Monday, April 6, 2015

Paris

Friday April 3 – Monday April 6, 2015

We took a trip to Paris to take advantage of the 3 day Easter weekend. We rented an apartment we found on Airbnb. It was on the 24th floor of a tower in Montparnasse with a view of the Eiffel Tower.
We dropped Chance off Thursday afternoon at a dog kennel that was recommended to us by some friends. It’s 30 minutes away near the Belgian border, but the dogs don’t stay in chainlink cages with a shared dog yard where they go out twice a day. Here the dogs stay in communal living spaces to sleep and has a great play yard where the dogs spend most of the day. They post on Facebook daily a video of the dogs playing in the yard.

Friday 3 April
We made it out to door just before 9am to begin our drive to Paris. We were in Belgium within 30 minutes.
Even at a pitstop cafeteria along the highway, Brooklyn found a way to put her foot up in the high chair. 
We walked to the Plaisance metro stop. We bought carnet of 10 metro tickets. We intended to take the 13 blue line to the 4 purple line to the Cite stop but once we got to Gare Montparnasse to transfer lines, we discovered this line was under construction and the central city stations were closed. Instead we transferred to the 6 green line to Charles de Gaulle Etolle stop.
We immediately viewed the Arc de Triomphe upon exiting the metro into the rainy weather.  Jackie and Brooklyn in the stroller at the Arc de Triomphe 
Napoleon commissioned the Arc de Triomphe to commemorate victory at Austerlitz. It is a big at 165' high & 130' wide with 12 converging boulevards at the traffic circle. 

Next we strolled down Avenue des Champs-Elysées, the famous boulevard/backbone of Paris. I love the scale of Parisian buildings, a clear solid base, middle and top with repetitive ornamentation indicative of the Art Nouveau period. 
We saw the showrooms for Peugeot, Citroen and Mercedes-Benz.
We gawked over the Mercedes Benz car on display.

Jackie wanted to go in Citroen for the interesting looking building and it had a massive slide!


We passed the original Louis Vuitton 
More beautiful Parisian buildings 
Quintessential Paris: Art Nouveau metro sign & Eiffel Tower 
We continued walking toward the Seine River & the Eiffel Tower 
We made it to the Eiffel Tower (La Tour Eiffel), the most visited monument in the world which was built in 1889 for the World's Fair. 
The Eiffel Tower stands 1063' tall with observation platforms at around 200, 400, & 900'. Jackie made plans to pay €5 and climb the 360 stairs to the first level & possibly 360 more to second level where there are the best views on a later day when the weather was better.
The remodeled glass floor on the first level 
The beautiful ironwork of the Eiffel Tower 


The Eiffel Tower from Champ de Mars grassy park 
Joe is back here after 12 years.


One quick wet rainy selfie at the Eiffel Tower (Brooklyn was napping in the stroller)
We had an early dinner at Le Campanella. We ate foie gras, duck confit, pork knuckle with an éclair for dessert. Brooklyn was an angel, an object of attention for the male waitstaff.
Jackie and Brooklyn enjoying our balcony view of the Eiffel Tower 

Back at the apartment we took nighttime photos of the Eiffel Tower from our bedroom balcony 


At the top of the hour there is a 5 minute display that features thousands of sparkling lights on the Eiffel Tower. We had the perfect view as we went to bed.

Saturday 4 April
Today we drove 35 minutes to Versailles, the palace chateau for the French royal monarchy. It is one of the largest palaces in the world, one that many other European palaces were built and modeled after. Once a small hunting lodge expanded by Louis XIII and then expanded by his successor Louis XIV.
The crowds in front of the Versailles Chateau in the Courtyard of Honour with the left wing under renovation and the royal chapel to the right 
Jackie knew the lines would be long so she ordered tickets ahead of time online. Still it took 1 hour and 45 minutes to get and we got there only 15 minutes after it opened at 9am.
My loves waiting in line to enter the Chateau 
The beautiful golden entrance gate 


Brooklyn and Joe at the Chateau
At security Jackie knew she had read that no strollers were allowed, but they would not allow us to bring our Deuter backpack because it had a metal frame. We should have used the baby bjorn front pack for this location.
The Chateau exterior from the Royal Courtyard 

It was very windy inside the courtyard and once you exited the temporary entrance during the wing renovation, there wasn’t clear signage about where to go next.
The golden gates from within the Chateau 
Joe and Brooklyn at the Versailles Chateau 
Happy Family at the Chateau 
Versailles Chateau Marble Courtyard 
We went and got a cappuccino and hot chocolate so Jackie could nurse Brooklyn for her 11am feeding. Jackie loves these cuties! 
Gorgeous corridor 
Joe and Brooklyn admiring the view of the gardens while the fountains blasted high in the sky
First we toured through the mesdames’ apartments and Louis XV’s daughters. We saw salon after salon, all intricately detailed and decorated.
The crown moulding and ceiling details were amazing 

