UNTIL NEXT TIME - WASHINGTON, DC
Thank you for following our Blog and we want to thank those of you who took the time to provide comments via the blog or via e-mail.
We will Blog again as our celebration continues in September. Check back around September 10.
We are including a video that Anne Marie took on evening showing the Eiffel Tower Sparkling.
Anne Marie and Keith
Paris - Day 8 - It's Time To Go Home
We enjoyed our final dinner in Paris and decided to dine in our room so we could relax and reflect on what a wonderful time we have had this past week. The decision turned out better then expected as a few times during the evening it became stormy between the rain, high wind, lightening & thunder storms and even some pea sized hail.
We started with the champagne the Hotel provided the day we arrived. It was well worth the wait.
As we ate we watched CNN to hear about the issue outside Notre Dame. On a related note a couple of days after our arrival, the hotel increased its security. They have gates that they closed limiting entry and exit to one entranceway. Two security personnel were posted outside the entryway including one with a security wand. While security is always in place at the hotel it was expanded following the recent incident in London.
After dinner we took a short break before we enjoyed what we in the USA call a Napoleon but in France it is called a Mille Feuilles. Anne Marie's first Napoleon was in Georgetown, Washington, DC which did feature many places with French Cuisine. After one mouthful, Anne Marie said this one was the best Napoleon/Mille Feuilles she has ever had. Keith agreed. Very tasty and fresh and the filling was absolutely delicious.
We got to sleep early knowing that we would be up early to get ready to depart the hotel. When we arrived to the lobby from the elevator we were immediately greeted by the concierge and the reception personnel by our surname. The bellman took our luggage. As soon as we settled our account the concierge came by to talk with us about our stay and in just a few minutes escorted us outside to the car.
We had the same driver who took us from the airport to the hotel a week ago. The drive took less then 30 minutes. The driver said at one point yesterday given the rain the same drive took two hours. We had V.I.P service at the airport as we did on our arrival. We had requested the same representative and he was there to meet us at the car upon our arrival. With his help we made it through flight check-in, and the other security checks in very short order. He escorted us to the airline club lounge. He offered to return at a pre-determined time to escort us to the gate. We thanked him for the offer but said we would be fine and thanked him again for his help.
We had a light breakfast at the lounge of cereal although there was lots of cold and hot breakfast items to choose from including eggs and crepes.
We were told that our gate was the furthest from the lounge and to plan on a ten minute walk.
We have stayed at many wonderful hotels throughout the years. Overall, we would say this was the nicest hotel we have stayed at. The room was impeccable and you couldn't find a scratch on anything. There were lots of little details including lights in all rooms that dimmed. The terrace with its wonderful views of the Eiffel Tower was amazing. The staff was exceptional at all levels and even with 100+ rooms you felt that you were at a boutique hotel.
We truly enjoyed Paris. It seemed more laid back from your typical city. The food was fantastic and that included those salads with fresh vegetables and other items that made it tasty and unique from most other salads you have when dining out.
The city has so much to offer including the museums and historical sites.
We are posting from our flight from Paris to the USA. This is a first for us. Thank goodness for technology.
TODAY'S THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY......
We hope that you have enjoyed our Blog and felt that you were part of the adventure. Our travels continue in September when we travel back to Washington, DC where we met, were engaged, lived following our marriage and where out daughter and son were born. It has been some twenty years since Anne Marie's last visit and fourteen years since Keith was last back there on business. We look forward to this trip to visit some sites from our past and to create memories which will last a lifetime.
Anne Marie & Keith
Paris - Day 7 - Final Day In Paris
Betty had asked if we ordered tickets to the Louvre prior to arriving? We did get the Paris Museum Pass via the Internet a few months before the start of this trip which includes pretty much all museums including the Louvre. We highly recommend the pass as it allows you to skip the very long lines. It includes admission to just about every museum you can think of and has that added bonus of avoiding very long lines. One could purchase the pass upon arrival to Paris, but we did so in advance so that we didn't have to spend time purchasing it in Paris. You date and sign it the day you are ready to use it and it is good for a set number of day. The one we purchased was good for four days from the time we first used it. You can purchase passes for less or a greater number of days then this.
Last evening we dined at a restaurant called La Bauhinia. Its menu features French and Southeastern Asian cuisine. The menu included a three course menu of the day or Asian cuisine consisting of a starter, main course and dessert or a la carte. We chose a la carte.
We took some photos before dinner at an area nearby the restaurant and also outside at the beautiful gardens of the hotel.
