Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Rainy Tuesday in Paris

We were all up bright and early at 5:30 am, ready for our first full day in Paris.  One quick peek out our windows and we know it's going to be another wet day.......

We had a hearty breakfast of hot oatmeal, with a side of butter, strawberry jam and baguette!   That should "stick to our ribs" and keep us going for a few hours.

We walked down to the Metro stop Ecole Militaire, and scouted out an electrical supply shop on our way.  I was sure I'd packed that "3 prong to 2 prong to French plug adaptor thingy", but sure couldn't find it this morning.  And yes, that IS a very technical term, and the nice French lady knew just what I needed!  Whew--back in business with my laptop, on to some site-seeing!

Our plan for the day was to spend as much time at "inside"places, so our first stop was the Le Palais Garnier, the National Opera House of Paris.  Here's Mom and Dad in front of the Palais:

And just past the entrance, under the Grand Staircase:

And upstairs on the Grand Staircase:

We continued up that beautiful staircase to the Grand Foyer, here's Mom and Dad:

And a picture of that gorgeous ceiling:

Mom and Dad by a B-I-G fireplace in the Grand Foyer:

Outside the Grand Foyer, on the Loggia.  Look at this view over the beautiful streets of Paris:

We also enjoyed the museum exhibit at the Palais, there were many fancy opera costumes, miniature to-scale models of opera stage sets, and a wonderful library full of beautiful old books and manuscripts.  It was impossible to photograph, as everything was behind glass and very brightly lit.  You'll just have to take my word for it--it was amazing!

We decided to go straight over to the Invalides Army Museum and Napoleon's Tomb,  just in case the weather got even worse later on in the afternoon.  It was a straight shot on the Metro, no line changes, and a short 1 block walk from the station.

The official name for this complex is Hotel National Des Invalides, and it was built in 1670 by King Louis XIV, as a facility to house and care for disabled veterans.  A portion of this complex still serves this purpose today.

Here's Mom and Dad in front:

Our first stop was the Musee De L'Armee, and if was a fascinating look into the history of arms and armor.

We saw very interesting cannons from the 1400's thru the early 1900's.  I especially enjoyed the very ornate ones:
 Detail from this same cannon:

 And the fascinating face at the small end of the cannon, called the cascabel:

Here's Dad with the largest cannon, from about 1480-1500:

And one of the longest cannons--Dad called it a "long-range" cannon:

There was room after room with cases full of old firearms, from very early 1300's to early 1900's.  Many of them were very ornate with beautiful inlaid mother of pearl, gold or brass.  Dad was especially interested in this very loooong shotgun on the bottom of this case:

I liked the pistols--all sizes and shapes.  The handles on the pistols were beautiful:

After all this "fire-power" we came to rooms and rooms of armor, from chainmail of the 1300's to ornately detailed brass and steel armor from the 1500-1600's.  Here are a few of our favorites, please excuse the quality of the photos--they are all behind glass and very hard to photograph.

This is armor made for Louis XIV:

Here are some of the more interesting sets:

Detail of Lion motif on head piece:

We saw these hinged "hooks"? on many suits of armor, and we could not figure out exactly what they were used for.  We are guessing to "rest" their weapon on??

This is a close up of the hinges on the side of the torso part--easy on, easy off!  Well, probably not so easy......   (and note the beautiful detail on this one)

Armor for horses:

Armored horse and rider:

This breastplate was different! Nice abs......

These are really poor photos, but I want to share them anyway.  Most of the "helmets" and face shields were fairly plain--some were ornately decorated, but not with facial features.  These were really unique:

Kind of scary--almost sic-fi, robot looking

This one's owner must have had a big nose!

And this one had a sense of humor!

We came to a huge storage and/or archive room for suits of armor.  There were rows upon rows of armor, and shelves and shelves of "parts".  This is a very small portion of their archives:

We spent a long time in the Army Museum, it was just fascinating.  As David and I haven't been there yet, we will definitely be going with Matt in October this year.  They will love it!

By this time, Mom was getting tired, so we quickly toured The Eglise Du Dome (Royal Dome Chapel)  This is where Napoleon I is entombed.  This very ornate domed chapel was built between 1677 and 1706, and is the final resting place of Napoleon I, his son L'Aiglon and other important French military heroes.

Here is the dome from the outside.  This picture really doesn't do it justice--when the sun is shinning, it just glows:

The ornate interior of the dome:
 Close up:

The tomb of Napoleon I:

The altar area of the chapel:

It was now about 3pm, and we were all "running on empty", especially Mom.  It was a short (and very wet) walk back to our apartment, which would have been even a shorter walk if their directionally impaired tour guide had not gotten turned around!  But Mom's a good sport, and tough--and soon we were "home".  Whew!

  Mom took a short nap while Dad and I went grocery shopping for dinner.  We had fun! We made the rounds of two grocery stores and two bakeries and pastry shops.  On the menu tonight:  spaghetti and meatballs, fresh French green beans, and of course dessert(s)! Aaaaand--a nice bottle of French wine--red of course!

Here's dinner:

A votre santé! (that's "cheers" in French--"to your health")

And of course, desserts!  A lemon tart, an apricot pastry, and a deeeeelicious chocolate mousse.  The chocolate was our favorite!

It was again an early to bed for Mom and Dad, but at least tonight we made it to 8pm!  I'm sure we'll be up and at 'em earlytomorrow!

Wednesday in Paris:  Maybe a street market, depending on the weather.  A trip to the Louvre is also in our immediate future.  Stay tuned...........


  1. Busy day for you three- good idea to stay inside as much as you can - stay dry! Your dinner and dessert looks scrumptious- even a tablecloth!

  2. Sounds like a great day. The war museum looks cool........gotta go this fall.
    What, no macaroons?

  3. Hey Di - I didn't forget you; I've just been busy. Love the picture of the pistols. Wouldn't it be cool to own one of those? Absolutely beautiful. And those desserts aren't bad either.... Hope you are having a wonderful time. I discovered something for you this past weekend. I'll give it to you when you get home......... ;) Just had to tell you this to keep you guessing! Miss you.

  4. Your parents are adorable....enjoyed the pics on this post Di...and guess what...a dinner that Brenda would have looked delicious! Rain sure didn't stop you today....