The old wooden floors throughout the Chateau 
Beautiful salon 
Library
Sitting room 
Beautiful staircase 
Architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart designed the Hall of Mirrors in the late 17th century. At the turn of the century, the royal chapel was constructed.
Royal Chapel from ground level 
Another gorgeous statue corridor
An architect always loves intricate models 





There were great 3D animation videos showing the evolution of Versailles. Many can be watched here:
Grand stair 

Brooklyn fell asleep in her daddy’s arms.
Joe offering up his first born to whomever this French guy is 
Poor kid getting posed by the statues 
Upper level hall outside the Royal Chapel 

The gold gilded doors to the Royal Chapel 


Royal Chapel from upper level 
Gorgeous hall 

The painted ceilings of every room in the kings chambers were astounding! With the curved ceilings, the corners had to be extremely difficult. 



Hall outside the Hall of Mirrors 

Those cuties checking out the gardens for the Chateau windows 
Hall of Mirrors
Joe and Brooklyn in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles
Jackie and Brooklyn in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles 

Arched window wall of the Hall of Mirrors looking out onto the gardens 
Matching arched mirror wall in the Hall of Mirrors 
Hall of Mirrors 
Yet another grand room 

Kings chambers 
Intricate gold candelabra light fixture
Another gorgeous ceiling 
Queens chambers 
More painted mural ceilings with gold 

Daddy posin’ with his sweet girl 


Intricate coffered ceiling 
Finally we walked through the Gallery of Battles, which is a museum of the history of France. 

Joe tried to return our ‘audioguide’ as we waited to retrieve our backpack
Jackie had said that the gardens were free, but we learned that today and on a few other days that when they had the fountain show, the entrance fee was €9. After Jackie explained how she studied these manicured gardens dotted with statues & fountains in architecture school, we decided to pay the fee to see them. They were laid out by Andre Le Notre. They were the model of the formal French garden.
Cuties in the Versailles gardens 
Versailles Chateau, with the Hall of Mirrors on the middle columned floor
Versailles gardens
Joe says: “This crazy woman kept following Brooklyn and me. Then photo bombs all of our selfies.”
Versailles Chateau and gardens from Royal walk 


Colonnade Grove, a curved colonnade of water fountains 

Fountain of Apollo’s Chariot 

The Grand Canal, Versailles Little Venice 
We debated for awhile where to sit and possibly have a coffee while Jackie nursed Brooklyn. By the time we decided, we discovered Brooklyn was asleep in the backpack.
We had been worried if she was going to be able nap in the backpack. Guess we aren't going to have that problem during our long 2 week vacation in Switzerland and Northern Italy. 
Dad being goofy 
We decided to walk more of the gardens while Brooklyn slept 

We saw the Ballroom which probably looked amazing with the water cascading down the stepped fountains. 


There was such intricate detailing in the symmetrical planting beds, topiaries and flower arrangements in the South Parterre.
Brooklyn was still passed out in the Versailles gardens. 
We saw the Orangerie from the South Parterre. 
The North Parterre 

Joe and Brooklyn in the backpack walking in the Versailles gardens
The Pyramid Fountain

The Dragon Fountain 

Three Fountains Grove

The wind was starting to feel rather cold and we still needed to wait an hour for the next 3pm water fountain show. We decided to head back to our Paris apartment and take it easy the rest of the night.
Brooklyn trying on mom’s hat back at the apartment 

We had dinner at a restaurant near the apartment, Le Café Chineur. 
Our view of the Eiffel Tower now lit up as the sun sets from our apartment 
Our view of the Eiffel Tower from our apartment 

Sunday 5 April
Today we planned to attend the International Mass with parts in English at the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Brooklyn got dressed in her Easter Sunday’s best 
We got to Notre Dame around 10am and took a walk around the exterior.












We love the 50ft flying buttresses and the gargoyle rainspouts which represent souls caught between heaven & earth.
Joe and Brooklyn at Notre Dame 
Pont de l'Archevêché, love padlocks on bridge 


Family selfie outside of Notre Dame 
While we waited for the 11:30 international mass at Notre Dame, we checked out around the edges of the cathedral interior while there was a French mass going on.
Notre Dame nave 
Notre Dame side aisle 

Notre Dame nave from the side aisle



Notre Dame south transept rose window 
Notre Dame Cathedral holds 10,000 people. It felt pretty close to that Easter morning. 

