Paris


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In mid-February we took the high-speed train from London through the Channel Tunnel for a 2-night trip to Paris. It seems kind of amazing that we could get up in the morning, do some work on the boat in London and later have lunch by the Eiffel Tower, all without leaving the ground.

This was our first time in Paris and we had an excellent time taking in the sights, including the Effiel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the Louvre. We’d arranged the trip to coincide with the dates that our friends Kathy Hearn and Dave Gillies would also be there. We’ve known Kathy and Dave since the late 1980s when we all worked together at the IBM Toronto Lab. We’d not seen them since we left Seattle—it was wonderful to get together and catch up. And Paris is such an awesome place to meet.

Below are trip highlights from February 19th through 21st in Paris, France. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps

2/19/2018
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Circle Line

On an early morning run of the London Underground Circle Line en route to St. Pancras station to take a train to Paris. Not many people are riding the Tube at 6:30am. The trains are at least eight cars long and all interconnected. When the track is reasonably straight you can see almost from one end to the other.
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Eurostar

At the Eurostar train terminal in St. Pancras station to check in for our trip to Paris.
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127 mph

We’re not nearly running at the train’s top speed of 186mph, but 127mph seems pretty fast. We’re about to cross under the River Thames and our path into London. We don’t often pass under Dirona‘s path—the couple of times we can think of are in Norfolk, Virginia when we took the car tunnel to Hampton to visit the Virgina Air and Space Museum and in Boston, MA heading to the airport in the tunnel under Boston Harbor.
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Medway Viaduct

Looking southwest along the River Medway as we cross the train portion of the Medway Viaduct, built specifically for the new high-speed line to the Channel Tunnel.
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Channel Tunnel

Us 40 meters below the English Channel staring out into the near-dark tunnel. Even though the Channel Tunnel has been around for years, it feels pretty wild to us to be actually in a train underneath the English Channel. We’ve always called it “The Chunnel” but have learned that’s a more of an American abbreviation. Most people here call it the Channel Tunnel.
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Vehicle Carriers

About 20 minutes after we left the UK, we were across the Channel and in France. This is a vehicle carrier train at the France side of the tunnel. Only trains run through the Channel Tunnel, so you either take a passenger train like we are, or drive onto a vehicle carrier.
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France

Our first view to the French countryside (position approximate).
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182 mph

We’re smoking along at close to the maximum 186mph speed. We’ll soon be in Paris.
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Gard du Nord

Jennifer posing with our ride at the Paris train station Gard du Nord. The train was scheduled to take 2 hours and 22 minutes, but we had a 20-minute delay shortly before Paris, so the total ride was closer to 3 hours. We’d already cleared through into France at the Eurostar station in London and could just walk off the train and into Paris.
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Eiffel Tower

We’d booked a hotel near the Eiffel Tower, so went straight there to check in. We then grabbed a quick lunch and headed straight for the tower. This is the view from just outside our hotel. It seems kind of amazing that we got up this morning, did some work on the boat and we’re now standing near the Eiffel Tower.
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Underneath

Looking up into the Eiffel Tower from underneath.
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Crowds

The Eiffel Tower is, of course, an exceedingly popular tourist destination. We’d bought our tickets online a couple of months back and some days already were sold out around when we’d be there even though we’re well in the off-season. The crowds were a little thick entering, but we didn’t have to wait too long.
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Looking Up

Looking up from the second level to the top—that’s a lot of rivets. It’s lucky that this structure still stands. The tower was built with a temporary 20-year permit for the 1900 World Expo and would have been dismantled if not for the advent of radio. The tower’s height made it an ideal and vital transmission point. Hitler later had actually ordered that the tower be demolished, along with much of the city, during the 1940 German occupation of Paris. Fortunately General Dietrich von Choltitz, the military governor of Paris, disobeyed the order.
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Jardins du Trocadero

We’re only at the second level of the tower, but already the views are impressive. This is looking north across the Pont d’lena to the Jardins du Trocadero.
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Statue of Liberty

Looking west from the second level along the Seine to the Status of Liberty, a quarter-scale replica of the one in New York. The American community in Paris gave the statue to the Paris in 1889 to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution.
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Seine

The view is even better from the top of the tower even in today’s overcast conditions. This is looking east along the Seine. The large grassy area on the right is the Quai Branly Museum.
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Military School

Looking southwest across Champs de Mars to the Paris Military School.
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Kathy Hearn & Dave Gillies

