Another momentary respite from France to catch up on . . . summer!

Theatre L’Homme Dieu

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Sunrise on Beautiful Lake Darling

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Kevin Klimek @ SAWA

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[With a stop to check on the Broadway makeover . . .]

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The 4th

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[Per recent tradition, we viewed that Arrowwood fireworks display from the Fieldhammers.  Thanks again to Pris and "Rock."]

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[The last a contribution from Angie Annen on the night.]

The Kids from Indiana Arrive

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[The kids came up from Indiana with a truckload of stuff for the property north of Itasca State Park.  We met them in Fargo where they dropped off the truck.  This bison was in Fargo.]

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[This latter guy is in Moorhead.  7-5-14   ]

Grandma Thompson’s Duncan Phyfe Couch

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Danny Moves In

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[While they prepare the northern property as the ultimate habitation site, Danny will work for Force America in Alex.  Here he's off for his first day on the job.]

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The 2nd Cataract Surgery

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[Ole (well, young) Doc Ristvedt got me again on July 8th . . . "X" marks the spot.   ]

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[This time it was more than just a simple (?) lens replacement. Dr. Deb Ristvedt decided a cornea relaxer was also needed.  And I heard her ask if the knife was ready, the diamond-edged knife, when she came into the OR.  I said, "I can hear you, you know?" She of course was talking about the diamond-tipped concrete scorer she was going to use on my cornea to "relax" it!  Well, I didn't cry much . . . and did get my DQ chocolate malt afterwards for being a good boy."]

Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum

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[The super with my classmates Mary Anne Hibbard Estenson and Lorlee Bartos.]

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[Bruce Pohlig]

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[Kevin Kopischke]

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[Fred Bursch]

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[The ribbon cutting.]

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Alexandria Golf Club

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[A shout out to the club's gardener, Steph Olson.]

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[And to Donnacha and the entire ground crew.  With a perfect growing season, the course looks better than ever.  No. 9 on our way out on July 9th.]

The Supervisor’s Gardens

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[ . . . that same evening.]

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[Neighbor Arnie's classic.  With neighbor Dan's classic Jag on the other side, the whole neighborhood is going topless this summer.  ;-)  ]

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The Duncan Phyfe is off to the Theatre

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[I was recovering from eye surgery, so Danny and the supervisor had to do all the heavy lifting, July 10.  :-)  ]

Alexandria Area High School

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[This was two weeks before our walk through, so you can see how much has been done since then - the trees and lights are now in.  Our sister-in-law, Karen, who is a partner with Cuningham & Associates, the designers of the high school, and her sister Sandy came up to Alex so Sandy could buy a car . . . so we took it on a test drive to the high school.]

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[July 13]

The Salty Dogs @ Carlos Creek Winery

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[ . . . later that same day, we enjoy a pizza made and delivered by our favorite hockey star winery employee, Alia Kopischke.]

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[The new award winning wine made primarily by Minnesota grapes, the Marquette and the Frontenac.]

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[The group sang happy 75th birthday greetings to Dwaine Berger.]

“Rancho Mirage” @ Theatre L’Homme Dieu

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[We went out to visit Grandma's couch on the 15th.]

Pork Chop Feed

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[Alexandria braced itself today (July 16) for what annually has become the largest eating fest ever this side of Stearns County. Shalom Lutheran Church sponsors a pork chop and chicken bar-b-q, with all the fixin's, that usually takes place in 95-degree temps with 75-degree dewpoints. We have a weather reprieve this year. Possibly because of that, turnout seemed larger than ever this year. Several 747's full of Japanese tourists landed at Chandler Field this afternoon, creating parking mayhem from Villard to Urbank. The super and I had pre-paid tickets, but nevertheless we had to stand in a line that stretched all the way to Elden's. Once inside the church we were given a number and told to wait in the sanctuary. Once inside the sanctuary, we were told it would be a two-month wait in the SRO crowd before our number would be called. Fearing a panic attack, or even worse a hunger pang, the supervisor bolted forward asking if we had to wait if we wanted take-out? We did not - we were saved! Here Crazy Dave supervises the hordes of volunteer grill operators - to which all I can say is, better him than me!]

Why did the Turkeys Cross the Road?

