Paris 9/95 40th b'day
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Eiffel_background_cropped_9_20_95.jpg (12213 bytes) I decided that if I was going to turn 40, I was going to do it in Paris with my family. This trip was the culmination of a mountain of planning and was a significant milestone and memory for me. Although Mary Lou and I had been to Europe before, none of us had ever been to Paris. We pulled both kids out of school for a week and brought along their former babysitter, Denise Hendon, to be the kids' au pair, allowing Mary Lou and I to enjoy the nightlife of Paris. Each day we did sightseeing together, but in the evening Denise took the kids to dinner and entertained them until they went to sleep. Denise's role was much tougher than it sounds, and she deserves much of the credit for the trip's success.
Fountains_across_from_Eiffel_9_20_95.jpg (25379 bytes) The trip was short, but we saw a great deal of Paris. Guide books like Fodors and Frommers were helpful in planning, but did not tell the whole story. Cheap Eats and Cheap Sleeps in Paris books by Sandra Gustafson were also useful. The people of Paris were very friendly and helpful to us throughout the trip. 

We arrived in the early evening on September 19th and checked into our two rooms at the Hotel le Jardins d'Eiffel on the Left Bank near Invalides. The hotel was situated on a narrow street (first picture below) within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower. Our rooms were small, but comfortable. The next morning we headed out for our first full day of sightseeing.

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Wednesday September 20th

We walked to the Eiffel Tower (second picture above) and took the elevator to the top.  The views from the top deck were very good (third through fifth pictures above), but it was windy and cold that morning, limiting our time outside. Walking across the street to the Palais Chaliot, we got some excellent views of the Eiffel Tower and the fountains (two pictures at top of page). After lunch, I figured out how to use the Metro by finding my way to the Opera House and back. From that point on, we could move about the city with ease. In the late afternoon we took the Bateaux Mouches, which is an open boat tour of the city (first picture below). Mary Lou and I took a late evening city tour (second picture below) after dinner at Petit Paname.

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Thursday September 21st

We headed out on our second full day for the top of the Arc de Triomphe at the end of the Champs Elysees. The views from the top were great as shown in the third and fourth pictures above. We then walked the entire length of the Champs Elysees shown in the third picture above and the first two pictures below (from the other end - Place de Concorde).

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Friday September 22nd - My 40th Birthday

This day worked as well as I had planned and imagined with great memories that will last a lifetime. We started early with a long Metro ride across town to Pere Lachaise, the cemetery where Jim Morrison of The Doors (third picture above) and Chopin (fourth picture above) are buried. We then traveled across town to the Paris Opera House. We took a short walk to Harry's New York Bar (fifth picture above) where I had one of their famous Bloody Marys. After a quick Metro ride back to our hotel, we did a half day afternoon tour to Versailles (three pictures below).

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We had a small birthday party back at the hotel (first picture below) before Mary Lou and I headed out for the evening show at the Moulin Rouge (ticket - second item below), where they seated us right by the stage, because our concierge had told them it was my 40th birthday.

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Saturday September 23rd

We headed out to Notre Dame and climbed the 400 steps to see the view and the gargoyles (third and fourth pictures above). From Notre Dame, we walked along the Seine to the Louvre (three pictures below - that's the Mona Lisa behind the kids in the third one). The Louvre is not a museum for kids in any way. There are massive amounts of art, the building was hot and stuffy, and it was hard to find what we were looking for. I visited the Orsay Museum in Paris a couple of years later which was much better, probably because it covered a time period I know (the impressionists) and was smaller in scope. Mary Lou and I had dinner at Au Poule a Pot, which was excellent and finished our last night in Paris with a night stroll with a view of the Eiffel Tower.

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Sunday September 24th

We had to leave in the afternoon for LA, so we did the local sights in the morning. We started with Invalides (fourth picture above) and then walked to Napoleon's Tomb (fifth picture above). From there, we headed for CDG and home. Thank you Denise, wherever you are now, for putting up with all of us (below).

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