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Mike and Adele's European Vacation

Part 3: Paris

Monday, May 17, 1999

Adele: Up fairly early today. We bathed, breakfasted, packed up, then off to Paris. We were almost out of the driveway when we remembered Mike's hat, passport, and international driver's license!

Mary dropped us off in Paris at the St. Denis Metro Station (north side past Charles De Gaul Airport). We then hiked to the USO office to have them find us accommodations. Their first find was up by the St. Denis Metro Station which was too far out for me. So, they found us something 3 blocks off the Champs Elysees for $105/night. Hey, it's Paris, we'll take it!

After checking in and taking big dumps, we were off on a walking tour of Paris. We walked along the Seine to the Tour Eiffel. Mike braved the top and did fine until I had to change film! They did have Uzi armed guards around which was more Italy than France. Mike thought it might be from Kosovo. We had $6 cokes (36 F).

Eiffel TowerView from the Eiffel TowerMike terrified on the Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower; the view from the Tower, including the Arch de Triumphe; Mike terrified of heights.

We then went up to the Arch de Triumphe. There were lots of WWII Vets there with flags. We took a few pictures. We then walked back to the hotel, buying a $5 (31.5 F) bottle of wine along the way.

We went for dinner at a Thai restaurant. Yum. We had flaming bananas for dessert. It is raining, so we opted for a shower and early night. Tomorrow, Versailles.

Mike: Also, Adele used her French to ask for a corkscrew and they gave her a bath plug. Maybe her French wasn't as good as she thought.

Also, at the Arch, Adele was sure to use the tunnel to get to the arch instead of braving the six lanes of traffic.

Tuesday, May 18, 1999

Adele: Up at about 9, we grabbed a quick brunch of diet cokes and baguettes with ham and brie. We also bought some cheese planning to find bread for lunch at Versailles, but bakeries around the Champs Elysees are invisible!

We walked to the right Metro Station to catch the suburban train. On the way, we stopped at Planet Hollywood and bought shot glasses for Dale and Perz. We also went past the Flame which used to commemorate the gift of the Statute of Liberty to the US. Now, since it is over the tunnel where Diana and Dodi died, it is a shrine to them. It is covered with notes and flowers. We took my picture.

The flame statue
The Flame is now a tribute to Diana.  Note all the messages scribbled on it.

We then caught the train to Versailles. We walked the 3 blocks from the train station to Versailles passing a demonstration by the fireman's union. They were burning tires in the middle of a major intersection! Thankfully, there were no riots or asthma attacks!

Once in Versailles, we took tour C which was a taped audio tour of the King's Chambers, Queen's Chambers, Hall of Mirrors, and the Dauphin and Dauphine's Chambers. It was neat. We were able to take the A tour as a part of the same package. Tour A was of several state rooms and a longer look at the Hall of Mirrors.

Versailles from the main courtyard
Versailles from the front.  This picture doesn't do it justice.  It's about 5 times this size!

The gardens at VersaillesAdele at the Orangerie
Mike and Adele pose for pictures in the garden.

We then spent several hours walking through the gardens. Unfortunately, the fountains were off for restoration, but the gardens were impressive none the less. We stopped about 1 mile from the house (still in the gardens) at a cafe and had beer and really hot and good French onion soup. Mike and I both burned our tongues.

Mike with a beer
Mike enjoying a cool refreshing beer at Versailles.

Fountains turned off
The fountains were all turned off.  Notice the Grand Canal in the background.

Grand canal
The Grand Canal.  It doesn't look so impressive until you realize that those little dots by the water are people, and the canal is a mile long...

Versailles bridge with some goofballs on it.
Mike and Adele on a bridge in Versailles.

We then walked to Napoleon's castle and the "peasant" village Marie Antoinette built. We walked about 10 miles today!

Napoleon's Large Chateau
The "Large" Chateau.  It pales in comparison to the rest of Versailles.

The 'small' lodge
The "small" castle that was built by Napoleon and used by Marie Antoinette.

Peasant village
Marie Antoinette's "peasant" village, where she could
experience what it was like to be a commoner.
She must have eaten cake here...

A few other points of interest today: The screw in Mike's sunglasses fell out. He was pissed. We saw a clock that was made in the 1700's that is Y2K compliant. It shows the date and will work including calculating leap years until 10000!

Mike reading a map
Mike reading a map.

Also, we seem to have lost a roll of film. It had the way here, Brussels, Bruges, and the Eiffel Tower. But I think it will be OK, Mary had pictures too.