With our friends Kathy Hearn and Dave Gillies at the top of the Eiffel Tower. We’ve known Kathy and Dave since the late 1980s when we all worked together at the IBM Toronto Lab. They were planning a trip to Paris when we would be in London, so we arranged to meet up there. We’ve not seen them since we left Seattle—it was wonderful to get together and catch up. And Paris is such an awesome place to meet.
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Flooding

The Seine reached near-peak levels recently, resulting in extensive flooding. All boat traffic along the river is suspended and the train along the river was out of service for a period. The waters are receding, but the levels still are high. Those posts sticking out of the water are part of the boarding ramp for the Batobus river bus. We were planning to take it during our visit, but that’s not going to happen on this visit.
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Avenue de New York

Enjoying Paris on the Avenue de New York.
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Palais de Chaillot

The east wing of the Palais de Chaillot, facing the Jardins du Trocadero that we saw from the Eiffel Tower. The palace was built built for the 1937 Paris Exposition, replacing a previous palace that stood there. Only three years later the iconic 1940 World War II pictures were taken here, of Hitler celebrating the taking of Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the background.
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Arc de Triomphe

At the Arc de Triomphe, along the Champs-Élysées, with the crazy traffic of downtown Paris circling. There are no obvious lanes and cars dart, honk, and weave through the entire area, presumabely with a goal, but not much organization. Fortunately a pedestrian underpass will take us across to the monument.

Napoleon commissioned the Arc de Triomphe in 1810 to celebrate his victory in the 1805 Battle of Austerlitz, but it wasn’t completed until 1836 under the reign of King Louis-Philippe.

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Stairs

Climbing the spiral staircase to the top of the Arc de Triomphe.
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Terrace

Even with today’s overcast weather, the views from the Arc de Triomphe terrace are impressive. The street on the left is Avenue de Friedland and on the right is Champs-Élysées. The Big Wheel, lit in purple, is just visible in the distance along Champs-Élysées (click image for larger view).
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Champs-Élysées

Looking back along Champs-Élysées with the Arc de Triomphe in the background. Paris is beautiful in the evening, especially with the lights reflecting in the wet pavement.
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Palais de l’Élysée

The Palais de l’Élysée, built in 1772, is the official residence of the French President. Security is high everywhere in Paris. We frequently saw guards carrying machine guns, often with their fingers actually resting on the trigger. Security doesn’t look particularly heavy in this picture, but armed guards are everywhere. Pedestrians can walk freely along the opposite side of the street, but can’t approach the entrance. And cars can only enter the blocked road after passing a sentry inspection.
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L’église de la Madeleine

Looking north along Rue Royal to L’église de la Madeleine, completed in 1842.
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Ladurée

Macaroons on display at Ladurée on Rue Royal, a Paris fixture since 1862.
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Colonne Vendóme

Colonne Vendóme at Place Vendóme. The column, with a statue of Napoleon on top, was completed in 1810 to celebrate the Emperor’s 1805 victory at Austerlitz (as was the Arc de Triomphe).
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Palais Garnier

The Palais Garnier was completed in 1875 to house the Paris Opera and is the setting for Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel The Phantom of the Opera.
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Tower at Night

The Eiffel Tower glowing through the mist, seen from our room at the Hotel Mercure. The room worked out well and we loved seeing the tower at the start and end of each day in Paris.
2/20/2018
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First View

The first Eiffel Tower view of the day from our hotel window.
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Breakfast

An exceptional crepe breakfast street-side at Le Petit Suffren. We’ve loving Paris.
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Eiffel Tower

We can’t get enough of the Eiffel Tower. This is looking northwest across Champ de Mars as we set out on a walk toward Notre-Dame.
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Flooding

Sidewalk and road awash from the Seine flooding. It will be a while before the river level is back to normal.
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Les Invilades

The Les Invilades complex includes several French military history museums and the church where Napoleon Bonaparte is entombed.
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Pont Alexandre III

Looking across the ornately-decorated Pont Alexandre III to the Petit Palais. The bridge was completed in 1900 and is named after Tsar Alexander III. The Petit Palais was built for the 1900 Paris World Expo, held barely a decade after the 1889 World Expo that introduced the Eiffel Tower, and now houses the City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts.
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Musée d’Orsay

The Gare d’Orsay is a Beaux-Arts railway station completed in 1900. It is now home to the the Musée d’Orsay featuring 19th- and 20th-century European art.
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Crowds

The long lines outside the Musée d’Orsay on this cold February day, even for pre-purchased tickets, did not bode well for our planned visit to the Louvre tomorrow. For us, few things are worth standing in line for hours.
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Construction

Construction and renovation is common in Paris. Several times we’ve seen semi-permanent multi-floor structures erected, such as on the left, with walkways over to the building being worked on.
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Pont des Arts

