Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Paris | Part I

Lots of playing with Eva to keep a sleepy baby happy! 
She crashed hard right after these were taken...
Our only warm, sunny day in Paris was the day we arrived. Most of our trip was cool, breezy and sometimes rainy.. I am so, so glad we went straight to the Eiffel tower and took photos there while the sun was shining! We returned again at dusk to watch the lights come on and people watch in the park. Eva was getting tired, so we had to keep her entertained until she finally fell asleep, but the atmosphere was magical. There were thousands of young people lounging on the grass, drinking wine and waiting for the twinkling lights to start...

The tower was just plain impressive. Did you know that it was originally meant to be a temporary tower, built for the World's Fair in 1889... I am sure glad they decided to leave it standing when the Parisans realized what a great radio tower it was. Here's a link to a short article with more info on the tower. Wow! :) I took a lot of photos while in Paris... and tons of the Eiffel. Can't wait to get some of these printed and hung at home!

A view from the other side, with the park behind us...
On day two of our trip, we took a walking tour using another Rick Steve's mp3. I'm sure hearing about his audio guides gets old, but truly, they are so informative! They save us money - and many of them come with pdf maps that are useful, too... So we started our walk at Notre Dame cathedral, and then we finished up the day by going to the Louvre museum, just in time to avoid the rain! We were exhausted by the time we made it back to our hotel... Lots of walking! 

A view of the cathedral's front side...

The view of Notre Dame from the back is actually more impressive than the iconic front side. So much detail!
This year, Notre Dame cathedral is celebrating its 850th anniversary! It's hard to even imagine a building that has been around so long. Originally, the city of Paris was going to condemn/destroy the structure, but pressure to clean it up came after Victor Hugo's novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame became so popular. Some even say he wrote the novel as a plea to save the cathedral.

On the far left side of this photo (above) you can see a blue spot - it's a large set of temporary bleachers with a large 850 banner, and it was totally to blame for me not getting one picture from the front of the entire building. It was blocking my view. Yeah, I'm a little bitter. But there are tons of awesome photos online. Anyway, 850 years! Incredible!!! 

Another highlight of our walking tour was seeing the famous Shakespeare and Company Bookstore! It was busy and we were starting to drag...  So we didn't go inside, but snapped a few photos out front. You can read more about the bookstore here.

One of my favorite things about visiting Paris was that everything was decorative and beautiful. I think this was a street sign near a metro stop along Champs-Elysees, a famous shopping area.

Loved the metro signs, too... Remember my complaint about how much walking we did? Well, I had read that Paris is a city you need to walk to truly experience. We took that advice a little too literally. By the end of our trip, we had probably walked over 20 miles... Whew!