One of our first ever trips together was to Paris. We were living in Cleveland, Ohio at the time and I cashed in some frequent flier miles for a long weekend in "gay paris". Aside from our Caribbean Cruise this was Erynn's first major trip out of the US. While she was in high school, she had taken french class and had signed up for the class trip to France. However, between the time the deposit for the trip was paid and the actual trip the travel company went bankrupt. As a result, Erynn lost all her money, didn't get to go to Paris, and had a deep desire to finally get to Paris.
Our trip was in September and we already knew that we were going to be moving to England for my job in November. Erynn had made the statement that she would not move unless we were married. Her friends had convinced her that I would propose on this trip.
Every photo montage of Paris must start off with images of the Eiffel Tower. It's pretty big.
Here are some photos of the city from near the top. It was very crowded and difficult to get decent photos of the surroundings.
Upper left: View of the Seine, Upper right: Parc du Champs de Mars, Lower left: Place de la Concorde, Lower right: Palais de Chaillet
One would think that the top of the Eiffel Tower is a romantic place, but one would be wrong. There were about 5 million tourists at the top making it the opposite of intimate. Erynn was convinced I'd propose there, but she'd have to wait a bit longer.
Another stop on our trip was up the Monmarte to the Sacré Coeur (a.k.a. Sacred Heart). The right photo was taken from the Eiffel Tower. The views of the city from on top of Monmarte are pretty amazing and worth the hike.
One of Erynn's favorite photos of Pais is of Les Escaliers de Montmartre, which was taken in the 1950's. We did our best to recreate a modern version. Not quite the same...
We hiked up the Champs-Élysées to visit the Arc de Triomphe. I had to risk life and limb in Paris traffic to get the left photo. Erynn was not pleased. The right photo was taken from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
The left photo is of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier beneath the Arc de Triomphe. The right photo was just for fun because Erynn had finally made it to Paris and was very happy.
The stroll along the Seine can be quite beautiful, and one of the most stiking landmarks along the river is Notre Dame.
I wasn't feeling well at this point of the trip, but Erynn wanted to climb to the top of the cathedral to get another look at the city. We climbed a couple hundred steps up a winding staircase in one of the towers to reach the observation deck. The stairwell was rather cramped and acted as a chimney funneling heat directly into my body like a microwave. The view was pretty, but I was miserable. Climbing up old churches in Europe has now become Erynn's standard way of torturing me.
I don't quite understand how an Obelisk and a Ferris Wheel make it into one of the more famous squares in Paris at the bottom of the Champs-Élysées, but you gotta love the French.
Between the Place de la Concorde and the Louvre is the Garden of Tuileries and prnounced in french as Jardin des Tuileries (or as we affectionately call it the "Garden of Toiletries"). As we were walking to the Louvre it started to rain so Erynn and I ducked under some Buckeye trees to wait out the drizzle.
I had been keeping her engagement ring in my pocket since I left Cleveland and was waiting for the perfect time to pop the question. All of the historical places in Paris have huge numbers of people so for the first couple days of the trip I didn't pull the trigger. We are both from Ohio, the Buckeye State, and she looked so cute sitting there trying to stay dry. So I decided that was the time to ask her to be my wife.
I picked up a buckeye and held it in one hand while holding the ring in the other. I told her to pick a hand, and she chose the ring. I asked, and she said yes. The above photo of her was taken within a few minutes of her accepting. After the rain died down and we started walking she snapped a shot of me too.
I plater found out that she had rummaged through all my stuff in the hotel room looking for the ring thinking that for sure I was going to propose. Since I had waited a couple days into the trip she was convinced I wasn't going to propose by the time I actually did. Heart break turned into joy though.
The Louvre almost needs to explanation. The art collection is one of the most famous in the world and one of the key attractions of the city. You can't really take photos inside the museum so here are a couple exterior shots. For the record, I like I.M. Pei's pyramid entry.
Getting to the Palace of Versailles proved to be a bit of an issue for us. We decided to take the Paris Métro, but we had trouble deciphering the map. Versailles appeared to be accessible by the RER Line C so we hopped on the train and waited with excitement. However, we were on the train for quite a long time and the map on the train listed Versailles twice. We slowly talked ourselves into the fact that we were headed in the wrong direction and got off to catch the opposite train. If you actually click on the link for Line C I've provided you'll notice that the yellow line makes a circle. If we had stayed on the original train for a bit longer we would have had another hour to wonder around the palace.
Metro mishaps not withstanding, the palace is worth the journey. It is stunning, and we wondered around inside and around the grounds for quite a while.
Erynn inside the Hall of Mirrors.
A couple of our more artistic efforts.
Some photos of the palace grounds. We burned through a lot of film that day...
© 2000-2008 Doug Rathburn