On Monday we spent part of the day in Jardin du Luxembourg (the Luxembourg Gardens) which is only a couple of blocks from our Apt. It is 60 acres and the French Senate meets in the Luxembourg Palace. This was buildt in 1615 by Marie de Medici (the widow of Henry VI) -- she had it built to recreate her home in Florence (the Pitti Palace). I am not sure if my pictures capture the Flower Gardens, which are changed three times a year.
We then set off and found Jardin des Plantes. This is a botanical Garden that is surrounded by three museums and a small menagerie (Zoo). We did not explore too much because it was very hot. We headed home to a nice restaurant where we sat on the street and watched Paris go by.
Yesterday was bit of an adventure. We took a two-hour train ride out to Normandy—the train was 20 minutes late—which proved to be a bit of an omen. We had a 15-minute walk from the station to find our guide and just made it in time. There were eight of us on the Tour—we were trapped with a couple from California and their four “high maintenance” children. It wasn’t long before the Guide knew who was interested and we had a great tour. It was very moving attending at the beaches that were the site of the D-Day Landing. I believe on the Omaha Beach (which was taken by the Americans), they lost 2500 soldiers n the first few hours. The Air Force was to have bombed the German gun placements but missed and destroyed a number of villages just slightly inland. Consequently, the arriving troops were easy targets for the Germans who were above them on the cliffs.
We then attended one of the US Cemeteries—9,386 graves---it was very moving. We will go back to Normandy on another trip and do a Canadian Tour—they were responsible for capturing the Juno Beach. I think the best way to do Normandy is to spend a couple of days in Bayeux (13,000 pop. and not bombed)—it looked like a great town.
We also were in the heart of Calvados Country (an Apple Brandy that is made in the Normandy Region)—brought back some good memories.
The sprague in the Normandy trip was the return journey. We were to capture a 6:30 train back to arrive at 8:30. The train to pick us up ran into mechanical difficulties—the long and short of it was we were picked up by two buses at 9:30 and arrived in Paris at 1 am. At least we got to see the Eiffel Tower lit up. It was awesome!
As you can imagine, today started a bit slow. We wanted to accomplish two things—find the Musee Marmottan Monet and go the Financial/Business Centre of Paris.
We achieved the 1st but failed at the 2nd. We had to cut across a green park area to head towards the financial district but got very lost and walked for two or three hours before we got ourselves righted. The Green Area is the Bois of Boulogne (Forest of Boulogne)
"The Bois de Boulogne is a park located along the western edge of the 16th arrondissement of Paris, near the suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt and Neuilly-sur-Seine.The Bois de Boulogne covers an area of 8.459 km2 (3.266 sq mi; 2,090 acres),which is 2.5 times larger than Central Park in New York."
No wonder we got lost—tomorrow we will try again—maybe we will brave the subway.
Back to the Museum Marmottan--it is a must if you are a Monet Fan—it was about a one hour walk from the Eiffel Tower but it is excellent. It has the best collection of Monets. Bruce and Judy—this fall you need to attend—the Monets are downstairs and on the main floor.
Al & Sue
PS; More photos re the last couple of days will come tomorrow--it was 29C (felt like 34 with the humidity)--I have ran out of gas!