A Travellerspoint blog

Chapter Twenty

Frenchasaurus

So, if you intend to go to Paris here are our best tips:
1. Get the museum pass, you skip the crazy long line at the Louvre (and other museums) and feel like a VIP.
2. Don't go on a Sunday or Monday, everything you'll want to do that day will be closed.

So, we got up a headed for the Louvre, fully expecting a wait but literally flashed our pass and went right in! We looked around the whole museum for a few hours, saw the Mona Lisa, Napoleons overly velveted apartments, lots of gilded decorative items, fabulous Rodin sculptures and a very large stone wall that was some sort of medieval installation...
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Then we went to see Notre Dame and thought with our backpacks on we'd make pretty good little hunchbacks...
We tried to go to the crypt underneath but, alas, closed.

So we decided to go across town to the Museum of Natural History where we had some fun! This was basically a big building filled with bones. And organs. (Anna liked that part..)
There were the full skeletons of every animal we could think of plus a lot we didn't know existed... The French may have made them up.. The signs were all in French...
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Then there was a whole second floor full of dinosaur bones! It was very cool, we couldn't believe it all.
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Oh, and there was a wall of freaky cyclops and Siamese twin creatures in jars... These were pretty gross but Anna wanted a picture..
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So, that was fun. We tried a few other museums that were also closed and found that French Starbucks employees are not nearly as quick or nice as American ones... Just sayin...

Posted by dillam7 11:56 Comments (0)

Chapter Nineteen

The Dillard Gypsies and the Red Light District

Hi!
This morning we got up and attempted to head to the train stain. However, buses in Tours don't seem to run on Sundays (even when they are scheduled to) so we ended up sitting in the cold at the bus station for around 30 min waiting for the bus. Then we got to the station and barely made our train to Paris. There weren't many seats so we sat at a little table in the corridor. Typical.
When we arrived in Paris we checked into our hostel which is pretty adorable. It's Woodstock themed and everything is painted really bright colors. All the beds are plaid and the front desk people seem to be embracing the 70's attitude.
We then headed out to go see the Arc du Triumph and Champs Élysées. Our hostel is pretty near the Moulin Rouge so we stopped by there first but little did we know that that area is about 4 blocks of sex shops and peep shows!
Classy joints...
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We found the Arc and then headed down the Champs Élysées for some good people watching. We've gotten very tired of being in crowds of random strangers by now but all our walking has made us a pair of serious power walkers.
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We walked to the Louvre area and checked out the Palais Royal where the famous Comedie Francaise performs.
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We walked up toward the Opera Garnier and then home to the Woodstock. Allison realized she could try to get a ticket to see a Moliere play by the Comedie Francaise that night so we headed back to see if she could scrounge one up. She waited in a pretty long line while Anna looked for food and when Anna returned Allison was proudly holding the very last ticket left for the play that night!! And it was only five euros! So we scarfed food, Anna went home to rest and Allison went to watch a play in French from the nosebleed seats.
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The play was great despite the fact that I couldn't see half the stage, had to stand and lean to see the rest and it was all in French. It was very exciting just to go inside and watch everyone.
The cast got 4 rounds of applause at the curtain call.
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Posted by dillam7 11:46 Comments (0)

Chapter Eighteen

Jays hips don't lie, but the tourist office does!

So, today we decided to see the "sights" in Tours. We got up and headed into town to go to the tourist office and find out where to go.
Apparently to work at the tourist office you don't need to speak English or have a map or know anything helpful at all. We found our own way to the big cathedral that Lynn said to visit, St. Gatien. It was very pretty, with tall gothic spires and ceilings.
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Then we roamed the streets, shopping and looking around for several hours. It was chilly again but it is nicer than sweating! It was a cute town on a Saturday, people out shopping, eating, and people-watching all over the place.
Here is a shot of a big hotel where someone got married today:
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We returned several times to the tourist office where each person at the desk said something totally different.... Very helpful...
Anna had some really good mussels with curry for lunch where we did some people watching and got laughed at for not knowing French...
We found St. Martin's Basilica where we listened to some nuns sing and lit a candle in memory of our friend Wanda Brown.
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We walked along the Loire river, saw a statue of Descartes, found a market full of strange old lady type clothes... And basically just looked all around the city. We also discovered that our hotel, which is outside of town, is near the French equivalent of Wal-Mart. It's called Le Petite Arche and is actually on our terribly marked map! So we looked in there and got some insoles for Allisons stinky shoes! Yay!

We are back at the very popular McDonalds, it even has touch screen ordering, to update the blog. A Frenchman stopped by to marvel at our super cool iPad and asked if it was a computer.

Overall, today was mildly frustrating and we are excited to get to Paris tomorrow!!

Posted by dillam7 12:10 Comments (1)

Chapter Seventeen

So...Chenonceau.

Today was much more interesting and well documented.
Lynn, Tim, Suz and Jay picked us up and drove us out to the chateau Chenonceau which is a nice little country drive from Tours. This is where Louis XIV, Henri II, Diana de Poitier, and Catherine de Medici all lived once.
It was surprisingly chilly and cloudy out so Allison is sporting kind Jay's fleece in these photos... The little gypsie girls did not pack warm clothes...

Chenonceau is a huge estate built over a river on a bridge. It has been a bridge, home, estate, hospital, target of WWII bombs, and lovely tourist spot through the years. Aside from the large house built across a river there is also a restaurant, stable, several large gardens, a maze made of bushes and a cool kitchen that had food delivered by boat!
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Le chateau
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The kids in front of Chenonceau

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Some mini apple trees in the kitchen garden!
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Suz and Jay in the garden amongst the beans and apples!
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Louis XIV's portrait from his bedroom
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Some pretty flowers from one of the many gardens

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The giant stove and little servant bells from the kitchens

There was lots to see inside and outside, and the cool weather was actually pretty nice. For more lovely photos ask Suzanna and Lynn for theirs, they got some nice ones. We drove back to Tours so the others could go do wedding things, they are here for a friends wedding... We said goodbyes but not before we unloaded some unneeded items from our packs onto them! Thanks Suzanna and Jay!

They are busy with wedding events so we are on our own again, we spent the evening attempting to take a bus to town and back and using the wifi at the nearby McDonalds. (don't judge... It's a very nice McDs and without it you'd have to wait two whole days more for this entry!!)
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Posted by dillam7 11:38 Comments (0)

Chapter Sixteen

A day at the train station.

This will be quick, very little happened today.

We got up and left our fabulous little hotel in Lyon and took the metro to the train station. Got a little lost, walked a good amount and got in line to get a ticket to Tours. After waiting in line for half an hour we learn that the train we wanted is full for eurail passengers. Awesome. So we begin trying to find an alternative without Internet...
Finally, we decide to get back in line and ask about another train that went to Paris, changed stations there and went to Tours. After 30 more minutes the lovely ticket lady said actually there is a direct train that leaves at 3! And it is free and has plenty of eurail pass seats! Hooray!
So, since it was noon and we had our heavy backpacks we sat in the train station until 3. Then we got on the train and went to Tours, at 8 we arrived and were met at the station by Suzanna, Jay, and his parents too!
It was great to finally talk to people who understood our language!
We had a nice French dinner at 'The Yellow Dog' and they drove us, in a roundabout route, to our little hotel north of town.
The hotel's free wifi was of course broken the day we arrived. Fabulous.
But our beds were nice and cozy.

We didn't take any photos of this day...
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So here is one of the Harry Potter tickets we just bought to see at midnight in Paris!!!

Posted by dillam7 11:36 Comments (0)

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