Monday, September 19, 2011

Day 12 - Paris, France (2011)

Another gloomy morning. It was raining. We planned to leave early today. Half of the group was to go shopping, while we were to visit some attractions, then we would meet up at McDo for brunch. 

The group who was supposed to go shopping left early. We, on the other hand, waited for the rain to subside. It was just drizzling but we didn't want to risk getting sick, especially because we were only halfway through our vacation.

As soon as the drizzling stopped, we headed to the train station and made our way to Place dela Bastille via Bastille station.

Colonne de Juillet (July Column) at Place de la Bastille 
(place where the French Revolution began)
The column commemorates revolution in 1830, which honored the 504 victims during the 3 days of the revolution. On top is the Spirit of Liberty statue.

We took photos of the column from across the street, walking around the plaza.

finally made it to the front of the column. To the right of the column is Opera Bastille - a controversial project of President Mitterand due to its construction cost.

From the roundabout, we walked along Rue Sainte-Antoine, then turned right on Rue de Birague.
the main archway going to Place des Vosges
Also the location of Maison de Victor Hugo

bars and restaurants surrounding the plaza

the famous fountain in the middle of Place des Vosges, and the similar brick houses surrounding the square

hubby tried a few shots to get a good photo (under the rain)... while the kids were playing in the playground

the shot we were hoping for, without the trees

Place des Vosges - the oldest planned square (measuring 140mx140m) in Paris
built in early 1600s composed of 36 houses

final group shot before the rain got heavier

it would have been a better time spent in the square if the weather was sunnier. But it was still a good, gloomy late morning just looking around and taking in the beauty the square had to offer.

since it was raining, our plans of walking from Place des Vosges to Centre George Pompidou was scrapped. Instead, we took the metro from Chemin Vert to Rambateau.

waiting for our train at Chemin Vert station

When we got to Rambateau, it was raining really hard. We had to take cover from nearby buildings, while trying to contact the other group through our walkie talkie. Thirty minutes (or an hour) had passed and still no sign of them. We couldn't do anything because of the weather. We just stood there, trying to keep the kids from getting bored. After a few more minutes, we were in contact with the other group. 

It was already lunch time (or way past it) so we decided to look for the nearest eating place around. Luckily, there was one at the basement of the next building (along Rue Saint Merri). 

After having lunch, when the rain has subsided, we continued our Paris city tour and walked towards the Louvre. 
making our way to the grounds of the Louvre.... and it's HUGE!

dramatic entrance as we got closer and closer to the famous Louvre Pyramid

with my sisters-in-law in the middle of the Louvre grounds

After the more formal family photos, we decided to goof around. Look at our funny (or not) / goofy photos....

the pyramid at the palm of his hands

the pyramid at hubby's fingertips

gotta step up my tricks

crawling up the Louvre???

then it's couple time...
bro and sis-in-law

hubby and me

the pyramid at my fingertips

a closer look at the pyramid

i thought hubby did a good job in this photo

one of Louvre's outdoor exhibits

sis-in-law modelling her Paris bag

we weren't really big fans of art works (some adults and the rest of the kids), even though it was the Mona Lisa or the Venus de Milo, so we gave the museum a miss. The kids enjoyed the outdoors more.
But we certainly did talk about going back here to see the art works, the main reason why the Louvre is a major attraction in Paris.

After exploring the outside of the Louvre, we continued our way to the Tuileries Garden.

Arc de Triomphe du Carousel
built between 1806 to 1808 to commemorate Napoleon's military victories of the previous year.

This was another photo taken by hubby. I love the juxtaposition of the Arc de Triomphe du Carousel and the Arc de Triomphe, with the Luxor Obelisk in the middle.

getting closer to the Arc

It was our plan to walk to the Arc from the Louvre. The weather was better than in the morning. The kids were enjoying the lawn at the Place dela Concorde. We stayed around the fountain while the others went shopping.

street vendors if you're interested to buy Eiffel Towers

choo choo train game

they've ran around, rolled over and chased each other wearing their Paris pull overs which all turned greenish

braving the cold breeze

there were other tourists/locals lounging in front of the fountain area

the kids' favorite - giant ice cream

the Luxor Obelisk
originally located at the Luxor Temple in Egypt. The golden markings at the bottom of the obelisk explains the complex machinery used to transport it.

From Place dela Concorde, we walked along the Champs Elysees - one of the most famous streets and one of the most expensive strips of real estate in the world. It was also said to be the most beautiful avenue of the world. Not sure if I look at things differently from how other people look at things, but it didn't really appeal to me that much. Maybe I need to go back there again and see the avenue with a different mindset :)

However, I loved the trees lined up along the avenue. 

LV flagship store just across the street

finally, we've reached the end of Champs Elysees

across the road was Arch de Triomphe

it was a very busy roundabout, I should say

the rest of the group just wanted to have a seat along the avenue while hubby and I decided to take the underground and go to the Arc by ourselves

We were looking at some of the brave  (or non-thinking) tourists who were crossing the street to the Arc. No way was I going to do that. I still value my life, you know. The underground was the safest, and suggested, route to take.

we walked underground and surfaced on the opposite avenue de la Grand Armee

then it was hubby's time to have his photo taken

view of the busy Avenue desChamps Elysees, overlooking the Obelisk and the Louvre

Arc de Triomphe, one of the most famous monument in Paris. It honours those who fought and died for France during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. It has the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces.

at the underground walkway leading to the Arc

my French souvenir - the map of France with its highlights - a fridge magnet

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