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[July 17]

Katie Ray @ Carlos Creek Winery

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[July 20]

High School Jazz Combo @ Bug-A-Boo Bay

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[July 22]

Anthony Miltich @ Arrowwood


["Don't Know Why"]

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[July 23]


























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Alexandria Area High School

Again a short break from France to catch up on local events . . .

[The Voice of Alexandria video tour.]

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[Thanks again to Dave Hartmann and Tom Mulder for setting up this special tour for Paul Donley, one of the Cardinal all-timers.  Paul and Merry were contributors to the school's capital building fund but were unable to attend the opening tour for all the contributors.  Of course, the super and I didn't mind "tagging along" since we'll miss the public open house on August 5, 5:00 - 8:00, as I recall.  This is the main entry to the school, which opens this fall, on the South side of the building facing the football field.]

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[So, here we begin.  The signage gives you a clue . . . ]

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[Joint class sessions can take place here.]

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[An emphasis on open space and natural light.]

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[The AD explains the classroom concept to the former high school principal.]

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[Love these little sitting areas.]

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[Love these huge sitting areas!  The gymnasiums are through the double doors on the left, the far wall is the cafeteria (a variety of noshes), and the rest is open space eating and meeting areas.]

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[And the full extension.  The school student capacity is 1,400, and I believe 440 can be seated in this area at any one time.]

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[The library, as they are today.  Four small book shelves, everything else is electronic.]

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[The supervisor queries Paul, "Was this the library in your day?"]

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[From a library window looking east.  Landscaping will be a work in progress.]

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[I believe this is part of the library, but my head was kinda spinning.]

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[Media central.  This will be like a TV or film production studio.  Everything the school does can be videoed, edited, critiqued . . . And they will be able to stream school events.]

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[Seemed like a pertinent time for a photo.]

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["Greens screens" - they'll be able to re-create Avatar!  ;-)  ]

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[Hi, Tom!  We're up here.]

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[The supervisor drives Paul to the contributors' wall . . . ]

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[Thanks to all on this wall!]

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[The view from the contributors' balcony out the "front door" - you can see the westside football stands and the scoreboard in the distance.]

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[Thank you Paul and Merry.]

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[And "Weakie" finally made the A-list.  Thanks Bob and Vivian.]

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[A classroom.]

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[Classroom and meeting areas.]

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[Now we're in the other wing.]

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[Admin office area at the front entrance.  Hi, Deb!]

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[From the main "concourse" looking up at the contributors' wall.]

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[Mr. Mulder is astounded.]

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[Looking across from the cafeteria side.]

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[And we're in the food prep and pick-up area.]

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[And your food options are . . .]

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[We all decided we wanted to come here for dinner!  :-)  ]

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[And now we head into the crown jewel . . . ]

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[The one thing (OK, maybe more than one) Alex has needed forever - a performing arts center.  Now we have one - with 1,013 seats!]

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[The supervisor and Paul checking out the seating and sight lines for the world-class stage.]

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[Let the performances begin!  For my opening act . . . We just missed some of the school orchestra members practicing.]

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[Friends, Romans, countrymen . . . ]

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[I come not to bury Caesar, but merely to check his ticket stub.]

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[Was the lighting right on that take?]

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[The audience, whose 50th class reunion is this year, signals approval of the performer, whose 50th class reunion is next year.]

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[As the old saying goes, you could drive a bus onto this stage.]

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[The view from "pretty close" to the top of the first level.  I'm pretty sure the super and I will be spending a lot of time here!]

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[The band room . . .]

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[The orchestra room.  I think I got that right.  How 'bout them rosewood floors?  :-) ]

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[The choir room.]

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[And the acoustics and video feed-backs in these rooms . . . ]

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[Movin' in.]

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[Again, the view from the lobby as we head to the sports area . . . ]

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[Get your Cardinal hoodies!]

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[For the gyms . . . no more, "Eeeew, are these their bathrooms?"]

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[The training and fitness room . . . ]

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[With a view of Grand Arbor.]

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[I guess calling it only a "room" underplays it a bit.]

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[As the football players pump iron, they can be inspired by the sight of their field.]

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[Where we were, 'cuz we'll undoubtedly get lost for a while.]

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[Their are 5 basketball courts . . . that's 5 as in FIVE!]

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[Thank you Bruce and Kathleen.]

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[The bleacher wall.  I believe from both sides a roundball game can seat 2,000.]

