Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012 – Paris (Le Havre), France – Cloudy, Windy, Rainy – mid 40s

Distance from Bruges to Paris (Le Havre): 194 Nautical Miles

Local Information.  Paris is the capital and largest city in France with a population of around 2 million.  The name – Paris – comes from the first settlers in the area – Celts called “Parisii” – who lived in the area of the Isle de la Cite in the Third Century BC.  Many peoples including the Romans (Caesar conquered this area in 52BC)have had a role in the development of Paris.  The monarchy was overthrown in 1789 with the execution of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette but restored in the early 19th century.  Today, Paris is bisected by the River Seine.  The Rive Gauche consists of the artsy character of the city while the Rive Droit contains government buildings.  With its iconic Eiffel Tower, Paris is known the world over as “The City of Lights”.

…I Love Paris in the Winter, when it drizzles…

The forecast for the day was partly cloudy and 57F.  Not.

Although we were supposed to be booked on the “Paris on your Own” tour, we did not receive tickets.  We went “standby” and eventually got tickets on the last bus.  The bus, a double decker, had some empty seats on the top deck so we had seats by ourselves.  This was a very good thing because the trip to Paris from Le Havre took three hours.  It addition, the bus was very cold – some issue with the heating system. 

The bus dropped us off near the Champs Elysees.  It was raining, windy and cold.  We are allotted five hours in Paris so here was our plan: Head to the Eiffel Tower, the closest of the Parisian sites, and then to a McDonalds to have lunch and use their WiFi system.  At McDonalds, we would have lunch and plan the rest of our tour.

We crossed the Seine using the Pont Alexander III (below).

River Seine and Pont Des Invalides from Pont Alexandre III (Small)

River Seine and Pont des Invalides

Musee de L'Armee from P Alexandre III (Small)

Musee De L’Armee in the Distance

Parts of the Pont Alexander III were in disrepair and actually held together with tape (below).

Held together w tape (Small)

You would think a structure 984 feet tall would be easy to spot but we actually asked directions on how to find the Eiffel Tower.

Eiffel Tower in Distance (Small)

Of course, we found the Eiffel Tower, which looked freshly painted, and took several terrific photos of this Wonder of the World.  Trivia: The first Transatlantic wireless communication was sent from the Tower in 1916.

Eiffel Tower foggy at top (Small)

Eiffel Tower (Small) Eiffel Tower from Champ de Mars (Small) Effeill Tower Champs de Mars 1 (Small)

From the Eiffel Tower we noticed an installation in one of the nearby parks.  A few years ago, Chicago had a citywide display of plaster cows decorated by the various organizations sponsoring their entry.  Paris was having an international Bear Exhibition – decorated bears from around the world.  We couldn’t pass up a chance to take photos with the US and Israeli Bears.

E and USA Bear 1 (Small)   Me and USA Bear (Small) E and Israel Bear (Small) 

Next stop: McDonalds.  It turned out that McDonalds was a long way from the bus drop and it took several locals to get us to the Golden Arches.  At McDonalds, we had pommes frites and a latte but the phones could not locate the WiFi network.  We went to the nearby Starbucks, where we could not connect to their network.  Needless to say, we tried a number of other WiFi options with no success. 

The rain continued to come down and the temperature continued to drop.  Although we still had two hours left in Paris, we decided that a dry bus was better than a wet “City of the Lights” so we went back to the bus. 

On the way back, we couldn’t resist taking a picture of a colorful flower shop.  A bright spot in a gray day.

    E and the Flower Garden (Small)

A statue of Simon Bolivar graced the banks of the Seine – I will need to find the connection between the Libertador and Paris.

Simon Bolivar Statue (Small)

Simon Bolivar Statue

The rain was falling harder as we found our way back to the Seine and the Pont Alexander III (below).

Pont Alexandre III (Small)

 Statues on P Alex III (Small)  

Statuary on Pont Alexander III

On the far side of the bridge, I noticed that one of the statues was adorned with a number of padlocks.  The locks were placed on the fingers and hands of the statue.  Reason – Unknown.

Padlocks on Statues fingers (Small)

Statue with Padlocks

Past the bridge near the Grand Palais was a magnificent statue of Winston Churchill.

Winston Churchill Grand Palais (Small)

Winston Churchill Statue

We found our bus and settled in for the 45 minutes prior to our scheduled departure.  It wasn’t that warm but it was dry. 

Cold bus ride home (Small)

Back on our Bus

We left about 15 minutes late (some people had been delayed by a slow “hop on hop off” bus). 

Heading home through Paris (Small)

  Heading Home (Small)

Top: Leaving the City; Bottom: On the Highway

The three hour drive in the dark went by faster because I read “Reacher – Killing Floor” on my phone.  We got back to the ship around 9 PM and had a hurried (and "heartburnogenic") dinner.

We went to the 10:45 late Show and caught the Duet “Eden”.  Eden consists of Lucy Campbell (Leicester, England) and Libby Johnstone (Glasgow, Scotland).  The two women met while performing in “Saturday Night Fever” in London.  They have terrific voices and their show was top notch (save for the banter).

Eden (Small) Eden 1 (Small)

Showtime with Eden

A long, wet, and tiring day.

Sea Day tomorrow.

Pedometer: 8414 steps; 4.4 miles; 437 calories

1 comment:

  1. Dear HalT,

    I stumbled across your blog online, I am a member of Eden (Libby, the Scottish one) so it was nice to see some photos! Thanks very much for your comments. I was wondering if I could possibly email you? If so please email us to get in touch at info@edengb.com
    Thanks for your time,
    Libby Johnstone