The dining venue is beautiful and the colors and design of its interior go very well with its menu and cuisine. We both enjoyed three courses. We began with a Caesar Salad. Our main course was Sea Bass topped with Truffles. For our final course which was dessert, Keith had a cheese plate which could have fed two given the size of each wedge of cheese. For those who like strong cheese this was a good choice. Anne Marie had St. Honere Cake. We have only had this cake previously when sailing with Crystal Cruises. On the ship the cake portion is similar to a Napoleon. The cake at the restaurant was mainly ice cream. The cream puffs on top of the cake are similar to what we have had on the ship.
We also enjoyed wine with the meal. Everything was fabulous and our meal lasted over two hours.
A nighttime view of the Eiffel Tower shortly after arriving back to our room after dinner.
We enjoyed another restful sleep. The bed is terrific and maybe between that and a little wine it allows for a good sleep. LOL.
Once again, we enjoyed breakfast in our room. The restaurant where we ate serves breakfast. However, we prefer just having a leisurely breakfast. This time we had the breakfast inside rather then on the Terrace.
The past few days the weather forecast has shown a high probability of rain so we took that into account when planning our schedule getting to the most important sites we wanted to see during this visit. With a 60 to 70 percent chance of rain until Noon today we did a lot of walking but tried to stay within 30 minutes of the hotel.
It was in the mid-50's (Fahrenheit) but very breezy so it felt chillier then that. We wore rain jackets to be on the safe side. It was too windy should we needed to use an umbrella. The good news is that the breeze kept if from raining even though the forecast had a high chance of rain.
Our walk took us to many areas. We walked along streets that took us to several residential areas and we also walked along the Seine but in a different direction then we have the past few days. We walked over to the Palace de Challiot. From the palace we had beautiful views of the Eiffel Tower and it even seemed like one of the status was holding it up. We then walked over to the Arc de Triomphe. We continued walking along various streets with lots of stores, cafes restaurants and then success. We went into another pastry shop and voila we saw what we in the USA call a Napoleon. In France they refer to is as Mille Feuilles. It is a favorite of Anne Marie's. We will do the test taste this evening. We walked it back over to the hotel and put them in the refrigerator.
Before leaving the hotel obtained a recommendation from the Concierge for a place for lunch. We wanted something simple as we had a large meal for dinner last evening. After walking for another hour we had lunch. The restaurant is located on Kleber and its name is appropriately called Le Kleber. We each enjoyed salads. Keith's salad included smokes salmon, small shrimp, fresh pineapple and lots of lettuce. Anne Marie had a Caesar Salad and in addition to lettuce it was very Italian as it include lightly breaded boneless chicken that was closer to parmigiana with stewed tomatoes. Each salad was just perfect for us.
The good news is that at most we had about five minutes of a very light drizzle. Although the weather forecast had a two hour window at around the time we arrived back to the hotel for very little chance of rain like forecasts back in our own country it was wrong. Within fifteen minutes of our arrival back to the hotel it not only rained but it poured and it was extremely windy. As they say, timing is everything and our timing was perfect.
We took advantage of the time to pack.
This is our last full day in the magical city of Paris. It has been a delight. We will try to post tomorrow and if not then we will post after we arrive at home to share the remainder of today.
TODAY'S THOUGHT FOR THE DAY........
From the time we were in elementary school we would sing the song I love Paris written by Cole Porter or we would recite the nursery rhyme London Bridge is Falling Down which has been around a very long time. In time we would learn about history of these cities and their countries. We would learn the geo-politics as well as about its artists and musicians and its Kings and Queens. What we didn't realize at the time is that we would get to visit places such as Paris, London and Rome where we could see the work of the artists, or hear the music, or walk the areas that we studied and experience this for ourselves seeing it through our very own eyes. All of this is a reminder about how fortunate that we are to live at a time when travel is possible and that we have the ability to travel. We are very humbled and thankful.
Anne Marie & Keith
Paris Day 6 - Monday In Paris
After we Blogged yesterday we were able to Face Time with our family. All of them are together at Eric and Kara's home for the weekend so we could see everyone including the three grandchildren. This technology is terrific.
Last evening we dined at a restaurant called Shang Palace, which specialized in Chinese/Asian cuisine. The cuisine is Cantonese.
The restaurant is absolutely beautiful and has two distinct sections keeping the noise level down. We had reservations for 7:00 PM when the restaurant opened and we were offered a choice of several different tables. Our table was a table for four with two place settings set. Each table has a small wooden table to its side whose height is just below chair level for accessories such as a woman's purse.
One could order a la carte from an extensive menu or select from a choice of two different tasting menus. We went with one of the tasting menus called Menu Jade which gave us a tasting of eight different items. Each item had a unique presentation and was extremely tasty and we were very pleased with the entire menu. We didn't take a photo of each and every item but did photograph several of them.
The service was truly amazing as was the decor of the venue. Between three of the course warm towels were brought out. In addition a towel was brought out when the hot soup was served as the waiter said sometimes the soup is so hot people begin to sweat. When we say hot we mean the temperature of the soup. It was not spicy but it was very tasty.
