Category Archives: Paris

Oh, Paris… What a loss.

My daughter calls with urgency in her voice,“Notre Dame Cathedral is on fire!” I quickly turn the TV on to see the tragic flames as the spire goes down. Immediately, I feel grateful that our trip to hike the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain involved a flight to and from Paris, France. Having a couple of days extra before flying home we decided to hit some of the sights of Paris which included one of the most famous buildings in the world, Notre Dame Cathedral.

The building of the cathedral was completed over the course of 200 years; it was started in 1163 during the reign of King Louis VII and was completed in 1345.

In its history, Notre Dame has endured destruction and subsequent restoration in many periods. However, much of the facade and interior still are true to the original designs. In the 16th century, both the Huguenots and the French king vandalized and changed a lot of the cathedral’s contents. A lot of the features on the cathedral’s exterior were removed because they were considered to be idolatrous, and tombs and stained glass windows were destroyed in the name of modernization. The cathedral was converted into a storage warehouse for food, during the French Revolution, and the heads of many of Notre Dame’s statues were removed.

The Cathedral was at one time in a stage of total disrepair and close to the point of being demolished, but was later saved by Napoleon who himself was crowned Emperor in 1804 inside the Cathedral.

Between 1845 and 1870, a first attempt at restoration took place. A good portion of the previous century’s damage done to the cathedral was repaired, and new additions were built. Most recently, a new restoration program was started in 1991 and has gone on for 20 years with a focus on cleaning up facade’s and sculptures. ~notredamecathedralparis.com

Today’s event has caused quite a step backwards, I’d say…

Below are some of the images I was able to capture during our visit in 2014:

This Notre Dame beggar (Gypsy?) working the line will need to find a new location. Maybe, she’ll try her luck at Sacre Coeur.

Planes, trains, buses & a car…

2016camino-1010356eWe lift off on August 29, 2016 and have a bird’s eye view of the Minneapolis area.

August 30, 2016:  After landing at the Paris airport we easily make our way to the Gare du Nord RER station with a couple of hours to spare and carefully watch the monitors to find our platform number for the train to Bayonne, France.  All we see listed for our train is the word delayed.

Google images

Finally, a platform number appears on the monitor and we rush to find our assigned train car. Crowds of people rush along with us trying to read the faded small car numbers and Randy has gone on ahead to locate our car. All of a sudden, the bells go off and Joan and I are pushed onto a random car by a railroad employee. This delayed train is trying to make up time with a short stop here.

Where’s Randy?   Oh, no… did he even get on the train? Is he still standing on the platform at the Paris train station? We try to walk forward through the train cars to find him.

No, we can’t… Hearts sink as we discover this train is really made up of two  trains hooked together and they will eventually separate with different destinations.  Plus, Randy has our tickets. Trying not to panic, we alert an employee and nobody seems very concerned.  No cell phones, no two-way radios and basically no French language skills other than counting to 10 and merci. Randy must have gotten on the train in front and made his dilemma known as we are aware that there is a “situation” in the other train.

Will we lose Randy in France before we even start hiking? How will we ever find him  and where will he be? Worse case scenarios rush through my mind.

tgv-map-paris-bordeaux-hendayeWe are instructed, when the train arrives in Bordeaux, to hop off and get onto the correct train before it is unhooked to split off.  Meanwhile, Randy has made friends with a wonderful gentleman named Al who speaks French and English so he interprets between Randy and the railroad employees. Several delays along the tracks means our train ride is getting longer and longer and darkness eventually surrounds us. At least Joan and I have the wine.

Five hours later…   Al helps Randy position himself just outside the car closest to our train, so that we can quickly find him before the train leaves and splits.  After a long and tense ride we are reunited and it feels so-o-o good as we can finally continue our travels together again.  A huge thank you goes out to our Camino angel named Al. Travel tip:  Do not wander away from your group when attempting to get on a train.2016camino-1010371eAugust 31, 2016:  Next leg involves buses from Bayonne to San Sebastian and on to Pamplona. It’s always interesting to visit with other travelers when using public transportation.

2016camino-1010376eLast step is the taxi ride from Pamplona to Zubiri since there is no bus service available. Thanks to Cesar Mendez we had a great ride and interesting conversation discussing our different countries and interests. Thanks, for the fabulous service, Cesar! Now we can say that we have met a person that has actually “run with the bulls” in Pamplona.

By the looks of our clothing, we appear to be homeless, don’t we? Apparently, we don’t want to put on airs and are saving on laundry during the first day of hiking.

Thinking of Paris…

West Highland Way ~ Day 8 will have to wait due to the tragic events in Paris, France. Click on the video link for a short viewing from the People of Paris series:

Images by Joyce Meyer

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies were born in Paris, and continue to operate there.  Another organization whose roots are in France is Médecins Sans Frontières, or Doctors Without Borders. Click on the links if interested in more information and how to donate.

Americans in Paris were urged to call 001 202 501 4444 for information and assistance.

Pray for Paris and the world…

People of Paris #12

People of Paris #12 features Pigeon Man, also known as the Pigeon Whisperer. It appears as though the gentleman is not thrilled with his role in life and may be thinking that this is one crappy job.

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Located in the Notre Dame Cathedral square,  there is some history behind this practice. The original Pigeon Man of Notre Dame, Pierre Pradeau came almost every day after his retirement to feed the birds, until he passed away on December 13th, 2009.

pigeon man
Image from pigeonfriend.blogspot.com

This image shows love and kindness for his feathered friends…

It’s all in the attitude, right?

 

People of Paris #11

Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.
~ Marilyn Monroe

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People of Paris #10…

Paris street food…we didn’t try the “Ho Dog.” Opted for a French crepe, instead.

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Photo by Joyce Meyer

You can probably guess that we were NOT in a swanky, high class part of the city. Still, our crepes were yummy filled with local flavor in more ways than one.

People of Paris #9… Wonder Hero?

People of Paris #9 spot goes to this costumed Spiderman wonder hero all bundled up and sitting with his donation cup in hand, mostly appearing to sleep. Busy night of fighting crime?

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Photo by Joyce Meyer

Located in the Montmartre section of Paris, France.