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Old 09-28-2013, 06:28 PM   #271
pkondz
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Originally Posted by orangecats2 View Post
What's going on here? Where is everyone???

In other news: I chopped off my hair. If bunny girl and smidgy can do it, so can I
So you're bald now?

In other news, yes, I'm working on the next chapter.
It might be up tonight.

Might.
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Old 09-28-2013, 10:11 PM   #272
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Seeing an eyeful

Having dispensed with hunchback house it's time for the Eiffel Tower!

Hold on there Baba Louie!


We got a few other sights to take care of first!


Not too far from Notre Dame on Île de la Cité is another Church that we...

okay, okay.

...another Church that I wanted to see.


Sainte-Chapelle was commisioned in the mid 13th century by King Louis IX to house his collection of holy relics.
Specifically it was to be the home of Christ's Crown of Thorns. (Which is now housed in Notre Dame.)
Unlike Notre Dame, Sainte-Chapelle was built by IKEA in less then 10 years, and completed in 1248.

Oddly enough, while the King spent 135,000 French Pounds to purchase the Crown from the Emperor of Constantinople
(well, actually he paid the Venetians, since the Emperor had pawned it to them... which makes you wonder... for what???)
and another 100,000 Pounds on an elaborate silver chest to house the crown...

the church itself was a relative steal at 40,000 Pounds.


From Notre Dame, Sainte-Chapelle is a short walk (or for 25% of our party, a hobble) around the block away.
Since the church is located inside the same complex that houses the Palais de Justice, you have to go through a security checkpoint.


I had read that one of the nicest ways to have lunch in Paris was to purchase a baguette, some meat or veg, a bottle of wine and have a picnic. It sounded like a good idea to me, so I made sure that I carried my Swiss Army knife with me. In addition to a small knife blade, it also had a corkscrew, and a screwdriver, and an awl (athough I didn't know what it was awl for... sorry, that pun was awlful.), and a nail file, and a flamethrower, and a scissor, and a bunch of little accessories that served no purpose other than to take up space and enable you to show off the enormous amount of accessories contained in one moderately small.... well, slightly large, package.

I had this piece of ordinance in my pocket and I was a little concerned when I saw the Stalag 13 guards with their X-ray machine and latex glove clad oversize hands. But they were too busy being bored french civil servants to worry about little ol' me.
So while others put their oversized backpacks on the conveyor belt of fun, I motioned towards my small theft-proof camera bag and was promptly waved through.

Fools! Me and my 2 inch pocket knife were now poised for World Domination!!!

Well, maybe Parisian Domination

or maybe Sainte-Chapelle domin...

nevermind.


It's difficult to get a decent picture of Sainte-Chapelle.
At first you don't see it as you go through the crack security,
then you're basically right on top of it.

Or below...
whatever.

Ah, well, here's a quick snap, pretty much straight up.



Not the greatest, but the prize is inside anyway.

The church is divided into lower and upper sections. The lower section was once reserved for the King's staff.

Oh, and for those of you that can't read french, the sign says "Silence" which is french for Silence... or "shaddup".



Pretty in its own right, but the upper level, once reserved for the King and his family and friends is where the real show is.




About 6,500 square feet of stained glass adorns the upper level. Unfortunately, you can't see all of it yet as the glass has been under restoration for the past 40 years.
We were a year early as the restoration is expected to be completed in 2014 in time for the 800th anniversary of the birthday of Louis IX.

You can see that the north side is completely covered. One can only imagine how amazing it will look like when it's finished.



Nevertheless, it was really spectacular.

Outside on the upper level balcony.



When we were finished gawking, we headed back out and hopped on another bus. We were again fortunate enough to get the top level... and front seats too!



On our way to the Eiffel Tower, we passed (and once again, didn't stop at) the Musée d'Orsay.
This museum houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world.
Paintings by Monet, Degas, Renoir, and Van Gogh, to name a few, are on display here.

So does this mean that if someone asks, I can say that I've been there?
I was there, if not inside, right?


Our bus ride next took us into and through Place de la Concorde. This large public square was originally named Place Louis XV but during the french revolution it was renamed Place de la Révolution and is where King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were guillotined.
Eventually the square was renamed Place de la Concorde, then changed again to Place Louis XVI.
After another revolution in 1830, it was again named Place de la Concorde where it's stayed put.

The name, I mean.

