Paris, Day 3: A Demonstration, Notre Dame and Hotel des Invalides

Paris Travel Blog

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Balloons released at the Demonstration

Our morning started in the "Cave" again -- with our usual cafe au lait and croissants.  My luggage finally arrived, so I was able to wear my own clothing today!

We took off on foot for the Notre Dame Cathedral and stopped at the Hotel  de Ville (Mayor's House) at a large public demonstration.  The large gathering was there to insist upon the freeing of two French journalists being held by Iraqi insurgents.  They released thousands of balloons -- all purple -- with the wish that they would go all the way to Baghdad encouraging the release of the captives.  It was really quite beautiful to watch all of those balloons swirl in the wind.  We were able to catch a couple as we walked away from the demonstration.  There were also huge banners here to support Paris' efforts to get the summer Olympics in 2012.

Notre Dame Gargoyle "Stryga" -- Greek word for bird of night, vampire or hag . . .
  We learned later that it was awarded to London.

It was a very cold day -- and quite blustery.  At least there was no rain today.  We experienced a very long line to enter Notre Dame so it was a little chilly standing out there in the wind!  It is hard to believe that construction of the Cathedral began in 1163.  Construction took a lot longer then, as we learned the towers were not completed until 1245.  We toured the interior of the Cathedral, then went up to the top -- 69 meters above the ground.  It had lots of stairs but was well worth the climb.  It was my first time to the top of Notre Dame, as it was closed on my first two visits to Paris, and I missed it last November.  I loved being up close and personal with the gargoyles!  

After our tour of Notre Dame, we stopped for lunch just across the street.

Hotel des Invalides
  Just a quick sandwich, pommes frites (french fries) and a diet coke, but it really hit the spot.  From there we went to a local pub, the Long Hop, where the brother of one of my friends back in Austin works.  The bar was easy to find, but unfortunately, my friend's brother was not working that day.  It's a nice British Pub -- will have to try again later if we are back this way.

Next was a quick hop on the Metro to the Hotel des Invalides.  This was a hospital for war veterans but is famous for housing Napoleon's Tomb, along with Josephine and some of his important generals.  It is really quite impressive.  The sarcophogus of Napoleon is huge -- amazingly large for such a small man!  Fitting though, when you put it in perspective of his accomplishments and his ego!

Next up was the Arc de Triomphe.

L'Arc de Triomphe
  It is so beautiful, particularly when lit up at night.  I still am awed by the traffic around the Arc.  So many cars -- and amazingly, very few accidents!

We walked back up the Champs de Elysee to the Place de la Concorde where the guillotine was situated at the time of the revolution.  Gives you such a weird feeling to know it was here and what happened on this spot in history!

We caught a taxi back to the hotel, rested a bit and then got ready for dinner.  We ate at a very nice French restaurant called "Si."  It was near the hotel, so an easy walk.  I had a spinach salad with goat cheese and steak with mushrooms.  Ioannis had duck confit.  We shared a bottle of bourdeaux.  What a great meal!

We headed out to a couple of clubs after dinner -- must have had a great time, as we did not get back to the hotel until 3am!  Vive the night life! 

ferroo says:
Really nice travel blog and yes, shouldn't we rename the hotel as Hotel De Caveland :)
Posted on: Feb 21, 2008
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Balloons released at the Demonstra…
Balloons released at the Demonstr…
Notre Dame Gargoyle Stryga -- Gr…
Notre Dame Gargoyle "Stryga" -- G…
Hotel des Invalides
Hotel des Invalides
LArc de Triomphe
L'Arc de Triomphe
Demonstrators at the Hotel de Ville
Demonstrators at the Hotel de Ville
Balloons taking flight
Balloons taking flight
Off to Baghdad
Off to Baghdad
Ioannis caught one of the balloons…
Ioannis caught one of the balloon…
Notre Dame Cathedral de Paris
Notre Dame Cathedral de Paris
Notre Dame Facade
Notre Dame Facade
Interior of Notre Dame Cathedral
Interior of Notre Dame Cathedral
Stained Glass of Notre Dame
Stained Glass of Notre Dame
Ioannis on the way to the top of N…
Ioannis on the way to the top of …
Gargoyles on the top of the Cathed…
Gargoyles on the top of the Cathe…
Another Gargoyle
Another Gargoyle
Group of Gargoyles at Notre Dame
Group of Gargoyles at Notre Dame
Bell in Notre Dame Cathedral
Bell in Notre Dame Cathedral
Me at the top of the Cathedral
Me at the top of the Cathedral
Eiffel Tower from the top of Notre…
Eiffel Tower from the top of Notr…
Napoleons Sarcophogus
Napoleon's Sarcophogus
Tomb of one of Napoleons Generals
Tomb of one of Napoleon's Generals
Tomb of Josephine
Tomb of Josephine
Memorial to Napoleons Generals
Memorial to Napoleon's Generals
The Arch
The Arch
Facade of the Arc de Triomphe
Facade of the Arc de Triomphe
Another Facade at the Arc
Another Facade at the Arc
Paris
photo by: Sweetski