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[Three of the courts, with the far bleacher wall.  The windows face north, so glare should never be an issue.]

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[There's all kinds of stuff up there.  I forgot the total number of baskets.]

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[Flat screen displays are everywhere.]

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[Remember the stuff in the ceiling.  The volleyball nets come down from up there!]

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[New team seating.]

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[Because of the VIP caliber of the attendees, the bleachers were "brought out" for us . . . ]

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[And you can still see the "A" when done so.]

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[The other two basketball courts with the giant single-piece wrestling mat.]

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[In addition to wrestling, I'm assuming that such as gymnastics and dance will be here.]

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[The wrestling workout room, though other sports will use it as well for warm-ups and in foul weather (what, in Minnesota?).]

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[Each sport has its own equipment and uniform storage cage - and they're mobile.]

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[The lockerrooms, if you couldn't tell.]

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[The lockers are different sizes for different sports . . . as in a football uniform takes up a tad more room than one for cross-country.]

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[As an older person, we're always interested in the bathroom facilities.]

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[We even have nice rooms for the visiting teams.]

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[Ugh, I try not to look at this stuff.]

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[The concession stand . . . a slight upgrade from the old school.]

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[And another touchscreen monitor. You will be able to use one of these to, among other things, call up your high school yearbook . . . say for the class of '65, "page" through it, and probably have a good laugh.]

Outside, well, I’ll forget something but . . . the artificial turf football/soccer field, six grass practice fields for both, a 9-lane track, two baseball fields, 12 tennis courts, and four softball fields.  If those aren’t correct, it’s in the vicinity.  The first home soccer games are less than a month away.  See you all there!  :-)

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16 Days in France (A Retrospective Pause)


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[We came, we saw, we got sore feet!    ]



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[The guys, just trying to hold our own against The Seven.  ;-)  ]

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I have not been able to discover whether there exists a precise French equivalent for the common Anglo-American expression ‘killing time.’ It’s a very crass and breezy expression, when you ponder it for a moment, considering that time, after all, is killing us.  ~  Christopher Hitchens






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16 Days in France (Day 12, Part 2)

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[Leaving the Louvre and entering the Tuileries Gardens where a photographer was shooting crows?]


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[The crow took refuge behind people enjoying the sun on the grass.  Oh, and I believe the statue to be a Maillol named "Mediterrane."]

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[Then it was full speed ahead into the Tuileries . . . ]

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[A really large area that appears to be really well-groomed public gardens.]

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[Worthy of being drawn . . . ]

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[But not of being found on the internet?]

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[Apparently used for grounds maintenance under the supervision of the crows.]

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[Looking back toward the Louvre while Elizabeth and Reetz admire the flora.]

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[We've reached the center "pool" but in a desperate search for lunch did not meander over for a look?]

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[OK, maybe we did give it a brief look.  ;-)  ]

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[Oh, oh, an outdoor café in the gardens has been spotted by our alert forward scouts.]

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[I think we all opted for the quiche.  Is it true the French don't have a word for "quiche"?]

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[Ever eager for a photo op, I leapt from the lunch table . . . ]

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[To capture the crow, who obviously also monitors the statuary.]

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[Then he/she flew away . . . ]

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[Only to return to keep an eye on our dining progress.]

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[Kay captures the action.  No birds or animals were harmed during the photographic shoot.]

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[Be honest, did you think this was a de Kooning?]

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[The Biddies are just delighted.  We recently heard Reetz is already planning her next 20 visits to Europe!  :-)   ]

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["Colossus of the Nile"]

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[We've finished lunch and . . .]

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[All roads lead to the Tower?]

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[The Obelisk of Luxor in Place de la Concorde, the opposite end of the Tuileries from the Louvre.  The cops obviously heard we were in town!]

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[You've probably heard of this before?  It's at . . .]

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[The Musee de l'Orangerie, still in the "flight path" from the Louvre to the Tower.   ]

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[The Orangerie features the impressionists, much to the delight of The Biddies.  There was no inside photography allowed however, so I took a shot out the window.  :-)  ]

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[A couple of closer-upper looks at the Obelisk of Luxor as we continued our adventure toward . . .]

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[The Arch de Triomphe . . .]

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[Down the Champs Elysees.  It's farther away than it looks, so The Biddies decided not to make this trek with us.]

