Welcome Guest | Login or Register

Paris 2009 – Day 1

Welcome to the first day of my 2009 trip to Paris! Technically, this is the third day, but the first two were spent flying and sleeping. I had a ‘lovely’ 7 hour layover in Dusseldorf on the way over and didn’t make it into Paris until late afternoon the day after I flew out of Boise. All I had time to do was eat an early supper and get fairly snockered on two bottles of wine my parents generously shared with me.

This year I’m travelling with my wonderful girlfriend, Michelle and two of my close friends, Jeff and Jen (JJ or ‘fish hooks’). We met up over at JJ’s place Wednesday morning and set out on a walking tour of Paris with a planned culmination at the Paris Catacombs. What follows are pictures of some of the things we saw along the way.

NOTE: To view a bigger, pop-up version of any image, click on the image. Click on it again to scroll through the images in the group. Click away from the image to close the pop-up.

Saint Jacques TowerStatue of Blaise Pascal in Saint Jacques Tower

The first thing we noticed on our walk was Saint Jacques Tower. It was once a part of a much larger church which was dedicated to Saint James the Great. A statue of Blaise Pascal commemorating the experiments on atmospheric pressure he performed here.

Michelle and me in front of the SeineGates to the Palais de JusticeInteresting 'Hearts' Metro entranceMichelle in front of the Fountain of Saint Michael

Next, we crossed a bridge over the Seine and I paused briefly for a picture with Michelle. Shortly afterwards, we wandered past a store with the most beautiful orchids that had Michelle enchanted (sadly, I did not get a picture of them). Then we came upon the Palais de Justice (the Supreme Court of France) which is right next to the Saint Chapelle church. The line for the church was too long, so we proceeded on to the fountain of Saint Michael. Near the fountain was one of several weird Metro entrances which looks to me like two suspended beating hearts.

Statue of Dancing Faun in Luxembourg GardensStatue in Luxembourg GardensPalace of Luxembourg (French Senate)Arr! - A pirate boat in the pond at Luxembourg GardensUs in front of the Fountain of the Observatory in Luxembourg Gardens

Next we wandered towards the Luxembourg Gardens. We stopped for an overpriced lunch at a cafe nearby (welcome to Paris!) and then continued our meandering. The gardens provided us with many interesting sights and people-watching. My favorite shot was the boats in the pond. One was trussed up like a pirate ship – Arrrr! On our way out of the gardens, Michelle and I paused for a picture in front of the Fountain of the Observatory.

Paris public toiletCatacombs are closed due to vandalismThe Lion of Belfort statue

Potty stop! ‘Toilettes’ similar to the one shown above are featured all over the streets of Paris and are completely free (although they used to charge). Once you are done using one, the entire inside is hosed down for the next visitor. We finally arrived at the Catacombs only to discover that they were closed due to vandalism. We looked the story up later and apparently someone snuck in a private entrance over the weekend and purposefully set off the fire suppression system and washed down multiple walls of bones. The exhibit will be closed for a long time – perhaps permanently. Très horrible! At least I snapped a picture of the nearby mighty Lion of Belfort which was perched in the intersection across from the closed catacombs.

NOT the Panthéon (Val-de-Grâce military medical academy)Perils of Paris parallel parkingPanthéonDoorway at the Panthéon

So we decided to capture what remained of the day by visiting the Pantheon (which is the impressive tribute to and burial place of many famous figures in French history). As we marched in the general direction, I spied what I thought to be the rear-end of the Pantheon and declared it so to my travel-mates. They ‘ooh’ed’ and ‘ahh’ed’.  I also told them that the square in front was quite impressive so we decided to march around the other side to see. Of course, what I thought was the Pantheon was actually the Val-de-Grâce military medical school which comprises several GIANT city blocks and our trip around it turned out to be a marathon. Fortunately, we did eventually find the real Pantheon and snapped a couple pictures of it.  I also snapped a picture of a typical Parisian parking situation which is a scooter pulled into an already tiny occupied parallel parking spot. How is that red car getting out?

Dinner at La Machon 1Dinner at La Machon 2

After we marched back to our ‘home’ we decided to dine out at La Marchon which is a tiny, yet excellent little restaurant near our place. Christian (seen in the second picture) treats us like family and provides us with several extra caraffes of wine free of charge. The food was excellent!

With a full belly and a pleasant tingling in the brain, we made our way back home for some much needed rest. Tomorrow, we climb to the highest point in Paris (and it’s not the Eiffel Tower)… See you all then!

Trackback this Post | Feed on comments to this Post

Leave a Reply