Pretty sure the square hasn't moved, too.


Would it shock you to learn that the last person guillotined in France was in 1895? No?

How about that the actual date was September 10, 1977.

I know I was flabbergasted when I found that out.



At the center of the square, where the guillotine once stood sits a giant Egyptian obelisk. We were to learn more of its history and that of the square later.




After circling the square, our bus made a right turn at Albuquerque....

ummm... Hang on, gotta check my notes here.....


... made a right turn onto the famous Champs-Élysées. One of the most expensive strips of real estate in the world. Home to Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss and yes, Virginia, there is a Disney Store there too.



The first half of the Avenue is lined with trees, while the second half is all really, really expensive shops and cafés.

At the end of the Avenue is the Arche de Triomphe. It was commisioned in 1806 by Napoleon to celebrate his victories. It wasn't completed however until about 15 years after his death. When his body was brought back to France, it passed underneath the arch on its way to his final resting place.




Nothing like a cheery little TR about death, is there?
Let's talk about taxes next!

Our bus then took us towards our last destination of the day.



It might look like it from this angle, but you can't drive underneath it.
(And do you have any idea how hard it was to not Photoshop King Kong onto that???)

Once we (and everyone else on board) were disgorged from the bus, we made our way on foot to the tower.



The tower is imense.
The base you see in the next picture rests on a 20 ft thick slab of concrete which rests on two piles that are sunk 72 ft deep.

Oddly enough, the arching section you see is the only part of the tower that isn't structural.
They were added to reassure a nervous Parisian public that the tower was strong and wouldn't collapse.

When the tower was completed in 1889, it was the tallest structure in the world. It held that title for over 40 years until the Chrysler Building was built in New York.



The tower was designed and built for the 1889 Paris World Expo and was supposed to be torn down 20 years later.
At first many Parisians hated it and considered it an eye-sore. One famous writer would eat lunch on the tower everyday.

He claimed that it was the only place in Paris he could eat and not see it.


The tower became an important communication platform and was allowed to remain after its 20 year permit expired.

Which is a good thing, 'cause otherwise you'd be looking at a whole lotta nothing, right about now.


Since the tower is the most visited paid monument in the world, it would be nice if you could FP it or make an ADR.

Well you can!

When I was sure of what dates we would be visiting, I made a reservation.

Well... I tried to make a reservation.

Even though I was booking 45 days out, the tower was completely booked.
All was not lost, you could still walk up, stand in line and get tickets.

So that's what we did.

Or rather, I did.

It was sunny and hot. I'm not sure of the exact temperature, but the forecast was for 85F.
And I'm pretty sure, standing on a sea of concrete in full sun, it was hotter!

I told the ladies to wait in the shade while I baked. I'd come get them after I got the tickets.

Here's the line....





Remind you of anything?
I stood in line for about an hour... just like at Disney!


Eventually, I noticed an electronic sign flashing information in French, English and probably another language or two... but I only remember seeing French and English.

Two things stood out.
1. The top level was closed.
That wasn't a huge deal. Oh, sure we wanted to go all the way up, but the reality is that it's more crowded up there and the best views are actually from the second level.
2. All persons must be present when buying tickets.

!!!!

Carp!
I start waving frantically at Ruby and the kids.

Lookit! Lookit! Lookitme! Hey! Look! At! Me!

Finally, one of the girls sees me jumping up and down like an idiot
(which of course, I am)
and Elle comes running over.

"Okay, listen. We all have to be together when I buy the tickets, so keep an eye on me and when I get to the fences, come over."

Problem solved.

Eventually we get our tickets and then I see that we must pass through airport style metal detectors.
A sign shows that all metal objects (cameras, keys, etc) must be placed in a separate box for inspection.
There's a disposal box for not-allowed objects.

I bid a sad farewell to my swiss army knife.

It doesn't take long and we're on the elevator heading up to the 2nd level.

And yes, the views are fantastic.

The view to the North with the Seine river



To the East with the Champs de Mars. Where military drills were done in the past, but is now a public park.



And to the West, with Trocadero in the foreground.




Not sure why, but I don't have the south view.

We stopped to grab a bite and Kay wanted to buy some souvies.
The food didn't look particularly inviting, so we just had some pretzels.
Kay bought a miniature Eiffel Tower, which was good for two reasons.
1. It's cool to buy a miniature Eiffel Tower on the actual Eiffle Tower, no?
2. If she bought a full size one, it wouldn't fit in the suitcase. Plus it would probably be over-weight.