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[French author Alphonse Daudet, as we continued toward the Arc.  One of his more memorable quotes was, "You can call me Al," which later went on to become a famous lyric in a Paul Simon song.]

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[Believed to be the Petit Palais . . . ]

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[Though none of the internet photo posters deigned to take a shot from this angle on the other side of the Champs Elysees.  ;-)  ]

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[Ms. Monroe now appears to be the poster child for every film festival.]

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[Yeah, he slept here . . . ]

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[Not too far from here, where he probably went for evening entertainment.]

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[Little did we know that King Tut was in town . . . not to mention King Luis and '57 Chevy!]

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[No, I did not shop here.]

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[The Arc is in a traffic circle, about 400 lanes wide.  It would be impossible to cross above ground . . . so they built a tunnel.]

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[And here we are . . . ]

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[Bill decided that he, and I, would take the narrow spiral stair case to the top - some 280 steps!]

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[We made it!  And the view down the Champs Elysees was worth it!  ;-)  ]

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[Montmartre, the hill in the distance will come into play at the bottom of this posting.]

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[Views all around.]

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[I was surprised that none of us wanted to go the top of the Tower - the lines I suppose.  But Bill also thought the view from the top of the Arc would be even better.  Well, for one thing, you get a bird's-eye view of the Tower.  ;-) ]

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[Bill secures a photo op spot . . .]

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[Then shoots me in my Mary Tyler Moore moment!]

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[Have you been counting the number of Tower shots?  I think it's over three now?]

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[A couple last shots on a walk around . . .]

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[Commercial Paris?]

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[A closer upper view of the Basilica of Sacre Coeur on Montmartre.]

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[This is the city . . .]

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[Back down on street level, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.]

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[An Arc support.]

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[And the whole thing as we head for home.]

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[Bert and Kathy may have gone back to Huntington, WV, but we found Bert's bar!]

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[Paris, the Tower and the Seine.]

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[Crossing the Seine.]

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[Unbeknownst to us during the day's activities, Elizabeth had a plan for the evening.  A café on Montmartre appealed to her sense of dining adventure.  And what fun, the classic subway exit/entrance at Montmartre.  :-)    ]

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[Let's just walk around the area . . . ]

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[Just your basic avant-garde dining area.  ;-)   ]

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[But we're not there yet . . . we have to take the Funiculaire to the top of the hill.  Our subway tickets worked for this.]

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[Up we go . . . ]

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[Soon to have . . . ]

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[A view of . . . ]

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[Paris!  (You were expecting . . . Milwaukee?)]

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[It was getting late but the sun stays up late here.]

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[Finally, a spot where we couldn't see the Tower.  It was about 20 degrees further right of this photo.]

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[The Sacre Coeur was behind us.  I guess people were sitting on the steps waiting for the City of Lights to . . . light up?]

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[Can you find Anne, Elizabeth and Bill at the top of the stairs.]

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[Quite the viewing area.]

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[Just going to see if anything was around the corner?]

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[I walked down a set of stairs to shoot back up at The Biddies.]

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[Well, who needs the City of Lights?  We were hungry and it was probably 10:00.  So we  walked down about half of what the Funiculaire took us up in search of Elizabeth's café.]

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[And here it is - Chez Marie!  :-)  ]

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[Tiny little place - could probably seat about 20?  The super liked the wall of kitties.]

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[The party attempts menu comprehension, while enjoying the ambience.]

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[Merci beaucoup again to Elizabeth for finding this place.  It was a perfect ending for a perfect day.]

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[The stairs from whence we came.]

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[Mmmmm, this is good!]

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[OK, I can't remember what we all had, but it was very tasty.  Looks like I had a soup or stew?]

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[And now it's dark . . . and way past our bedtime.  We had to hit the subway, with a transfer, to get back home.]

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[Waitin' for the train.  Don't get me started about why the Twin Cities absolutely needs a commuter/tourist light rail system!]

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[Back at the hotel, we hied the three blocks for this view.  It must have been 11:00, because the Tower puts on a light show the first ten minutes after the top of the hour.]

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[The end of a most memorable day.  Bonsoir!]

One of the many advantages of having a boyfriend who is half French is that his culinary repertoire extends beyond mac and cheese. Plus, there’s the kissing.  ~  Meg Cabot

Up next:  It’s a surprise!

