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Friday, August 19, 2011

...I lack motivation! Plus this is gonna be a long one!

don't know if I have "vacation brain" or what but every time I thought about recapping last weeks adventures, the second week of Patrick's vacation, I would think, "I'll do it tomorrow"!  And now if's Friday and I find I have to check the calendar to remind myself what we did! Hmmmmm,  Mommy-brain?Vacation brain?  Mid-Forties brain?  Better write this stuff down.

So we started off the week with Monday (Aug. 8) being another relax at home day.  Since most of the touristy things are open both Saturday and Sunday, a lot of the museums and historical places are closed on Mondays so we used this as our excuse to lounge around and do nothing.

Tuesday we went to view the Arc de Triumph up close.  Patrick and the kids did the stairs (284) to the top while I decided to walk around the outside and people watch.  Patrick reported the kids did the stairs like gangbusters until the final 10 or so when they decided they needed to rest!  Once at the top, they had great views of city.
Half way there
Looking back down the stairs

Don't look now!
There's that Eiffel Tower again!

Eiffel Tower shot
(in case you forgot we were in Paris!)

I think this is the

What's this....an actual smile!

Looks like a giant comb~

Wednesday we went to Luxembourg Gardens, the second largest public park in Paris. The garden contains just over a hundred statues, monuments, and fountains, scattered throughout the grounds. Surrounding the central green space are about twenty figures of historical French queens and female saints standing on pedestals.  There is an orchard of apple and pear trees and the théâtre des marionette as well as a large fenced-in playground and a vintage merry-go-round.  You can also rent well-crafted little sailboats for 2 Euros for half an hour. You get a pretty nifty sailboat which you propel towards the center of the fountain with a stick.  The kids loved the sailboats and have declared it a "must do" when cousins Jack and Hannah come.

Sneaky Max

Setting it adrift

"Thar she blows matey"

Just a little more.....
Thursday was Versailles.  Another must do!  Again and again..... Wow, there was so much to see.  I took many, many pictures and posted quite a few on Facebook since I knew I would be limited here.  And pictures really can not do justice to this place.
A few small tree trunks for your fire?

Hall of Mirrors

Ceiling mural
Hannah, check it out!  It's Poseidon and Hades!
Can't be afraid of heights and be a
fresco painter

When the château was built, Versailles was a country village; today, however, the former de facto capital of the kingdom of France, is a suburb of Paris; a prosperous, leafy and very bourgeois suburb.  

The palace served as the kingdom’s political capital and the seat of the royal court for more than a century, from 1682 to 1789 – the year Revolutionary mobs massacred the palace guard and dragged Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette back to Paris where they eventually had their heads lopped off.

Versailles is still undergoing intensive restoration.  The Palace still serves some political function. The Heads of State meet in the Hall of Mirrors and the senate and national assembly both meet in Versailles to discuss any potential amendments to the French Constitution. Because so many people consider Versailles a must-see destination, the chateau attracts more than three million visitors a year. The best way to avoid the queues is to arrive first thing in the morning and buy your tickets online.

The gardens, though—that's another story. The Gardens of Versailles are the ultimate in French formal garden design, with geometrical flowerbeds, terraces, pools, topiary, statuary, lakes, and some 50 fountains.  Unfortunately, we were there on a day when the fountains weren't on, but it was still awesome even with Max in a somewhat crappy mood (5 hours is about the limit for a 10 year old boy in a Palace!).  Again, I took many pictures and we didn't even venture down any of the pathways to the grottos.  
Fontaine Latone
Laurie, check it out...those little guys are frogs all around!

Cupid booty

Reminds me of Alice in Wonderland

Ho Hum...another day in paradise

The Apollo fountain depicts Apollo on his chariot pulled by four horses representing force and ardour, getting out of the water among sea monsters to enlighten the Earth.  In Versailles all the statues of Apollo, the sun god, represent Louis XIV, the sun king.

Friday we went to the top of the Eiffel Tower.  The tower is the tallest building in Paris and the most-visited paid monument in the world; millions of people ascend it every year. Named after its designer, engineer Gustave Eiffel, the tower was built as the entrance arch to the 1889 World's Fair.
Top of the world
Now, this is the second place I’ve lived with a World’s Fair pointy thing as a landmark!  The Space Needle in Seattle is a major symbol of the Pacific Northwest and of Seattle. It was built for the 1962 World's Fair.
Again, to avoid crazy lines, go early and buy your tickets online!

The line about an hour after opening
for one of the two elevators
Looking up

The world at your feet

We also went to the The Musée de l'Armée. The museum is home to the Tomb of Napoleon, but is more than just that as it covers army and artillery antiques from ancient times, weapons used during the French revolution, and displays of more modern weapons up until the 20th century.  Definately more of a guys museum but the displays of armour where impressive.

This museum, as I said, is a guy's military and history buff dream.  I think Patrick and Max could have stayed longer, but it was already a long day.  I did enjoy seeing the details on some of cannons.  Weapons of war so carefully detailed......

handles on cannon

end of cannon
The cannons were impressive and they had many.
A boy and his cannon
While Max enjoyed the visit, it made him a little melancholy for home and his best buddy, Charlie.  They had quite a few play dates centered around wars and Indians. I think he tried to photograph everything in this museum because he "wants to show Charlie".  
His reflection as he tries to photograph
everything for Charlie

We then went to see Napoleon's tomb.  It was some dead guy's tomb. Whoopidee doo. Just kidding! It was a very interesting and the architecture beautiful.

The rest of the weekend we took it easy to ready Patrick for the rude awakening of returning to work!  We did an Ikea run and the kids scored some new Legos for being such troopers slogging through the museums (even though they really enjoyed 80% of it!).  About 2 more weeks of vacation for the kiddos and then back to school.  They are ready.  Miss the year round school with only 3 weeks off at a time!

Hope you made it through this looong post!   I know I'm tired from writing it!
Any errors in this post
should be referred to my proof reader!

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