EUROPE 2005         


EUROPE 2005

PARIS

BARCELONA

CRUISE

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The Metro

The Metro is the BEST method of transportation around Paris – fast, affordable, and beats-the-heck out of surface traffic.  It does, however, take a certain mindset to just burst onto the train and jostle for a seat.  Politeness does not work here!  

 You can buy multiple-day passes which are especially cost effective.  One of us planned ahead by bringing passport photos so we were able to do this easily.

Metro facts: 

  • Opened in 1900

  • 15 lines

  • 201.4 km of track

  • 370 stations

  • 3,439 cars

  • > 1 billion passenger journeys yearly

  • Trains run every 1 min 35 sec to 3 min 50 sec

Map of Paris Metro

Metro sign Chris at Metro
One of the original signs
Mom's Metro station
Mom's Metro station Hamming it up

 

St. Chapelle

Our first "real" day in Paris I made a great start on the vacation by walking Mom's feet off.  We started at St. Chapelle, which is about a block from Notre Dame.   You have to enter through the main entrance for the Justice Palace.  It has a lower level, where the "commoners" worshipped, and an upper level that was reserved for nobility.   The difference was evident.   The church is almost completely enclosed in stained glass.  Magnificent!

 

Outside of St. Chapelle Inside St. Chapelle Mom inside the St. Chapelle gates
Outside of St. Chapelle (from the back) Inside St. Chapelle Mom inside the St. Chapelle gates

This marvel of High Gothic architecture was built for Louis IX in less than 33 months in 1245-48.  The chapel was built to house the precious Christian relics which Louis had acquired from the Byzantine Emperor - and which had cost him two and a half times as much as the building of the chapel.

The chapel is 33m/110ft long by 17m/55ft wide, 76m/250ft high to the tip of the spire and 42m/140ft to the top of the gable.

St. Chapelle stained glass

The Chapelle Basse (Lower Chapel) was originally for the court servants. Its vaulted roof, only 6.60m/22ft high, is borne on 14 columns set close to the walls.

The Upper Chapel (Chapelle Haute) is the Sainte Chapelle proper. It was dedicated to the Holy Relics and was reserved for the king, the royal family and high dignitaries of the court. The relics - a splinter of the True Cross, a fragment from the crown of thorns and a nail from the Cross - are now preserved in the Treasury of Notre Dame.

70ft high buttresses provide the framework for the windows, 50ft high by 13ft wide. Apart from a low blind arcade decorated with scenes of martyrdom round the base, the chapel has no walls as such..  The stained glass depicts more than 1,000 different Biblical scenes.

Example of the stained glass inside St. Chapelle

 

Eiffel Tower

We took the Metro to the Eiffel Tower, where we had a reservation at Altitude 95 for lunch.  Mom has the worst luck with high rise food (ask her about Las Vegas). But it was a nice restaurant and still a very nice experience.  After eating lunch, we went to the base, walked back up to the “second level” (which I think is about 8 flights of stairs!) – and finally found an elevator to the top.

 

Eiffel Tower Mom at Eiffel Tower Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower - two elevator cars showing Mom Looking straight up
Eiffel Tower Chris and Mom at Eiffel Tower Eiffel Tower
Viewed from the Trocadero Mom and Chris Viewed from the Trocadero
View of Invalides View of Trocadero View of the Arch
View of Les Invalides from the tower View of the Trocadero View of the Arch and l'Etoile
 

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