Dr. Chun
Paris, France

May, 2015


The last destination during our European travel in 2015 was Paris. The capital of France is definitely a global center for art, culture, and fashion. You will never be without somewhere to go or something to do in Paris, but we had only three days for the perfect Paris experience!

013Bonjour, Parisians! The high-speed train from Luxembourg Central arrived at Gare de l'Est in the morning.  After we left our baggage at the nearby hotel, we walked to Sacré-Cœur.  At the top of the Butte Montmarte, it has one of the most beautiful panoramic views of Paris. 023On the way down the hill, we stopped by at Place du Tertre, Walker-Through-Walls, Le mur des je t'aime, and Moulin Rouge.
033After a quick stop at a Starbucks, we took a subway to Luxembourg Gardens. The park was charming, unique, and befuddling with cookie-cutter trees, ironed-and-pressed walkways, sculpted flower beds, and immaculate emerald lawns. 043Walked along the street to find Panthéon and Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève.  Had lunch at a Korean restaurant and came back to the hotel to check in.
053I reserved tickets for Eiffel Tower and Seine River Cruse, but the iconic tower was closed to the public because of a day-long strike by employees. Tough luck!  063The best place to take pictures of Eiffel Tower is Trocadéro Gardens across the river.
073Enjoyed the river cruise through the heart of historic Paris along the beautiful banks of the Seine. We will try a night-time cruise next time... 083We had dinner at a shopping mall in La Défense. Grande Arche de la Defense is a steel and stone monuments in the shape of a hollow cube.
093Next morning, we took a subway and headed for Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris. Notre-Dame is a historic Catholic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité and a one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. 103Walked along the Seine River towards the Louvre Museum.
113The Louvre, originally a royal palace but now the world's most famous museum, is a must-visit for anyone with a slight interest in art. With a Museum Pass, we were able to skip the long line for tickets. 123Some of the museum's most celebrated works of art are the Mona Lisa, Nike of Samothrace, and the Venus of Milo.
133Our next stop was Orsay Museum across the river.  This museum is smaller and more manageable than the Louvre, and has a treasure trove of large collection of impressionist works and art from the end of the 19th century to 1914. 143The museum was installed in the former railway station, built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900.  So the museum building itself could be seen as the "work of art".  Look at the huge station clock!
153Had a late lunch at Tuileries Garden, which is a public park with verdant lawns, manicured rows of trees, and gravel paths.   The Louvre is at one end of the park and the Place de la Concorde at the other. After lunch, we headed for Orangerie Museum. 163Situated in the Tuileries Gardens, the Musée de l’Orangerie offers a poetic and artistic presentation of Claude Monet’s Water Lilies [Nymphéas] and the Walter-Guillaume Collection with its masterpieces of modern art from Renoir to Picasso.
173The Place de la Concorde is the largest square in Paris. It is famous for the Luxor Obelisk (a 3,300 year old Egyptian obelisk) and the two monumental fountains (Fontaine des Mers and Fontaine des Fleuves). The square was an execution site during the French Revolution. Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette were guillotined here. Spooky! 183Walked along the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, all the way to the Arc de Triomphe, which is the world's largest triumphal arch. The tomb of France's Unknown Soldier is sheltered underneath the arch.
193The last day in France was saved for the trip to the Palace of Versailles, which was the official residence of the Kings of France until the French Revolution. The palace is one of the largest and most opulent castles in the world. 203The opulence reaches its peak in the Galerie des Glaces (Hall of Mirrors), a 75m-long ballroom with 17 huge mirrors on one side and, on the other, an equal number of windows looking out over the gardens and the setting sun.
213The Palace of Versailles is one of France's most beautiful tourist destinations - but it's also one of the most popular and crowded. You'd better keep your sanity while waiting in the hour-long queue for tickets. 223Back to Paris by train, and stopped by at the Musée Rodin,, which is dedicated to the works of the French sculptor Auguste Rodin.
233Our last stop was the Centre Pompidou, which is a architecturally avant-garde complex housing National Museum of Modern Art. We had the last dinner in Paris at a Korean restaurant. 243Next morning, we walked to Gare du Nord and took a train bound for Charles de Gaulle Airport. Au revoir, Parisians!
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