Tag Archives: Paris

Tour de France

I’m not a cycling nut. It’s been ages since I’ve been on a bicycle, myself (unless you count a stationary bike and even then, it’s been a while). Truth be told, I have no immediate desire to get on one any time soon.

But I do have an annual ritual. I watch the final stage of the Tour de France. Not for the fit men dressed in spandex shorts (believe it or not) but to see Paris. It’s fun to watch the race and see places I’ve been on my trips to the beautiful city.

Opening lap was the only time they rode near the Eiffel Tour.

tour de france
The Eiffel Tower

Later on the same lap, they rode past our favourite eatery in Paris, La Frégate, at the corner of Quai Voltaire and Rue du Bac before crossing the river to continue the circuit.

Tour de France
La Frégate

Over the Pont du Carrousel and through the archways at the Louvre.

Tour de France
The Louvre

Over to Rue de Rivoli and another left turn, riding by the Jardins de Tuileries following through Place de la Concorde and up the Champs-Élysées, circling the Arc de Triomphe and returning to Place de la Concorde.

tour de france
Fountain in Place de la Concorde
tour de france
The Obelisque in Place de la Concorde
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Grand Palais
tour de france
Arc de Triomphe

The riders stayed on the this side of the river for the remainder of the race. Back through Place de la Concorde and a left turn onto Quai des Tuileries followed by a left turn at the tunnel entrance to the Louvre.

They emerged at the other end on Rue de Rivoli under the watchful eye of Joan of Arc.

tour de france
Statue of Joan of Arc

Prior to watching the last stage of the men’s race, we saw the women race on this same circuit. When they raced, it was pouring rain making the cobbles and asphalt treacherous to say the least. There were a number of multi-rider crashes.

I’ve seen more of Paris than just these few photos but during my two trips to this beautiful city, I spent a great deal of time in this area.

Do you watch the Tour de France? If so, what’s your favourite part?


#PostfromParis – Day 5 pas de champagne en coupe lumineuse au sommet de la Tour Eiffel

Sorry for the delay getting these posted. Internet woes, what can I say.

This was our most active day on the walking front. My leg was feeling much better. We started out morning with a cruise on the Seine.

ET champagne
Musee D’Orsay from the Seine

Back in 1910, when the Seine flooded, the waters rose so high that only his head was visible above the water. Since then the people of Paris judge the height of the river by how much of the statue is submerged.

le zouave
le zouave on Pont D’Alma

Once a royal palace, The Conciergerie became a notorious prison and Marie Antoinette was kept there until she was executed by guillotine in Place de la Concorde.

The Conciergerie
The Conciergerie

on the pont neufAfter our boat cruise, we walked along the Seine taking in some of the sights we’d seen from the water.

The narrowest house in Paris
The narrowest house in Paris

Almost every bridge or fence that has a place for a padlock has one on it these days. The names of lovers are written on them and the idea is that their love will last forever when the lock bearing their names is fastened to the object. The city of Paris comes along and cuts the locks off the bridges because when they get this filled, the wind can’t pass through and the bridge will begin to sway in the wind and become unstable.

Lock covered pedestrian bridge
Lock covered pedestrian bridge
Lamp post on Pont Alexandre III
Lamp post on Pont Alexandre III
Dinosaur skeleton at the Bateau Mouche docks.
Dinosaur skeleton at the Bateau Mouche docks.

On Avenue New York, a replica of the flame held by the Statue of Liberty stands above the entrance to a tunnel. Many people believe this is the tunnel where Princess Diana was killed and leave flowers (and padlocks on the chain barrier surrounding it) but it isn’t.

Liberty Flame on Avenue New York

Since we didn’t have to be at the Eiffel Tower for our Behind the Scenes Tour (and jump the queue… ya right), we walked further along to Pont Bir Hakeim.

