Travel

France’s Cinematic Views: Day 2 in Paris’ 7th, 8th & 1st Arrondissements

Well, my friends, my blog is finally living up to its name: French Ethereal! I am sooo excited to share more from our trip abroad. I went absolutely nuts taking photographs… Everywhere you look (and I do mean everywhere) is like looking through a movie camera lens…

Lots of motorcyclists and bicyclists spin about the city, and did you know you could rent motorcycles while you are here? I saw them available on some websites and you can go for a tour around Paris on a 1:1 tour via vendors through AirBnB’s website. (not sponsored)

I fell in love with all of the different bistro chairs! Each café and restaurant had their own version. These were at the little café we ate at our very first evening in Paris. From here, we walked over to the Eiffel Tower for the tour that never happened. We got scammed and I let AirBnB know about it.

Cute fence and locks! Actually, the only ones we saw. Never got down to the right bridges crossing over from Rive Gauche to Rive Droit (Left Bank to the Right Bank of Paris) to find more.
Love all the mini gardens up on Parisians’ balconies!

I thought I might pick up a bouquet of flowers to have in our hotel or bnb rooms, but Amy talked me out of it because…

How would we carry them on the train out to Grenoble and back?? Along with our suitcases and backpacks, etc??

She was right, of course. But it would have been lovely to have a bouquet to enjoy!

And there were lavender plants… sigh!

What place is this?

Pretty little park… And look at that cute wrought iron in the front here! Literally as I write this, I am just noticing it…

More of the park with a grand building in the background. Anyone know what this building is??

Oh, duh! Nm, I answered my own question just a few photos from now ~ Le Musée de L’Armée Invalides.

I went for a walk late on the morning of the second day we were in Paris on my own as my daughter was really, really tired and wanted to take a nap mid-morning. This was the day I posted that first look at Paris post and I typed until around noon. We’d had breakfast in our room (I brought hers up on a tray from the restaurant downstairs), and she waited too long for me to be ready. Totally my fault!

Anyway, this building is the military museum I walked by and it was free to enter on this particular day!

I started to go inside, but decided to save it for another day as I was on a mission to find a wedding present for my niece and soon-to-be new nephew…

Love the canons!

It was Thursday, 21 Julliet 2022. I didn’t know how to use the Metro yet, so I walked a couple of miles down the quai (sounds like “Kay”), across a big bridge there along Rue de Grenelle.

Our driver, a few days later, when we came back from Grenoble, told us this was built sometime around the French Revolution. It may have been a hospital for the “invalides,” soldiers injured during the war… Not sure.

The gorgeous wrought iron and gilded entrance into the museum…
Louis the Sun King’s coat of arms??

For someone who has shot over 50,000 photographs on black & white and color film since I was 8 years old, and now digitally… France is a feast for the eyes and the camera lens!

It is no wonder why Paris is featured as THE CITY in so many movies…

I took these photos just with my iPhone 12… I did shoot some with my big Canon but didn’t want to haul it all over the city every time I went out, so chose to just use my phone. Sooo glad these came out well!

This bridge opposite Le Musée de L’Armée was dedicated to these French soldiers who were killed during WWII. The man memorialized on the left-hand plaque received the
Cross of War (Croix de Guerre) for what he did on the battlefield.
Part of the museum under exterior renovation and cleaning. Might be a different museum but I shot this that same day…
Part of the bridge and looking beyond to the Jardin des Tuleries and beyond.

After crossing over the bridge, I walked around the Luxor Obelisk heading toward the Galleries Lafayette, a shopping mall someone told me about which might have a culinary store. As it was, I headed left towards the mall after this park, and after going around the sidewalk of an enormous roundabout…

Here is the massive roundabout in front of the Luxor Obelisk, which I learned later is the Place de la Concorde, 8th Arrondissement. I knew it was important but didn’t know where I was at the time. You can read more about how this obelisk was a gift from Pasha Muhammed Ali to France here.