Looking north to the Palais du Louvre from the famous Pont des Arts bridge, completed in 1804 and the first metal bridge in Paris. The sides of the bridge are panelled with glass to discourage the placement of “love locks” where couples place a name-inscribed padlock on the bridge and throw the key in the river as a romantic gesture. In 2014, some of the bridge panels were at risk of collapse from the weight of the estimated 700,000 locks in place.
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Pont Neuf

Looking west from Pont Neuf toward Pont des Arts with the Palais du Louvre beyond. Pont Neuf, completed in 1607, is the oldest standing bridge in Paris. The bridge crosses the Seine via that Île de la Cité, the island where Paris was founded around 250BC and that was the city center in medieval times.
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Love Locks

The city may have discouraged love locks on Pont des Arts, but not at Square du Vert-Galant. A statue of Henry IV of France is visible above railings encrusted with locks. Love locks are a nuisance in most large cities—some have erected structures specifically to support the locks, such as Moscow’s Padlock Tree Park.
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Le Bar du Caveau

Enjoying a glass of Cótes du Rhóne at Le Bar du Caveau on Île de la Cité overlooking Place Dauphine. Henry IV created the square in 1607, the second in his project of creating public squares, and named it for his son the Dauphin of France.
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Palais de Justice

Ornate gates outside the Palais de Justice on Île de la Cité. The buildings were formerly the residence of French kings between the 6th and 14th centuries. Marie Antoinette was imprisoned here before her execution.
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Notre-Dame

Outside the famous Notre-Dame Cathedral, one of the largest and most well-known Catholic churches in the world. It was completed in 1345 after nearly two hundred years of construction.
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Nave

Looking down the fabulous nave toward the alter inside Notre-Dame Cathedral. Surprisingly, there weren’t any line-ups to enter, just the bag and security check that is common to all Paris attractions.
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Treasury

The Notre-Dame Cathedral treasury contains artifacts used for religious ceremonies and gifts from royalty and other supporters of the church. In the center is Hunting of the Holy Crown of Thorns made in 1862 with gold, silver bronze gold, diamonds, and precious stones.
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Flying Buttresses

The flying buttresses of Notre-Dame viewed from across the Seine.
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Bakery

Delicious-looking bread on display on Boulevard Saint-Germain.
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Square René Viviani

At Square René Viviani just south of Notre-Dame. The locust tree pictured was planted in 1601 and is the oldest living tree in the city. We didn’t actually check for a heartbeat.
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Shakespeare and Co

In 1919, American Sylvia Beach opened Shakespeare and Co, an English-language bookshop that became a meeting place for writers such as Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce and Ezra Pound. It was Beach who first published James Joyce’s’ controversial work Ulysses in 1922. Beach’s original store closed permanently during the German occupation of Paris, but American George Whitman opened a new Shakespeare and Co in 1951 that still operates today.
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Rue de la Harpe

Cafe-lined Rue de la Harpe.
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Place de la Sorbonne

Looking across Place de la Sorbonne to Chapel of Sainte Ursule, completed in 1642. The buildings around the square were home to the former University of Paris, commonly known as Sorbonne based on its location.
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Luxembourg Palace

Paris has a seemingly endless number of palaces. This is Luxembourg Palace, built in the 1600s as the royal residence for Louis XIII’s mother.
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Twizy

A tiny Renault Twizy parked on Avenue de l’Observatoire. The two-seater electric car is classified as a heavy quadricycle and can reach speeds of 62mph (100kph).
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Fontaine de l’Observatoire

Fontaine de l’Observatoire, dedicated in 1874, in Jardin Marco Polo with Luxembourg Palace visible in the distance.
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Cheese

A amazing array of cheeses for sale at Beillevaire on Rue Delambre.
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Le Trait d’Union

We had an excellent meal at Le Trait d’Union. Every meal we’ve had in Paris has been amazing. It’s funny, we’ve never been big fans of French food, but we suspect it’s the Americanized version of French food that doesn’t appeal to us.
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Last View

The final Eiffel Tower view of the day from our hotel window.
2/21/2018
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Eiffel Tower

We’re returning to London today, so will be our last Eiffel Tower view from our hotel window.
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Louvre

The sun rising over the glass pyramid at the entry to the Louvre museum. The museum is inside the former Louvre Palace, originally built as a fortress in the 12th century and the main residence for French Kings starting in the 1500s. The Louvre is the world’s largest art museum with roughly 38,000 objects contained in a 782,910 square foot (72,735 square metres) facility.

This picture was taken over an hour before the museum’s 10am opening time and line-ups had already formed at the entrance. We had breakfast nearby then joined the queue about 15 minutes before our 10:30am ticket entry. We expected to wait at least a half-hour, but were inside within 10-15 minutes.

