Small market near the Bed and Breakfast.
 À la prochaine
Oui!
 Avenue des Champs-Élysées.  Looking ESE at the Place de la Concorde.  The Arc de Triomphe was 450 feet directly behind me.
Joyeuses Fêtes ... Joyeux Noël
Avenue des Champs-Élysées
Christmas Week, 2013

Paris

Second trip to La Ville-Lumière, and we decided this time to stay in a Bed & Breakfast.  A coworker and experienced traveler recommended it, and it was a brilliant idea! Our selection, My Open Paris, was the perfect place for us.
A neat experience, living like 'real' Parisians for a few days. Austin had a single room, efficiency-type apartment, whereas Mirna and I had a 2-room apartment. Both units had kitchenettes, and with the sun setting so early we'd typically get back to the b&b around 2000 hrs, prepare whatever we'd picked up at the neighborhood Carrefour for dinner, and settle in for the evening.
 My favorite person
 Orange puffies
 Night time Eiffel
 Say 'fromage'!
To say the Louvre is huge would be an understatement, and I don't think you could see everything there even if you spent an entire week looking through it. The museum has three massive wings, and we spent most of our time in the Denon wing (where the Mona Lisa is displayed-it's a safe bet that's what most people see first). 
 Selected pics from our day at the Louvre
And of course...      .
the lady we came to see:


Da Vinci's most famous is not much bigger than today's monster PC monitor.  The painting's actual size is 30" x 21", with frame probably very close to 3' x 2'.
Courtyards like this one--isolated from the public by the museum's various wings--were interesting  but in various stages of disrepair (and therefore off-limits).
 Watch out for the Red Guy!
We wanted to see more of the Egyptian artifacts, but there's just so much to see it's not possible to see even a fraction of the museum's pieces in one visit.  Most everything there involved a hellaciously long line, and so once we exhausted ourselves in the Louvre, didn't do too much more in the way of long lines.
We did bear a couple smaller lines—the one into the Notre Dame Cathedral, for example was a fairly short one, and the mass we witnessed inside was beautiful.
And, of course, we had to visit the Hard Rock Cafe to fork out way too much $$ for decent American cuisine.  Tried our damnedest to get Austin to try a beer—he's still sticking by his guns, despite being old enough to drink in any country on this continent! 
Considering the general dreariness of the weather, we got lucky with the rain; with the exception of a brief but nasty bout our third evening (see Notre Dame Cathedral photos... yech),the rain mostly held off until late at night.  Apparently the weather was exactly what Paris is famous for in late December.
Lunch was the big meal every day, and we had a couple very good French meals, but still had to eat at the Hard Rock Cafe one day (a tradition for us), and do Chinese another day. The HRC was just what we expected (good, but overpriced, American food) and the Chinese was probably the best Chinese we've all had in a long time. We just don't get good Chinese around here (there is one place we go, and it's not bad. OK, it's pretty bad).
A very patient young man awaits his wannabe photographer dad in the My Open Paris courtyard.
 Unsure of the story here; easily the coolest car we saw there.
Still can't get him to drink a beer...
Traveling like the locals is a theme we held to during this vacation, meaning anything beyond walking defaulted to Paris' city bus lines-instead of the Metro-and we learned the tricks fairly quickly.  Most importantly, if the bus stop nearest the attraction you're coming from won't get you there, stop at the bus route's first train station stop.  In a huge town like Paris, each train depot was basically a bus launch point as well.  



Au revoir!
© Philip, Mirna, and Austin Thompson