Thursday, September 18, 2014

Those Places...Paris, France

In another life I was a travel agent. I took advantage of the many "deals" that were offered to agents from airlines, cruise companies and hotels. In 1988, I took what was known as "familiarization trips" to Paris, France. 

This trip happened in July of 1988 just after my 26th birthday. I was there for a week to familiarize myself with the city of Paris so that I could then make recommendations to clients who wanted to visit. To me it was the trip of a lifetime! 

We stayed at the Omni Hotel and because someone had to cancel their trip at the last minute our names were put into a hat to see who would get the king room with a view of the Eiffel Tower, and the winner was...(drum roll please), me! I went to sleep every night that week with the best view!

We spent our mornings visiting various hotels that ranged from a Best Western to The George V. The hotels ranged from beautiful to outrageous luxury and everything in between. In 1988, staying at a Best Western in Paris was like staying in a luxury hotel here in the United States.

Our afternoons were spent visiting the sights of Paris. One afternoon we went to Louvre. Obviously this was not nearly enough time to appreciate the spectacular works of art that are there. However, I did get to see a few paintings just not the ones I really wanted to see, Claude Monet's Water Lilies series.

On another afternoon we went to Palace of Versailles which made my head spin with it's beautiful gardens and fountains, the Queen's Chamber's and the Hall of Mirrors. The front entrance with it's gold gates and a history that spans centuries.

On yet another afternoon we went to the Cathedral of Notre Dame. A church steeped in both French and Catholic history. With beautiful music coming from the organ, breathtaking stained glass windows, paintings and sculptures I could only stand in awe. It was peaceful so I took a few moments to sit in one the pews and said a few prayers for my family.

At night we were pretty much on our own. We hit the Latin Quarter for some great food including an American BBQ restaurant, who knew! We went to several jazz clubs which were great. We even went to the Moulin Rouge and had a fantastic time. However, I think the best night was our last night there. There was a small group of us who had been out at a jazz club and decided to go Montmatre Cemetery to watch the sunrise over the city. It was a glorious view that morning.

I hope to one day go back to Paris.

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