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Paris Panorama

May 4-6, 1997

Sunday, May 4, 1997

            I woke up and immediately went on my run at 9 AM.  I got back and changed and then took a cab at 11:00 so I could attend Mass at the famous Notre Dame Cathedral I have heard of since a child.  It was quite spectacular but the top half of the fa�ade was covered in scaffolding.  Below right is the arch above the main entrance.


            Here is a close-up of the first tier and ...

... the second tier of sculptures.  Notice the figure to the extreme right.  He seems bored and falling asleep while Christ is raising the dead.


            Above is the rose window from the exterior and below right is a view of it from inside.  After Mass, I took some inside photos but they had just turned off most of the lights.



            Outside, Marcia tried to take a picture of me without people walking by.  She finally got it.  Then one person was willing to take a picture of both of us.


            Just to the right of the Cathedral is this enormous statue of Charlemagne.  It has turned green from the weather.  It is quite impressive.


            We left there and started walking to go over to one of the impressive bridges across the Seine River.

            The large columns at each end are covered with "gold" covered statues.


            Here are some views as we walked across it.

            We got to the other side and then we saw this menu ad for a place called the "Hollywood Canteen" which has five places around Paris.  We stopped to get a coffee at this cafe along the way.


[This is probably the best picture of us; over 16 years ago.]


            As you can see, our table is clean because they made us wait for over 15 minutes and ignored us.  I decided to get up and leave.  At 1:00 we had lunch at a nearby place on the left bank called Omellet Chepe and then at 2:00 we took the Metro to get to the museum we had planned to see.  At 3:00 we arrived at the Museo de Orsay [62 rue de Lille, +33-14-049-4814] (stock photo, below.)  Here they have a wide array of famous paintings by such artists as Monet, Cezanne, Van Gough, etc.  The building was converted from an old train station.  To see thumbnails of all the paintings hanging in this fabulous museum click Paintings.

            Surrounding the building there are statues dedicated to the six continents (stock, below) which were designed for the l'Exposition Universlle de 1878 at the Palais du Trocad�ro (Trocad�ro palace.)  They had been lying in a public rubbish dump in the city of Nantes since 1963.  The museum secured them from the city in exchange for a painting by Sisley for the Mus�e des Beaux-Arts de Nantes.

            Below are stock photos of the first three: Pierre Alexandre Sch�newerk's "l'Europe" (Europe) (left,) Ernest-Eug�ne Hiolle"s "l'Amerique du Nord" (North America) (center) and Aim� Millet's "l'Am�rique du Sud" (South America) (right.)


            The other three pieces in the set are: Alexandre Falgui�re's "l'Asie" (Asia) (left,) Mathurin Moreau's "l'Oc�anie" (Oceania, or Australia) (center) and Eug�ne Delaplanche's "l'Afrique" (Africa) (right.)


            They really are quite spectacular and it is amazing that some stupid beaurocrat threw them all in the trash.  Near the entrance are statues of animals.  Below right is a large rhinoceros.


            This and the elephant were originally at the old Palais du Trocad�ro and were moved here in 1986.  Below left are two views of the horse and on the right two views of the elephant.


            We paid the entrance fee and went inside.  They absolutely forbid photography so I just used my video camcorder.  To see all the fabulous paintings this museum holds click HERE.

[However, after searching photos and video tape I could not find anything on the inside of the museum.  Here are stock photos of some examples of the art we saw there from some of the most famous artists.  Below left is "Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1" (1871) more commonly known as "Whistler 's Mother" by James Whistler (1834-1903) and on the right is "After the Bath" (1885) by Edgar Degas (1834-1917.)


Vincent Van Gogh's (1853-1890) "Self Portrait" in 1887 and "The Bedroom" (in Arles) (3rd Version, 1889.)


Van Gogh's  "Noon - Rest from Work" (1890) and the very famous "Starry Night on the Rhine" (1888.)


Claude Monet's (1840-1926) "Rouen Cathedral" (1894,) "Woman with Parasol" (1886) and "Water-Lily Pool, Harmony in Pink" (1900.)


�douard Manet's (1832-1883) "Le Tub" (1878,) "On the Beach" (1873) and "Blonde Woman with Bare Breasts" (1878.)


Paul Gauguin's (1848-1903) "And the Gold of Their Bodies" (1901) and "Tahitian Women on the Beach" (1891.)


