November 16: Today we did the grand tour of highlights of Paris. We took the subway to Notre Dame and then walked from there to the Louvre Museum. We saw the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and then wandered around for about 2 hours. Actually we got lost and had a hard time finding our way out of the Lourve. It is easy to do since this museum is one of the largest in the world. Next stop was the Opera house but we couldn't go in because it was closed to the public today. So we walked over to the Champs Elysee and walked thru a Christmas street fair and then the famous boulevard. At the end of this fabulous shopping area is the Arc de Triomphe. After walking around this arc we took the subway home and picked up some take away food for dinner.
November 17: Today we took the subway to Versailles. The Palace of Versailles is a royal château in Versailles in the Île-de-France region of France. When the château was built, Versailles was a country village; today, however, it is a suburb of Paris, some 20 kilometres southwest of the French capital. The court of Versailles was the centre of political power in France from 1682, when Louis XIV moved from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in October 1789 after the beginning of the French Revolution. Versailles is therefore famous not only as a building, but as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy of the Ancien Régime. What a beautiful palace. We walked thru the palace and saw the kings apartments, queens apartments, and the hall of mirrors. Then we walked thru the gardens to Marie Antoinette's private living quarters. We spent all day at this beautiful place. That night Dean and I had a delightful dinner at a local brassiere.
November 18: The Opera house was open today so we toured it in the morning. The Palais Garnier is an elegant 1,979-seat opera house, which was built from 1861 to 1875 for the Paris Opera.
The Palais Garnier is "probably the most famous opera house in the world, a symbol of Paris like Notre Dame cathedral and the Louvre". This is at least partly due to its use as the setting for Gaston Leroux's 1911 novel The Phantom of the Opera and the novel's subsequent adaptations in films and Andrew Lloyd Webber's popular 1986 musical. We walked to the Invalides where Napoleon's tomb is and got lost walking there which is easy to do since Paris streets run every direction! Les Invalides contains museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building's original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l'Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d'Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France's war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte. We walked thru the Army museum, saw Napoleon's tomb, and looked at old war relics. That night we had another lovely dinner and another wonderful pastry!
November 18: We left for the airport around 9:30. Took the subway again and got to the airport around 11 for a 2:30 flight. We flew Air France to New York and landed around 4:30. That night we stayed in a Howard Johnson ( a dump) and flew out the next day for Phoenix. It is great to be back in the USA!
Pictures: Dean and I at the Eiffel Tower, entrance to the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, gates to Versailles,
Hall of Mirrors, gardens of Versailles, chandelier at opera house, Napoleon's tomb, leaving our apartment, pastry shop.