Thursday, May 24, 2012


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We left Taiwan at late night of Friday, May 4 on a direct flight of EVA airline to Paris and arrived in the early morning of Saturday, the 5th.  We rented a car and drove straight to Reims at the heart of Champagne region.  We arrived at our destination before 11 AM and had a chance to visit the Cathedral before having our first French meal on the trip.  After lunch, we drove through a small segment of Route Touristique de Champagne in the Champagne-producing region before heading back onto highway A4 to Metz in the Lorriane region to spend the night.  The next day, Sunday, the 6th, we made our tour of the old town of Metz before driving to the old town of Strasbourg, Petite France.  We had lunch at Petite France then headed south on highway A35 to Colmar, deep in the wine growing region of Alsace.  We stayed in the Petite Venice, the old town of Colmar.  On Monday, the 7th, we visited two small villages, Kayserberg and Riquewihr alone the Route du Vine Alsace before crossing the northern end of Vosges mountain and coming back into the Lorriane region to visit Nancy.  We stayed close to its old town, Place Stanislas.  Tuesday, the 8th, we drove from Nancy back to the Charles de Gaulle Airport, returned the car and took a taxi to Paris downtown.  Grace was busy for her meetings during the next three days.  We did some shopping together on Wednesday morning at Galleries Lafayette, I then spent three hours photographing Eiffel Tower.  On Thursday, I walked through most of the familiar places in Paris by myself.  I did not do any photography on Friday, instead, spent the whole day at Musée d'Orsay.  However, I did spend sometime at night to photograph the Arc de Triomphe.  We flew back to Taiwan on Saturday, May 12, a short but compact trip!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Invalides from Pont Alexandre III
Petit Palais
Place de la Concorde
Institute de France 
Cathédrale Notre-Dame
Fontaine Saint-MIchel
Place de Odéon

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A4 near Verdun on the Way Back to Paris

We did not stop at Verdun, although it is a 3-star Michelin Green Guide destination.  The history is too heavy for us.  The story was, the year after the WWI was over, when the Spring came, the whole field was covered with puppy flowers.  That is the reason, till today, people still wear the puppy flower on WWI memorial day.  When we passed by the area in this cloudy spring day, the field is covered with Rapeseed flowers.

We had a quick lunch at the rest area of A4 near Verdun then arrived a Charles de Gaulles airport in late afternoon to return the car and headed to Paris on Taxi.

Parc de la Pépinière, Nancy

Nancy, France

We left Alsace on May 7, Monday and arrived at Nancy just in time for dinner.  We stayed at a Mercure Hotel near Place Stanislas.  We chose the hotel mainly because it is closed to the historical center.  The hotel is only so so and we dined at a gastronomic restaurant just next to the hotel, the worst meal since arriving to France.  After dinner, I walked over to the Place Stanislas to photograph the night scene. I then went with Grace early next morning again to have a proper tour of the area.

Place Stainislas was built between 1752-1755 by Duke of Lorraine, former two times king of Poland,  Stanisław Leszczyński.  The City Hall of Nancy (Hôtel de Ville) is situated at the northern side of the square.

The square was packed with local people at night with many restaurants and cafe around it.  The statue in the center of the square is Stanisław Leszczyński.

At eastern side of the square are two symmetrical buildings, one housed the Opéra National de la Lorraine, and the other is the Grand Hôtel de la Reine.

Opéra National de la Lorraine  photographed in the morning sun.  On the western side of the square, there are another two identical buildings, one housed the Fine Art Museum and the other, the Pavillon Jacquet.

The southwest and southeast entrance into the square are gilded wrought iron gates and lanterns created by Jean Lamour (1698–1771).  The northeastern gate leads to Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l'Annonciation de Nancy.

At northern side of the square, the buildings was lower, in the center is the Arc de Triomphe built by Emmanuel Héré, the architect to Stanisław Leszczyński.

Beyound the Arc de Triomphe is the Place de la Carrière, which leads to Palais du Gouvemement.

 Arc de Triomphe at night.

Arc de Triomphe under the morning sun.

At northeastern and northwestern sides are two gilded wrought iron gates with ornate fountains by Barthélémy Guibal (1699–1757).

Place de Carriere is lined on two sides by row houses and trees all the way to the Palais du Gouvemement.

Palais du Gouvemement as seem at night.

The columns as seem from the hallway of the Palais du Gouvemement.

I have to hold Grace up and have her climbed up one of the base of the Column to get the picture of the Basilica Saint-Epvre.

 Walking away from the Place de Carriere and passing the Place de Saint-Epvre, we turned onto the Grand Rue.  On one side of the Grand Rue is the Musèe de Lorain, a fine example of early Renaissance architecture.

There are many interest small shops, restaurants and boutiques along the Grand Route.

The Grand Route took us all the way to the old city gate of Loraine, Porte de la Craffe, built in 1463.  We then turn to the east and walked through the beautiful Parc de la Pépinière and traced our footsteps back to the Place Stainislas to have breakfast and people watching.  The day was la Fête de la Victoire 1945 in France and she had a new president François Gérard Georges Nicolas Hollande.  It was about time for us to pack up and drive back to Paris.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Vosges Mountain

Vosges Mountain separates the French spoken Lorraine from German spoken Alsace.  The area has been fought bitterly between France and Germany throughout history.  After finishing lunch on May 7, Sunday at Riquewihr, we took D416 to cross the northern end of the Vosges Mountain to Saint-Marie-aux-Mines to join N59 and went through the tunnel that connect Lorraine with Alsace.

On D416, we had a glimpse of the beautiful rolling hills of Vosges Mountain.  A famous road, Route des Crêtes, goes through the ridge of the whole length of Vosges Mountain.  Originally a major military road built during the WWI, now a 3-star tourist destination of Michelin Green Guide.  It passes monuments and cemeteries in memory of 10s of thousands of soldiers of both-side died during the World War I.


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