Paul Cezanne's  (1894-1895) "Self Portrait" (1875) and "Card Players" (1893)


Cezanne's "The Temptation of St. Anthony" (1877) and "Still Life with Basket" (1890.)


Henri antin-Latour's (1836-1904) "Homage to Delacroix" (1864) and "Still Life with Flowers and Fruit" (1865.)


Alfred Sisley's (1839-1899) "The Canal St. Martin" (1872) and Jules Lefebvre's (1836�1911) "Le Verite" (The Truth) (1870.)


            We finished with the museum and then walked to the huge building called Les Invalides (stock photos, below) which was originally built as a hospital for the military veterans by Louis XIV in 1670 and is official known as  L'H�tel National des Invalides.  This is the shot from one side of the building ...

... and below is a shot from the front side.  It has since become the national Army Museum (Mus�e de l'Arm�e) and houses the tomb of Napoleon below its main dome.  Unfortunately, they were about to close, so there was no time to visit it.

            Here is my photo of it.

[I had a chance to tour it completely on our Paris Trip in 2010]

            At 4:00 we walked back to the Trocad�ro and back to our room to relax and get changed.  Earlier, I had asked the concierge to make a reservation for dinner for us at the famous Jules Verne Restaurant in the Eiffel Tower.  Then we walked backed to Trocad�ro and over to the Tower.  Of course we had to take a lot of photos in front of it.



            At the corner pillar there is a gold bust of Gustave Eiffel (1832�1923) the builder, himself.


            Below left is a photo of him from 1888.  With reservation in hand, we took the private elevator (below left) up to the second level and at 9:00 PM we sat down for dinner at the famous Le Jules Verne restaurant [Pilier Sud Deuxi�me etage (South Pillar, Floor 2,) Avenue Gustave Eiffel, Champ de Mars, +33-14-555-6144.]


[Alain Ducasse took over the kitchen here in 2007 and it now has a Michelin 1-star and is extremely difficult to get a reservation.  So plan several months in advance.]

            We were seated not too far from a window which gave us wonderful views of the city below.  As it became night, the twinkling lights over the city were just beautiful.  We had a wonderful evening and walked back to our hotel and got to bed at a reasonable hour.

Monday, May 5, 1997

            I woke and headed out for my run at 11:00 AM.  I made it to the Arc de Triomphe and the famous street, Champs-�lys�es (below.)  It must be the widest sidewalk I have ever seen and with all the people, it is not very easy to run there.


            At 1:00 PM I walked all around the monument which sits in the center of a huge traffic circle which is called Place Charles de Gaulle.  It was originally called Place de l'�toile (the Star,) until 1970 upon the death of de Gaulle.  It has twelve streets radiating out from it, thus it looked like a "star."  Underneath the ground is a Metro stop of the same name.  After seeing there were people walking around on top of the Arc (above right,) I decided I wanted to go up there.  The traffic is horrendous around the circle (below.)  There is no way you can cross that street to get to it; you have to go into the underground passage to get there.  Below right is a shot of it from 35,000 ft in an airplane.


            Here are some Google maps of it.


            The monument was designed by Jean Chalgrin in 1806, and its iconographic motif pitted heroically nude French youths against bearded Germanic warriors in chain mail.  It set the tone for public monuments with triumphant patriotic messages.  The monument stands 164 ft (50 m) in height, 148 ft (45 m) wide and 72 ft (22 m) deep.  The large vault in the front and back is 96 ft (29.2 m) high and 48 ft (14.6 m) wide. The small vaults on each side are 61.3 ft (18.7 m) high and 27.7 ft (8.44 m) wide.  Below are some beautiful stock photos of it.


            Historically, here are two photos of it when Paris was conquered by the Germans; first by Bismarck in 1871 (left) and second by Hitler in 1940 (right.)


            We are now at the center of what they call the Axe Historique which is a straight line (street) from the Louvre (on right) to the other Arch at Place de La Defense (on the left.)

            The other one is called the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel (below) which sits on the site of the former Tuileries Palace.  It was built between 1806-08 to commemorate Napoleon's military victories of the previous year.  It is half the size of the one I'm at and you can see it through the Arc in the stock photo below left.


            Here is a closer look at the ladies and the horses at the top.

            I started taking video of all the art covering the Arc.  It is all about Napoleon's military victories.  Some of it is quite elaborate.  Below are all the photos we took with the camera from inside the circle (left) and outside (right.)


