Île de la Cité where you will fine the famous cathedral of Notre Damme in Paris.
Île de la Cité where you will fine the famous cathedral of Notre Damme in Paris.
My last post was a photo of Paris, France. Today we are looking at a very different Paris; the Paris hotel in Las Vegas. This French-themed hotel is complete with a quarter size model of the Eiffel tower that even has an elevator that will take you to the top! It was fun to visit, but nothing like like visiting the real Paris.
On our first evening in Paris we decided to take a short walk from our hotel to the river and back. When we arrived at the river I saw this vista; the sun setting behind the towers of Notre Dame cathedral. At the time I didn’t even know that it was the famous cathedral; it was simply a lovely view. It was only the next day when we went for some more exploration that we realised.
That was my introduction to Paris, a truly magnificent city.
Walking through the streets of Paris in the 21st century, you so get the feeling that not much has changed in many years. The streets are full of cafe’s, small grocery and wine shops, and Parisians going about their day.
Almost every street corner has a cafe, and there are always people sitting outside drinking coffee. I could spend months just wondering around the streets of Paris.
The batobus (water taxi) is a great way to get around Paris in a more relaxed and quieter manner than the roads or metro.
A cool trick I learned with the water taxi is that your pass is valid for 24 hours, so if you want to take a break from walking around all the museums, there is nothing stopping you from grabbing a baguette and a bottle of wine, and enjoying a “free” lunchtime or sunset cruise up and down the river.
The Eiffel tower is not just an amazing structure to look at; you also get the most amazing view of the Paris gardens from the top of the tower. You can spend hours just looking at Paris; a most beautiful city.
View from the tower
Now that we are finally home and (mostly) recovered from our trip, I have managed to get my photos in order, so the next couple of posts are going to be a catch up of the trip. Starting with some of the hotels on the “strip”.
The Strip, or more correctly Las Vegas Boulevard is the main drag in Vegas where everything happens. If you stay in Vegas, you should try to stay on or really close to the strip. Most of the hotels are on the strip, and certainly the big theme hotels are there.
Here are just some of the hotels that I passed on a couple of walks.
Starting with Paris, which contains a scale model of the Eiffel Tower which is approx 1/4 the full height, which is still several stories high. There is a viewing deck on the top level which provides great views of Vegas. Note the traffic at about 10pm on a Sunday night.
Next up is Bally’s, where we stayed. Bally’s is connected to Paris by a short walkway containing a few shops and restaurants. At about $40 per night, Bally’s is one of the cheaper hotels on the strip, but you pay for everything, including $3 per day for the honour of using the hotel safe. But still good value for Vegas.
The Bellagio is across the road from Bally’s, and it contains the famous water fountains, which play in time to music every 1/2 hour or so. The fountains, which shoot higher that the hotel are pretty impressive to watch.
Further down is Caesers palace, which is built to look like ancient Rome, complete with a Colosseum and Pantheon, and “Forum Shops”.
Treasure Island is home to regular evening ship battles as the “Sirens of TI…lure a band of renegade pirates into their cove with powerful and captivating melodies”. The show is a little cheesy, but well it is free.
Last on my list is the Venetian hotel, home to the Blue Man Group, one of my top shows. The entire hotel looks like Venice, complete with St Mark’s Square, the Rialto Bridge, and gondola rides.
Having being in Venice about a year ago, it was remarkable how similar this hotel is to the real thing. Notice how the docking poles are even a little bent, as if they had been in the Grand Canal for a long time.
This is just a selection of the hotels, but you can easily spend day walking around just looking at the hotels.
I was cleaning up my study, and I found the old ticket stubs from our trip up the Eiffel Tower in Vegas. Ok, so this wasn’t the real tower in France, it was only a 1/2 scale model, but it was still 540 feet (164m) tall, and it was pretty impressive.
Walking through the Paris hotel is really like walking through the streets of Paris – complete with sidewalk cafe’s, accordion music & cobbled streets. I really felt like I was back in Paris.
However, what really amused me was the warning on the ticket – “no unauthorized weddings”. Where else would you find that warning? I suppose that if you are going to do a Vegas wedding, the top of the Eiffel Tower is as good a place as any – good thing Lois and I are already married!
I still think that Vegas is a great place to get married – you can have a drive trough wedding, the reception at the MacDonalds drive through, and even see a show afterwards!
Don’t forget – no unauthorized weddings!
His grave is in the Pere Lachaise Cemetery, the largest and oldest cemetery in Paris. He shares the ground with several illustrious people, including Oscar Wilde and Edith Piaf. The crypts (many of them shared by families) almost looked like small houses, rather that a resting place for the dead. While many were very old, several were from just a few years ago. The graveyard is full of labyrinthine paths, criss-crossing on their meandering routes. I had a distinct Ann-Rice feeling in the graveyard.
What I also found interesting is that there were a large variety of graves from different Churches, including Christian, Jewish and a few Chinese graves.
It was quite a walk to find Jim Morrison’s grave, especially because I got so lost that I had to stop and buy a map. So when I eventually found it, I didn’t just pause for to contemplate, I also had to pause for breath. I have never seen a pop star’s grave before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It looked exactly like all the other graves, except that it was covered with bunches of fresh flowers – suggestive of a regular stream of visitors. I was surprised to be the only person there. I also expected graffiti, but there was none.
My reflective moment was shattered when a group of tourists arrived (“there he is!”), and went to gawk and slobber at his grave (Ok so I was also a tourist, but you can at least show some sense of decorum in a graveyard). So I decided that it was time to say goodbye and move on.
I was warned that the Mona Lisa is a bit of a disappointment, it is a lot smaller in real life than one expects, it is not as fine as expected, and the queues into the Louvre and to see her are really long. I have to say wrong on all accounts. I walked straight into the Louvre with a very short queue, and I was on my way to see the world’s most famous painting.
She was recently moved to a much more accessible room (still in the Denon wing) which is very well sign posted. I had a marvellous time walking through the museum, looking at many works, including van Gogh and de Vinci.
I knew that the Mona Lisa was somebody there, but I was not quite sure where. So when I turned a corner and almost bumped into the painting, I was quite startled. There she was – looking directly at me. She is far more amazing in the flesh (so to speak), than any print I have seen of her. I felt drawn to her, like she wanted to tell me something, and I had great difficulty looking away. Whenever I managed to, I still found myself drawn back to her. This is a painting that should be seen, and has to be seen in the flesh to be appreciated for what it is. Visiting the Mona Lisa was a dream fulfilled.
T found it odd that instead of walking around with guide books, many people were walking around with copies of Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code”. At least he is getting people more interesting in art and history. The inverted pyramid on the left is where (according to the book), The Holy Grail is hidden.
ps – The painting is not small, but is in fact 53 x 77 cm.