I was getting pretty tired from walking at this point, as I hadn’t eaten lunch, so I shot these photos but didn’t really know where I was or I would have walked down the Champs Élysées (left of here) ~ the “Elysian Fields” ~ a place for dead heroes (in Greek mythology).

Also where many people were guillotined during the French Revolution… Ick!

A lovely little shaded park and pathway… Sorry it is not centered. Bad photographing on my part!

I walked right by the Tuleries Garden and did go inside. I ate lunch at a cute café there but I want to share that later, so no photos here!

Eventually, I did find a culinary store called Boulanger, which I understand is a small chain store. For my niece and her fiancé, I bought a pasta maker. I wanted to get them something they might not buy for themselves but would be fun and useful! Ikea was across the street so I went there afterwards, and used their restroom (always important!) and to pick up a gift card, too. <3

After that, I forced myself to go figure out how to ride the Metro home…

My feet were tired… Riding back to our hotel aboard the Metro to our hotel ~ Les Jardins de Eiffel ~ was bliss! A French woman was very sweet and pulled down the fold-up seat for me so I could sit. She must have seen the harried look on my face, lol!

I got off at Quai d’Orsay Metro station, and headed back over the rue (street) and up a few blocks to our hotel. I felt a little more “Parisienne” that day and “less tourist!” I was learning how to get around. ;)’

Round deux!

I was totally excited when I got back (and now rested from sitting) and Amy was well rested after a two-hour+ nap. I told her about my adventures and that I had four €2.00 coins ~ enough for two trips out to L’Opéra Metro stop in the 1st Arrondissement and back ~ we could go back!?!

Amy caught the bug of excitement, so off we went to hop the Metro!!! She was excited about going shopping at a Parisienne mall, and maybe to dinner downtown (we actually ate when we got back to our little area in the 7th, which turned out to be perfect).

Le Grand Hôtel ~ one of the first beautiful buildings we saw in this part of Paris (1st Arrondissement) ~ with its outside café. Love the wrought iron and deep green patio covers and umbrellas!!!

L’Opéra National de Paris

After walking just a block or so from the Metro station, we came to Paris’ National Opera ~ the Palais Garnier. I asked my daughter if she’d like to go look inside but we decided to save L’Opéra for another time.

Wouldn’t it be fun to see a theatrical production here?!!

Part of the rear side of L’Opéra, if I remember correctly.
Another cinematic view…
The beginning of the shopping district

We continued on our walk and headed towards our final destination and a little shopping…

A little surprise garden down an alleyway…

Les Galeries Lafayette

We found a whole shopping area with stores like Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, and more. We followed the crown right into the glass doors of Les Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann. Opened in 1893, the Galeries has a magnificent cupola ceiling created by “master glassworkerJacques Grüber and finished around 1912 (The Good Life France).

The building underwent a major renovation in 1932 which “introduced some ‘modern’ angular and faceted Art Deco elements into its structure and decoration.”

The Good Life France

We browsed some lovely clothes and looked at lots of fun jewelry. After about an hour we decided it was time to head back to dinner… (Funny how “tired” sneaks up on you!)

We had a great time shopping and just browsing a few stores. Surprisingly, we only bought a few t-shirts but didn’t buy anything really fashionable.

On our way back towards the Metro station, we came across this light post. It was so ornate.

Now I see what looks like some kind of Viking warship… Perhaps this was erected when Napoleon was in power?

I wonder what its significance is? Anyway, thoughts for another day. 🙂

I hope you have enjoyed this day in Paris! A city of much military history and more.

Jusqu’à a la prochaine fois,

Barb 🙂

Uncategorized

Let’s Visit the Musée du Louvre! (Épisode Un)

Thinking what it was going to be like to go to The Louvre in Paris, I never in my wildest imagination thought how magnificent everything would be…

Hang on to your hats, grab something cool to drink and let’s take a tour! I promise not to share all 300+ photos today but just some highlights. I’ll share more later but just the outside of the museum is enough for just one post!