Sculpture on Pont Bir Hakeim
Sculpture on Pont Bir Hakeim
The Passy Viaduct on Pont Bir Hakeim
The Passy Viaduct on Pont Bir Hakeim

By now it was getting close to the time for our Eiffel Tower tour. We walked back and waited near the north pillar for our tour guide. While we waited, the wind came up and it began to rain. Not a nice place to be stood waiting to see if “maybe” (that was the word used by one of the earlier tour guides) our guide would turn up.

looking up the eiffel tower from the 2nd level

On level 2 of the Eiffel Tower

The wait to get tickets and get to the top level was going to be at least two hours, not to mention it would be that long to get back down afterwards. As much as I wanted champagne at the summit, I caved and we walked down the stairs from level 2 to level 1. Stairs and I still aren’t friends and going down is much harder than going up. Our guide said there were about 700 steps from the ground to the second level, so I figure we traversed about 350 give or take.

On one of our rest stops on the way down, I got this photograph of the Eiffel Tower elevator. Years ago, a man controlled the weight and speed of the elevators at the Eiffel Tower. He sat on a seat outside the carriage and turned the wheel one way or the other to make adjustments. Not my idea of a fun (or even safe) job. Now, a mannequin sits in his place so that people can see the technology from years gone by.

Eiffel Tower elevator mannequin
Eiffel Tower elevator mannequin

Whilst disappointed about no champagne en coupe lumineuse au sommet de la Tour Eiffel, we decided to find a place where we could buy a bottle of nice champers and we’d have it back at the hotel where it would be just the two of us and we wouldn’t be rushed.

A plus to the day was we were ‘downtown’ so got to see the Eiffel Tower lit up after dark. A tripod would have worked better but I tried to balance myself against the stone wall to keep the camera from moving too much.

Eiffel Tower at night
Eiffel Tower at night

Once an hour, on the hour, and lasting for five minutes the Eiffel Tower glitters. Lights randomly go off and on and it’s truly a sight to see. When I was in Paris in 2003, the main tower lights went out and it was just the glittering ones that were on. Either way, it looks amazing.

Eiffel Tower glittering

BTW, we walked a mere 27,467 steps today… and I feel fine.

#PostfromParis – Day 4 Cimetière du Père Lachaise et de plus

This is a bit late getting posted but had problems accessing the Internet yesterday morning. Call me weird but I like to wander through cemeteries. I like to see the variety of the architecture of the monuments. And for doing just that, this is a fantastic place to do it! And you can do it from the comfort of your own home by visiting pere-lachaise.com.

The weather was dark and gloomy (perfect atmosphere for cemetery wandering) and it spit rain the entire time we were there (another prerequisite of cemetery prowling). The sun tried to break through a few times but the heavy cloud cover kept it at bay.

When I was first here back in 2003, a security guard was posted at Jim Morrison’s grave. Now, a fence has been erected to keep people away from it. Obviously, it’s not keeping his ardent fans away entirely or how else would these flowers and other things end up on his grave?

Cimetière du Père LachaiseVictor Noir is also interred here in Cimetière du Père Lachaise. I’m not sure where the story started, but apparently his bronze effigy represents fertility and women who wish to become preganant come and rub his crotch. It looks strangely amusing to see the bronze sculpture green with age except for that one polished area.

Cimetière du Père LachaiseOscar Wilde is also buried here and for years, women would kiss his monument. Now, a wall of clear Plexiglass surrounds it keeping the lipstick prints off. It was really strange seeing Oscar’s grave so clean after having seen it with lip prints of many shades of red all over it before.

Cimetière du Père LachaiseAfter getting our cemetery fix, we decided to return to the Champs-Élysées but this time walk down the other side of the street. This is almost a must since there is so much to see on each side of the avenue.

when we walked by the Toyota dealership, we were surprised to see this race car in the showroom. You could go in and take photographs of it, selfies with it in the background, pretty much anything you wanted as long as you didn’t touch. There was a security guard watching to ensure that you didn’t.

Rolex series ToyotaTwo doors down at the Renault dealership, it was the same thing except they had two cars in the showroom – an older F1 car and last year’s model. Again, a security guard stood watch.

