the tunnel to go under the traffic circle.

Tomb of the Unknown Solder, which has been located here since 1918. Originally, France's senate wanted the mortal remains of an unidentified soldier to be held at the Pantheon, but veterans rejected that choice and chose the Arc instead.

Since there was no line, we bought tickets to go to the top of the Arc.  The views of the city were quite spectacular. 

Avenue des Champs-Élysées

I love the juxtaposition of the old buildings in Paris and the modern buildings in La Defense
Montmarte and Sacre-coeur
You can't get a view of the Eiffel Tower from Eiffel Tower

It was really cold up there.
Some nerd facts about the Arc.  The Arc de triomphe de l'Etoile took 30 years to complete.  Napoleon wanted a monument that resembled architecture found in ancient Rome so his soldiers could, "march home through the arches of victory".  The arch is a symbol to commemorate the victory or a general or an emperor.  Napoleon did not live to see its completion. 

After the Arc we walked to the Eiffel Tower.  We had decided ahead of time that we would not go to the top. We did take some nice photos.

My favorite picture that I took of the tour.  This was from a park across the river on our walk over.
Ava was nice and cozy in there.  At one point she had taken off both her shoes and socks, but was still perfectly toasty.  We were was freezing.

Our last stop for the day was the Musee De L'Armee and Napoleon's Tomb.  The museum was huge.  Since we didn't have a ton of time, we decided to just visit the World War I and II exhibit and the tomb. The museum was very well done and it was really interesting to learn about the war from a different country's perspective, even if we were on the same side.  I didn't take any pictures inside the museum, but here are some pictures from outside.

This picture shows L'Hotel Des Invalides (on the left), Eglise Du Dome (Dome Chapel) Saint-Louis Des Invalides Chapel (behind the Dome Chapel).  This now museum was originally established 1670 to house disabled soldiers. The building on the left is still a veteran's hospital.  The Chapel was built in 1676.  There were two chapels, the royal chapel and the veteran's chapel.  They did this so the king and his soldiers could attend mass simultaneously, but through separate entrances.  The front chapel is now home to Napoleon's tomb.

The Eglise Du Dome
Finally, here are some pictures from inside the Dome Chapel. 

I do not totally remember, but I think this was the tomb of Napoleon's brother

Napoleon's Tomb- crazy, but inside this tomb you will find an oak coffin, holding an ebony coffin, then 2 lead coffins, then a mahogany one, a tinplate coffin and finally Napoleon.  This was not his original resting place.  His body was exhumed 19 years later (and still perfectly preserved) and brought here in 1840. 

That evening, Dan and I had nice dinner and then took the Metro back to the Eiffel Tower to see it at night, all lit up.  When we got off the train it was raining and freezing, so we turned the corner, saw the tower lit up, turned around and got back on the train towards the warmth of the apartment.  What can I say, we are fair weather tourists.

We all really enjoyed our time in Paris.  Even my father, who wanted nothing to do with Paris, was pleasantly surprised by the city's beauty and the kindness of its people.  Paris gets a bad name, but I think if more people visiting here understood that people LIVE in this city and are not just there to please tourists and appreciate the culture of the city instead of complaining that it lacks some of the comforts of the US they would have a better experience.  I look forward to making another trip back here in the not-so-distant future to visit the Louvre and Orangerie, do a little shopping, and make it to the top of the Eiffel Tower.  For now, au revoir.

No comments:

Post a Comment