2018 Trip to Europe

A trip to see a cousin's wedding and the sights of Europe

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Our original planned destination of the day was the Jules Verne house in Amiens.
This is the entry way.  Note the impressive iron work atop the stair tower that
evokes an observatory.

One of the formal rooms inside the Jules Verne house.

Next to a model of the Nautilus from 20000 Leagues under the sea.

The cover of his book "From the Earth to the Moon", where he first
describes space travel.

At the bottom of the brick stair tower.  You can see a
model of a flying machine at the top.

The next day (July 12), we visited to Reims, France to see the Cathedral there and then from there went to Giverney to see the house of the famed impressionist painter Claude Monet.

The central arch way in Monet's main garden.  The lily pond is a separate section.

Many flowers blooming at this time of year. It is an amazing and beautiful garden.

I think the real jewel of Monet's garden is the lily pond.  That
is separated by a road, but a tunnel under that was built for
easy access.  A video of this pond on Facebook.

More images of Monet's garden and pond.

This is inside the studio where he painted his masterpieces.  The ones
that hang here are reproductions.

In Monet's bedroom.

One more last picture by Monet's pond.

Eiffel Tower
After spending the day in Giverney, we finally arrived in Paris that evening.
How nice to be back in the city of lights!

The evening that we arrived, Agnes and me went for a walk and we found an open air nightclub with no one dancing.  We opened the dance floor in the shadow of the tower.

We stayed at a nice hotel that is about 10 minutes walk from the Eiffel.  It had a
nice bathrooom with a double sink, towel heating rack and wooden floor panels.
One small issue was getting everything wet when you showered, but we

We fit the four of us into the room just fine, and we had air conditioning for the first time in more than a week.  It was really nice as the city got quite hot in the day.

The day after we arrived, we went to visit Fontaineblue castle (July 13).  Not quite as famous as Versailles (which we visited last time), this is still an important castle and is only half an hour away from the city.

We rented an audio tour to guide us through the many rooms.

The throne room in the castle.  A very impressive amount of decoration.

A long corridor inside the castle with impressive artwork.

After Fontaineblue, we returned to Paris and returned the BMW to the rentacar company (SixT).  We had had a very successful rental with it.  No dings on the body or wheels, and we worked together to have one or two navigators to help the driver at all times.  Agnes did most of the driving, but I was a ready backup.  I am super proud we did so well with the car.

Selfie with the four of us at Le Toure.

The plan forward was to use the Paris Metro like a local, and get a cab from the hotel to Paris CDG airport on our departure.  The hotel we lodged in was the Best Western La Tour Trocadero.  There were three stops near the hotel, Passy and Muette.  Each on different lines and they allowed us easy access to the city.

We bought a few ten packs of tickets, and they worked out to
1.49 Euro each.  It allows you free access to all of Paris one-way.

As you cross the Seine on the Metro, you see a great view
of the Tower.

Scenes from the street.  We used these public toilets a few times.
Once you exit, they wash the fixtures and the floor automatically.

Typical Parisian architecture.  Especially the roof with the dormers.

The day after we toured Fountaineblue, Agnes and the kids went to see the Catacombes, and I decided to do a solo trip to the Arc de Triomphe to see the Bastille Day festivities (July 14).

I saw this line of tanks on their carriers for the Bastille Day parade.

Our final full day in Europe would be Sunday July 15.  That is also our 27th wedding anniversary by coincidence.  On our previous trip to Paris, we had heard of a massive skate group (5000 skaters) that had an event every Sunday.  We decided to join it, and brought our skates and protective gear to attend.  However, due to the many festivities going on, it was officially cancelled.  By coincidence that weekend, there was Bastille Day (France's National Day), France was in the finals of the World Cup (more later), and the Tour de France was approaching Paris.  All this caused the police to withdraw their support and the skate was cancelled.  We were of course disapointed, but at the last minute Hubert, the organizer wrote me on Facebook that they would have a small skate after all.

The group meets at the Bastille Tower every week.  We showed up a little early at 2pm and started with a raspberry smoothie at a local store.  We then assembled as a group and skated for 9 kilometers.

Assembling the group.  We were a small one due to the main skate being cancelled.
There was a music cart pulled by a biker that provided great skating music.

We brought our home rink along in the form of the water bottle
from Skatezone.

Making friends along the Seine.  One of the organizers (Antonella) on the right.

Notre Dame!

The whole group on the bridge with the Notre Dame in the background.
Videos and more on Facebook.

Our last picture in Paris at the Charles DeGaule airport (Disney store).
We have had a great time and I am glad it all went well.  We did not get sick, no accidents, didn't lose anything major, no crime, and we really saw some beautiful sights and some great people.

Finally, here is the Facebook album.  With some more pictures
and annotations.

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