Old F1 carRenault F1 carWe carried on down to Place de la Concorde again before deciding where we would go next. While waiting at one of the traffic lights, a guy on a bicycle when tearing through the crowd (still surprised how he didn’t hit anyone) and didn’t bother to stop for the red light. Big mistake. I didn’t see it but I heard the crash. Mr MR-K said he saw the bike go flying in the air and almost twice as high as one of the buses that was in the intersection. We both figured when we got there, he’d be laid out on the cobbles – dead – but no, he was standing, hopping on one foot and his legs were scratched, cut and bruised from the pedals of the bike. The taxi that hit him had a broken fog lamp.

Some (a lot of) more walking and we were at Hotel de Ville on our way to The Auld Alliance.

Hotel de VilleWhen we walked down Rue Francois Miron, we passed by the oldest house in Paris.

oldest house in ParisThirsty now, we stopped in for a pint of the amber nectar – Caledonian 80. By now my leg was getting tired and a refreshing pint was just the ticket. We enjoyed our drinks then gradually worked our way back to the restaurant for supper and our hotel.

busker on pont marieAnd that was it for Day 4. Oh, and if you can go by the accuracy of the pedometer (seemed closer to what it felt like), we walked 28,589 steps or 9.02 miles.


#PostfromParis – Day 2 Champs-Élysées and more

The leg started out a bit stiff first thing but the more I walked, the better it got… well, to a point. Our first stop was the local metro station where we took the subway to Chatelet where the plan was to take Line 1 to the Charles de Gaulle Etoille station. Well, that part of the line was down for maintenance this weekend. Of all times – Easter weekend? Anyway, I digress. We were directed to take the RER A train and it would take us exactly where we wanted to go.

selfie at the arc de triompheMy plan was a leisurely stroll down the Champs-Élysées and see what happened from there. Well follow along and you’ll see what all happened and where…

arc de triomphe from pedestrian island in the middle of the Champs-ÉlyséesI really wanted to go to the top but with my leg, I knew that there was no way I could do the stairs, even though there is a lift that takes you approximately 2/3 of the way to the top. And with scaffolding around it, not being able to go to the top wasn’t a huge disappointment.

looking towards place de la concorde from a pedestrian island on the Champs-ÉlyséesToday, we remembered to bring the pedometer purchased specifically for the trip. We were curious to know how far we walked each day.

grand palaisThe Grand Palais is an impressive building but I was more taken with the bronze statue with the horses than the rest. Does that make me bad?

fountain at place de al concorde

me at one of the fountains in place de la concordeSo by now, we’ve traversed the length of the Champs-Élysées and haven’t been trampled by pedestrians or run over by cars, the drivers of which begrudge having to stop for those of us on foot.

the louvreWe didn’t go inside the Louvre but here’s a photo of one of the buildings just to give you an idea of how far we walked… so far.

After crossing over to the Left Bank, we continued towards Notre Dame cathedral. Unfortunately, the sidewalks were no place for me with my cane with the number of people there, so we took to the lower walkway along the Seine. It wasn’t much better because of all the cobblestones, but at least (for the most part) there were fewer pedestrians.

along the seineThe bridge in the background here is where lovers bring padlocks with their names/initials on them and fasten them to the sides. The street vendors above even sell locks to those who didn’t bring theirs with them.

notre dame cathedralI knew it would be a zoo around Notre Dame with it being Easter weekend, but I had affixed the zoom lens to my camera so i could get photos of the chimeras from the ground as I wouldn’t be able to climb 380+ steps. I had told Mr MR-K about the guy feeding the birds there when I first visited Paris in 2003. I didn’t see him, but there was another man there feeding corn to the pigeons.

feeding the birdsfeeding the birdsHe put some of the corn in our hands (and on our heads) and the birds flocked to us. Having them pecking corn off our heads didn’t hurt, but their claws were a bit on the sharp side.