The inner courtyard of the Musée du Louvre

The Louvre palace was begun by King Francis I in 1546 on the site of a 12th-century fortress built by King Philip II. Francis was a great art collector, and the Louvre was to serve as his royal residence. “

History.com

Grand Extraordinaire

The sheer immensity of the buildings which make up the Louvre just doesn’t show in anyone’s photographs! You really need to experience it…

One of the reasons I am sooooo glad I was able to finally visit Paris and to see it with my daughter Amy. This was her big bucket list item to see while we were there in France and it just kept on giving…

My desire was to see the Tulleries out back, and I had walked a bit through them the night we tried to go up into the Eiffel Tower (didn’t happen, long story!).

Looking left
Looking forward as we walked more forward

We tried to get tickets but they were sold out. I had paid for as much of our trip in cash as I could before we left, setting up our hotels/AirBnB’s. I just had no more money to set up our two big sightseeing trips to Versailles and the Louvre, so we just walked over and “took a chance” on getting in…

Incredible statues of famous people from Roman, Greek, and French cultures surround the courtyard.

Correct me if I am wrong, but most of these statues are to show the citizens of the time who these famous figures were. We decided not to pay for the headphones and went on our own guided tour just taking our time and browsing through the rooms we really wanted to see.

Amy had read on the Louvre website that upwards of 30,000 visitors come through the entrance here underneath the pyramid to tour each day.

Covid be damned! We were going!! Some people wore masks but it was a good 90+ degrees and we just decided to forego masks; too hot. We never wore masks after the airplane ride. Very few people coughed. Paris was having an increase in Covid cases but those were locals, from what we learned from a waitress at one of the cafés we ate at.

While visiting the Louvre, we met a lot of nice people and enjoyed visiting with staff members who sit in each room. They are there for you to ask questions and by doing this, we kept them from total boredom. 🙂 Okay, and they make sure you don’t sneak off with “some souvenir,” too!

An iconic view… Reminds me of a shot from one of Tom Hanks’ movies ~ The Da Vinci Code. Fun movie if you haven’t seen it!

We only waited about an hour as the security staff who checked bags and let tour groups inside were gracious enough to NOT just let in tour groups. They would go back and forth letting people queue up to enter.

It took about an hour, which we thought wasn’t bad. Better than Disneyland!

I was blown away by the incredible detail on the outsides of each building… This roof was de rigueur in its time ~ a masterpiece made of lead. We noticed that several chimneys had to be supported with cables to prevent them falling off. Wise decision!

Let’s go inside!

Our first stop was the restrooms (of course) followed by a trip to the counters for a map. Amy guided us through each floor and we began with the Greek and Roman section.

This was some kind of list of grain sales, I believe. Amy read out the description.

We took our time but moved quickly since we wanted to see most of the museum. My goal was to see Napoleon’s quarters, and Amy wanted to study all the Roman antiquities.

Really cool statuettes and bronze mirror!

I am not good with Roman and Greek mythology but my daughter amazed me with all of her knowledge and happily was my personal tour guide! She knows a massive amount about what was going on during each time period; she could be a commentator on a historical program.

If you haven’t seen any old episodes of Odyssey – Ancient History Documentaries and the original name Time Team on YouTube, you should check it out! Off the air since 2012, the British archeologists on the show’s 20-year run are brilliant at finding and sharing archeological finds and often very funny! Great show for seeing how people used to live back in Neolithic, Medieval and other times through digs all within the “three-days-to-do-it” motto. Filmed all within the United Kingdom with a few specials across Europe.

Look up!

The ceilings within the museum were massive and entire rooms were moved and reset within the museum or were there since the time of the Louises and Napoleon and later up to Louis XVIII.

The paintings, many for propaganda purposes to impress visitors, were scenes of famous mythological battles. I think it was in 1789, after the French Revolution was over and life had settled down, the Louvre became the place to house France’s treasures. Much of what was held within all six museums in Paris, the best was brought to the Louvre to become the main museum of France and one of the finest in the world.

