Monday, March 30, 2009

Last of Paris

I promise these are the last pics I will post from Paris. We did have a wonderful trip and I enjoy sharing!

Here is the Eiffel Tower. I only took about 50 pictures of it but it is so famous I couldn't help myself. We didn't go up it this time but did enjoy having a hotel that was very close to it.
At night it sparkles, on the hour for 5 minutes. That was my favorite time to see it.
Here's another famous icon, Arc de Triomphe. It sits at one end of the Champs-Elysees which is one of the most famous streets in the world. It was great to enjoy an evening of walking along and looking at all the shops.
Palace of Versailles was built originally by King Louise XIV in 1682. I remembered the grander from my first visit there back in 1998. It is still very grand and it was very neat to walk around and imagine what it must of been like back then.
A view of the grand canal that was built.
The famous Hall of Mirrors
To make our trip to Versailles even better we were able to have lunch with my friend Kerri. Kerri and I traveled to Paris back in '98 when we were student teaching in London. We had such fun meeting her 2 precious little girls but we missed her son and husband. It was so fun to meet friends in such neat location.

Here's a final picture of Paris, this one is Steve' favorite.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Paris Break

I decided to take a break from Paris pictures. There are still a few more I plan on sharing but here's another view of France, from the "French Riviera". We took a couple of days to enjoy the sunny weather in Nice and Monte Carlo.

Here the view of the Mediterranean from Nice. The water was so beautiful. The beach was a little different and instead of sand it had mostly pebbles. There were quite a few people enjoying the sun and a few kids playing in the water.

Steve enjoyed a little casino that we found along the beach front.
We visited the 2nd smallest country in the world, Monaco with the main city of Monte Carlo. We have now visited the smallest countries in the world, go figure. Here's a shot from the castle area of Monaco, yes there is a castle and Prince Albert II was there while we were (we didn't see him though).

The palace has a changing of the guard everyday.
In the background is the city of Monte Carlo.

Actress Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956. The people of Monaco loved her and she is buried in the church by the palace.
Here's the famous Monte Carlo casino. Lots of money is lost and won here but none of ours. There was a charge to play which we were not going to pay. We found a little casino that had only slots close by, that's more our speed. We did get a chance to see some cars that aren't driven too much around Waco including Bentley, Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Rolls-Royce.
The casino at night.

A view from the train on the way back to Paris. It was a great break from the rush of Paris and I look forward to visiting the Mediterranean again.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Churches in Paris

In the past few months, between Italy and now Paris, we have entered a lot of cathedrals, basilica's, and churches. Each one seems to be unique in some way and they all are amazing works of art and architecture. In Paris we saw 5 masterpieces.

Dome Church at Les Invalides
This church contains the grave of Napoleon Bonaparte. It is accented with gold and was modeled after St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

Here his the tomb of Napoleon.

Sainte-Chapelle is considered a Gothic masterpiece. It was hard to get a good picture from the outside but the inside was truly amazing.

The windows were breath taking! The detail in each window is simply amazing. Below is a closer picture of one of the circles. It doesn't do it justice.

Basilique du Sacre-Coeur
This is one of those things from Paris that you can see from anywhere. It is huge and sits on a hill above Paris.

Notre Dame is just wonderful. I love the back and all the detail in the stone work. It took 200 yrs. to build it.

The Pantheon was hard to get a good picture of. It is set in the Latin Quarter of Paris. There are many famous people buried within including Victor Hugo and Marie Curie. It was really cold inside.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Paris Museums

One thing about Paris is that it has a lot of museums. Museums on almost any subject including wine and the sewer system (yuck!). Due to time constraints we stuck to the art museums and went to three of the largest ones.

The Louvre is probably the most recognized museum in the world. It is HUGE! There is no way to see everything in just a few hours. We went during a night opening which was very convenient for our busy schedule. The building the houses the Louvre is beautiful and is classic French, or what I consider classic.

Steve enjoyed getting the dimensions of the pyramids

The most famous painting in the world, The Mona Lisa

A look through the glass pyramid to another part of the museum

Our next museum was the Musee d'Orsay. I hadn't been to this art museum before. I really liked it especially for the setting. It is in an old train station. They converted it in a great way and made an interesting setting.Here is a look inside the old train station / art museum

One of the famous paintings inside, Self Portrait by Van Gogh

Our last art museum we went to was the Pablo Picasso museum. We visited this one based on recommendation from our travel book. Steve and I aren't really into his art but it was interesting to see some of his works. We didn't spend too much time here that's for sure. I couldn't take pictures inside so here is one from the outside with a mirror wall. If you look really, really closley on the left side you can see me taking the pic.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A side trip

Our trip to Paris was a perfect break. We got to see and do so much more than our previous trips to Paris and it was such fun to experience the Parisian culture for a few days. We did have a few bumps along the road including me losing my wallet in Houston before we left. Lucky for me my passport was not in the wallet! It was turned in which I found out Saturday when we returned.
One of my favorite things about being in Europe is traveling by train. We enjoyed a train trip to Nice this trip and something interesting happened on our way there..
Our train broke down along the way and we stumbled into a perfect little village.

Here is another picture of one of the homes in the village.
Here's Steve in front of the miller's home.

This is a pretty duck that ended up being a yummy dinner :)

There were quite a few sheep grazing in a pasture. Several had bells on, I wonder if they were the trouble makers.

I've heard peacocks are mean. This one liked to show off for the camera.
Okay, did I fool you? Our train did not break down (thank goodness)! This is actually Marie-Antoinette's Hamlet at Versailles (thanks Kerri for the suggestion). This is where she could go to be away from court life. It is a perfect little village and has a working farm. Don't worry I will post pictures of 'real' Paris but I couldn't pass this fun opportunity up! Also, we didn't eat the duck!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

New Artist

I'm working on our pictures from Paris. Here's a new artist to check out while you wait. I kept hearing her songs on KLOVE and decided to check her out. Francesca Battistelli CD is great! Check her out!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Something new

I had to share the good deal we got today! After Italy and all the traveling we have done the past few years our luggage has taken a hit. When I got a 30% of coupon in the mail I decided to take a took at some luggage. We got lucky. We found a 5 piece luggage set that was 50% off plus our 30% off means they practically gave it to us :) One of my favorite things is the color which is chocolate brown. No more looking for our black bags along with all the others. It also has embellishes which makes it look nice as well. As for the best part (besides the price) it has 4 wheels as opposed to 2 on most. As we were traveling in Italy I was envious of those bags with 4 wheels. They seem so much easier to use. We will see if I'm right!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

TAKSed to the Max

Well, I survived our first round of testing at school. I ended up in the Instructional Specialist office all day today. You have to pack things a certain way and all materials have controls forms to go with them. It's just a nightmare! Oh well, it's done till April. I included pictures of what my office looked like yesterday. Since I tested writing kids in there everything up. Also, since I have lots of "fun" stuff in my office I covered that up as well. It's actually kind of soothing and I haven't taken the sheets down yet :)

I am ready for the week to be finished and to be on a plane to Paris! Steve's birthday is tomorrow and I am excited to help him celebrate. I am cooking at home, his request! I hope everyone is having a great start to March! I love that the trees are starting to bloom. On my way to school I pass by several trees that bloom in purple. Seeing them just makes me happy and it's a great start to my day.