Part 1

Notre Dame, the Seine, Louvre, Right Bank

On the way out of SeaTac Airport, we flew right over our neighborhood, and had a great view.  Unfortunately we weren't able to get the camera out until we were further east, above the Cascades.Our first view of Paris!  This is at the Boulevard Saint Michael Notre Dame RER station.

The view from the balcony of the Hotel California, where we stayed.I think Hans and Holly stayed at this place, very close-by, when they were here 2 years ago.

Our first purchase in Paris was of a tandoori chicken panini sandwich, from this very friendly Vietnamese guy.  He was playing Laotian music on the radio, which I recognized.It was a shock the first time we saw one of these super small little cars, but they're fairly common in Paris.

Walking towards the Notre Dame cathedral, we saw a bookstore dedicated only to old Jules Verne books.Notre Dame, and the Seine.

The Prefecture de Police (it faces Notre Dame)The famous gothic cathedral of Notre Dame.  Not many tourists around at all at this time of year.

This is Point Zero in France, right in front of Notre Dame.  All road distances are measured from here.All three entrance doors had some very elaborate iron work.

In the middle ages, these statues next to the entrance doors were brightly painted to help people understand bible stories.

Inside Notre Dame.Inside, there were many spots where you could light a candle and pray to a particular saint.

Right next to the candles we found this handy blanket to throw over people who have been set ablaze by the candles. I imagine that it's happened before.

Lots of women were wearing fur coats!  I assume it's not as politically incorrect as it is in the US.A statue at the outside door--Adam and Eve eating of the Tree of Knowledge, tempted by a serpent (the top is a woman, the bottom a serpent).

Here you can see the flying buttresses, and some of the gargoyles (which were added in the 1800's).We relied heavily on a couple guidebooks to tell us what to see.

A lovely park behind the cathedral gives a great view of Notre Dame as well.

These barges on the Seine are supposedly for rent to tourists as a substitute for hotel rooms.  Sounds very romantic!You can stroll along the Seine, taking in the sights.  A lot more is happening in the summer months, but there's still some people out and about.

I really liked these little shops along the Seine, which sold mainly old book, manuscripts, prints, and postcards.  At night they locked everything up, and you could see nothing but big green metal boxes along the walkway.This little piggy is going to be a delectable morsel tonight.

The church of St. Julian le Pauvre, or St. Julian the Poor.  It, as well as other buildings, was described in detail in part of a walking tour that we took of the area.  It was a little rough, because every 10 steps we had to read a couple pages about the history of almost every single building that we passed.Right next to St. Julian le Pauvre.

I was amazed at how popular roller-blading is in Paris.  Seems like many people actually use it as a means of transportation.  We had some coffee in a cafe (which are amazingly smoky, incidentally), and saw this couple taking a break from their outing.In the evening we walked to the Louvre (a massivly huge museum in Paris).  The glass pyramids in front were built in the mid 1980's.

Right next to the Louvre is the Arc du Triomphe du Carrousel.  We decided that in comparison to the main Arc du Triomphe (much bigger), this should be called the Arc du Pretty Darn Good.The metro is a pretty efficient way to get around, if there's no strike.

A lot of stores had stands outside where you could choose the baguette you wanted for lunch (like butter and ham, mozzarella and tomato, etc.).  Very handy.This is inside the glass pyramid in front of the Louvre.

And this is the inside of the Louvre.  The place is incredibly huge, with tons of different collections.  We both enjoyed it, although slow walking down hallways is always a little tiring.  Also, Eric was disappointed that the information placards, which were supposed to be there in all languages, were rarely there in English.  Our guidebook suggested that we choose a period or section of the museum, and just do that, pretending that the rest is across town.The Winged Victory of Samothrace, a famous old Greek statue.

Some of the very ornate ceilings at the Louvre.This is the main exhibition hallway, containing the the Renaissance paintings.  It's kind of thrilling to walk through and recognize paintings that you've seen in books.

The Mona Lisa is always somewhat crowded.Lots of art students were copying famous paintings.

This one was in the same room as the Mona Lisa.  Huge!Most of the paintings have a religious theme.  Here are the soldiers gambling over Christ's clothing.

And the circumcision of Christ.This was a fun one--the four seasons, represented in a portrait form.  This is Summer...


and Spring.Painting of many paintings.

Eric and I in front of the Louvre.  We asked a French schoolteacher to take the picture--she ended up taking 3, thinking she had only taken one.  If you're not familiar with the camera, it's easy to not know when the picture has been taken.  Almost everyone that takes a picture for us looks at the camera, confused, afterwards, saying, "I think it took the picture..."We took a break from the Louvre and took a little walk around the area, the Louvre and Les Halles area.

This little magazine and newspaper stand is typical of the area.Have I mentioned that there were tons of rollerbladers around?

At the southern end of the Jardin du Palais Royal is a strange sculpture.  These multi-height columns were placed here in 1986Another strange sculpture.  I thought this one looked pretty cool.

This woman was feeding sparrows in the Jardin du Palais Royal.  I asked her if she was feeding them bread.  She said no, that they prefer madelines (a type of cookies) instead.  They would come and feed from her hand.A couple groups of young people were playing the guitar out at the gardens.

Street scene in the Louvre area.This was somewhere around the Opera Garnier.

We wanted to check out the famous Ritz Hotel, but they didn't let us in.This the Eglise de la Madeleine, a very strange Greek-looking church.

Later on we went walking on the Champs Elysees.  A very happening place.This is the real Arc du Triomphe, very nicely lit up in the evening.  To get to it, you have to walk through a tunnel under about 6 lanes of traffic.

Looking down the Champs Elysees.  At the very end you can see the carousel.On our way back we got a picture of the carousel and the Egyptian monolith next to it.

Back at the Louvre (you can go in and out without buying new tickets), we concentrated on the Greek section.  This is from a huge floor mosaic.These decorations, which were formerly on top of columns, were interesting to us because they were taken from Milet (modern-day Turkey), which we visited last fall.

I couldn't figure this one out--it really looks like this guy is in a wheelchair, but of course they didn't have wheelchairs back then.The famous Venus de Milo.

This egyptian tablet is apparently of a scribe/sculptor, writing of all the skills that he possesses.  Maybe it was meant as a kind of resume?An Egyptian table. It wouldn't look out of place today.

We saw this ad on the way home.  This is one Mercedes that I'm pretty sure isn't sold in the US.