            Marcia caught me videotaping.



            Below are the photos I got from the video tape.







            I think you can guess who is depicted in these two reliefs (below.)






            They have long lists of all the cities they conquered.


            The inner ceilings are covered with these florets (below.)


            The inside is also covered in long lists of those who fought in the Napoleonic wars.


            Here are some stock photos that show things a little better than I did.  They are titled "Le D�part de 1792" (left,) "Le Triomphe de 1810" (center left,) "La R�sistance de 1814" (center right) and "La Paix de 1815" (right.)

            The plaque depictions below are named "La prise d'Alexandrie 1796" (left) and "Le passage du pont d'Arcole 1796" (right) ...


... "Les fun�railles of Gen Marceau 1796" (left,) "La bataille d'Aboukir 1799" (right) ...


... and "La bataille de Jemmappes 1792" (top) and "La bataille d'Austerlitz 1805" (bottom.)


            Here are the names of the officers who fought the battles listed on the west pillar (left,) the east pillar (right) ...


... the north pillar (left) and the south pillar (right.)


            On the attic ceiling they list the battles won.

            At the base out front there is a memorial to France's Unknown Soldier who died in WWI (below right.)


            The large brass thing near the flowers (above right) is an eternal flame which I got a few shots of.


            It says "Repose un Soldat Francais mort pour la patrie 1914-1918."  Here are some scenes of the streets.


            Here below are shots down the Axe Historique and in the distance (above right, center) you can see La Grande Arche de la D�fense which was instigated by President Mitterrand and designed by Danish architect Otto von Spreckelsen.  It looks more like a cube-shaped building than a triumphal arch.  At 348 ft (106 m) in height it is twice as tall as the Arc de Triomphe.





            Below are some beautiful stock photos of it.


            To get to the Arc from the street you have to take this underground tunnel I mentioned earlier and then you come out in the center.


            We went inside the monument and the sign tells us construction was begun in 1806 and it was dedicated in 1836.  There was a replica model of it inside.


            Marcia joined me and we were going to the top.  We climbed up the spiral staircase to the top of the Arc and I got some beautiful shots of the surrounding city.  Below you can see one-half of the Axe Historique.  Over to the right is the very tall Tour Montparnasse which is a 689 ft (210 m) office skyscraper constructed from 1969-1972 and is the tallest skyscraper in France.  You can take an elevator to the 56th Floor for views.

[In 2011, the tower was surpassed in height by the 758 ft (225 m) Tour First.  It also caused the halting of all skyscrapers in central Paris.  I visited the 56th Floor in 2010.]


            Here is a shot I got looking toward Sacr� C�ur Basilica on the Montmartre hill.  On the right is a zoom-in shot.


            Here is my shot looking toward the Eiffel Tower.  On the right is a zoom-in shot.


            We each took a picture of the other on the Arc.


            Here below are PhotoStitch shots I took of the streets below in three directions.

            We then walked back down the spiral staircase; my video capture in the dark below left and three better stock photos of it.



            As you can see (above left,) it is quite a climb.  We finally got down and when back outside, we had to really pay attention to the Walk signs crossing near here; you could get hit easily.


            At 2:00, we took a cab to visit Montmartre and the Sacr�-C�ur Basilica He dropped us off at the Rue Foyatier (right) which is a street on the Montmartre butte.  It opened in 1867 and was given its current name in 1875.  It is named for the sculptor Denis Foyatier (1793�1863.)  It is one of the most famous streets in Paris, because it consists essentially of flights of stairs giving access to the the Basilica at the top.  The Montmartre Funicular runs alongside it.  It was opened in July 1900 and was entirely rebuilt in 1935 and again in 1991.  The funicular (below) carries passengers between the foot of the butte of Montmartre and its summit, near the foot of the Sacr�-C�ur Basilica.  It provides an alternative to the multiple stairs of more than 300 steps that lead to the top.  At 354 ft (108 m) long, the funicular climbs and drops the 118 ft (36 m) in under a minute and a half.  It carries two million passengers a year.


            We are now at the top of Montmartre.  The name Mons Martis ("Mount of Mars" in Latin) survived into Merovingian times, Christianized as Montmartre, signifying "mountain of the martyr."  It owes its name to the martyrdom of Saint Denis, who was decapitated on this hill around 250 AD.  He was the Bishop of Paris and became the patron saint of France.  Below are some of his images from various churches.


