Sunday, January 31, 2010

The view back

From the top looking back at the path I had just ascended.

Climbing the Sacre Coeur dome

The stairs up to the dome were open today. I had to climb 300 steps up a spiral staircase made from stone and with very little headroom. The climb was kinda freaky, but the view from the top was worth it.

Inside Sacre Coeur

You are not allowed to take pictures of the inside of the main church. However, you can walk down in to the "crypt", which is basically the basement level with the same size area and just as many altars as the primary level. Here is one of the altars:

Sacre Coeur at last

I finally made it to the top of the stairs. The entire church is made of Travertine stone and apparently took 40 years to build. At the top it is protected by statues of Joan of Arc and King Louie IX, and some gargoyles.

More Sacre Coeur stairs

I am closer, but there still more stairs, beggars, street musicians, hustlers, and tourists to navigate!
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Sacre Coeur stairs

As Joe Holko used to say, there's a thin line between Saturday night and Sunday morning. Fortunately, Sacre Coeur is not far from the Moulin Rouge. My penance will begin by climbing the thousand steps.........
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The Moulin Rouge has many similar establishments nearby. This one has animated mannequins in the windows showing how to use their products.
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Moulin Rouge

After walking through the cold cemetery, I think I'll head into this place to warm up.
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More Montmartre sights.

This "small city" is full of fascinating sites. I need to come back with a real camera. I especially liked the statues made of the persons interned below and the contrast of new sites next to very old ones.

Emile Zola

Even though this is a very old cemetery, it is still receiving new residents. Emile Zola died in 1902, but a member of his family was added in 2005.
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Paris Montmartre cemetery

The cemeteries in Paris have been consolidated down to four, one at each of the cardinal points of the compass. Montmartre is in the north. The grounds look like a toy, or model, city. This would be a very spooky place to spend Halloween.

Another sailor

Note how this one uses bungee cords to keep the fabric roof (his "canvas") in place.

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Why they are called "Fenders"

This car has it figured out. Note his "fender". Do you think he is a sailor?
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Saturday, January 30, 2010

It is snowing!

In Hawaii it rains while the sun is shining, but in Paris today it is snowing while the sun is shining!
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Monte Carlo hotel

Now if you miss the last train back, you'll have to check into the local hotel. Rooms start at €500, so you better have saved something from the casino!
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Monte Carlo success!

Here I am leaving the casino. I am smiling because I had success in the casino; in other words I did not lose any money! They did not allow pictures of the inside, however I can tell you that it was quite opulent. High doomed ceilings with marble columns, gold leaf covered details, carvings of beautiful women holding the chandeliers, replicas of 19th century masters paintings, etc. etc. It was also very quiet inside, and there were 2 - 3 staff for every customer. And how did they pay for all this? Blackjack tables with 100 Euro minimum and slots with 20 Euro minimum. My associates played five hands of blackjack and the house got 21 on three of the five hands. Hmmmm.

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Monte Carlo!

The enclave of Monaco, and it's city Monte Carlo, were only a 20 minute cab ride from Nice, so we decided to go visit. Here is a shot of their world famous casino which often appears in Bond films. We decided to venture in......
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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Nice sunset

The sun setting into an ocean anywhere in the world is a great site.
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Nice rocks

The beach is made up of stones, not sand. My mother had told me this was the case, but I did not anticipate how odd it is to walk upon. And, I did not have any sand in my shoes at the end!

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Nice harbor, nice yachts, nice tenders!

I finished my meetings in time to see some of Nice before the sun set. The harbor is not large, but is hosting some fairly large yachts. The ones in the middle are around 120 -150 feet, and the ones to the right are 80 - 100 feet. The Trollop would be right at home here.
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Something old, something new

From inside the very modern Acropolis with its metal cross bars and large glass windows, we can peer out to see the very old and colorful buildings of Nice.
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The Acropolis

No, it is not the original version in Greece, but rather the convention center in Nice. The sun finally came out today and Nice looks much nicer. However, since I have been in all day meetings, I have only seen the inside of conference rooms, which are the same as the ones on the US.

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose!

What can I say? I guess this is a good time to end the tour for today.

The little Arc

At the other end of the Louvre courtyard (yes, I am still working my way through) stands the first Arc de Triomphe that Napoleon commissioned. On it's own it is a nice structure (note Napoleon on top flanked by golden femmes). The problem is that he put it in the Louvre, which is so impressive that it makes the little Arc look, well, little. Napoleon probably heard enough of the little jokes, so he built the larger Arc down the way.

Here is another angle that uses a photography trick to make it look bigger than the Louvre:

The Pyramid

Here is the pyramid designed by IM Pei. I saw a guy who looked like Tom Hanks reading an old book and digging up the floor, but no one seemed to care.

That will teach me!

So I claimed the last building was impressive without even knowing what it was. Then I walked across the river and through a doorway into a hugh(it could hold a few football fields) courtyard of a veritable palace. There was someone playing a cello to complete the mood. Through the next archway was an even larger courtyard, with a glass pyramid in the middle surrounded by the palace. I had found the Louvre, and can safely say that this is *very* impressive!

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Now here's a good looking building

My map says it is the Institute of France. I'm not sure what that is, but it is almost as impressive as San Francisco City Hall.
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St Michel

Here is another famous church, about a block from the last one. The pope must be proud of the density of churches in Paris. This one is in working order and was holding a mass.

Here is a better view of the steeple:

St. Sulpice

Here is a famous Parisian church. I am not sure why, but will come back after the construction is completed to find out.

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École alsacienne

It has much better street appeal. The entrance is the small building on the right, and the school continues two more buildings to the left.

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Notre-Dame de Sion

Here is the entrance. I think the school is in the back as the upper floors look like apartments.

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The Metro

is elevated in the 15th district, like the L in Chicago.
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Yes, it's really here!

And so am I. Le Tour Eiffel is so big that I had to walk very far away to get it all in a photograph.

Later in the evening it gives a light show at the top of each hour. Here is an attempt to capature that on video with my blackberry. I think this proves that one should never use the video feature on a blackberry.


Primary is on the left, lycee a droit. No email address posted. Phone number posted is same as on website.

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Paris Walking Tour

Today I am going to walk to the schools that Leila might attend. Here is a map of my intended route:

Friday, January 22, 2010

Another great thing about Paris....

is that fresh Belgium beer costs the same as Budweiser shipped half way across the world (just $19 per glass)!
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Looking for the Phantom

Rick at the Paris Opera house. I did not find the Phantom of the Opera on this trip, but will return later to continue my search.

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