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16 Days in France (Day 12, Part 1)

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[As I was processing the photos from our first full day in Paris, I realized that this was truly one of the very special days in this old buck's life.  Well over 200 photos were taken beginning with this very French lamp that greeted us in the lobby of the Hotel Eber Mars each day.  And then it was off on a subway ride to the Louvre (the geographic center of Paris), then walking to the Tuileries Gardens, the Orangerie, the Champs Elysees, the Arch de Triomphe, then back to the hotel, then subway to Montmartre and the Funiculaire to the Basilica of the Sacre Coeur with dinner at Chez Marie, subway back to the hotel, then a walk to the mall for an all lit up the Eiffel Tower.  Uffda, I just got tired typing that!]

The Louvre

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[As we entered the Louvre, we were now the Magnificent Seven.  Kathy and Bert, and Sharon all went home this morning - Kathy and Bert had been in Paris the week before our cruise; and Sharon had previously been to Paris, more than once as I recall.]

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[This is where we entered the Louvre from the subway.  The inverted pyramid was completed by I. M. Pei in 1993.    ]

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[The entry led us to this center court.  With seven of us, it is so easy to split up and go our separate ways, so we needed a time and a place to meet up again - this was it, at noon.  If I remember my teachings from Mrs. Riggs [nee Ms. Falvey], “Printemps” is Spring!  :-)   ]

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[Above ground, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, basically the border between the Louvre and the Tuileries Gardens.]

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[Entering the Louvre grounds and I. M. Pei's courtyard pyramid of 1988.]

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[A "side door."]

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[The Pyramid, and the line-up to enter the museum.]

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[Yup, security here like getting on an airplane. ]

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[We're in!  All pre-trip advice called for getting to the museum as soon as it opened in the morning and then run like hell for the Mona Lisa!]

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[And we followed that advice.  I tried to make mental notes of all the things I wanted to return to see as we hurried along the way.]

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[Whew, we made it!  Crowds weren't too bad.  Bill fires our first shot from afar.]

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[People elbow their way to the security rope, take their photos, then leave for the next tier to move up.  Didn't take long.]

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["Mona Lisa," you've probably heard of her?]

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[I ambled about, shooting what I thought we be a representative sampling of the displayed wares.  As it turns out, The Biddies wanted to hit the impressionists wing, which was fine with me, but then we never made it back to our original corridors with all the statuary from antiquity.]

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[I tried to shoot the explanatory panels where I could.  Most will need no further explanations.]

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[The first pedicure?]

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[Amazing place . . .]

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[The Biddies had a way of finding Diana, the Huntress, who was well represented throughout the museum.  Maybe it's a Xena, Warrior Princess, thing?]

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[Is that Diana?  Again?  :-)  ]

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6-16-14-41 - Copy 6-16-14-42 - Copy [An artist, committing forgery, in front of everyone in the Louvre?]

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[Another decorative ceiling . . . ]

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[In a decorative room . . . ]

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[Now that's the way to shoot a ceiling!]

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[With everyone looking up, the absence of collisions was surprising.]

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[Cited as an award winning Facebook photo under the title, "Why is this man smiling?"]

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[Reetz seems to be re-enacting the "Stella" scene in a Streetcar Named Desire?]

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[Another ceiling somewhat more elaborate than white plaster.]

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[The Biddies were getting quite fed up with the lack of elevators and escalators!]

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[As you explore, you have to wonder how many ceilings you missed?]

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[Almost by accident, we stumbled across the Venus de Milo.]

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[In a large atrium, access was easier than to the Mona Lisa.]

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[A statuary hall near the Venus de Milo.]

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[A window view across the courtyard.]

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[Another window view . . . this is a massive place.]

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[Is Liberace here?]

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[It must be time for . . . another selfie!]

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[Taking ostentatious to the next level.  Oy!]

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[That's a lot of crystal to dust!]

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[Ostentatious, part 2.]

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[And 3!]

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[At first blush, I thought this all was the Louis's stuff?  But I believe this was all Napoleon.  The guy had a thing for chandeliers?]

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[Another peak through a window - it was a gorgeous day and despite being where we were, I had a hankering to be back outside.]

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[Can you spot the ubiquitous Tower again?]

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[Dinner is served!  PB&J's and chocolate milk.]

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[Statuary hall or hall of the statues - not sure if either is a formal name?]

