France 2006

France-Travelogue  |  Travel time: November / December 2006  |  by Witney W.

Well, it's almost time to go home, but I really did intend to work on the travelogue while we were here. The event was TOTALLY crazy. We had 2500 people attend over the course of the weekend. It was definitely great, but left little time or energy for writing.

So, there's my excuse....I will try to catch up.

The MTG world championships were in Paris this year. After Paris, we went to see my friend Kate and her family in the South of France.

Nov 26th- Paris

Hello friends and family! Here we are now in Paris!! City of light. City of love. City of good food & great art. I hope we will be able to find something to do while we are here.

Our journey this time took us from Seattle to Chicago to Paris. I was traveling with Renee, Mike, Jet, Laura, Andy and Scott Johns. Our flights were fine, no major headaches. The flight to Paris was nowhere near full, so we got to spread out and each have our own row on the way there.

We took a taxi into Paris from Charles de Gaulle airport to our hotel. Some of you may remember my raving about this hotel from the site visit. We are staying at the Hotel du Louvre, which is one of the oldest hotels in Paris. As you may have guessed, it is adjacent to the Louvre itself, which will make it oh-so convenient to the show. This is truly the nicest hotel we have ever stayed in. Everything about it is so Paris. It's just awesome.

Our room is the door above the open door on the top floor to the right above the sign.

Our room is the door above the open door on the top floor to the right above the sign.

We are on the 5th floor of this lovely place, and out the window we have a nice view of the Louvre, the Paris Opera House, and the Sacre Coeur. I love to go out on the little balcony and sip my coffee and try to absorb the rich atmosphere of Paris. I can't believe I have the opportunity to do this.

I didn't sleep on the plane, so I didn't dare hang out in the room too long. My buddies Andy and Laura brought me a Croque Madame to snack on (a ham and cheese sandwich with a fried egg on top- yum), we made a plan, and headed out to wander around and keep ourselves awake.

We wandered through the courtyard of the Louvre and down the banks of the Seinne. It was still early, around 11am on Sunday, so the vendors along the Seinne were just opening their stands. All along they're selling books on art, politics, philosophy, history and the like, as well as prints of the famous art that can be found in the many museums lining either side of the river. These vendors have been selling wares like this along the banks of the Seinne for hundreds of years, just like this. Each step you take in this city is one that was taken by someone hundreds of years before you. It makes you feel a part of something significant. Paris is a city that knows its place in history. They are proud of it, and cherish it's treasures for the future to enjoy.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Our first destination was Notre Dame. It was a lovely sunny fall day, and we wanted to be outside. The cathedral was shining in the sunlight for us. Hundreds of admirers mulled about outside, and a constant river of people were entering and exiting the cathedral. As we approached the huge portal entrances, the sound of the massive pipe organ inside was pouring out through doors. The 1:00 mass was about to begin and the sound of the organ seemed to be beckoning the masses inside. I have always been amazed at the dual purpose of the cathedrals in Europe. Many (or maybe even most) of them are still functioning houses of worship, but their historical significance can't be ignored. They are some of the most famous tourist attractions, and therefore they have to accommodate the tourists who want to see them. At Notre Dame, they have managed this by roping off the center of the cathedral for worshippers and routing the constant river of tourists around the perimeter. I have now been there 3 times, and each time they were saying mass while I was there. Who goes to mass at Notre Dame? All tourists? Any locals? Whoever they are, they have to endure people stepping into their prayer space to snap a photo of the rose windows, or worse, taking their picture as they pray! But somehow, this is part of the experience.

Statue of Charlemagne in front of Notre Dame

Statue of Charlemagne in front of Notre Dame

After Notre Dame, we stopped in a café for a coffee and a crepe du Nutella (hazelnut spread). Oh, yeah...

Laura enjoys her cafe creme.

Laura enjoys her cafe creme.

Andy tries not to fall into his cafe creme.

Andy tries not to fall into his cafe creme.

Once we were refueled, we walked over to the Saint Chapelle. My guidebook to Paris says...
"It was built for Louis IX to contain the relic of the crown of thorns which the king had bought in Venice in 1239; the relic had been brought to Venice from Constantinople. The architect who planned the chapel was probably Pierre de Montreuil...here he actually deigned two chapels, standing one above the other, and they were consecrated in 1248...The whole work is marked by its lightness: the structural elements lose their consistency to become subtle embroidery, delicate lacework. The ribbing becomes slender, the pinnacles finer, until the architecture almost disappears, leaving only the huge stained-glass windows."

Floor of Ste. Chappelle

Floor of Ste. Chappelle

Statue of an angel outside of Ste. Chappelle.

Statue of an angel outside of Ste. Chappelle.

Next to Ste. Chappelle is the Conciergerie. This is where the concierge or ward of Paris lived and worked while the king lived at the Louvre. During the revolution this was where the prisoners were held while they waited to be transported to the guillotine. Marie Antoinette waited here. Here room is set as it would have been as she waited, and they have a creepy mannequin sitting in a chair with her back to you in the room.

After touring around, we were tired. We went out to dinner in a pub and went to bed.

My dinner was a "tart" made of french bread with ham, potatos, mushrooms, and strong french cheese.  It was so yummy.

My dinner was a "tart" made of french bread with ham, potatos, mushrooms, and strong french cheese. It was so yummy.

© Witney W., 2006
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The trip
 
Details:
Start of journey: Nov 26, 2006
Duration: 15 days
End of journey: Dec 10, 2006
Travelled countries: France
The Author
 
Witney W. is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 14 years.