France 2004


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France 2004

  1. 1. France again On the 12th day of our Spain-France tour (Sep 7), we crossed the French border past Perpignan and the Alpes Mediterranean, with a lunch stop-over at Montpelier, driving thru scenic Provencal landscapes of Impressionists Cezanne, Van Gogh and Gaugain, enroute to Nice on the French Riviera. We arrived in the tiny principality of Monaco at 5pm to visit its exciting casinos. I took photos of the Grimaldi Palace, the Hotel de Paris (see right photo) and the old casino in Montecarlo. Then I entered the new casino with Caryle and watched one of our tour members win his hands at a black jack table. We left Monaco past 7pm, arriving in Nice in time for dinner. Nice, famous for its belleépoque architecture, beachfront promenades, and landmark hotels. After dinner, I took the Australians (Caryle and co.) to a leisurely walk by the harbor. The next morning, while my group went on an excursion to the hilltop town of St. Paul de Vence and visited a perfumery, I strolled from the hotel to the promenade by the sea (Yahoo! Photos - emeritamanansala's Photos - Nice - beach), passing by the flower market, the opera house, the Franciscan Church, the war memorial, and the Victory Monument (Yahoo! Photos - emeritamanansala's Photos - Nice - foot of the Victory monument) Next day, I walked around the town, passing by the Grand Railway Station, the Municipal Public Library, and the Museum of Contemporary/Modern Art with its ultramodern library, and took pictures of the Basilica of Notre Dame (Yahoo! Photos - emeritamanansala's Photos - Nice - Notre Dame Cathedral) . After a 45-minute walk, I found my way to its impressive Russian Orthodox Cathedral, took photos on the grounds outside, and visited its beautiful interiors ( I traced my steps back to the Kyriad hotel passing by the Garibaldi plaza and getting a big pizza for 8 euros (my dinner) at a pizzeria along Rue Bonaparte (Yahoo! Photos - emeritamanansala's Photos - Nice- Garibaldi monument at plaza). By sunset, I was back at the promenade, sat in one of the chairs facing the sea, watching the beach people (one old man took off all his clothes, and completely naked, walked gingerly on the stony waters---no beach sand, no waves at all).
  2. 2. Day 14, we travelled through Provence to Avignon, where we stopped for photos of the gothic Papal Palace, the jardin, and St. Benezet Bridge of 'Sur le Pont' fame (Yahoo! Photos - emeritamanansala's Photos - Avignon - St. Benezet Bridge in) with its 4 remaining arches. From here it's on to Lyon, former capital of France and of the French Resistance Movement, known for gastronomic specialties, award-winning restaurants, big plazas, the finest art collection outside of the Louvre, and center of ballet. We stayed overnight at Hotel Campanille near Place Belle Coeur, the theatre and Place des Jacobins. DAY 15, from Lyon – Paris, we drove along the Rhône Valley to visit the charming medieval town of Beaune, which was also part of my 2003 France tour. I offered two candles at the beautiful Notre Dame cathedral here for Nanay and Daddy, and had lunch at one of the sidewalk cafes. Then we continued through the famous Burgundy wine region on the Autoroute du Soleil as we made our way back towards Paris, where we spent the next two nights at Timhotel near Place d’Italie. Paris sightseeing is never the same since there are so many places to see. As soon as we arrived at 4:30 pm, we took the nearest metro station at Corvisart to climb the Eiffel Tower to the top and have a drink at the bar on the second level. (Yahoo! Photos - emeritamanansala's Photos - Eiffel tower restaurant) This time, it was still daylight so I had several photo views of the city. We took a long walk, passing by Alexander III and Concorde bridges and had dinner at a bar-café near Louvre at Rue de Rivoli and Palais Royale metro station. ( a/detail?.dir=1967&.dnm=9 6e5.jpg). The next morning, I took a long walk to Champs Elysées, and had my picture taken right in the middle of the avenue with the Arc de Triomphe in the background (
  3. 3. After taking photos of Madeleine Church and the Louvre grounds I decided to visit this time the Musee d’Orsay for 7 euros, since I have toured the Louvre last year. I was awed by the sight of hundreds of French Impressionist arts – Claude Monet, Edoard Manet, Renoir, Toulouse- Madeleine Church Lautrec, Degas, and Rodin’s sculptures at the terrace. After lunch at a fast service restaurant along the road fronting the Tuilerie Gardens, the rest of the day was spent walking around the Ile Saint-Louis in the heart of the city. This is one of the quietest parts of Paris, the haunt of lawyers, policemen, and sight-seers, on the way to Notre Dame Cathedral. The Ile Saint- Louis has also been called the Enchanted Isle. Whether seen from the right or from the left bank of the Seine, hidden behind tall trees, it looks in summer like the inaccessible abode of some distinguished recluse. Walking to the Notre Dame Cathedral, I passed by the Palace of Justice and the Prison House. The name "Palais de Justice" is in itself ironic since it is no longer a palace, and as we know, during the French revolution of 1789, it had nothing to do with justice The most noteworthy monarch who lived in the Palace is Saint Louis, and built the adjacent "Saint Chapelle", an intimate two-tier masterpiece of stained glass and light gothic style, to house what was believed to be the relics of the Crucifixion. It was later abandoned as a royal residence, and then used to house government offices. The evening was capped with dinner at Montmarte after a stroll around the magnificent Basilica of Sacre Coeur. Montmartre, high on the only hill overlooking Paris, has long been famous for its artists, and its Sacre Coeur. Close by is the Place du Tertre, usually completely covered with tables and bright umbrellas, and `artists.''
  4. 4. This is the place to have your pastel portrait Sacre Coeur done. It’s also lined with cafes. The last morning in Paris was a quick photo stop at the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and Place de la Concorde, which is the largest square in Paris, situated along the Seine and separates the Tuileries Gardens from the beginning of the Champs Elysées. We were on the way to the Opera House to catch our bus that will take us to the airport. This place where a giant obelisk now stands, is where King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, along with Danton, Robespierre, and thousands others were guillotined between 1793- 5. It’s been said that the smell of blood was so strong that a herd of cattle refused to cross the place. Two hours later, I was at Charles de Gaulle waiting for my long flight by Air France back to Manille. Place de la Concorde View of the city from Eiffel Tower Opera House