            Many artists had studios or worked around the community of Montmartre such as Salvador Dal�, Amedeo Modigliani, Claude Monet, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh.


            After we got to the top and off the funicular, it was only a short walk to the steps up to the Basilica [Pl. du Parvis-du-Sacr�-Coeur, Montmartre, +33-15-341-8900] (stock photos above, ours below.)  Sacr� Coeur�s practically square base is adorned by a huge dome and seven chapels; the central dome is around 262 ft (80 m) high and offers yet another of Paris� most spectacular views.  Its overall length is 115 ft (35 m) and its width is 279 ft (85 m.)  The Basilica�s huge Campanile (bell tower) (stock photo, below center) holds France�s biggest bell, the Savoyarde, which has a 10 ft (3 m) wide diameter and weighs over 18 tons.  There I am videotaping the building (below left.)


            The stairs are always covered with people.  Below is my shot of the Paris skyline from the top of the stairs.

            Here is a much better stock photo.

            We climbed the stairs and entered this beautiful basilica.  Marcia had her camera ready.


            The use of cameras and video recorders is forbidden inside the Basilica so please excuse the quality of these images.  Below left is the close-up of the altar and on the right, the side aisle looking up to the apse mosaic ceiling.

            These are closer shots of the image of Christ and the Sacred Heart above.


            Below left is my shot of the apse with the altar holding the Host which has been on continuous display in its Monstrance since 1865, before the church was finished in 1919.  Below right is a stock photo of the beautiful altar and apse.  The apse mosaic, designed by Luc-Olivier Merson (1846-1920,) is the largest mosaic in the world.  Merson (left) became famous for designing stamps (right) for France and Monaco as well as French currency.


            It depicts Christ in Majesty and The Sacred Heart worshiped by the Virgin Mary (on the left,) Joan of Arc and St. Michael the Archangel (on the right.)

            A big Benedictine Abbey occupied the whole hill until the French Revolution when they had the nuns guillotined and the Abbey destroyed.  Late in 1872, the Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Guibert (1802-1886) (right,) approved the vow to build the church and chose Montmartre as the spot to build it.  In late 1873, he obtained a parliamentary declaration for the public utility of the Basilica, thus enabling the land to be used to build the church.  The Basilica was built by donations (7 million French Francs) from the public in penitence for the Prussians conquering France in 1870 and the 56,000 French who died in the war.  The architect was  Paul Abadie (1812�1884) and it is built of Ch�teau-Landon (Seine-et-Marne) stone, a frost-resistant travertine that constantly weathers out its calcite, so that it bleaches with age to a chalky whiteness.  Though completed in 1914 it was not dedicated until after the end of WWI.  To see various works of art that includes the Basilica in it click HERE.

            Here (left) is a stock photo of the back of the basilica.  On the right Marcia is heading down to where you can enter the crypt below.


            Before we entered and paid the fee, we came across their statue of the beheaded St-Denis (stock photo below left.)  We climbed down to the crypt which is huge and first encountered the 1895 statue (below right) of St. Francis Xavier (1506-52) by the French sculptor, Andr� Besqueut (1850-1942.)



            St. Francis (left) was born in Navarre (Basque,) Spain and moved to Paris to study.  It is hard to believe that Francis was born in the Xavier castle (below left) of a royal Navarre family.  Xavier Castle is now owned by the Jesuit Order.  He joined St. Ignatius Loyola (also a Basque from Spain) and five others, in founding the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in August 1534, in a small chapel here in Montmartre, the Church of St-Peter of Montmartre.  We also came across a statue of Ignatius Loyola by the same sculptor a little farther down (below right.)


            Francis' missionary work as a Jesuit priest took him from Lisbon to Mozambique, Portuguese Goa in India, the East Indies, Indonesia, Japan (the first missionary there) and China where he died on the Island of Shangchuan (map.)  His body is entombed in a glass container in a silver casket in the the Basilica of Bom J�sus (below) in Goa, India (below right.)


            He had little success converting the people to Christianity in Japan, but below center he is remembered by his statue (center) with his Japanese disciples Anjirō [(アンジロー] (left) and Bernardo in Xavier Park in Kagoshima, at the southern tip of Japan (map right.)