We were asked if we prefer chop sticks or fork and knife and Keith went with the chop sticks and Anne Marie went with the fork and knife.
While waiting for the first course a plate of small cherry tomatoes was placed on the table for us to enjoy. The tomatoes were very sweet and not bitter.
Our meal included:
Sashimi Salmon with vegetables.
Crab Meat Soup with Sweet Corn Cantonese Style. (The soup was very tasty)
Barbecue Iberian Pork with Honey
Sautéed Prawns with three kinds of pepper, ginger and spring onions.
Wok carol beef with seasonal vegetables and golden garlic. (Beef was tender and very tasty)
Fried Rice with Roasted Duck and Shrimps, abalone sauce (probably the most moist and tasty rice we have eaten)
Rice Balls with seasonal fruits (including dragon fruit) and whipped cream.
We enjoyed the meal with some wine (just by the glass) and sparkling water.
As was the case the night before the by 8:30 PM the restaurant began to fill up. We dined for closed to two and one half hours. The pace was excellent. Many members of the wait staff were involved with the meal and continually checked on us. The manager and assistant manager frequently came by the table.
The good news is following our meal we had a very short walk back to our room.
After all the walking we did it was easy to fall asleep. The room is very quiet and we don't hear any noise from the hallway or outside. In fact, thus far we have yet to see any other guests on our hallway.
We ate breakfast outside as we prepared for another wonderful day in Paris. The temperature was 50 degrees and delightful.
We stayed with the cereal with fruit. The milk comes warm. Each day we share a pastry and today we tried one with apricots which was delicious.
These are two different perspectives of the Eiffel Tower. One looks like the real thing and the other one a miniature tower but they both are the real thing.
Today's plan includes lots of walking as the weather forecast calls for a high of 75 degrees fahrenheit with no rain. Tomorrow is a different story with a high chance of rain throughout the day which will likely limit what we do.
We began our walk early in the morning and enjoyed the scenery of the Seine as we made our way to the Louvre. There is much to see along the way including monuments, lots of river vessels, and even people walking like we were and those jogging.
We entered the Louvre a few minutes after it opened and spent a few hours there taking in lots of art work. There is lots to see. We did see the Mona Lisa but there is so much more to see including works from the Roman and Greek Antiquities, Ancient Egyptian Antiquities, French and other European Sculptures and Paintings from Italy, Spain and France.
Many people rush right over to see the Mona Lisa. We took our time and did not rush over there. Our approach was analogous to first smell the roses and not rush all around the museum. The reality is you could spend weeks at the museum taking in all of the details such as the feet that you will see in one of the photos of a sculpture. It tells a story.
We proceeded to the area that we had lunch at yesterday. Original plan was to have lunch and then a pastry but we decided to pass on the Pastry. While having lunch we heard musicians playing close-by and when we finished lunch we saw them performing. By then lots of people were out and about and we walked the area for awhile.
Our next stop took us to the beginning of Jardin du Tuileries. We had visited a portion of it the other day but this time we walked it all. There were lots of people at the park.
We proceeded to the Arc de Triomphe via Avenue Des Champs Elysees. We couldn't get over how crowded it was with tourists. Many were sitting outside eating while others were strolling the area many with shopping bags in their hands.
From there we walked to a couple of other areas and them made our way to a local market before returning back to the hotel. We logged close to 15 miles and had a terrific time.
Alrighty we got caught up in the moment and took another selfie but we did it on the side of where the Mona Lisa is hung.
TODAY'S THOUGHT FOR THE DAY.....
It has been close to twenty-five years since Keith first visited Paris on business and almost fourteen years since we visited with our family. Much is unchanged including the presence of mainly local restaurants with only a sprinkling of world-wide restaurants chains, the beautiful architecture and the historic buildings and landmarks and the characteristics that make this a top tourist destination.
Our observation is that English is spoken by more people and many are quite fluent in the language. A few people apologized to us for their limited english yet we could easily understand them and they could easily understand us.
We hope Paris continues to keep its identity. It is truly a special city.
Keith & Anne Marie
Paris Day 5 - Sunday In Paris
Last evening we had dinner at a restaurant called Jeremie. Its cuisine is French/European. We identified the restaurant several months ago and the concierge at the hotel booked it for us when reservations opened.
We walked to the restaurant and the walk took less then ten minutes. We were fortunate to have a short walk since it was raining and on the windy windy side but as they say that is all part of the experience.
As soon as we arrived we were welcomed by the Manager/Waiter and Head Chef and they hung up our rain coats and umbrella. Anne Marie changed into dress shoes.