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Winged Victory of Samothrace

The Winged Victory of Samothrace dates from the 2nd century BC and has been on display at the Louvre since 1884. It is one of the great surviving masterpieces from the Greco-Roman era.
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Mona Lisa

You can’t visit the the Louvre for the first time without viewing one of it’s most famous treasure: the Mona Lisa.
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Crowds

We of course weren’t the only ones wanting to view the Mona Lisa. The painting was impressive, but was smaller than we expected.
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Wedding Feast at Cana

The Wedding Feast at Cana, painted by Paolo Veronese in 1563. The painting is huge at 12.2×32.6ft (6.77×9.94m).
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Coronation of Napoleon

We aren’t generally huge art fans, but the Louvre’s painting collection was amazing, particularly some of the larger formats. This is the 20.34x32ft (6.21×9.79) Coronation of Napoleon, completed by Jacques-Louis David in 1807.
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Apollo Gallery

The spectacular high painted ceilings of the Apollo Gallery at the Louvre. This was Louis XIV’s first Royal Gallery.
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The Mummy

Jennifer has long been interested in Ancient Egypt and was keen to visit the Louvre’s extensive collection. One of the more popular item’s in the Louvre’s Ancient Egypt collection is this incredibly well-preserved mummy of a man from Ptolemaic Period (305 BC-30 BC).
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Venus de Milo

The Venus de Milo statue, dating from 101 BC, is another famous item in the Louvre’s collection. Over the course of several hours, we’d made a quick pass through most of the museum’s galleries, but it would take many, many more visits to really take it all in. We really enjoyed our visit and were impressed with the breadth and depth of the displays.
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Jardin des Tuileries

Looking west across Jardin des Tuileries to the Big Wheel after exiting the Louvre
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Fountain

Jennifer enjoying one of the many deck chairs that ring a fountain in the Jardin des Tuileries, with the Louvre Palace visible in the distance.
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Big Wheel

Paris’ Big Wheel has stood here since 1993, but will be removed this summer. To protect the area’s historic visual appearance, city councillors recently voted against renewing the operating license.
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Champs-Élysées

Looking down Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe from the western edge of Jardin des Tuileries.
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Luxor Obelisk

Luxor Obelisk in Place de la Concorde. The 75-ft (23m) 3,000-year-old Ancient Egyptian obelisk was given to France by the ruler of Egypt in the early 1800s.
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Maxim’s

The renowned Maxim’s of Paris restaurant opened in 1893 and became a socializing place for the rich and famous in the early 1900s.
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Comptoir du Faubourg

We had our final delicious Paris meal at Comptoir du Faubourg on Rue Royale before walking to the train station.
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Avenue Gabriel

The security is extremely high along Avenue Gabriel, site of the US Embassy. Armed guard monitor the tented green structure at the entrance, with more armed guards around the perimeter and patrolling the area.
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Petit Palais

The Petit Palais, built for the 1900 Paris World Expo, now houses Paris’ Museum of Fine Arts.
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Palais Garnier

The Palais Garnier, home of the Paris Opera, that we first saw on the evening of our first night here.
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Saint-Vincent-de-Paul

The Church of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul was built between 1822-1824 on the site where St. Vincent de Paul lived and worked in the 17th century.
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Gard du Nord

The ornate Gard du Nord train station first opened in 1864.
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Main Hall

Overlooking the main hall in Gard Du Nord.
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Lighterman

We finished the day with an excellent meal at The Lighterman gastropub near King’s Cross station back in London. Our table overlooked Regents Canal and a small community of liveaboard canal boats.

Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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8 comments on “Paris
  1. Nitivat Thitisavetpan says:

    Love your travel so informative. I really envy your life style.
    Have a wonderful voyage.

  2. Jacques Vuye says:

    You’re right.
    Non commercial use is fine., and in fact if it weren’t it means they have to confiscate every camera ever entering .
    Glad you enjoyed your short stay in our capital.

  3. David Magda says:

    You may want to take down some of the night pictures as the Eiffel Tower’s lighting design is copyrighted, and so so posting is technically illegal. Really:

    * https://alj.orangenius.com/night-photos-eiffel-tower-violate-copyright/
    * https://petapixel.com/2017/10/14/photos-eiffel-tower-night-illegal/

    (I’m sure it’ll be fine.)

    • Non-commercial use is fine of private pictures of the Eiffel tower at night appears to be unrestriced. And, even commercial use seems pretty common in newspapers, the backdrop for reporters doing stories from Paris, and many movies.

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