After we finished our pretzels, we noticed that there was a long line of people.

Why?

I asked someone and was told it was the line to get tickets to go to the top which was now open.

I'm guessing that the line for the tickets was about 2 hours long...
and the line for the elevator was at least another hour.


We don't need to go up that badly. So we head down instead.

Arriving back at the bus stop, we only wait a short while before a bus pulls up.

Yay!

The driver informs us that this bus is no longer in service, but that another one is coming and is just 10 minutes away.

Boo!


After 10 minutes, a fairly sizeable crowd has formed and people are beginning to jockey for position.

After 20 minutes, the crowd has grown substantially and people are starting to push ahead of others.

After 30 minutes, there's a large group of anxious bus-goers who are starting to wonder aloud if a bus is ever going to show up.


Finally it does.

We join the mad scramble for the bus.... which turns out to be the last bus of the day!

Good news? We made it on.
Bad news? No room up top.

While we did get on the bus, the view from down below leaves much to be desired. If we'd taken the metro instead, we would've gotten back much quicker and seen about the same amount.

Ah well...

As it is, we still have to take the metro partway.

After a quick hop on, hop off the metro, we stop for supper....


At 10pm!

This from a family that usually eats around 5!


Hmmmm..... maybe we're not quite acclimated to Europe time yet.

We had a nice enough dinner at a café near the hotel.
We had Pizza.

Of course.

So today we had Italian Gelato and Pizza....


And we're not even in Italy yet!!!

That's it for now... tomorrow's another day.
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Teenage Mutant Backseat Dancers - A Canadian Buffoon Adventure
Canadian Buffoon's Vacation - PTR/mini TR
Canadian Buffoon European Vacation
Just a silly little TR - run away!



1977 - offsite 1987 - offsite 1992 - offsite 2005 - POR (never going offsite again!!!) 2009 - ASMu

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Old 09-28-2013, 10:26 PM   #273
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Loved those pics of the Eiffel Tower. I would like to see King Kong on it.
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Old 09-28-2013, 11:16 PM   #274
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I can't believe you didn't stop at the Musée d'Orsay!! It's a former train station and the art is amazing! But the Tower is pretty cool too. The view from the top of the tower is amazing too but I wouldn't stand in line for 2 hours!

Jill in CO
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Old 09-29-2013, 01:24 AM   #275
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I'd ike to hear more about the actual ride up. is it an open elevator? looks scary to me!
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Old 09-29-2013, 02:14 PM   #276
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Great report, I love your writing.

Great pictures and information delivered in an entertaining way.

Thanks!

Maybe when I a retired I'll actually get to see the Eiffel Tower, LOL
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Old 09-29-2013, 02:22 PM   #277
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Beautiful pictures! I am really enjoying your report and living vicariously because I am pretty sure we will never visit France. (well unless Epcot counts )
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Old 09-29-2013, 03:16 PM   #278
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Your photos are so beautiful that I have to go back and actually read. I've been transfixed by them.

Thank you.
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Old 09-30-2013, 01:20 AM   #279
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmeb144 View Post
Loved those pics of the Eiffel Tower. I would like to see King Kong on it.
Glad you liked them.

I tried to get King Kong on there, but he was too busy doing something in New York.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jedijill View Post
I can't believe you didn't stop at the Musée d'Orsay!! It's a former train station and the art is amazing! But the Tower is pretty cool too. The view from the top of the tower is amazing too but I wouldn't stand in line for 2 hours!

Jill in CO
Same reasoning went into it as the Louvre. Neither one of us are big impressionist/post-impressionist fans, so we decided to concentrate our time elsewhere.

We would like to go back to Paris, though. Maybe for 2 weeks? I'd love to be able to visit a lot more then what we were able to.


Quote:
Originally Posted by smidgy View Post
I'd ike to hear more about the actual ride up. is it an open elevator? looks scary to me!
No, the elevator is not open.
I didn't take any pics of the elevator, but the elevator is fairly large. (Probably get about 30-40 people inside?)
It does have windows, but you hardly notice them as the elevator is packed both going up and down.
They do go up at an angle (inside the legs of the tower), but you can't tell. It feels like a regular elevator.
There's also an operator inside who's main function seems to be opening and closing the doors and telling people to squeeze in.