            In B�thanie, Hong Kong there is a stained glass window of Francis Xavier (below right) converting a local Chinese man.  He was beatified by Pope Paul V on October 25, 1619 and was canonized by Pope Gregory XV on March 12, 1622 at the same time as Ignatius Loyola.  Below left is the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa, India.


            As we circled the crypt area we came across several other statues.  One of Christ Sacred Heart (below left, stock photo center) and then a Pieta (below right) by Jules Coutan (1848�1939.)


            Below right is a statue of Cardinal Fran�ois-Marie-Benjamin Richard (1819-1908) who was archbishop of Paris from 1886 to 1906 during the construction of the Basilica.


            There was also a reliquary there with the bones of one of the cardinals.  Stock photo on right.


            Below left is a statue of Cardinal Archbishop L�on-Adolphe Amette (1850-1920) who consecrated the Basilica a year before his death.  Below center is the chapel containing the heart of Alexandre Legentil who made a vow with Hubert Rohault de Fleury to build this basilica here which was supported by Archbishop Guibert.


            Cardinal Joseph-Hippolyte Guibert (1802-1886) (right) pushed to get a law passed to confiscate the land to build the church (see above.)  He died before it was finished and his remains were transferred to the crypt of the basilica.  A monument erected on his tomb in the crypt shows the cardinal holding a replica of the Basilica in his hands (above right & below.)

            There is a display (stock, below left) showing amulets shaped like hearts that were given by grateful worshippers.  Having seen all the inside and the crypt we went outside and I got this photo of the bronze equestrian statue of St. Louis.


            St. Louis is holding the sword downward, while on the other side there is one of St. Joan of Arc holding her sword upright (below right.)


            The statues were designed by Hippolyte Lefebvre (1863-1935.)  Below are my video zoom-in shots next to stock photos that show them much better.  St. Louis is holding a crown of thorns in his left hand.


            Joan of Arc looks very determined.


            Here is my final look at the church and a zoom-in of Christ and His Sacred Heart in the alcove at the top.


            We walked back down the long stairs and back to the funicular and watched as the next car climbed up to us.


            We followed this gentleman inside the car and enjoyed the trip down.


            We decided to walk the streets back down to where we could catch a cab and enjoyed walking through the neighborhoods of Montmartre.

            We decided to stop at Le Carrousel Salon de Th� [8 Rue des 3 Freres, +33-14-223-8262.]


            I wanted to get a cappuccino and Marcia had a coke.  Marcia went outside and took some photos of me; you can see her and the flash of the camera (below right.)


            I also ate a very nice French chocolate �clair.



            We left there and walked down the hill further and found a place to get a cab which we took to the La Defense area to see the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel I mentioned above.


            The sun was just in the wrong position to be able to get any decent photos of it.  I gave up.


            Then we took a cab to go see a little of the famous Louvre museum.  It took four photos to create this one.

            Here are some of the fine details of the outside of the building.




            On the ledge along the roof there are statues of what I assumed to be many famous Frenchmen.  I took a photo of just one of them.  His name is Jean Froissart (1337�1405) who was famous for his "Chronicles."  They are just fascinating to read.  He was the French contemporary of Chaucer and Plutarch.  The chronicles are about the events that occurred in Europe in the 1300s including the very last crusade, the Battle of Nicopolis (in Bulgaria) (below left.)  Christian Europe led by King Sigismund of Hungary (1368�1437) (left) lost to the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I (1354�1403) (right) mainly due to the squabbling French generals.  Below left is Sigismund escaping across the Danube and below right is a better stock photo of the Froissant statue.


            The statue in the center of the courtyard (below) is of King Louis XIV which was made by the famous (and my favorite) sculptor, Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680.)


            Below is a Bernini bust of Louis XIV and his portrait by Charles Lebrun in Versailles.


            Here is an excuse for me to again show Bernini's three best works: "Apollo and Daphne" (left,) "Fountain of the Four Rivers" (center) in Piazza Navonna and "The Ectasy of St. Theresa" (right) all in Rome.  He was a genius.


            At 7:30 PM we entered the Louvre [Mus�e du Louvre, +33-14-020-5317.]  For the museum's latest brochure  click HERE.  Below is the overall map plan of the museum.

 {2013 Hours: open daily from 9-6, to 9:45 PM Wed & Fri, closed Tues}

            In the center you can see the pyramid designed by the famous architect, I.M. Pei.  Here is Marcia in front of it.