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[Boy, that's a lot of stuff to clean!]

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[Another look out - the other side of the Louvre, the aforementioned Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, and, of course, the Tower.]

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[From one side of the Louvre to the other.]

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[Statuary hall, above and below.]

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[Heading back to our meet-up spot.]

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[Leaving the Louvre . . . ]

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[Through the Arc . . . ]

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[Another look back . . . ]

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[American tourists posing at the Arc . . . ]

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[Looking back through the Arc to the Louvre . . .]

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[Due to the mammothosity of this day, we are dividing it into two parts.  You have just left the Louvre.]

In Paris they just simply opened their eyes and stared when we spoke to them in French! We never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language.  ~  Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad

Up next:  Versailles

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16 Days in France (Day 11)

“The first time I saw Paris . . .”

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[As you may recall, our original plan, documented by reservations, was to take the high speed TGV train from Chalon-sur-Saone to Paris, a 200-mile trip in about an hour.  But a railroad strike "cancelled" our reservations.  Fortunately, some people had opted for extended travel with Viking Cruises and were taking buses to Paris.  They had empty seats.  We had a ride!!  Along the way, the landscape scenery was not unlike . . . home?]

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[We made a pit stop along the way.  The Biddies saw a photo op.  :-)   ]

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[OK, they made me do it too.  One dares not refuse a request from The Biddies!]


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[This was also nice unplanned addition to the trip.  Those on the extended Viking Cruise had this planned stop about halfway to Paris . . . visit the small town of Auxerre and have a little lunch.]

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[I think we decided Auxerre turned out to be worth the stop.]

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[There was something magical, or unique, about this building.  We had a guide's description which I've of course forgotten.  Something to the arrangement of the woodwork on the façade.]

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[Cadet Roussel was a popular French song satirizing a bailiff who died here in 1807.  This plaque was in the street.]

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[Here's that house construction again?]

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[But let's take a walk through town.]

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[September 4 is my birthday.  Who knew it was also the establishment date of the 3rd French Republic with the overthrow of the Bonaparte dynasty?]

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[The requisite outsized church . . .]

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[And its environs.]

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[Hey, let's take a photo!]

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[Bert and Kathy decided . . . ]

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[As long as they were there they may as well partake of the service.]

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[I think this was taken because we had another "Etienne."]

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[Au revoir, church.]

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[And then it was further into the fairyland town.  Yes, it was as cute as it looks.]

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[City hall (but then you already know that).]

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[Marie Noel (nee Marie Rouget), a/k/a, "The Warbler Auxerre," a poet and writer.  I thought it was Mary Poppins?]

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[Kept looking for the gingerbread house . . . ]

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[This neighborhood seemed to be all about reading.  Reetz is big into such with the fine residents of Nashville, Indiana.]

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[There's the previously photographed reading couple on the right.]

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[Where Keebler cookies are made?  Nah!]

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[A garage hotel?]

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[Kay and Sharon chose a lunch table . . . soon to be accosted from the right by a Mike Scarborough (of Alexandria) wannabe coming in from the right.]

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[Faux Mike then volunteers to take a table photo!  :-)  ]

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[I think we had pizza here on the outdoor square.  Bill and company attempt divide the bill proportionally among the diners.  OK, who had the two beers?]


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[And then it was on again . . . to Paree!  Our first sighting of the Eiffel Tower, crossing the Seine, all the indicators were that we were in the City of Lights.]

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[And our first viewing of the Arch de Triomphe and the Champs Elysees.]

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[If one viewing was good, how about two?]

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[Or better yet, three!]

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[Telephotoed . . . we would be here soon.]

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[Still on the bus driving in, another shot of the Eiffel Tower.  Get used to it, it's how you figure out where you are in the city.  The second of dozens of photos of this structure.]

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[People on a bench and some sort of gold colored statuary?]

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[What's unique about this set, as we cross the river by bus, is that I got a different individual in each shot.  That takes a talent driven by having only one eye.]

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[Our home for our six days in Paris.  I just stuck my camera out our room's window here.  This would be the direction we would walk every morning, take a left at the corner, cross the street, have breakfast, and our subway stop for the day's adventure was right there.]

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[Looking out the window in the other direction, you can see a left turn street at the top of the photo.  Take that street two blocks on you're on a mall overlooking the Eiffel Tower.]

