Normandy, France

Omaha Beach Memorial

Monument “Les Braves” at Omaha Beach

Upon arriving at Omaha Beach, on the coast of Normandy, France, it was surprising to see it being used much as any beach would  be on a warm summer day with people swimming, playing and having family picnics.  What a difference 70 years make….  I am not saying the beach should be off limits, just that no TV documentaries I’ve seen depicted it being used as a normal beach, so I was surprised.  There are two war monuments on the beach, memorializing the 2,500 Americans who died during the initial assault.  The metal one, shown above, seems very appropriate for the marking of the site.  To me the artwork depicts bombs dropping into the sand and the resulting explosions.
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Paris, France


Three GracesStairs to LibraryParis is a beautiful city with a great deal of wonderful sights to see.  However, due to the Bastille Day festivities, many were fenced off or had fences around them that spoiled photographs.  Also, the unusually hot humid weather made venturing out a chore.  It seems a month-long stay in Pairs would be necessary to see the public fountains and sights in the right light.

Photos here are of the ‘Three Graces’ in the Louvre looking at an adjacent painting and the winding staircase leading to the Versailles royal library where I got a rare, private tour.
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Mona Lisa Mosh Pit

Mona Lisa

One does not wait in the hot humid weather and fight the crowd to get a good view of the Mona Lisa or study the brush strokes of Leonardo de Venci.  All this effort is to simply snap an phone picture of it, or worse, a ‘selfie’…  It is behind glass, so all photos have glare and reflections of other phone photographers. The end result is a snapshot of very poor quality. If you really want to see it, you would go to an art book. There is no organization, like a clockwise flow, entrance and exit. You have to struggle just as hard to get out of the mosh pit as to get in!  I think a LOT of travel is just so one can say, “I have been there….”

Bastille Day 2014 Paris, France

Eiffel Tower Panorama

Our trip to Paris was planned to coincide with the fireworks around the Eiffel Tower for Bastille Day, or as the French are sometimes quick to correct us, La Fête Nationale.   I arrived at the 59th floor of Tour Montparnasse nine hours early hoping to find a prime view of the Eiffel Tower.  There were very few spots left at that time, but was allowed to squeeze into one of the last remaining spots, thanks to Paris photographers Elhadj Ndoye and Laurent Sigwald.  It is the start of a goal of mine to get fireworks at several famous locations, such as the Statue of Liberty, Sydney Bridge and maybe Big Ben.

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Dijon, France

Dijon Mutard

We stopped in Dijon, mostly due to poor travel planning.  We looked at a map and calculated ‘this is about how far we can travel from Lauterbrunnen in one day,’ something we commonly due when driving in the States.  However, when already on a train going 185 mph there is no reason to get off at an arbitrary point.  Not much went well in Dijon for us.

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