Sunday, July 13, 2014

Day 10 - Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde, Champs Elysees, and Père Lachaise Cemetery

Today is our last day in Paris.  SOB!  How did it go by so fast?  I feel like we were just boarding the plane in Massachusetts, and now we are wrapping up our vacation.  Tomorrow we head back to London for one last day and then head home on Tuesday.  Sigh.......

Today we took a casual approach.  I had planned a few things today but left the afternoon open to chance in case while we were here we found something we REALLY wanted to do.  I wanted to make sure we had an afternoon for that "oh - we should do that" kind of activity.

But the weather got in our way a bit.  We thought about going to the catacombs, but they are not open when it rains (because it is under the ground).  Plus we found the wait to get in could exceed 2 hours (you can't get tickets ahead of time).  So that didn't work out.  So we settled on the cemetery.

Our first stop was at the Place de la Concorde.  This square has quite the history.  It was designed in 1755 and was originally named Place Louis XV.  During the revolution it was renamed Place de la Revolution and a guillotine was put in the square.  Many important people were guillotined on this square including King Louis the 16th and Marie Antionette and many others.  AND during the "Reign of Terror" in 1794, 1300 people were guillotined in one MONTH.

Nice place.

Today a fountain is in place of the guillotine.  We couldn't walk around the square much because they are setting up for the Tour de France.  (that crazy race is causing us grief all over the place).  The square is where the end of the race will take place.

AND it was POURING.  Just raining so hard.  We thought it might last all day, but it only lasted about an hour and then let up.

After the Concorde, we walked down the famous Champs Elysees.  (Shawns day la zay - is the best way I can think to write it out in English for pronounciation).  Stores and stores of famous brands and just huge shops and cafes.  We ended up eating at a cafe along this road after strolling for awhile.  The kids had fun walking around and going into some of the more unique stores.  We even visited Louis Vuitton (where we saw a $28,000 purse) and the kids didn't touch anything which was a miracle.

After our walk, we made it to the Arc de Triomphe.  The road is set up as Concorde as one side of the Champs Elysees, and the Arc on the other.  It is a nice walk - about 0.5 of a mile - and not bad at all because we are busy looking at the shops.

The Arc was huge.  Even though we had driven by it on several bus tours, to stand in front of it was something else.  We didn't climb to the top because the line was long (and you couldn't get tickets ahead of time) and with the foggy weather, and just being on the Eiffel Tower a few days ago, we decided it wasn't worth it.  So we spent the time walking around the Arc itself.  The Arc honors those who fought in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars.  All the names of the wars and officers are on the walls.  There is also a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier there.

And - of course - it was commission by Napoleon in 1806.  (A big "him" is carved on the arch).    It was not completed while Napoleon was Emperor, but was completed by the time his body was brought back to France to be buried here.

After the Arc we decided that the weather was nice enough to head to the Pere Lachaise Cemetery.  A lot of famous people are buried here, and Mat thought it would be neat.  Arlington quickly vetoed going to a cemetery, but she lost the vote, so off we went.

It is the biggest cemetery in Paris and holds the remains of famous people such as Chopin, Jim Morrison, Theodore Gericault, Balzac, Oscar Wilde, on and on.

Right as we were finishing our tour of the cemetery, the skies opened up and a thunderstorm started.  Arlington thought that was perfect since we were in a "creepy place".  So we headed for home.  It was after 5pm at this time, and the kids still wanted to get a few souveniers.  We did a little trinket shopping, went to a bakery for dinner goods and treats, got poured on again (thank goodness we have umbrellas) and headed back to the apartment.  This evening we are packing up because our train leaves tomorrow around lunch time to head back to London.

So our time in Paris is over.  We really did enjoy it here and I know someday we will return.  Mat and I would like to do some traveling without the kids to eat maybe a little more "freely" than we can with them in tow.  But the kids have been great and tell us they are having a good time.

Here are the pictures from today - enjoy!

This is the fountain on the Concorde:
For my parents - these are the stands on the concorde they are setting up for the race finale:
 Champs Elysees is all dressed up for the race. 
 The yellow you see on the right under the flags - those are rows and rows (and rows) of stands all down the street)

 Eiffel Tower inside the Disney Store:
 Champs Elysees!!

 Cainan's new car.  He said he wanted red:

 I had no idea Mercedes sold more than just cars.  They have shoes, suit cases, purses, sunglasses, nail polish (which was 40 Euros).....lots of stuff.  
 Arc de Triomphe:

 The Champs Elysees from the Arc:

 The Tomb of the Unknown Solider:
 It says:  Here Rests a Soldier who died for the Motherland.
 I took a picture of this store because Mat loves the color orange:

 In the Toyota store on the Champs Elysees:
 Took these for my Father in Law, Ben:

 Kids could color a car picture and then hang it up in the store:

 Finley's is on the bottom there:
 We may have bought a little treat for my mother in law in this store.....
 For my mother - she likes pictures of food.  Mat had a type of Lasanga for lunch that had salmon in it and on top:
 Today I had a pizza type meal with locks (fresh salmon) and different cheese.  It was very good:
 Entrance to the Pere Lachaise Cemetery:

 A lot of the older grave sites have these small buildings:

 These are the remains of Heloise and Abelard - history's most passionate and true love story.  The story is long, so if you want to read about it - you should visit this website here:  Abelard and Heloise.  This could lived around 1046 AD.  They were moved here 600 years after their death by Josephine Bonepart (Napoleon's first wife).

 Jim Morrison's Grave.

 Weird gum tree next to his grave.  I can't find out why it is there - most just say it is a colorful tribute to the singer:
 A massive amount of graves in this place:

 this is Theodore Gericault's grave.  He is famous for painting the Raft of the Medusa which hangs (and we saw) in the Louvre.  That Raft is a crazy true story where a raft carrying 157 French Navy Men who were lost at sea after their ship sunk and by the time they were rescued 13 days later, only 15 had survived.  On his grave site is a copper reproduction of this painting.
 This is Chopin's (the famous composer) gravesite:
 This is a crazy cat her made herself comfortable in a flower pot on a grave:
 This was a cool one.  If you can't tell - it is a giant camera in there.  On on the right hand wall is one of those little QR codes you could scan with your phone:

 General Gobert - we thought this was an interesting statue.  His name is on the Arc De Triomphe.  This statue shows him being shot in the head and dying in battle.
 This is Joachim Murat who was the Brother in Law of Napoleon:
 Grave of Oscar Wilde:
 If you look on the right side - you see the kisses people put on the grave site:
 Balzac's grave:
 This is the cute little elevator in our apartment.  It can only hold like 2 people.  We usually just walk up, but the kids wanted me to take a picture of it:

 Who will feed me like this when we go home?!?!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Great pictures and information! I had fun seeing all the neat things on your vacation with you!
Have a safe flight home!

Friend, Shayla