We opted to spend a few days in Paris prior to going to Germany. We stayed in the Hotel Montholon, which is up in the 9th Arrondissiment. This made it relatively easy to get into the city on the RER from the airport, and then head to Gare de L'est when we went to Germany.

We got settled and then set out for a day of staving off jet lag. The trick of course is to grind out the day wherever you are without any sleep at all. By the time you put your head down that night, you're really tired. You sleep a solid eight hours and when you wake up, poof, you're on local time. So we jumped into the metro and went down to the southern 'hood in Paris that I know pretty well and really enjoy. We wanted to walk through the Jardin de Luxembourg.


Of course as you walk the streets of Paris you bump into all sorts of interesting buildings. This is the Pantheon. Inside here is where Foucault proved via his pendulum that the earth rotated. The statue of The Thinker used to be here too, in the 1920s. Voltaire and Rousseau are buried here, alogn with Louis Pasteur. Pretty crazy.


Here is the front.


We finally made it to the park.I think this is my second favorite park in all the world. (First of course is Highland Park.)


Everything is perfectly kept and very symmetric.


My dad was not shy about taking pictures of people. Here he gets right up on them.


Yet another example of why it's awesome to be a grown-up.


This is a good shot of my dad in front of the palace/museum.


See these trees? I love this. They trim them theis way all over Europe.


Ping pong is an emotional game.


We met Francois for dinner that night and started off with a bunch of bread, cheese, and ham.


Then we got these opther plates that came with long pieces of bread covered with meat and cheeses. I love meals like this, where a wide variety of food items come out and everyone just digs in.


We got up the next day and went to the Louvre. In all my trips to Paris, I had never gone inside before this.


It's just too big to fully digest. The hallways between galleries are museums themselves.


Even in the off-season it gets pretty crowded in here.


We were in the Grand Gallerie, which is where the Mona Lisa is located.


If you look through that doorway you can see it hanging on the wall back there. I guess during summer they have so many people here that there is a long line and you have to shuffle past. We were able to walk right up to it and look at it for as long as we wanted.


There it is.


Here is another one of the rooms.


This is the Venus de Milo carved in Greece in 100BC or so. It's old enough to be considered "old" in Paris. Everyone shoots it from the front so I thought I'd give you a shot of it from behind. This sculpture is the first recorded example of a female plumber.


They are staging live exhibitions now too, and this one is, "Construction guy touching toes." In the foreground you can see a marble statue that appears to be studying him in some sort of role reversal.


This is a room devoted to huge paintings by Rubens. I like this room a lot.


After looking at all that art (two guys can certainly see the Louvre in one day...) We headed out for some lunch. We got $3 sandwiches and $8 diet cokes, as is the tradition in Paris. By the end of the trip we were calculating the cost of everything in units of Diet Coke.


Next we strolled over to the Eiffel Tower and went up to see the view. Another Paris first for me, I've never been up it. We'd get to something like this and have this conversation each time...

Dad: If this is boring we don't have to do it.

Me: No, I've never done this.

Dad: What? How many times have you been to Paris?

Me: I don't know. Six or seven.

Dad: SIX?! What the heck do you do here each time?!

Me: I dunno, I sit at cafes and watch people. Wander around. Sit in the parks. Drink $8 diet cokes.You know, hang out.

Dad: Hang out. Come on, let's go see this thing.

Somehow it doesn't matter how old you are, when you try to explain things to your dad, you end up sounding dopey. :-)


Wow. The view was pretty spectacular.


Arc de Triomphe.


This large green area leads to the Military school.


My dad with the Eiffel tower.


Next we walked over to the Arc de Triomphe. It's in the middle of a huge traffic circle. Of course I had never gone up to the top of it, so up we went.


View from the top. You can see how the traffic bunches up. There are no lane dividers, and no signals to control when people stop and go. They just work it all out.


To me, this is very French. From chaos comes civilized behavior.


Night view of the Champs Elysees.


 


By then it was time for dinner. I make it a point to eat as much Escargot in Paris as I can when I'm there. I've had it here in the US, and it just isn't the same.(The snails are too rubbery and they don't come in the shells.)


My dad got this amazing meal, with really good potatoes and also some kind of pork.


For dessert I had a coffee.


My dad got the ice cream with Creme Anglaise. Delish.


On the way home we walked past the opera house.


And since our feet were beat, we took the metro the rest of the way home.


The next day we went to Notre Dame. While I have been inside the church several times, I have never climbed up to the top...


So up we went!


Most of it is stone staircases, but the last bit is a bunch of wooden stairs to go up to where the huge bells are hanging. Somehow I did not get a picture of the bells.


For lunch it was some French onion soup.


This old lady, who looked like a space alien wearing a disguise was in the restaurant with us.


We wandered around some more that day, then went to my favorite restaurant in Paris. I don't know the name of it, Fusion-somehting I think, but I know how to get to it and I know what I like to order when I get there. My dad was able to get a "cheeseburger" and fries. It looks like they served it on an English Muffin.


I got the squid risotto. It's amazing. They blacken the rice with the ink!


Mmmmm!


After that it was down into the metro. We got up the next day and took the TGV to Munich.