Once or twice a year, a cable does snap or a gear gets stripped and the car plummets to the Earth. But considering that the tower gets over 6 million visitors a year, the loss of a few dozen tourists every now and then isn't really note-worthy. It's still relatively safe when compared to automobiles or even planes, which are considered one of the safest modes of transportation.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Backstage_Gal View Post
Great report, I love your writing.

Great pictures and information delivered in an entertaining way.

Thanks!

Maybe when I a retired I'll actually get to see the Eiffel Tower, LOL
Thanks, Marita!

Although I'm not gonna hold my breath that you'll ever retire. What is it now at Disney? 35 1/2 years and counting?
Besides, you have to stay put until I get to meet you in 2015!


Quote:
Originally Posted by dawnbu40 View Post
Beautiful pictures! I am really enjoying your report and living vicariously because I am pretty sure we will never visit France. (well unless Epcot counts )
Oh, sure. We can count that.
Or Paris, Las Vegas.

Counts.


Quote:
Originally Posted by lisaviolet View Post
Your photos are so beautiful that I have to go back and actually read. I've been transfixed by them.

Thank you.
What? You didn't read??? That's what took so long!

Oh, all right. It's not worth reading. I'll give you that.


Glad the pics made such an impact. More to come.
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Teenage Mutant Backseat Dancers - A Canadian Buffoon Adventure
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Canadian Buffoon European Vacation
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Old 09-30-2013, 02:46 AM   #280
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I hate to be fodder for your amusement, but : you're pulling my leg, right? about the eiffel tower of terror?
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Old 09-30-2013, 07:37 AM   #281
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I hate to be fodder for your amusement, but : you're pulling my leg, right? about the eiffel tower of terror?
Oh, all right.

There's never been a fatality from the Eiffel Tower elevators. As a matter of fact, dying is fairly difficult there.
There are high fences and even netting attached all over the place.

Only 1 worker died during its construction. Compare that to the Empire State building where 5 workers died during construction.

As far as I could tell, there's only been one accidental death from falling... and I use the term accidental loosely.
In 1912 a tailor wanted to test his idea of a wearable parachute.



It didn't go well...
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Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice, pull down your pants and slide on the ice. - Allan Arbus as Dr. Sidney Freedman - RIP


Teenage Mutant Backseat Dancers - A Canadian Buffoon Adventure
Canadian Buffoon's Vacation - PTR/mini TR
Canadian Buffoon European Vacation
Just a silly little TR - run away!



1977 - offsite 1987 - offsite 1992 - offsite 2005 - POR (never going offsite again!!!) 2009 - ASMu
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Old 09-30-2013, 01:09 PM   #282
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[COLOR="Blue"]Oh, sure. We can count that.
Or Paris, Las Vegas.

Counts.
I'm a bit more than 5 hours from Paris, Ontario; could that count?
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Old 09-30-2013, 05:03 PM   #283
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Originally Posted by pkondz View Post

What? You didn't read??? That's what took so long!

Oh, all right. It's not worth reading. I'll give you that.


Glad the pics made such an impact. More to come.
You know blank well that it is more than worth the read. I will be on it as soon as I feel that I have the head space to really take it in and savour it.

The pictures give me great peace. So hopefully my head will be ready soon!

And BLANK isn't that bad of word! Really. Laughing.
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Old 09-30-2013, 08:53 PM   #284
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I'm enjoying your trippy!

I've discovered that the plus side of visiting Paris in rainy April is no mimes! they give me the creeps & the heebee jeebees.

Macroons are little pillows of heaven! I think I tried every flavor in a 2 day trip.

I can see why your girls didn't like the subway there...it's very smelly! It always smelled like urine when we were there and just kinda dingy. London's however, are clean and smell fresh as a daisy.
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Old 09-30-2013, 09:59 PM   #285
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Well somehow I decided Monday Night Football would be a peaceful moment to savour the words.

Lord, I forget everything I wanted say and where each sentence even was to highlight.

But I did want to say something about your Notre Dame photograph. I found it amusing that you commented on how it wasn't this or that because of the sun. When it made the photograph to me. Gorgeous shot.

And this one above.

I can imagine that it must have been something to be standing there, as I felt very emotional just looking at the photograph.

Thank you for the sharing all this with us. And the educational aspect, which I'm loving.
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