Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Louvre
Court Yard at the Louvre
A Masterpiece
Another masterpiece
Statue at the Louvre
Statue at the Louvre
The Winged Victory of Samothrace
Mona Lisa
A Kiss
The Sphinx
Venus de Milo
Houseboat on the River Seine
Andy- laying down on the job again
A view from level one -Eiffel Tower
Statue across from the Eiffel Tower
Merry go round across from the Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower
A view from altitude 95
Paris from level 2 of the Eiffel Tower
Farewell dinner- Andy and Eddie dance
Farewell dinner- Eddie, the accordion player and Andy
It all started with a mouse
Tom plays the accordion

Day Six

City of Heights

Today is a bittersweet day for it is our last full day of this wonderful adventure.

Our day begins with a short bus ride to the Louvre, where we meet our French guide, who will guide us through this incredibly large museum.

Today’s schedule is jam packed so our time at the Louvre was limited, but we were assured that all the highlights of this incredible place would be seen. We only wished that more time could be devoted to this stop on the agenda.

Seeing such masterpieces as the Venus de Milo, The Winged Victory of Samothrace and of course the Mona Lisa was a truly incredible experience and one that we will cherish for a lifetime.

From he Louvre we boarded a water taxi to the Eiffel Tower. Lunch was at Altitude 95, the newly remodeled restaurant at the Eiffel Tower.  Lunch was delicious and there were great photo ops from the restaurant.

Following lunch we were given tickets to the 2nd and 3rd floors (being the top) of the Eiffel Tower.  Some chose to venture up, while others like me opted for a stroll around the area surrounding the Eiffel Tower. Bravo to those with a fear of heights who made it all the way to the top.  Comments from those who did venture to the top were that it was chaotic and extremely crowded and hot. The elevators were slow and it took many in the group 30- 40 minutes to get back down. 

A short bus ride back to the hotel left us just enough time for a stroll in the local park before departing for our farewell dinner at La Duree.  The French do love their outdoor spaces.  At around 5pm there were hundreds of people at the park, just enjoying the beautiful weather.

Farewell dinners are the final moments of your adventure - one that you look forward to, but wish it was still days away.  Dinner was excellent and accompanied by an accordion player and a photo summary of our adventure. We were so sorry that the evening had come to an end and it was time for our final bus ride as a group back to the hotel.  Although it had been a long day and many were exhausted, everyone remained in the lobby of the hotel for a long time. Everyone knew that these were the final moments of our adventure together and no one wanted it to end. Our exhausted guides Andy and Eddie remained until the last of us finally said goodnight. 

We made new friends on this adventure, finally got to met old ones and have so many wonderful memories that we share. I already miss the times that we spent together, the moments of continuous laughter and the things we shared on our journey through the Cities of Knights and Lights.

To our guides Andy and Eddie- thanks for an adventure of a lifetime and all that the two of you did to make it simply magical.

To Christy – thanks for being my editor on this project and the million and one laughs.

To my fellow adventurers – until the next adventure – Au Revoir !!!

Gardens at the Hilton Arc de Triomphe
Sunset at the Arc de Triomphe
Swans at Versailles
Dog friendly restaurant at Versailles
Andy, Laurent & Eddie at Chateau de Versailles
Group photo at the Chateau de Versailles
Laurent & Len at Chateau de Versailles
Artwork- Versailles
Clock at Versailles
Hallway at Versailles
Ceiling at Versailles
Hall of Mirrors - Versailles
Statues at Versailles
Statue at Versailles
Gardens at Versailles
Entrance to the Chateau de Versailles
Fountains at Versailles
Church in the town of Versailles
Cobblestone street in Versailles

High Society

Day Five

Day five began with a 30 minutes motor coach ride to the city of Versailles. I am at a loss for words to describe the Chateau de Versailles.  I will quote from our Adventure storybook.

“Your journey to the Chateau de Versailles, the quintessential royal French estate, will offer reflection of the privileged life of pre-revoluntionary French society. Started by King Louis XIV in 1661 four decades of construction yielded a magnificent 1300 room residence – fit for the “Sun King” …overlooking a sprawling garden of manicured groves, canals and fountains.”

The group split into two; some opting a short walking tour of the town of Versailles while others stopped at a local café and waited for the walkers to arrive. The café had one of the most unique bathrooms we had experienced thus far. Suffice it to say it was unisex and an usual experience for all who chose to use it.

Laurent our French guide accompanied us through the massive palace while providing us with details on each area and the history of what we were seeing.

I think the pictures will say more then I ever could.

The grounds are even more massive then the palace.  We were fortunate enough to be there on the rare day that the fountains are turned on.

