Paris France - August 30 - September 3, 2012

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Introduction

While waiting for our flight to Newark there was an announcement …"Will passengers White and Machak please report to the U.S. Airways ticket counter" Nothing good ever began with those words. Our takeoff had been delayed until after we were scheduled to leave for France. Our guardian angel in the guise of the ticket agent rebooked us on a flight leaving for Philadelphia and a connecting flight to Paris, on our way.


Lunch on the Seine

Lunch on the Seine

Lunch on the Seine

In the photo above upper left, the Pont Alexandre III bridge built for the 1900 world exposition. Upper right, in the background the Pont De Grenelle bridge. In the foreground Des Cygnes (Island of the Swans) hosts a reduced size bronze of Auguste Bartholdi's "Freedom Illuminating the World." Lower right, the pair of us enjoying a déjeuner croisière (lunch cruise) on the Seine. In the background the Passerelle Debilly pedestrian bridge. Lower left, a view of the Cathederal of Notre Dame de Paris from the back side.


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Street Scenes

Street Scenes

Street Scenes

In the photo above, upper left, thought you'd escape without at least one horse photo? That would be wrong. This matched pair rests on the Champ de Mars (Field of Mars). The Champ De Mars lies between the Eiffel tower and the École Militaire, the French armed forces military school. Upper right, Joyce in the embrace of a living statue. Photos are encouraged, of course a small donation's appreciated. Lower right, the Love bridge. Tradition holds that lovers placing a lock on the bridge are guaranteed true happiness. Locks pile up so quickly they're removed often. Bottom center, France offers two types of bakery, for bread the boulangerie for pastries the pâtisserie. Having tromped up and down the Champs-Elysées we earned a treat. Lower left, the view from our room window in the Hotel Londres Eiffel. I'd planned to use the Eiffel Tower as the reference point for the mental map of Paris held in my head. Combine narrow streets with tall buildings and the Tower, 1000 ft. tall, could not be seen!


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Landmarks

Paris landmarks

Landmarks

In the photo above upper left, In 1829 the viceroy of Egypt gifted two obelisks to France. Cleopatra's Needle was delivered and placed in the center of The Place de la Concorde, former site of the infamous prison, The Bastille. Upper right, the Louvre. Lower left, our hotel was a five minute walk from the Eiffel Tower. Lower center, we enjoyed a 360° view of Paris from the top of the L'Arc de Triomphe. Caring, but misguided, individuals steered me toward the elavator. Eluding them, I scampered to the top. Lower right, the west front of the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris.


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Paris Eye Candy

Paris Eye Candy

Paris Eye Candy

In the photo above upper left, the stained glass window at the front of Cathederal of Notre Dame de Paris. Upper right, a cookie lovers' paradise. Lower right, dinner on the Rue Cler. Difficult at first I learned to put my utensil down after each bite, look around, converse, repeat. Bottom center, fruits, vegetables, baked goods and more are offered daily in the markets. These particular fruits had an interesting pedigree, pre-packaged by Driscoll. Bottom left, a view from the the L'Arc de Triomphe toward the Place de la Concorde.


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Normandy - D-Day

Normandy - D-Day

Normandy - D-Day

I'd read the histories and watched the movies but was still unprepared for the emotional impact of walking the sites. We'd booked a private tour with Paris Luxury Tours. Our guide, Shahin Akhavi, picked us up at our hotel at 7:00 AM for the three hour drive to the Cotentin Peninsula. In the photo above, top right, Pointe du Hoc commands both Omaha and Utah Beachs. The ground, nearly 70 years later, is still a moonscape. Bottom center, From Pointe de Hoc looking to the left Utah beach is visible. Left, second from the top, the view out to sea from inside a German bunker on Pointe de Hoc. Upper left, the view from the German position of the beach where the rangers began the attack. The gun emplacements were bombed, shelled and finally taken, with heavy losses, by elements of the 2nd Ranger Battalion. Bottom right, the church at Sainte-Mère-Église. Paratroopers from the 505 Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82 Airborn division overshot their landing zone coming down in the town with heavy losses. One trooper, John Steele, was left dangling, his parachute snagged on a spire. In remembrance of him and those killed and captured a replica paratrooper hangs on the church. Bottom left, the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial at Omaha Beach.


Epilog

I'd never even thought of going to France let alone to Paris. Now references to "Paris", bring back the sight, sounds and smells of the city. The people were friendly. What little spoken French I had, "bonjour", hello, "merci", thank you and "au revoir", goodbye. Memories: A mail carrier knocking on a window shutter to hand a woman her mail through the window. Salmon colored Capri pants on both women and men! First view of the Eiffel Tower, it's very tall! Chocolate filled croissants and granola with chocolate chunks with breakfast eased early morning wakeups.


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Updated:November 18, 2014