Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Granthamania Eurotrip 2014 - Part 2 - Paris, France

After two days in London, we were off to Paris. We opted for a train ride on the Eurostar. We wanted to see countryside and travel on a train.
train ride from London to Paris

taken in the cab on the way to hotel
We only had two days in Paris so we hit the ground running! Cab ride to hotel, dropped off bags and started exploring!
another very small hotel room. Hotel

the red canopy in the bottom right is where we ate lunch.
it was a cute little corner cafe.

The next few pictures are of the Eiffel Tower. I can't believe how much I loved that structure. I really thought it would be over-rated and so cliche. In fact, Mark and I drank a bottle of wine and ate some macaroons on a park bench in front of the tower on our last night in Paris.

I read somewhere; although, I can't cite the source that the Eiffel Tower only took two years to build. The tallest structure before that was the Washington Monument and it took 30 years to complete. How is that for a feat of engineering?

Eiffel Tower was erected for the 1889 World's Fair

most visited paid monument in the World

Enjoying some wine at a cafe.
We spent most of our time strolling around the streets of Paris. I haven't looked at a map since we returned, but I suspect we didn't make it very far. We didn't even make it to Montmartre where we would have been able to see the Moulin Rouge.
on the second level of the Eiffel Tower
view from 2nd level of the Eiffel Tower

The Wall for Peace

In Epcot's Paris pavilion, they have a French bakery where they serve cream puffs. This Paris Brest was the closest thing I could find and it was pretty close...and delicious. I would have gained 10 pounds in two days while we were in France if we hadn't been walking so much.

took me forever to find a cream puff
turns out they call them Paris Brest...not sure it is exactly the same as a cream puff
close enough

Tuileries Garden
The Louvre

Eiffel Tower

Everything was so much larger than I expected in France. Mark and I joked that whoever said everything is bigger in Texas has never been to France. For example, the Arc de Triomphe is so much larger in person than it looks in pictures. Just look at the picture below and you can see some people standing directly in front of the monument. See how small they are?

My mom requested this photo...It's from the movie Forget Paris
Arc de Triomphe
Directly across from the Eiffel Tower, was what we think was a military academy of some sort. The next two pictures are from those buildings. It looked like they had been sprayed with bullet holes and shrapnel. We assume it was from WWII. We also saw a picture of Hitler and the Nazis standing directly front of this building with the Tower in the background. It was kind of surreal to think that we were in the same city and country that had such an impact on history.

bullet holes...we assume from WWII

looked like more shrapnel markings
This brings me to my next set of pictures. The Army Museum (Musée de l'Armée). This is where Les Invalides (Napoleon's tomb) is located. We didn't see the entire museum. We focused mostly on WWI and WWII history. It was interesting, but there weren't many explanations written in English, so we missed a lot. It was really interesting to see the story of the invasion on the beaches of Normandy from another country's perspective. Here in the States we focus on our role in that invasion...of course...and I'm not saying that's wrong. But, when we were in this museum there wasn't a whole lot of attention paid to it. You have to think that's because it was such a small part of what France had actually experienced during the Nazi invasion. I don't think they were downplaying the significance of it, just trying to give all aspects of the war their attention. I also don't remember covering in my classes how many other countries played a role in Normandy. Canada, the UK, the Free French Forces (who I had never heard of ) were all there. According to Wikipedia,  "Polish forces also participated, as well as contingents from Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, and the Netherlands." And that's not covering the air forces that were helping. 

Just like Mark and I have different experiences of the same trip, different countries have different experiences of the same war. It was educational to see from another country's 'eyes.'

So while we were at the museum, we had to go see Napoleon's tomb. I mean really...how could you not?

Les Invalides
Unlike the man himself, his tomb was huge! It was beautiful. As a disclaimer, he isn't the only person entombed here. There is a complete list on Wikipedia.
The dome above Napoleons casket

Napoleon is inside this...it is huge.
It is the Russian Doll of caskets.  There are caskets within each other.

Here are some more pictures of the Arc. We didn't go to the top for viewing. I wanted to get my view from Paris on top of the Notre Dame, but we opted to do the second level of the Tower instead.

A great shot of the tower lit up at night from across the Seine river. It was twinkling, which the picture doesn't capture

The Notre Dame! We took a cab from our hotel to see this cathedral. When we pulled up, I was disappointed. From the outside, it was underwhelming for me. I'm really not sure what I expected because it's a beautiful church. Mark and I decided to go inside since it was free to enter. Let me tell you...I am so very glad we did! I didn't take a lot of pictures because I was so busy absorbing every inch of this magnificent structure.

one of the many stained glass windows

the stained glass at the front of the church

alter...if that's what you call it? not sure


this is just a quaint little French area 

this is totally French, right?

Saint-Chapelle was very beautiful. I'm not sure it was worth the money to get it. Unless you consider that they are currently working to restore this beautiful piece of history and your entrance fee is obviously helping with that. It dates back to the 1200's!
stained glass from Sainte-Chapelle

more Sainte-Chapelle
We didn't actually tour the Louvre. I had seen some of the art work on tour in Houston years ago. Since we didn't have much time and the Louvre could take days to see a decent portion, we decided to just marvel at the outside.
The Louvre

The Louvre is huge. This isn't even 1/3 of the building.

We stopped at Love lock bridge. We bought a lock from some stranger, wrote our names, the names of our girls and the year. Then we snapped the lock on the bridge and threw the key into the Seine. 

Love lock bridge.

See our love lock? Chloe and MJ are written on the back.

Mark was tired from all the walking.
Paris was such a fun city. I always swore that I never wanted to visit. But, I'm so glad I did. I hope to go back someday.

I do have to share a sweet story about Mark. We were walking down the street and a woman (probably 40-50) was coming out of a restaurant/bar to get into a cab. She fell because she was pretty hammered. Mark walked over, helped her up and into the cab. She never said a word to him or even looked at him. But it was so sweet! We laughed about it a lot. Not her falling...just the fact that she didn't say anything. She probably had to go home and wash the "American" off her...haha.


  1. I love seeing the photos and hearing more about the trip. You were in a sleep deprived fog when you first showed me the photos. BTW-I always knew Mark was a sweetie and I think maybe he's had a tiny bit of practice helping inebriated girls. ;)

  2. I loved looking through all these pictures, getting your take on Paris, and hearing stories from your trip!

  3. Great Paris shots. I really like the picture looking up to the Arch - the one that is kind of sideways. That is a great shot for a frame! :)

    1. Thanks, Skye! I'm going to have that one framed for sure. I made some mistakes with my camera, but this was the first time I ever took it on vacation. So I learned a lot. I'm always afraid it will get damaged on trips, but what's the point of having a nice camera if you don't use it? ha

      I'm glad you're back to blogging by the way!


Thanks for reading!