Notre Dame Cathedral model 
The stain glass windows in the choir side chapels 



Notre Dame north transept rose window 
The Eucharistic consecration at the ongoing mass
Notre Dame choir 

Notre Dame organ 
Rose window above the Notre Dame organ
Notre Dame candelabra 
The waiting area for those attending the next mass was the right in the middle of the nave by the doors where everyone needed to exit. We took our chances and snuck in through some side aisle barriers to get a good seat/pew once the other mass let out.
Happy girls at mass at Notre Dame 
Brooklyn had gotten real fussy during mass so Joe took her to rock her to sleep in the side aisles. Too many people found her too cute and she was completely distracted. He was finally successful but that didn’t stop people from wanting to take her picture. 
After mass we walked across the pedestrian bridge Pont St Louis and down Rue St. Louis-en-l'Ile. We ate a crepe lunch at Le Sarrasin Et Le Froment. We had one sweet and one savory crepe. 
Jackie couldn’t resist stopping right afterward at the famous family owned Berthillon ice cream parlor, even though we just ate and it was cold out.
Next we walked over to the famous Cite Metro Stop sign from around 1900 with its curvy plantlike ironwork iconic of the Art Nouveau period. 


Jackie beneath the Art Nouveau Cite Metro sign 
Happy girl cruising the Parisian streets with her parents on Easter

The Seine River and the Eiffel Tower in the distance 

We made it to the Louvre 
Part of the U-shaped 16th century palace, Europe’s greatest museum, the Louvre 

The 20th century glass pyramid of the Louvre 

Reflecting pools around the Louvre courtyard 
There are three lesser known glass pyramids beside the large entry with peeks into the interior entrances to two of the museum wings. 


The pyramid Louvre addition was completed in 1989 by architect I.M. Pei
Louvre pyramid cloud reflections 

Water reflections on the Louvre 
The Louvre 
Jackie selfie at the Louvre 
After waiting in the entrance line for a short time, a security guard ushered us over to the other door entrance with no line for families with babies. Thank you Brooklyn.
The Louvre pyramid from inside 



The Louvre entry 


The Louvre from beneath the pyramid 


We had to check the baby carrier backpack before entering the museum wings and pickup a loaner museum stroller. Once we finally found the hidden elevator and got over to the Denon wing entrance we discovered we needed entrance tickets. So Joe went to go inquire where to get them which we thought should be free since it was the first Sunday of the month. Jackie nursed Brooklyn in the meantime. Turns out there was an entrance fee on Easter Sunday. We decided to not go and see more of Paris rather than be inside on this beautiful day. 
Brooklyn and Jackie at the Louvre 
Joe and Brooklyn at the Louvre 
Spiral stair at the Louvre entry 

We walked through the Louvre Passage Richelieu

Peak into the Louvre Cour Puget and Cour Marly from the Passage Richelieu

Hotel du Louvre 
Another original Art Nouveau metro sign 

Jackie with the metro sign 
Love all the detailing of buildings in Paris


Saint-Jacques Tower, only the Gothic tower remains
We walked over to Centre Pompidou, which has a modern art museum for free the first Sunday of the month as well. This is another building Jackie studied in architecture school. It was designed by Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano for a large international design competition in 1971 with building completion in 1977. This building is the height of high-tech architecture and the beginning of the movement to expose the “guts” of buildings. It’s common today to see buildings with exposed structure and mechanical ducts. Here is the precedent for this expression. Centre Pompidou has an exposed skeleton of brightly colored tubes for each mechanical system. Green pipes are plumbing. Blue ducts are climate control. Electrical wires are encased in yellow tubes. Circulation elements and fire safety devices are red.
Centre Pompidou 








There was free admission into this one today but neither of us felt like waiting in the long line. No special treatment for families with babies here. Only for VIP members.
There was a man feeding these crazy pigeons
Old Art Nouveau metro post sign 
Hotel de Ville
Jackie had wanted to go climb the Eiffel Tower at this point but Joe was pretty tired and Brooklyn has getting fussier and fussier. Jackie didn’t feel right climbing the 720 stairs and leaving Joe with a screaming baby with no boob to sooth her. Instead we decided to save that for one last thing to do Monday morning before leaving Paris.
We walked along the Latin Quarter, which was once the haunts of great poets & philosophers.
We had an early dinner here at St Stervin.
Brooklyn enjoyed eating the bread, but this photo makes it looks like her daddy’s sweater tastes pretty good. 
Jackie and Brooklyn at dinner in the Latin Quarter 
Sunset view of the Eiffel Tower from our apartment



Monday 6 April
We had a rough night with Brooklyn. She was up about every 2 hours needing to be rocked to sleep or fed to sleep. We think all the time in the cold wind was too much for her. She was coming down with a cold. Jackie was also not feeling well and knew she wouldn’t have had the energy to climb the Eiffel Tower even though she really really wanted to. We decided to pack up early and make the 5 hour drive back to Eindhoven.
We passed Palais Garnier, the famous opera on our drive out of Paris. It was named after its architect Charles Garnier for its opulence. 
During this trip Brooklyn has begun to really hate riding in her carseat. She will just scream bloodly murder for 15 minute straight until we pull over and take her out of the carseat. Carrides with her have become pretty awful. This is one part of our trip back to the US in a week that we are not looking forward to: all the time we spend in the car to get to everywhere. 
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