            This is the map showing how the museum radiates out into the three main galleries or wings; the Richelieu, the Sully and the Denon.


            This is the map of the below-ground level (Floor -1.)


            Here is the map of the ground level (Floor 0) showing all three wings.


            Below is the next level up, the First Floor (Floor 1.)

            Finally, this is the top floor, the Second Floor (Floor 2) which doesn't include the Sully wing.


[We will thoroughly cover the Louvre in the Paris/Munich 2010 Trip Diarios.]

            You enter the museum by going inside the doors of the Pyramid.


            Once inside, you buy your tickets and find yourself inside this very large entry way with a spiral staircase (left) and an escalator (right) (see Floor -1 map above.)  Then you decide in which of the three areas you are going to go.

            They allow photography in the Louvre so I took some video photos of some of the famous works of art.


            I was able to find several Van Goghs and then I was excited to find the famous Greek statue "Winged Victory" (below left & center) which is the hood ornament on Mercedes-Benz cars.  I asked Marcia to take some photos of me in front of it.  Stock photo is below right.


            On the ground floor of the Sully wing, we then found "Venus de Milo" and I was enamored with her.  I have heard of her and seen photos all my life and here I was standing right in front of her.  I took photos of her from every possible angle (below.)




            Then on the first floor of the Denon wing, we found what everyone who comes here just has to see: the "Mona Lisa" by Michelangelo.  It is really difficult to get a good photo of it because its mostly dark in here and they forbid flash which usually ruins the picture anyway.

            Below is the best I could get from my video camera.


            Since you really can't get a good photo of the Mona Lisa, here are some stock photos that really show it in detail.


            It is interesting to look at what he painted as the background (out the window) without her in it (left;) it looks like the Italian Dolomites.  Below right is a close-up of her eyes.  You can also see that the paint is cracking.

All these photos are courtesy of the Louvre website.


            Here are some of the great pieces of art I took from my videotapes.  As usual, if you have no interest in art, just scroll down past it all.


            [This was early in my travels and unfortunately I did not write down or record their names or the artists.]

            However, I did find that below left is "La Jeune Martyre" ("The Young Martyr") by French artist Paul Delaroche.  I thought it was the "Death of Ophelia."


            It is located in the Denon part and in Room 76.  Here are stock photos of the room ...


... and a beautiful shot of the ceiling (below left.)


            Below are my video shots of that same ceiling (above left.)


            Below are some of the art we saw here.





            Below in Room 77, is the famous "Napoleon on the Battlefield of Eylau" (1807) by Antoine-Jean Gros.


             This stock photo gives a better sense of the drama of the painting.










Above Right: Caravaggio's "La diseuse de bonne aventure" ("The Fortune Teller") by Michelangelo


            The five paintings below were on the ceiling and are of different periods in French leadership.



            Then I took a peak out the window to see the statues along the balustrade.


            Below is the famous painting "Crucifixion" by El Greco.





            Here is the famous painting "The Coronation of Napoleon" depicting him crowing himself in Notre Dame with Pope Pius VI merely observing.


            The painting was by Jaques-Louis David Sacre in 1807 done at the request of Napoleon (1769-1821.)


            Then I started photographing some of the interior architecture of this place. 




            We came across this cuneiform inscribed tablet.


            Then we entered the Hall of Statues.


            Then we continued down the dark hallways.


            They have plenty of Greek and Roman statuary.




                        We spent almost two hours seeing some of the best items, knowing someday we would return on a trip through France and fully explore it.  We caught a taxi back to the hotel and because we heard that the restaurant here in our hotel was supposed to be very good, we decided to try it.  We heard that this young chef, Alain Ducasse (below right,) had opened it last August and just a month ago (after only eight months) it had received a Michelin 3-star rating.  At 9:30, we were seated for dinner at La Relais du Parc Alain Ducasse.

            We could have sat out in the terrace (below left) but decided to sit inside.  I don't remember what we had for dinner but do remember that while serving our entrees, our waiter spilled peas in Marcia's wine glass and was totally embarrassed.  He brought her a new glass of wine and our desserts were on the house.



            We enjoyed our meal and after dinner we went outside and took a little stroll in this warm evening.


[Alain Ducasse has become very famous and has since opened restaurants all over the world.  It is pure coincidence that we ate at his place just as he was becoming well-respected.  The place is now called the 59 Poincare restaurant [59 Avenue Raymond Poincare, +33-14-727-5959] and is still run by Alain Ducasse.  It is now closed for renovation (as of May 2013.)]

