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What trip to Paris would be complete without visits to the Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysees, and Arc d' Triomphe? Gail missed these landmarks on her first trip to Paris. She had other priorities. This time we made sure she saw these places.
Champs Elysees is lined with designer boutiques and sidewalk cafes. The boulevard is choked with cars, and the massively wide sidewalks are crowded with people. The same designer names are in the major U.S. cities and in places like Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
The weather was perfect when we visited the Eiffel Tower. We rode the elevator on the North corner where you can see a panoramic view of the city. The lower part of the Arc d' Triomphe is somewhat obscured by buildings from this vantage point. On the way back to the hotel, we stopped by the Japanese Cultural Center, which is just a few blocks away from the Eiffel Tower. Nana, my mother-in-law, was shopping for Japanese cards and little knick-knacks. Imagine that in Paris.
The Arc d' Triomphe is at the end of the Champs Elysees. It's difficult to get a clear photo from the Champs Elysees, because the trees that line the end of the boulevard obscure part of the Arc. Perhaps, the trees can be taken out of the shot, if you were standing in the middle of the street. But then again, you'd probably get run over by a car.
We encountered some problems with pickpockets. Click the link for some Travel Tips.
The tight security at the entrance reminded us of being at the airport. We entered through the lower sanctuary. Beautiful tapestry covered the walls. We ascended the stairs and were awestruck to see spectacular high walls about thirty feet high with elaborate stained glass windows that surrounded the upper sanctuary.
The Notre Dame cathedral evoked memories of an old 1950's movie based upon Victor Hugo's novel, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" that I watched on TV as a kid. The story is about Quasimodo, a deformed man, perhaps, with spinal bifida, who lives in the cathedral and rings the huge bells in the towers. He gives sanctuary to a beautiful gypsy girl, Esmerelda, who is falsely accused of killing an army captain, and falls in love with her. The authorities storm the cathedral while Quasimodo (played by Anthony Quinn) tries to thwart them by throwing down large stones and hot oil from the upper level. But, alas, the authorities win out and kill poor Esmerelda. But at least Quasimodo kills the evil priest who falsely accused Esmerelda.
At the Notre Dame cathedral, a service was in session. A priest chided me for wearing a baseball cap. My church back home is not strict. I wanted to go up to the upper level, but I didn't want to wait in the long lines.
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