Our reservations were for 7:00 PM when the restaurant opened. The good news is we had the restaurant for ourselves for close to 45 minutes. LOL. By the time we left several people were dining. The Manager said that many Parisians enjoy dining starting at 8:00 PM or 8:30 PM for different reasons including have pre-dinner drinks.
Service was superb. The manager was also the waiter and was exceptional. He stayed on top of every detail and he also had a great sense of humor. Every time we looked he was bringing out a new breadbasket even if what we had still had several pieces in the basket. Yes, the French like their bread and wine. LOL. The head chef brought our entree out to the table which was a nice added touch.
Food was terrific.
We had a three course dinner. Each course had several items to choose from. There was a separate menu featuring some specials for the day that could be ordered as stand-alone items.
Before the first course arrived they gave us a duet of two appetizers served on top of salt. It made for a nice presentation and each item had a pleasant and unique taste and was delicious.
Our first course from the menu was salad. It had several characteristics of Caesar Salad but the dressing was more flavorful and lighter and the salad very tasty.
For our second course Anne Marie had Veal accompanied with salad and Keith had sea bass served with gnocchi and spinach. Both were a hit.
There were several wonderful choices for dessert. We both went with the cheese which was a brie cheese with truffles that the executive chef put together accompanied by lettuce. It was delicious and the taste was unique. We actually could have followed that with another dessert but if you remember the size of the crepes we had for lunch it was a wise decision to pass on that.
Since we didn't order a dessert as in something with sugar the manager brought us out macaroons over a bed of sugar. Once again a unique presentation. As if we didn't eat enough he came out with a second round of the macaroons. When Keith took a photo of them he took it too fast so it looks a bit fuzzy.
We also had wine. After all we are in the"land of wine" or is that the "country of wine". Whatever. LOL.
Overall a wonderful meal and we highly recommend the restaurant.
On our way home there was no longer a strong wind and there was only a light drizzle.
We began today as we have each full day since we arrived to the hotel. We enjoyed a nice breakfast out on the terrace. Becky had asked if the hotel rectified the situation of the ten cups and ten saucers and yes that was done immediately. Each day we get 10 coffee capsules and creamers. We don't use them all so they just replace enough to get us back to ten of each.
The morning had the coolest temperature since our arrival. While having breakfast outside on the terrace it was a chilly 48 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it was sunny making it feel a less nippy. Thank goodness for the spinach that Keith eats. It makes him strong so he can hold the Eiffel Town in his hands. LOL.
The one we were most impressed with we didn't take a photo of but will tomorrow. After breakfast we went on a very long walk. We walked along the Seine. We noticed extra police and military out today at not only major sites but at entrances to some of the bridges. We stopped by the d'Orsay for a short visit. It was open to the general public for free today but we were able to use our museum pass to avoid a very long line. We then walked over to the Luxembourg Palace and behind sits the Jardin du Luxembourg Palace (this is the garden) It is absolutely stunning. It contains a large pond and some men were sailing small radio controlled sailboats while others looked on. The gardens feature roses and other flowers and there were beautiful groves of trees. We saw several statues of previous Queens of France. Many locals were just enjoying the morning sitting on park benches or on the grass or walking as we were. We thought about getting some cheese, bread and wine and having lunch outdoors.
We then proceeded to some of the nearby streets featuring a variety of shops and restaurants, cafes and pastry shops. We saw a couple of pastry shops that are amazing and think we will return tomorrow for a pastry.
The one we were most impressed with we didn't take a photo of but will tomorrow. We had lunch at a restaurant called Mondrian. We wanted something simple and this was perfect. Keith had a salad which included avocado, eggs that was between hard and soft boiled, smoked salmon, mini pancakes, and various salad items. Anne Marie had a Chicken Caesar Salad. Everything was fresh and the bread was delicious having a hint of butter although no butter was on it.
We then walked over to the Rodin Museum featuring 300 or more sculptures by this artist. For those of you in the United States who can remember a show from the late 1950's/early 1960s and it opens up with a spoof on one of the works of art we saw today. Hint...Hint....We took a photo of it. The actual sculptures is called The Thinker. The sculptures were very interesting both inside and outside the museum. The outside also featured beautiful landscaping and an assortment of flowers.
On our way back to the hotel we walked right towards the Eiffel Tower. It was very busy with lots of tourists.
All in all a terrific day. The temperature during our walk ranged from mid 50's to around low 60's fahrenheit. There were times of total sunlight and other times the sun was hidden behind some clouds.
TODAY'S THOUGHT FOR THE DAY.....