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[This is our room.  Reetz's bed is on the far wall.  Just like co-ed dorms, with now co-ed rooms!  :-)   ]

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[Makes being three to a room more comfortable!  :-)    ]

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[You may remember the one on the left is the one the boat captain bought for us all at St. Etienne des Sorts.]

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[There's that metallic spire again.  We're actually walking away from it here as our first destination was a couple blocks past our subway stop to . . .]

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[The Musee de l'Armee (Army Museum) . . . not really to see it as a museum, but it was the place to go to get our museum and subway passes (see bottom of this page) for when our sightseeing really began the next morning.]

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[The Eiffel Tower (which can be spotted from almost everywhere) from the grounds of the Army Museum.]

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[Statue of a no doubt important personage on the museum grounds and . . . the Eiffel Tower.]

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[The once (and future) moat?]

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[Ahhh, a Paris café!  :-)   ]

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[Home again around dinner time . . . which we unbelievably got used to occurring about 10:00 pm every night.  That's past our usual bedtime!  It just seemed to work out that way as after a day of touristing, we'd come back to the hotel, clean-up, and then go out again for dinner.  Plus, Paris is really far north so it stays light till really late.]

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[You may recognize this . . . ]

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[Before dinner, we decided to check out this mall, with its view, about three blocks from our hotel.  People seem to gather here about this time of day and stay until it's dark enough for the lighting.]

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[The other end of the mall . . . appears to be a building of some sort.]

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[Reetz establishes perspective.  She still appears to be in good spirits, sans luggage (it wasn't at the hotel, as we were lead to think it might be).]

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[An Eiffel Tower selfie?  Possibly a first for a denizen of beautiful Lake Darling?]

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[I think you can tell these are kids on ponies.]

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[Looking back as we begin our hike to the Tower.]

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[There will be dozens more photos of the Tower in this blog.  It's an international icon, and landmark, and provides interesting contrasts from day to day, with different lighting and shot from different angles.  This series was from our first evening in town, just strolling down the mall its direction . . .]

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[Well, I enjoyed that!  :-)    ]

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[We continued on past to the river, hoping to locate where to catch the train for Versailles in a couple of days.]

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[Map study abounds as the supervisor finds a photo op in the background.]

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[The super thinks it may be down there?]

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[And now we've discovered a footbridge.]

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[The Seine.]

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[The Tower and the Seine.]

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[The Tower and us.]

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[Fellow tourists on a boat - we never did do this (for another time?)]

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[Not the Tower.]

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[Roy Campanella's?]

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[Our first night dining on the streets of Paris.  This was on Rue Cler, a famed restaurant row street just a few blocks from our hotel.]

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[Don't recall what we had . . . was too busy just taking in the excitement around us.  Once the World Cup began, this street was really hopping!  :-)   ]

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[Reetz and the super have a common fear of starving to death before breakfast.  They stopped at a small pastry shop on the way home for provisions!  How do you say Eclair in French?  Oy!  :-)   ]


[The key to the rest of the week in Paris - our museum passes and subway tickets!  :-)  ]

Don’t just stand there with your Eiffel Tower smile. Tell me you love me, and tell me in French.
  ~ Jarod Kintz

Up next:  Paris, day 2.

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16 Days in France (Day 10)

The last day on the river cruise . . .

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[The supervisor selects her morning spot, to act as the boat's masthead.]

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[Leaving town and heading up river to . . .]

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[Another lock.]

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[Bert and Kathy took advantage of the lovely weather to . . .]

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[Complete their final round of the French Open.]

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[And I took the opportunity for one last tour around the boat's rooftop.  From here, they pilot the boat, and as you can see it can be hydraulically lowered for low bridges . . .]

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[And then they can pilot from here, or from a similar one on the other side.]

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[Blocking their view for the photo op.]

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[Hi, guys!  That's the captain on the right.]

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[The Biddies keep an eye on things from the bow, calling out "Mark Twain" whenever necessary.]

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[The right side pilot station.]


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[The last stop on the river cruise.  It looks like an interesting place - wish we could have spent some time here.]

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[A river cruise destination.]

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[City sights from the boat . . . ]

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[Looks like a bridge ahead . . . ]

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[Yup, definitely a bridge.]

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[A statue . . . likely of someone we wouldn't know.]