So this trip, I had to settle for the zoom lens to get my chimera pictures – no up close and personal with them. Oh well, I think these pictures turned out not too bad at all.

notre dame chimeras some of the chimeras 2 some of the chimeras 3By now we were parched and I knew The Highlander (one of the Scottish pubs) in Paris was close by so we headed there, passing by the Shakespeare and Company bookstore.

shakespeare and companyWe looked for the Greek restaurant where I’d had a meal back in 2003 since it was between here and the pub but it’s no longer in business – or at least no longer in business under that name.

outside the highlanderTwo pints of Caledonian 80 each later, we thought we would stroll to the Eiffel Tower to get an idea where we would have to meet for our tour on Tuesday but my leg had other plans. We made our way to a metro stop – stopping first at a public toilet. Convience and having to go were the only things it had going for it.

When we finally got back to our hotel, we stopped in to the small supermarket beside it and picked up something for our supper and a small bottle of champagne rose.

According to the pedometer, we walked 25,255 steps. Trust me, it felt like twice that many.

So what’s on for day 3? You’ll have to come back later and find out.



#PostfromParis – Day 1 Montmartre

Let me backtrack a bit first. After we checked in at the airport and were waiting at the departure gate, our name was called “King, party of two” and we were asked to present ourselves to the airline representative at the check in line. We were… drum roll please… given a complimentary upgrade to Club Class – aka First Class! What treatment! Real china plates, stainless cutlery, stemless wine glasses. The champagne was offered while we were still waiting for the rest of the people to board… did I mention we got to board first, too?

As our meal was being served, there was a medical emergency (apparently in the seat directly behind me) and they called out over the PA system asking if there was a doctor on board and if so, would he make himself known to the cabin crew. Yikes! Scary moments but eventually, normalcy was restored and we got out meal.

Our airport to hotel shuttle never did show up and after a number of phone calls made by a wonderful man at the airport on our behalf, they sent a private mini van to collect us. This van wasn’t even one of the company’s that I hired’s fleet. In the end, we did get to the hotel, checked in (about 2 hours after our plane landed) but our room wouldn’t be ready until at 2:30.

Paparazzi Pair –

able caneAble Cane here with a breaking news story. Roxie Rebel and I have discovered world famous author, Melanie Robertson-King’s, whereabouts. She’s in the Montmartre area of Paris, but once again she gave us the slip. It’s amazing how fast she can move with her cane.

Roxie, did you manage to get any pictures?

Roxie RebelSorry, Able. She was too quick. I did get shots of places she’d been but by the time I was able to preview them on my computer, she wasn’t in the frame.

Well what did you manage to get then, girl?

See for yourself.

Montmartre Steps
Sacre Coeur
Gare du Nord

Excellent shots, Roxie, well if you don’t count the fact that Melanie isn’t in any of them.
But we don’t want our followers to be disappointed. We’ll track her down and maybe even she’ll agree to an interview.

This is Able Cane signing off for now…


#AtoZChallenge – P is for Paris


Looking out over Paris from Parc de Belleville taken on my first trip to the City of Lights in 2003

Known also as the City of Lights, Paris is the capital of France and the country’s largest city. And possibly most importantly, where my husband and I will be from today until 27th April! Woo hoo!

Places we’ll be visiting whilst on our trip (and in no particular order) include:

The Arc de Triomphe. When you climb to street level at the George V metro stop, the sight as this massive structure comes into view is truly breathtaking. This trip, I plan on going to the top since I didn’t get there on my only other trip. The views down the Champs Elysees should be spectacular.

Notre Dame Cathedral. I visited here in 2003 but didn’t get up to the gallery where the gargoyles that keep watch over the city reside. I think they are wonderous creatures and have to get at least one photo of me, and maybe even a selfie of hubby and me with a gargoyle and definitely one with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

And no trip to Paris would be complete without going to the Eiffel Tower. The views from the second and third levels are amazing and this time, we might even push the boat out and have a glass of champagne at the top.

And given my Scottish heritage, no trip would be complete without a trip to a Scottish Pub. My two favourites in Paris are The Highlander and The Auld Alliance.

Of course, there will be others but to find out what they are, you’ll have to come back to my blog each day as I plan to write posts from here every day.