Following our tour of the palace, lunch was at La Flotille on the palace grounds and then an option of bike riding, playing petanque (lawn bowling) or strolling the gardens.

Our day at Versailles had come to an end and now it was time to board our coach for our return trip to the Hilton Arc de Triomphe.

Tonight was an evening on your own.  Following our dinner at the Hotel we decided to venture out to the Champs de Elyees and do a little shopping and people watching.  The Champs was about 30 minute walk for me (a slow walker) from our hotel. A must on the shopping list was a trip to the Disney store, where a few Disney Paris mementos were purchased.   Upon our return to the hotel, many of us gathered in the hotel gardens and reminisced about the wonderful adventure we had thus far.  None us could believe that tomorrow was our last full day and soon we would be saying Au Revoir.  For now I will say Bon Nuit. 


Paris Sunset over the River Seine
Twinkling Lights on the Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower from the Seine River
Bridge over the River Seine
Us with the famous paddle
The Arc de Triomphe
Notre Dame from the river
Stained Glass window at Notre Dame
A view of Paris from the top of Notre Dame
Notre Dame
The Garden view of Notre Dame
Inside Notre dame
Notre Dame
Notre Dame
On the way to Notre Dame

Arc du Triomphe du


Welcome to Paris
Happy Hour on the Eurostar at 10:30 am
Andy in front of our first class Eurostar car
Tom, Christy with traveling Hats & Andy

Tale of Two Cities and Along Came a Spider

Day 4

This morning it was another early morning as it was time for Tinkerbell to fetch our luggage and magically transport it to our home for the next few days the Hilton Arc de Triomphe in Paris

The group gathered in the lobby of the Chancery Court, bid farewell to London and boarded our coach for the short trip to the Eurostar station in London.

Keeping in the Disney style and tradition our passage to Paris was first class on the high speed Eurostar with maximum speed of 170+m/h.  The word of the day was Chunnel, which we passed thru in what seemed to minutes.  In first class the seats we roomy and very comfortable and included wine or champagne with brunch for those wishing to indulge at 10:30am.  (It was happy hour somewhere in the world).

Upon our arrival in Paris we were met by our local guide Laurent, who boarded our coach for a brief orientation bus tour in route to Notre Dame.

Laurent was a wonderful guide with a great love for his city of Paris. Our coach left us off a short walk from the cathedral and we were fortunate to see a parade of horses as we walked to the cathedral (a little Disney magic?  Right time, right place).

Notre Dame is a majestic cathedral that can take your breath away, even if you do not choose to climb the tower.

Words will not do justice to the opulence of this landmark.  Thankfully photography was permitted and I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

The group went through the cathedral on their own and then those wishing to climb the tower did so with Eddie.  Everyone made it down and there was no mention of oxygen use.  My hats off to those who opted climbed and especially those with height issues.  I am one of those with height issues who opted to stroll the gardens of Notre Dame and shopped by the cathedral.

Andy had magically stopped at a French bakery when out of our sight and had fresh croissants waiting for the group as well as the never-ending bottles of Evian.

A short walk back to our coach and then off to our Hotel. Hilton Arc de Triomphe.

A small reception with wine, champagne, and snacks was awaiting us while our room assignments and keys were given out. The hotel rooms in Paris are much smaller then London and storage is at a premium. We have about 1 hr to unpack the luggage that Tinkerbelle had delivered and change before meeting our group for dinner and a cruise down the River Seine.

Dinner was at Chez Clement on the Champs Elysee and consisted of salad, chicken, ribs, mashed potatoes and crème brulee.  Let's just say the French do a better job at French food then traditional American.   After dinner a short bus ride to River Seine for our evening cruise.  The dinner and river cruise were additions added to this particular adventure.  It would have been movie night for the junior adventurers. This was an adult only group so we had this as an added bonus. I will say that an evening cruise is an absolute must.  There is nothing like seeing the city of lights lit up.  It is absolutely breath taking.  We were fortunate to be in exactly the right spot as the Eiffel Tower put on her twinkling lights, which is done this time of year every hour for a few minutes.  Andy our guide, made sure to run around the boat and let everyone know to get their cameras ready for a spectacle of lights.  I would say this was on par with the Christmas lights on Cinderella’s castle. 

Note: There are rather large spiders hanging around the boats, harmless, but large.  One actually appeared very close to a member of the group who screamed and that prompted Eddie our guide to run to her rescue. Unfortunately for Eddie he also has a fear of spiders.  To quote Eddie “ I screamed like a little girl”.  Thankfully another member of our group was close by and took care of the spider and the screaming group members.

A short bus ride back to the hotel and off to bed following a very long wonderful day.