A little over eight years ago, this happened. Go Cubbies!
Eight years ago this month this blog began. I started it a year before we were going to live in Japan, to work out the kinks before Japan. That first summer we lived in Denmark and visited Paris. One of the main reasons I began the blog was in the hopes that my kids would chronicle their travels. That didn’t happen much. But it’s fun for me to look back and see how much they’ve grown and changed. Ellie is about twice as tall as she was then, and she is off to college this fall. She is also going to visit me for a week in Copenhagen in July, her first time back since 2008.
Watch Jane by Design on the ABC Family Network tonight to see one of my photos.
After the Arch we followed much of Rick Steves‘ “Champs-Elysees Walk” including the Petit Palais, Place de la Concorde, and all the snobby-looking shopping. Actually, we didn’t shop, but we saw the snooty shopping and over-priced cafes.
For dinner we went out to Chez Janou Bistrot, near our apartment, and then went to Nectarine for dessert. Dinner was good, but not cheap, and we had to wade through a sea of smokers to get to our table on the inside. Paris recently banned smoking on the interiors of restaurants which means that all the smokers (most people it seems) eat and smoke on the tables just outside of the entrance–curbside if you will. This now makes walking down any street with restaurants and cafes pretty gross as nearly everyone outside is blowing smoke. If you don’t like being around smokers then forget about eating or drinking outside in Paris.
I highly recommend Nectarine on the Place des Vosges. Although we only had dessert there, the service was the best we had in Paris. It was the only place we ate or purchased something from where the person doing the selling didn’t make you feel like you were putting them out somehow. The man was actually friendly and nice. Believe it or not he even smiled too! We didn’t see many smiles in Paris–especially from those working.
The next morning we were leaving early. Since the trains don’t operate before our flight was to depart we were stuck taking a cab. Avoid this if at all possible by making sure your departure flight from Paris is after 9 or so in the morning. Why? Because the cabs charge you extra in the early morning hours. They also increase their fare by coming to pick you up. Our cabby had 12 Euros on the meter (about US$20) before we even left our apartment. It ended up costing about $80 just to go to the airport.
The above photograph sort of sums up the whole trip since it includes both Denmark (with the flags) and France (with the Arch of Triumph). I hope you had a good time reading along. I’ll post more on our European adventures in the coming months, mingled with some Japan stuff as well.
Today’s entry features a couple more pictures from the top of Napoleon’s Arch of Triumph.
Whoever decided to line these streets radiating off of the Arch with trees should be commended.
From the Arc de Triomphe, La Grande Arche or Grande Arche de la Fraternite or Defense, in the center of the business district, can be seen straight down the boulevard in the distance. You can walk directly under one, and if you don’t turn a bit, make it under the other. Of course you’ll probably be run over by about a thousand cars before you get there, but in theory you could.
When Napoleon envisioned the Arch of Triumph he probably didn’t foresee the French flag being flown side by side under it with the European Union flag (unless he was head of the EU too), but that is what it now looks like.
For our last full day in Paris we decided to start at the Arch of Triumph (Arc de Triomphe).
To reach the Arch you go underground and then pop up pretty much right under it. In the underground, pedestrian tunnel to get there you can purchase tickets to walk up the narrow, winding staircase within the Arch to the roof. It’s not cheap to get a view from the top at almost US$20 a person. Luckily, my kids were young enough to do it for free.
The skies were a bit more “normal,” compared to the day we went up the Eiffel Tower, since there wasn’t rain the night before this time. Smog was in the air, but the views were still pretty good. A bunch of streets, a dozen I believe, begin (or end, depending on your vantage point) at the Arch.
From the Arch there are similar views to those you get on the first level of the Eiffel Tower, including Sacre-Coeur. I’ll post some more photographs from the top tomorrow.