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Paris Travel Blog

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One more day in Paris.

I woke early (duh) and walked over to the nearby laundromat, as it opened at 6:30 (I checked the night before.) By 8:00, it became apparent that it wasn't going to be opening, and I would have to go another day feeling less than fresh. I walked back to the hostel irate, but more than that resolute... I would enjoy this day if it was the last thing I did.

I found a little cafe in the heart of Paris that sold an American style breakfast that was well made and reasonably priced. The day improves with a belly full of rich French coffee.

My next stop was the Musée National de la Marine.

A bit of a gamble this one... I'm not into the navy at all, so I had to hope that my nerdish interest in model ships coupled with general history geekery would be enough to carry me through. It paid off. The museum was full of intricate models of ships, along with historical pieces and entire reconstructions of some parts of ships, including the first submarine. There was a fabulous exhibit on the navy in Napoleon's time.

From there, I followed the Napoleon trail and ended up a Les Invalides. built by Napoleon as a long-term care and retirement home for his veterans, this building now houses France's national military museum. Although the section I most interested in (the D-Day exhibit) was closed for refurbishment with the upcoming anniversary) the rest of the museum was incredible. Cannons, guns, swords, rifles, armour, uniforms..

. the collection was vast and impressive. On top of this, there was a special exhibit of 'maps' from Napoleon's collection. These maps where actually very accurate scale models of battlefields used for planning. The size and quality of these models was astounding.

The 'Piece de resistance' that finalized this Napoleonerific day was a visit to the man himself. Interred in a large chapel at the back of Les Invalides is the Little General himself, along with a number of other French military heroes, including Ferdinand Foch. Foch's memorial, which capped by a statue of 8 poilu carrying Foch's body for burial, is stately and elegant. Napoleon tomb is a massive polished orange-pinikish granite... thing that fills another wise large empty space. Foch lucked out.

Following my busy day at Les Invalides, I went out for an early dinner (6:30... the Parisians were shocked at the idea.) and hit the sack nice and early. I had to get to a train station bright and early to catch my ride to Normandy.

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photo by: Sweetski