Thankfully, not everything was destroyed during the fires and stripping of France’s castles during that time period. Some pieces were taken as souvenirs, some were taken by royalists to preserve and protect them.

After Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette lost their heads, Napoleon added a lot of treasures to the Louvre from his travels to Egypt and beyond.

Venus de Milo
Same lady from the rear. 😉

Venus de Milo was really one of the few super famous pieces we saw last Monday (just a week ago now). We couldn’t get near the Mona Lisa… We snapped from afar.

Venus with different hair styles.

Amazing detail in each statue! The stone just sparkles in the sunlight and some statues were luminescent!!

We were blown away by the musculature which shows through many of the statues. How did the carvers “see” this within each piece of stone?

Another of Venus’ gorgeous hairstyles!
Monsieur Paris ~ Many of the male figures were missing an important part of their anatomy… We guessed that perhaps that these statues were broken during shipping from wherever they found.

After a while, we knew we needed the tags with each statue or piece we photographed so we could identify them when we got home. So here is Paris’ info.!

“Off with her head!”

We learned from hearing some guides that often statues were made in pieces and pieced together. This woman’s upper body (head cavity) showed how the head bust would have been added on after the main body was in situ. Her arm was also missing but I didn’t get a close-up of that area.

Well, I would love to keep going with this post but I think this is a good place to stop for now. I will get more ready for the weekend for you.

Amy and I enjoyed a good six hours there at the Louvre wandering up and down the long corridors. We ate lunch at a cute restaurant and met another Amy (Emi) at our table. We also visited the gift shops and brought home some loot!

Thank you for pinning! 🙂

I hope you have enjoyed this post and please leave a comment about what you enjoyed when you toured the Louvre!

A bientôt,

Barb 🙂

Holidays, Travel

Bonjour de Paris!

Bonjour, mes amies! My daughter Amy and I made it safely to Paris aboard our super clean (and large) 787 aircraft taking an overnight hop from Dallas-Fort Worth to Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport. Great trip! A bit cramped but at nine seats across the airplane, it really was quite spacious…

It was raining as we came into land at CDG around 1:15pm. The outskirts of Paris are surrounded with industrial buildings. We passed by headquarters for many European companies as well as an Ikea and Samsung building as our driver headed south from the airport into Paris proper.

It was raining fairly hard as we pulled into one of nine terminals at Charles de Gaulle airport.

There was a bit of traffic but the drive was a quick 40 minutes. I was really pleased with Welcome Pickups as a driver service! This company was recommended by our hotel ~ Les Jardins de Eiffel, a beautiful 3-star hotel in the heart of the 7th Arrondisement here in Paris.

Paris’ Stade de France, where France won its first FIFA World Cup title in 1998. In that year, France beat Brazil 3-0. This stadium was built to house that football (soccer) match and will also host track and field events during the upcoming 2024 Summer Olympics.

Our driver was on-time (actually early, and booked for us for 2 hours or so), showed us where to get our American dollars exchanged at CDW, and toured us around Paris which is how I shot most of these photographs. 🙂

I have no idea who this rider is, and I looked… Apparently, Paris has many horse and rider statues placed about the city.

I appreciated his giving us a quick tour around the Arc de Triomphe, a big statue in the center of town, and a view of Paris’ enormous 80,000+ seat stadium, le Stade de France (can you imagine??).

Paris is sooo beautiful! Of course, it has modern buildings mixed in with the the ancient ones, but how can you not love a city with such gorgeous architecture?? Most of my photographs are of ironwork railings and plasterwork… This is what I am looking for amongst our travels about the city.

Les Jardines de Eiffel Hotel

Our room was upgraded by the hotel staff, which was wonderful! Upon arrival, we were told that our room has a view of the Eiffel Tower and it didn’t disappoint. Le Jardines de Eiffel Hotel is a beautiful small hotel was recommended to me by our friend Jeanie from The Marmelade Gypsy and is everything she said it would be!

Charming, right off a small street ~ 8, rue Amélie ~ about a mile from the Eiffel Tower (witha great view right outside our bedroom window!). Our room had a queen size bed, a tele for watching the news, a teapot to have a nice cuppa, and an en suite bathroom with a tall tub.

