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France, Paris: Approaching the Opera de Paris

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Heading down the Boulevard des Capuchines toward the Opera de Paris is still one of those OMG moments. It is way grander than you imagined.

 

France, Paris: Bateau Mouche

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On a bateau mouche ride on the Seine you get a duck’s eye view of the city going under all those famous bridges, like this one, the Pont St-Michel. FYI there are 37 of them.

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France, Paris: Gustave Eiffel’s Tower

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Gustave Eiffel had an apartment in the tower to entertain guests. And you too can be wined and dined there. There are 2 restaurants and then a champagne bar at the top. We totally enjoyed our entire dining and viewing experience at Alain Ducasse’s Jules Verne, which garnered one Michelin star. Though a set menu, it allows tourists to experience a “starred” moment in this famous city with less than sky high prices (but still expensive). Starting May 2019, it will be managed by three-star chef  Frédéric Anton. Guess we’ll have to go again!

 

France, Paris: Guess Where I Am?

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First visit to the Eiffel Tower.

 

 

France, Paris: A Different Perspective of the Eiffel Tower

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The Eiffel Tower from the bottom up.

France, Paris: Thar She Blow – The Eiffel Tower

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Now surrounded by security fences, and an airport-like clearance entrance, some of the freedom, joy, or innocence of the her majesty is lost.

France, Paris: Close up and personal with Tsar Alexandre III

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The beauty of taking a Bateau Mouche ride on the Seine is the joy of going under so many famous bridges – and learning the history effortlessly as you go. This one is the Pont Alexandre III built between 1896 and 1900, the most ornate one and a Paris historical site. Four gilt-bronze statues of Fames watch over the Beaux-Arts style bridge. The exuberant Art Nouveau lamps, cherubs, nymphs and winged horses celebrate the Franco-Russian alliance enacted in 1892 by Tsar Alexander III. His son Nicholas II laid the foundation stone in October 1896. In the same political spirit, the Trinity Bridge in Saint Petersburg was designed by Gustave Eiffel, and the first stone was laid in August 1897 by French president Félix Faure .

Great Britain, London: Ravens Guarding the Tower of London

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When you visit the Tower of London, you learn the superstition about why there always are ravens guarding it. Look for the raven master near the line to go in to the Crown Jewels. He’s happy to chat with you.

 

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France, Paris: Crowning of Napoleon

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In the Louvre, one of the largest paintings at 33 ft. x 22 ft. was unsurprisingly commissioned by Napoleon himself of his 1804 coronation. His official court painter Jacques-Louis David, created a Facebook of French politicians, Napoleon’s family and, of course a selfie of the painter himself.

France, Paris: Paris Opera Charles Garnier Sculpture

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This monument on the side of the Opera de Paris is dedicated to its architect, Charles Garnier. We loved the idea of putting the seating plan front and center.