Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bonjour ... the last leg of our trip ... Paris!

First .... let me say this. I went to France thinking I was going to hate it. I thought I was going to hate it because the people in Paris were going to be awful and rude and were going to do everything they could to show their dislike for Americans.

Possibly it is because I (we) went with that attitude in our mind that we had such a COMPLETELY opposite experience. We had a fantastic time in Paris - almost all the French people we encountered (minus the tourists) were friendly, helpful, and very interested in our lives in America. You can tell that the French are more "aloof" than other people, they definitely were not, for example, the overly welcoming, friendly people that we met in Germany who wave hello on the streets. However, it was nothing compared to what I was prepared for.

That said, it (Paris) is not really a place I have a dream to go again - it was beautiful - the architecture was out of this world amazing - but I'm glad we went. It was about a 4 1/2 hour drive from Heidelberg and everything you imagine about the French countryside .... is true. Rolling hills, farms ...vineyards ... it's all SOOOOOO pretty. We saw a sign off the highway for Argonne Forest and the American Cemetery. This is a significant part of WWI. We decide to "take a road trip" since we had Neverlost and all ... and went in search of this memorial. We figured it would be a few miles off the highway ...lol, it was like 40 miles off the highway. That was okay, though....we drove through several small French towns and it was like a story-book ... old lady watering her overflowing flowerpots of her tiny rambling (but cute) little brick cottage on a cobble-stone street, kids playing ... bakeries and patisseries ... everything you imagine that French towns would be like. They were. I can't even really begin to describe it. We finally get to the Forest/cemetery and it's just ..... well, you get the goosebumps. You see all the grave marker lined up (there were more than 14,000) and you start walking up to them and you notice that they are all within just a month or two of each other. There are over 900 "unnamed" graves at the cemetery and it was just ... moving, I guess you'd say.

Here's some pictures from that:

The rolling hills ... as you can see, a storm was brewing....

The cemetery ... click on the next photo to see what that grave with the flowers reads.
Click on this photo ... it'll give you goosebumps ...

Inside the chapel.

Picture of the tree lined walkway.

Another little town...if you click the picture, it looks better.

After the visit to the Cemetery, we got back on track and headed into Paris. The little detour cost us a little time, but saved us a few Euros ... it's a pretty expensive tollway going up to Paris!

I've decided to blog France in pieces, because it's where we took the most photos (can't imagine why!) This way you're not stuck reading a thirty page blog, you can just stop now and wait for Part Deux! :)

Have a good night!

Love, Rachel


Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures and very touching!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures and very touching!

Anonymous said...

You should go back to blogging ... I miss reading your posts!