Our hearts go out to the victims of yet another act of terrorism in London. Unfortunately, this can happen anywhere around the world. The reality is that you have a far greater chance of dying from some other event. With that said we believe that everyone from individuals to nations and their governments must continue to be vigilant in holding those who commit terrorist attacks accountable and must continue to focus resources on preventing as many of these attacks as possible. At the same time we have to continue to live our lives and not give into the terrorists by eliminating travel and by doing things contrary to those that many nations have stood by for many years. It is not easy to balance all of this but each of us as individuals can and so can our nations as a whole. Unfortunately history shows us that there have always been evil in the world and while the acts of today are horrific there have been much worse acts committed by individuals and even nations. Thankfully in the end good has been successful in triumphing over evil and we can all do our part to see that this continues.
Unfortunately there has always been evil and thus senseless acts will not be eliminated in our lifetime. We know for some this seems like the worst of times but the reality is there have been far worse times in the history of our world. One only has to look back less then 80 years to World War II and the tens of millions who lost their lives. This includes not only those on battlefield but the six million plus Jews who perished in the Holocaust. The positive is that good can and does triumph over evil. It can't eliminate the evil in our world but it can do a lot to strike down the evil. Never forget but don't live in fear. Unite with all those good people who in the end represent the vast majority of our human race. Don't give up. This is the time to stay strong
Anne Marie & Keith
Paris - Day 4 - Saturday In Paris
We were asked about the photo from Versailles that looked like rope hanging down from the ceiling. The tour guide did explain that to us. It is actually a chandelier and uses Crystal from Swarovski. If we remember correctly it is supposed to resemble a necklace.
Our original plan for last evening we to have dinner at a restaurant that we had made reservations at that was located about 30 minutes from the hotel. We were going to walk to it. However, knowing that rain was in the forecast we decided to have a larger meal for lunch and to have a lighter meal for dinner. We ended up having salad entrees for dinner, some bread, wine, and we shared a pastry. This worked out very nicely since it did rain.
Before getting ready for our morning walk, we had breakfast in our room outside on the Terrace. We kept to a breakfast of cereal, fresh fruit, coffee, and we shared a breakfast pastry. We had mentioned the other day about the cereal not being coated with sugar on the outside of it unlike what we typically would find at home. This came up yesterday on our drive back to Paris from Versailles with the tour guide and the driver. We were discussing food and coincidentally the tour guide talked about ingredients in food and how on some items they go with far less sugar and that is when we mentioned our experience with the cereal.
The table and chairs were wet from last evening's rain. Keith dried off the table before breakfast arrived and we were able to flip the seat cushions and placed towel on top of them. It was overcast outside providing a slightly different view of the surrounding area. Each time breakfast arrives and is placed outside we have laughed while saying we better sit down otherwise a bird will take one of the pastries. It didn't happen to us but must have happened to someone at a nearby location as we saw a bird flying above looking to be eating a croissant.
We knew that rain was in today's forecast so we took that into consideration today when we finalized our morning plans. The temperature was cooler and it was overcast as we began our walk early in the morning. At the start of the walk there were not many people out on the streets. That changed about ninety minutes later.
We walked towards the Musee of Orsay. Realizing that we would reach this destination before it opened we went up and down several residential streets stopping at the Basilique Sainte Clotilbe Church. The Musee d"orsay opened five minutes after our arrival to the ticket entrance. We began our visit by walking up to the fifth floor to see Impressionism art work by several artists including Claude Monet and Pierre Renoir. We then made our way down to each floor and took in the artwork of a range of artists.
When we completed our visit we walked over to the Dome des Invalides. We visited Napoleon's Tomb which Keith first visited during a business trip and we visited with our family in 2003. We also visited in 2007 Saint Helena where Napoleon lived in exile starting in 1815, died in 1821 and was first buried. It is located 1,200 miles from the nearest land mass. In 1840 his remains were moved to Paris and in 1861 to its current resting place.
We continued our walk and eventually had lunch at a small restaurant specializing in Crepes called Crepuscule which Keith had identified a couple of months ago during his research. We each had a buckwheat crepe. We could select three ingredients from an extensive list. It was delicious and we very much enjoyed this intimate restaurant. On the night we were engaged in Washington, DC we had dinner at a restaurant specializing in Crepes.
After lunch we walked for quite awhile passing lots of business such as restaurants, cafes, stores and bakery shops.
After taking a short rest at the hotel, we went out again for another walk. This time about ninety minutes. We are not big on selfies but we got caught up in the moment and took one anyway.
TODAY'S THOUGHT FOR THE DAY.......
While walking around we saw many flags of France. At one point what we saw beyond the design of the flag were the colors "red, white and blue". Our own country shares those three colors in our flag as do many other countries such as The United Kingdom and Australia along with 35+ others. Sometimes we should look for what we have in common rather then what divides us. Yes, united we stand and united we can be successful.
Anne Marie & Keith
Paris - Day 3
Last evening we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at a nearby restaurant called Les Marches. Originally, we had reservations at another restaurant much further away from the hotel, but decided yesterday morning to dine somewhere closer.