Never mind about the film, we found it! I packed it in the luggage last night.

We also had a great French dinner Chateau Briand and Coq au Vin down the street from the Crazy Horse.

Mike at Crazy Horse
"Crazy Horse, Paris, France -Forget the names, remember romance - I got the photos, menage-a-trois -Musta broke those Frenchies laws with those - Girls, Girls, Girls..."

Mike: This morning on our way to the Metro, we almost got run over scooters. I call them "motor rats." They are the scourge of the streets. They are everywhere, loud and driving fast. They cut across corners by driving over the sidewalks.

It is interesting to note the differences in culture here. There was a sign in the Metro station that in French said something to the effect of "Excuse me please, but there is a video surveillance here." In English it says, "Closed circuit television in operation." However, in German, it is "Achtung Videouberwahcter!" which seems to translate to "Attention! Video Overlord!"

Wednesday, May 19, 1999

Adele: We were up rather late (9 ish). We bathed and dressed and headed off to Paris. After breakfast (again at the toasted baguette place) and some shopping (CD's for Mike, shirts for Ber and Bug), we were off. We walked along the Champs Elysees through Les Jardins Tuileries to the Place de la Concorde. We took pictures there. Then to the Orangerie which was unfortunately having a special exhibit. The line was huge! We decided to skip it in favor of the Orsay.

Place de la Concorde Obelisk Tuleries Gardens
Place de la Concorde, Les Jardins Tuileries

So we walked the length of the gardens to the Louvre, took some pictures outside, and then to the Orsay.

Louvre Glass Pyramid
The Louvre.  We didn't go in (check out the huge line).

However, the gods were against me. The workers at the Orsay were on strike and the museum was closed!!!! I was/am pissed!!!!! Mike flipped them off. So, we went to a cafe so Mike could get me drunk so I wouldn't ruin the rest of the day.

Middle Finger Flip-Off
I say, "Take that, you striking French BASTARDS!"

Kevorkian Gallerie
We saw this after leaving the Orsay.  We wanted to send the striking French workers here!  (Kevorkian = Doctor Kevorkian, get it?  Well, we thought it was funny...)

Off to Notre Dame. Hopefully the priests aren't on strike! (The front was covered in scaffolding). It rained for awhile while we were in Notre Dame.

Front of Notre DameBack of Notre Dame
The front and back of Notre Dame.  I didn't see any hunchbacks, though.

It only added to the Gothic appeal with the thunder. After an enjoyable fleecing in the Notre Dame Treasury, we walked to the site of the Bastille. Mike was surprised it wasn't there.

Bastille March
The Bastille Monument.  Where did the Bastille go?

We had beers as several pubs this afternoon because our legs hurt so bad. After the Bastille, we went to the Centre Pompidou, which was closed for renovation.  Another closed museum in Paris?  Who would have thought?

Centre Pompidou Fountains
Weird fountains at the Centre Pompidou.

Later, we went to the Hard Rock in Montmarte. Mike got us a little lost and almost got puked on! But we eventually found it. I hope Perz and Dale appreciate it!

Mike in French pub
Mike at a French pub.

We finally took the Metro home, had dinner at the very French restaurant Aux Amies de Beaujolais. Mike had roast beef. I had veal that melted in my mouth. For dessert, mousse and mystery. Mystery is divinity surrounded in ice cream covered in nuts, cinnamon, and caramel. Tres bon! Back to the hotel for baths.

We did see a kid in a Senators hat at Notre Dame. I gave him a thumbs up and freaked out his mom. They were from Ottawa.

Thursday, May 20, 1999

Adele: We were up to the sounds of pouring rain. A typical Paris drizzle. We checked out and after a little haggling with the bill, (they overcharged us 100F), we were off.

Breakfast of the typical diet coke and baguettes. A stroll in the rain and a ride in the Metro to the Saint-Denys Metro Station to meet Mary. We were about an hour early. So, we went to a cafe. I had to pee. It was our first bomb site of the trip. We ordered 2 cappuccinos, but they didn't have a machine. We got coffee instead. They were little strong ones. We were going to sit in the cafe to kill the time, but the two Arabs in there were smoking dried horse shit, so we had to leave.

Mary arrived and we returned to Belgium and lots of laundry. Mary made a great dinner. I even liked here rhubarb pie! We played Oh Hell!. Donn kicked our butts. We are off to London tomorrow.

Continue on to Part 4: London