            We then returned to our room and got to bed at a reasonable hour since we have to leave tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 6, 1997

            Today is our fourth day in Europe and we now have to get to M�nchen (Munich) to pick up our BMW.  We had to wake up early at 6:00 AM, packed and checked out of the hotel.  Below are some shots of the Le Parc room as we were packing up.



            We then asked them to get us a cab to the Paris East (Gare de l'Est) train station

            Even though we had First Class seats, we had to find the train on our own.  They certainly weren't very sleek or modern rail cars.  Then we had to haul all our bags down the ramp (below) and onto the train without any help and then once on the train, we had to find our car and seats by ourselves.  It was a little frustrating.  What I thought was going to be like Amtrak has turned into an adventure that wasn't much fun.


            We finally got on the 7:50 AM train #65EC (seats #31 & 32) to M�nchen HBF.  We were on car #113 and discovered our seats were in a compartment that holds six people - certainly not very private.  After years of being used to the service we get on Amtrak, I was really shocked and disappointed.  Every American I talk to likes to tell me how the European trains are so much better than ours yet most have never set foot on an Amtrak train.  Below is our "private compartment" showing four of the six seats.




            This is First Class remember.

            We travelled through the countryside of France and then into Germany.  Marcia got tired of the seat and then discovered the dining car (right) which wasn't bad.


            She looked over the fairly extensive menu and ordered something to eat.





            We went through the cities of Nancy, Strasbourg, crossed the Rhine River into Germany and then through Kehl, Karlsruhe, Baden-Baden, Stuttgart, Ulm and Augsburg.  At 4:15 PM, we arrived at the Hauptbahnhof Station in M�nchen, unloaded all our bags without any help and followed the crowd into the station.



            We found our way outside to the taxi queue and caught a cab to our hotel.  At 4:30 PM we checked into the Hilton M�nchen Park (below) [Tucherpark 7, +49-893-8450.]  The cost for one night was $151.  The hotel is 24 years old and not in the greatest shape.  We got unpacked and then I quickly got changed into my running gear and at 5:00, I went on my run through the Englischer Garten (Park) (map above.)


[Above are Stock Photos in 2013: This is not what it looked like in 1997.  They must have spent a lot of money refurbishing it.]

             I then ran into some side streets where I saw the Breoheuls Museum building but it was closed.  I got back and changed for dinner.  We then took a cab in the rain to the downtown area near Marienplatz, their famous central plaza.


            We walked around for quite some time and we came across the Residenz (below left) and the Opera House.



            Across from the Opera House we found, and decided to have dinner at, this neat place called the Sp�tenhaus an der Oper (below) [Residenzstra�e 12, +49-89-290-7060.]  We found later that this place has been here for a very long time and is very popular with the locals.  Funny how we always follow our nose and luck out.


            We were seated in the front room of the house at 7:30 PM and I ordered their Sp�ten bier and Marcia had a glass of German white wine.  She first had a bowl of soup while I took some photos.  She struck up a conversation with some people at the bar.



            Marcia had pork medallions (above) that came with two large potato balls (knodels.)  I tried them and they were thick and gooey and I didn't care for them.


            I had sauerbraten which came with scalloped potatoes, vegetables and red cabbage.  It was pretty good.  We enjoyed the place very much.  As you can see (below left) the restaurant is quite large and goes all the way to the back of the building.  The rest rooms are down a spiral stairs and they have all these historic photos on the wall on the way down.

            After leaving, it had stopped raining so we walked around for a while and then caught a cab back to the hotel.  We got to bed at midnight.  It was a whirlwind trip through Paris to Munich.  Next we finally get to our destination, Italy.  We certainly got to see a lot of Paris in two days.

[For better pictures of our many meals at the Sp�tenhaus click:
Arrived, 2007 Arrived, 2009 Arrived, 2010 MUNICH, 2011 PEUGEOT RESIDENZ.

It has become our favorite place to go in Munich.]


KJH                                                                                                            Go To -> NEXT DIARIO #3 

Kenneth J. Hoffer, MD


Munich, Germany

Sent 7-21-2013

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  We Have Now Toured All the Countries in Western Europe 

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Copyright 2012     Kenneth J. Hoffer, MD