Keith had spoken with the concierge at the hotel. He asked for a recommendation of a place which served traditional French cuisine.
The restaurant is very popular with locals. If you want something modern this is not the place to go but that is not what we were looking for. It is a good thing we had reservations because all of the tables were reserved and the ones outside were full as well. Our reservation was for 7:30 PM when the restaurant opened and by 8:00 PM there was not an open table.
The restaurant was a short walk from the hotel. We made a right turn out of the hotel and walked a few blocks and made another right and looked for the steps to our right and the restaurant was close to the foot of the steps. Easy peasy.
We each had salads and Anne Marie had a delicious piece of beaf while Keith had the fish of the day which was Cod. They each came with sauces on the side, but the food was so tasty that we didn't even use a drop of the sauce. We each had wine to accompany the meal; rose for Anne Marie and a Cabernet/Merlot blend for Keith. We skipped dessert as we shared a pastry back at the hotel.
Before leaving the hotel we enjoyed the view from the Terrace.
We returned to the hotel on a different route so we could enjoy the views of the Seine River. The weather was very nice and it was a pleasant walk.
We had breakfast out on the terrace and had cereal, fresh fruit and we shared a pastry. We prefer this style of cereal to what we often see back home as it is not coated with sugar. It was very quiet outside as we enjoyed the view of the EiffelTower and other nearby areas surrounding the Hotel.
A few months ago Keith arranged a private tour for us with the concierge of the hotel of Versailles. We had a tour guide along with a driver to take us over to Versailles. Our drive took us by the venue for the French Open.
The palace was first built by Louis XIII in 1623 as a hunting lodge. It was built with brick and stone. Under Louis XIV is was enlarged to a palace. He oversaw so much of its work as he wanted to be involved with just about every detail imaginable with a lot of emphasis on the outside due to his love of outdoors and hunting. Some additions were made under Louis V. It underwent multiple expansions between the 17th and 18th centuries. Around the time of the French Revolution the Palace went through a good deal of disrepair. Although some work to begin to restore it took place under Napoleon and Louis XVIII the major restoration effort was begun by Louis-Philippe.
Our tour was amazing. The drive to the Palace took thirty minutes and because of the tour guide we didn't have to wait on long lines to enter the Palace. Our tour guide Louise walked us through each room that was open to the public highlighting key paintings and sculptures including their history and what each room was used for. We learned a great deal about the Palace.
About thirty minutes after we entered the Palace many rooms became crowded with tourists many whom were wearing headsets. We then proceeded outside to the gardens. At the area right outside the Palace there were several tourists but that all changed as we walked the entire grounds and that included walking all around the groves and into secret areas. Most tourists touring on their own didn't realize there were all of these hidden gems since they could not easily see them. For the vast majority of the walk we saw just a few tourists. Louise told us all about its history and why things were the way they were. We could not get over the sheer size of the area and its beauty and learned that there are two-hundred people tending to the gardens.
We can't say enough about our tour guide. She provided a wealth of information but didn't continually talk and sound like a broken record (CD) and she spoke excellent english and also easily answered all of our questions.
With rain in the forecast we decided to make lunch our large of the meals. We had the concierge book us reservations at a restaurant located fifteen minutes from the hotel on foot called Le Stella. Rather then having the driver take us back to the hotel we arranged to be dropped off at the restaurant. The restaurant was terrific. The menu was all in french but with Keith's extensive knowledge of the French language from his years in Junior and Senior High School no worries. Well, extensive knowledge is an overstatement but we managed quite well. The food was delicious. Most of the people dining spoke French. About five minutes into our walk back to the Hotel it started to drizzle. Once we got up to our room we heard a large noise of thunder and it started to pour and became very windy so as they say timing is everything and we lucked out with it today.
Some photos from lunch. We ate under an overhang outside. We each had salad, salmon and spinach.
TODAY'S THOUGHT FOR THE DAY........
It is important to preserve our world-wide history. This palace is a good example of that. A great deal has been done to restore this palace and that work continues. Money comes from donations, from tour visits, from individuals and corporations and from the French Government and this includes not only money from French people but from others including individuals, foundations and companies from various areas including the United States of America. We learn so much from history. Today also was another example of the importance of seeing things through your own eyes. We have read about Versailles and have seen photos of the inside and outside of the Palace but this pales in comparison to seeing it all in-person.
Anne Marie & Keith
First Full Day In Paris
Bonjour from Sunny Paris.
After blogging early last evening we enjoyed the French Pastries that we purchased in the afternoon along with some wine. We didn't have dinner as we intentionally had the late lunch. We also finished organizing our items in the room.