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[I don't even remember this?  But it's a neat looking street, and we're probably heading for buses and a road trip to Beaune.]

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[Exactamundo!   We are now traveling through the famous Burgundy region of France.]

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[I know that because it says so on this sign.]

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[This way for that . . . ]

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[But we're heading for Beaune . . . ]


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[Which is this way.]

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[My sister has the best sister in world!]

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[Kinda reminds me of France.]

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[We had stopped the bus for a brief interlude with the vineyards.]

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[Beautiful scenic overlook.  Burgundy is more well-to-do than previous wine areas we visited, and we got a sense of that just driving through the countryside.]

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[The pinot noir grape is the most common of the region.  Based on my extensive knowledge as an oenophile, I have no idea if these are such.]

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[Hey, our boat is "on" the bus!  :-)  ]

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[Kathy captures the sisters Coldren.  Bert exits stage left.]

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[Pommard, a small wine village just south of Beaune.]

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[A mustard mill . . . didn't really have a chance to "get into" mustards this trip.]

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[Beane, the unique roof soon to be noted.]

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[Learn all about wine and wine making.  :-)   ]

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[Empty land?  Grow some grapes.]

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[A winery we did not visit as we walked through town.]

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[Where we were - and noting the top of the map, this was also a mustard area.]

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[Wandering through town.]

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[Founded in the 15th century as a charitable almshouse, a hospital for the poor.  It remained a hospital until the 1970's.  It is now a famous museum, and we spent a bit of time here.]

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[And here is the unique glazed tile roof we sighted when we first came into town.  We are in the Hotel-Dieu courtyard.]

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[I not only didn't capture a memorable moment here, I didn't even see it.  The wind was swirling through this courtyard and a gust lifted our guide's dress to heights she'd rather it didn't.  But with the great aplomb of the French, she merely said it was a Marilyn Monroe moment.  :-)  ]

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[As usual, I can't remember her name?  And I should, because the supervisor noted she is the quintessential French woman.  I think maybe something like Annabelle?  Doh!]

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[Inside the hospital.]

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[Nurse Reetz checks out the facilities.]

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[I don't recall what this was for, but likely something to do with sanitation.]

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[The apothecary.]

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[The Beaune Altarpeice by Rogier van der Weyden.  I know because I just looked it up.]

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[Out on the streets again.  Annabelle (what we'll call her for now) noted a very high proportion of the population of Beaune work in the wine business, and that they do very well.  She pointed out the resident vehicles tended to be of an upscale variety.]

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[OK, let's find a winery.]

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[This looks like a good one . . . ]

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[Let's go in for a tasting.]

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[Kathy and Bert lead the way. The Biddies prepare to follow.  You can see the supervisor's audio device through which Annabelle delivered her bon mots.  They were used on all our tours to keep the groups together and so the guides wouldn't have to shout. ]

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[Now this is a wine cellar!!]

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[Now this is a wine tasting room!!]

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[Annabelle was even the wine tasting guide.  Again, surprisingly, I was most impressed with the white?  It may be getting tough to keep up with the New World's zinfandels and malbecs . . . and now Minnesota's Marquettes!]

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[Outside again, a race car exhibit, and they were being driven in while we were there.  The cars were Panhards - I'd never heard of them?]

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[Back to the boat, our last night so it was the Captain's dinner.  This should be right up local gourmet "Weakie's" alley!  :-)  ]

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[Bring it on, say the diners!]

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[The server, again whose name I've forgotten.  He served us all week and was excited that he was going home - to an East European country, Slovakia? - for five weeks as soon as our cruise was over.]

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[This is Matteo Martini, great name, the hotel manager.  While the captain drove the boat, he was in charge of everything else.  He's Italian, and like Cornelia, multi-lingual, so it was those two who generally addressed the passengers.  He had a terrific sense of humor, put to good measure here as he introduced the entire crew and all the good work they did during our "trying times" - and they did.]

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[And the chef, Cornelia, the housekeeper, and the maître d' (is it true the French don't have a word for "maître d'"?). ]

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[A round of applause for all.  We had a good time.]

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[I believe these are locally called desserts.]

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[The diners, from various perspectives.]

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[Bon apetit!]

If there were no Frenchwomen, life wouldn’t be worth living.  ~ Friedrich  Engels

Up next:  Dare I say . . . gay Paree!

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