It took us a while to figure out how to turn on the lights! None of them worked at first but you have to slide your room card key into this slot on the wall and then the lights and a/c radiator units work. Always fun to learn how to use things in another country!

Stohrer Chocolate, Rue Cler, Paris, France

We ended our day with dinner at a little café and a stop by a chocolate store…

Yummy! Ils sont trés bons!

We picked up some milk chocolate truffles and I found a wonderfully chocolate mousee-filled éclair to snack on back in our room.

depuis 1738

This chocolate shop (magasin de chocolate) had beautiful marble counters and wooden display cases (why didn’t I take more photos??).

Seems as though all of the shops we poked our heads into have been there forever! Our café had solid wooden plank floors, my guess is at least 2″ thick, 10″ x 2″. They didn’t squeak or bend under my weight ~ good flooring!

It didn’t last long… ;)’

The young lady who helped us talked about how Parisienne chocolates were so different than any others. We had asked about why they tasted so much better! I do have to say, the mousse inside this éclair was really fluffy but not overly sweet, which was perfect.

And that was our first day in Paris, friends!!

Jusqu’à la prochaine fois,

Barb 🙂

Travel

France Nous Voici! (Here We Come!)

It is done, mes amies! Two tickets to fly to Paris’ Charles De Gaulle Airport are now reserved in mine and my daughter’s names…

*Above photo courtesy of VacationPerfect.com.

Now the fun begins!

I need your help. Where have you stayed which was beautiful but around $400 or less/night? I did see that we could get bunk beds in a hostel, but would our suitcases and belongings be safe all day while we are out shopping/dining/browsing/touring?

My niece’s wedding is on Saturday in Grenoble, so my thought was take the red-eye to CDG airport on Tuesday/land on Wednesday, check into our hotel, leave our bags and get out right away for sight-seeing in Paris! We land at 1:25pm so hopefully we can get a cab or shuttle to the hotel. We will probably look around a bit, grab an early dinner and head to bed (ha!). (You know me, I’ll be out photographing EVERYTHING!!!)

Versailles ~ Hall of Mirrors

Amy and I will spend two days ooohing and aaahing over Versailles and the gardens, and seeing whatever we can squish into our days there in Paris. We may have a couple of days on our way back from Grenoble, too. I would love to go and see the lavender fields but I just think there isn’t enough time in one week…

What are your experiences in France with security out on the streets or in the hotels? Can we walk around with our purses hanging around our necks or should we just take small wallets and keep in our front pockets??

Now the fun stuff!

We will arrive on Wednesday and stay in Paris for two days. What are your must see things to do?

Which arrondisement did you enjoy staying in the most? Left Bank or Right Bank?

I’ve looked at Courtney of French Country Cottage‘s post The Most Charming Apartment to Stay In as a start for hotel ideas.

On that Friday, we hop on a train to Grenoble. How do we do this y’all? Totally excited, but I am concerned about getting to the train station.

I finally got into the USPS last week and my paperwork is sent/uploaded with “expedite” for my new passport’s return. Amy will go right to the main location there in Austin this coming week and get hers done.

A Grenoble Wedding

five unique summer experiences in france part two
frenchsidetravel.com

So, yes, we will have to travel to Grenoble sometime during the day. I think there is a dinner Friday night for guests and then the wedding on Saturday. I know there is hiking around Grenoble and it’ll be nice to go for a short hike and just ogle over the scenery! What mountains… Hope the roses and lavender will be in bloom!

Well, I am going to fire off this post and listen to all of your thoughts and comments! Please feel free to share with friends who you think might have some tips and advice for a good trip, thank you!!! 💜

Here are a couple of other pre-France posts I’ve shared in the past:

About France and a Little More Virtual Travel and French Inspiration ~ really this was my trip to Germany as a 19 year old college student on an exchange program.

Happy Saturday, y’all,

Barb 🙂