It didn't take long to fall asleep as we were tired and a little wine is always helpful too. Even the sugar from the pastries didn't offset any of this. We didn't stay up late enough to see the Eiffel Tower all lit up in the evening. We didn't hear any noise from our room either from inside or outside the hotel and the bed is very comfortable. We each got a sufficient amount of sleep. Keith was up first at about 4:15 AM followed by Anne Marie about twenty minutes later. A view of the Eiffel Tower at 4:45 AM from the terrace of our room.
Our room package includes breakfast either at the restaurant or in the room. We thought we would enjoy breakfast on the terrace with such pleasant morning weather and we took in the beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower. We kept it simple with cereal, fruit and coffee. The breakfasts do arrive with bread, croissants and other pastries. We shared two of items. We were looking up at the sun for the photos.
We made our way from the hotel to the Seine River and walked along the river over to the Ile de Cite where Paris was established. We had beautiful views of the river, landscape and numerous bridges and river boats. We crossed the Port Neuf, the the oldest bridge in Paris. Our walk included many sites; Palais de Justice (former palace now complex of lower courts, Saitne-Chapelle with its magnificent stained windows, Marche aux Fleur (flower market), and we walked by several charming old restaurants, cafes and stores. As we continued we visited Notre Dame and enjoyed views of tree lined quays and mansions.
We proceeded over a small bridge over to the Ile St. Louis. We walked this area for quite awhile and had lunch at Cafe St. Regis where we enjoyed delicious salads, bread, and wine (Keith).
Our return included a stop at the Jardin des Tuileries (a beautiful park) and today marked the first day of a festival. We proceeded to Avenue Des Champs Elysees and walked through a large park. We made some stops along the way and then we walked on Avenue Montaigne. This area is known for its high end designer shops. We stopped at the Hotel Plaza Athenee where we stayed fourteen years ago with our children following a cruise Crystal Symphony. The hotel is easily recognized by its red awnings and flower boxes outside each window of the front of the hotel.
As if this was not enough, after taking a short rest in our room, we went out on another walk. In total, we walked close to 15 miles.
This evening we will dine at a restaurant called Les Marches. We will post all about this tomorrow.
TODAY'S THOUGHT FOR THE DAY.....
Since the first of terrorist attacks took place in Paris a lot of the coverage we receive back home has been about this and other related attacks. We are reminded that while we must all be vigilant in our efforts to stand-up to these and all related attacks we can't give into these terrible acts by changing our habits and that includes tourism. After all, giving into senseless and horrific acts of terrorism means that we are letting those who commit this war on humanity succeed. We must stay united.
Anne Marie & Keith
The flight to Paris was on a Boeing 787-9 aircraft. This aircraft made its debut on the airline we fly in October of last year. In November it began international service. From what we have read because of its superior fuel efficiency it allows for more profitable international flights opening up new routes as well as flying longer distances. The airline offered three cabin services; business class, premium economy and economy. Total capacity is 285 seats. We believe the aircraft made its debut in 2014 with another airline.
We were fortunate to fly Business Class.
Unfortunately the flight took off about ninety minutes late. It was a full flight and they did ask if four people would give up their seats on the flight in coach as the flight was oversold. There were some issues with the catering of the flight which causes most of the delay.
The good news is that once airborne the pilot made up a good portion of the flying time and we arrived about forty minutes late.
We each got some sleep with Keith falling asleep faster then Anne Marie and sleeping a bit longer.
Our hotel accommodations included transfers between the airport and hotel and hotel and airport. As part of the service, we were met at the gate by a VIP representing the hotel who escorted us through fast-track Customs, to the luggage carrousel and with luggage in hand took us to where the driver was waiting. He was very courteous and professional and really made the arrival easy for us.
The driver was very similar. He was very professional and courteous and we made it to the hotel in only 35 minutes.
We arrived to the Shangri-la Paris Hotel. This is our first time time staying here and it was highly recommended by someone who is very seasoned traveler.
The hotel is housed in a renovated mansion that was built in 1896 for Prince Roland Bonaparte who is a great- nephew of Napoleon.
This hotel is exquisite and several of its rooms offer stunning views of the Eiffel Tower. Initially, we booked a duplex suite with a view of the Eiffel Tower. The hotel was kind enough to upgrade us to a duplex suite with a 323 square suite terrace overlooking both the city of Paris and also the Eiffel Tower. We will stay at the hotel for seven nights.
Upon arrival at the hotel we were greeted by two personnel one whom took our luggage and the other person escorted us to the reception desk. We were assisted by one of two reception personnel who went through all of the particulars with us, and once the check-in was complete escorted us to our suite. She showed us around the interior of the suite and then took us outside to the terrace overlooking the Eiffel Tower. Keith took a couple of photos and did not use the telephoto lens just to give you a feel as to how close we are to the Eiffel Tower. Our luggage arrived to the room shortly after she left and we also received a followup call from the concierge.
