Halcyon Repose

Paris Trip

*Day 1*

We started out the first day with a walk to the Bastille, or at least where the Bastille used to be. There is now a statue in the center of the square, the other large building in the photo is the Opéra de la Bastille one of the more modern buildings in Paris.

On the walk to the Ile de la Cite, we passed a number of small churches. I do not know their name, but they were both breathtaking in their own right. We also passed by a large building, we were not sure what it was, but our best guess was it was some sort of government building.

Notre-Dame Cathedral

We eventually found our way to the Ile de la Cité, and on it the Notre-Dame Cathedral. I may not be a relegious person, but I can understand why such buildings are built. A nice cool dark place to go and get away from the world. A place to put your life away and look to the heavens, to think thoughts higher than your lowly self.

The Cathedral’s graceful arches and shadowy interior are the true meaning of gothic. The only problem with Notre-Dame is that, like all of the other cathedrals and chapels, the interior is too dark for good pictures with my measly little camera.

The Place St Michel.

A fountain in the square depicting St Michel’s defeat of the dragon.

Jardin du Luxembourg.

The Gardens of Luxembourg is a large park, south of the Ile de la Cite. The park has a large pool, allowing kids the opportunity to sail their toy boats from one side to the other. There were some beautiful statues around the main fountain, and of course lots of flowers.


Beyond the reference to this church in Dan Brown’s “The Davinci Code”, it also houses a large 100 stop pipe organ. One of only three within Paris. The church was currently undergoing some exterior renovations, which unfortunately means I was not able to see the church in all of it’s glory. One interesting note was that the fountain out front of the chapelle was currently dry, providing the local children with a rink for their in-line skates and scooters.

*Day 2*

Musee du Louvre

We started day 2 out at the Louvre. Even before stepping into the Louvre, you can’t help but be overwhelmed by it’s obvious size. Standing in the middle, it stretches around you like a town unto itself. From the center of the courtyard, the Pyramid rises from the ground like some modern work of art in and of itself.

We managed to get through two of the wings (Sully and Denon), which housed most of the art that I was
interested in seeing. There is so much to see there, and just when you feel like you are starting to get numbed by the sheer amount of pieces on display, you are pulled up short by something else that just jumps out at you.

They don’t allow pictures in a majority of the Louvre, but the statuary is free game. Once out of the museum I walked to the base of the Arc du Carrousel, and took a quick video of the Louvre to show how big this place really is.

From the Louvre, I struck out North for a quick run past the Opera national de Paris, and then back down to the Jardin des Tuileries.

Place de la Concorde

Outside of the Tuileries, is the Place de la Concorde. Originally the location of a statue of Louis XV, it was torn down during the French Revolution and the guillotine was erected in it’s place. Now it is the site of the Obelisk of Luxor, as well two fountains created at the same time.

From the Place de la Concorde, I traveled up the Champs-Elysées towards the Arc de Triumphe. Along the way I passed by the Grand Palais and the Petite Palais.

Arc de Triomphe

The Champs-Elysées has grown increasingly commecial over the past few years, but from the center of the street, a line of trees along each side of the road hide all the glamour and neon. At the end of the street is the Arc de Triomphe itself. I didn’t get a chance to get climb till later in my trip, but I did get to snap a few pictures on this visit.

*Day 3*

On day three I took my trip to the Paris Office. Not very notible for sight seeing reasons, but the fact that I navigated through the metro, caught the bus, and managed to successfully arrive at the site was an accomplishment in and of itself. Unfortunately it was a hectic day at the office so I didn’t get the grand tour, but I enjoyed the visit none the less.

*Day 4*

The Catacombs

Below the Paris streets, in series of old abandoned rock quarries, is the mass grave of over 5 million people. The church’s graveyards were overflowing with plague victims, and so they were transferred here. Dark and wet, the catacombs are filled with the bones of these victims. Stacks of these bones line the passageways, and I can’t help but wonder who would take the time to arrange these bones in such a morbid display.

Sacré-Coeur Basilica

Built to either honor the soldier killed in the Franco-Prussian war, or in rememberence of the sins of Paris which lead to it’s defeat during the war, the Sacré-Coeur Basilica is located on the Montmartre hill in the North of Paris. The steps before the basilica were crowded with people relaxing and enjoying the view of the city.

*Day 5*

A vacation from the vacation
Sunday morning we hoped on a train to the small town of Esbly which was about 40km east of Paris. Ufortunately upon arriving in this small Paris town, we discovered that the buses did not run on Sundays. Dispite the look of disbelief on the local’s face when we asked for directions, we decided to hike out the last 5k on foot. Our journey took us through 3 small towns, including the town of Jablines, where all the locals were having a group garage sale. The local school was also providing concessions, which suited us just fine as it was lunch time.

After eating we continued on to the disc golf course. Once there, we ran into a group of natives playing a round of disc golf, and they graciously allowed us to play with them.

After making the hike back from the disk golf course, we arrived back in Paris just in time to catch a classical concert at the very beautiful Sainte-Chapelle.

*Day 6*

We started out my last day in Paris by heading towards the Eiffel Tower. After exiting the metro near the Palais de Chaillot, I noticed this carving in the wall across the street. We also found a nearby graveyard which caught our attention.

Eiffel Tower and the Ecole Miliataire

The Stairs below the Palais de Chaillot lead to a bridge over the Seine, and then on to the Eiffel Tower. The line was a bit too long to attempt going to the top at that time, but we made a pass through and continued on to the Paris Military School.

Hotel des Invalides

Just north east of the Ecole Miliataire is the is the Hotel des Invalides. Originally used as a place for the wounded soldiers of France, this is also the site of Napoleon’s Tomb, and the Musée de l’Armée, which houses an astounding collection of historic weapons and armor.

Random parks and the Grand and Petite Palais

Champs-Elysée, Arc De Triumphe

Another trip to the Champs-Elysée, this time including a lunch at a cafe along the roadside, and a trip up to the top of the Arc De Triumphe.

Eiffel Tower

I managed to finish off my trip with another visit to the Eiffel tower, this time including a 2.5 hour round trip up to the top.

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