We went out on three walks this afternoon. First walk was for a late lunch which we had at a charming restaurant called Citrus Etoile. We could tell we picked a nice place as most of the people dining were locals. We really enjoyed the friendliness and professionalism of the entire staff from the manager to the assistant waiters. Food was great and we each had a three course lunch with each course having three choices. We both had salmon for the first course, a very tasty veal as our second course and for Keith it was cheese and salad for dessert and Anne Marie and parts of three different scoops of sorbet.
Our second walk was to continue to get fresh air and to pick up water for the room. Mission accomplished. Final mission was to go to a shop to bring back some pastry. We had a couple of places in mind but after speaking with the concierge (well three of them) we went to a pastry shop within a ten minute walk of the hotel. Between the three of them they had given us five different recommendations of items that they all like. We all laughed when they said but don't have them all at once. When we got to the shop the owner was very helpful. Not all items recommended were available as they change would they prepare each day. She was familiar with the concierges from the hotel. We ended up picking up two items to share. We have not tasted them yet so we will be sure to share our thoughts tomorrow.
We want to close with an observation. Too often it is very easy to generalize and say all French people are this or all American people are that or even within the states to say if you are from Texas or New York or Tennessee you are this or that. The reality is that we are all individuals and not robots so we all do not act in identical ways.
We have met so many nice people today and that not only includes personnel who guided us and drove us to the hotel, or the terrific members of the hotel staff or the very nice people at the restaurant. This included the woman at the pastry shop and the man on the street who could tell we might be lost who took his time to give us directions to the restaurant to even the person at the small market where we bought the water. We know not everyone we meet will be this nice but we certainly have met lots of very helpful people today who helped make our first day in Paris special.
We also learned to speak slowly because if we spoke French (Keith speaks a little) we could not possibly pick up on all that is said if it is spoken quickly so we can't expect the same thing. We learned that today when we asked for 10 additional coffee capsules for the room and probably asked the question quickly. We got a nice chuckle when we arrived back to the room and in line of ten capsules ten coffee cups and saucers were placed in the room.
Today's Thought For The Day.....
As mentioned on our welcome post, we selected Paris as part of our 40th Wedding Anniversary celebration because we consider it to be a romantic city. Examples of this are found all throughout Paris including: its elegant and cozy dining venues, superb cuisine including wonderful wine and champagne, the spoken language, its history, the architecture of its buildings and monuments, the lights at night and the ability to take nice long walks in the daylight and at night. There is so much to love about Paris. We also loved our time in Washington, DC where we met, were engaged and started our family. It was Pierre Charles L'Enfant who designed the basic plan for Washington, DC. Although some of the plans changed several key components remain and it reflects characteristics found in Paris and other cities in France.
Anne Marie & Keith
Paris - Here We Come
Today is travel day. We are posting this before the second of our two flights which is the long haul flight over to Paris.
The regional airport hotel worked out well for us. The room is on the interior of the hotel with a view from the window of the hotel's atrium. This is a good approach as one doesn't hear any of the noise from the airport.
After checking out of the hotel, we took the shuttle over to the airport. The actual distance is short but there no easy way to walk over to the airport as there are no pedestrian walkways.
Check-in at the airline was easy with no-one ahead of us. The same was true as we utilized Pre TSA✓ which enabled us to quickly make our way through security. We went directly to the lounge for the airline we use. We had a light breakfast knowing that our flight to the hub that serves our airline would not include breakfast since the actual flying time is less then forty-five minutes.
While walking to our gate Keith thought he spotted a plane that had just arrived that had the initials for TWA. When the plane pulled up to the gate sure enough it was. We remember American Airlines purchasing TWA back in the 1990's and eventually consolidating its feet and operations with American. First time we saw the plane with the hybrid American/TWA lettering. Evidently, this is to honor the predecessor airlines that joined the airline vis-a-via mergers and acquisitions.
Our flight was oversold and they were offering four passenger's money if they moved to another flight. Boarding commenced ahead of schedule.
After getting settled on the aircraft Keith looked up to see one of our United States Senators board the plane. The flight left on-time and arrived on schedule to the hub airport.
The flight was uneventful and once we disembarked the plane and took the airport train to the international terminal.
We read and wrote at the airline club lounge until we had lunch.
We wil post again tomorrow evening from Paris.
TODAY'S THOUGHT FOR THE DAY........
We are very fortunate to live at a time when we have the opportunity to travel to many places around the world because of air travel. We recognized that air travel is not as glamorous as it once was. However, we are reminded that by making air travel more affordable it has increased demand to justify the large aircraft that are necessary to provide easy access and reach to numerous cities and countries throughout the world.
Paris here we come.
Anne Marie & Keith