We went to France to join in celebrating the 50th wedding anniversary of my sister-in-law’s parents. It has been nearly 20 years since we’ve been in Paris, but except for Notre Dame, it’s hard to believe these icons of the city have changed much.
The Eiffel Tower is a near constant on the horizon, a reminder that you’re in one of the world’s great cities.
Along with the rest of the world, we’ll watch as the French restore the wonder that is Notre Dame.
The Louvre was an early destination, of course. And 18 years later, Mona Lisa is probably still smiling.
We joined the throngs seeing the Arc de Triomphe up close.
We hoofed it up the hill to Sacre Coeur and deemed it worth the climb.
The trip wouldn’t have been complete without visiting The Thinker at the Rodin Museum.
We must have been determined not to miss a single tourist cliché.
The Pompidou Centre, wearing its plumbing on the outside, attracted an audience at all hours.
The Luxembourg Garden welcomed us when we needed a break from sightseeing.
The Canal St. Martin was a sweet spot, charming and apparently less well known to tourists.
Our ultimate destination each day was a streetside table at a cafe, where we could idle an hour away, watching as Paris went by.
After the 2019 fire, it seems especially appropriate to admire Notre Dame.
The 225-foot-high north tower had scaffolding even 18 years ago. In the 2019 blaze, firefighters feared if that tower’s eight huge bronze-alloy bells fell, they would bring down the south tower, too, and the cathedral would have been lost.
The circular stained-glass, or “rose” windows, are one of the most prized aspects of Notre Dame. These 12th and 13th Century works of art were not damaged in the fire.
One of the first cathedrals to use flying buttresses was Notre Dame. These arched, external supports enabled builders to erect very tall but comparatively thin stone walls, so that much of the wall space could be filled with stained-glass windows.
A spiral staircase of fan-shaped steps leads to a gallery that offers a close-up of the gargoyles that played supporting roles in Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
During daylight at the height of the tourist season, the square in front of the cathedral looks like this day after day.
A bit of what you see when you’re walking the streets in Lisbon.
Lisbon, population about 500,000, is big-city Europe.
But old-world charm is everywhere just off its main streets.
Lisbon is built on hills, and there’s always something to see when you look up.
Even windows, doors, balconies and (tiled) walls deserve a moment’s attention.
As good a shot of the 360-foot Statue of Christ the King as we could get from across the Tagus.
Campo Pequeno, a prominent Lisbon bullring.
Rossio Square, said to be the liveliest in the city. That column is supporting a bronze statue of Pedro IV, King of Portugal and first emperor of Brazil.
In the center, between buildings, is Igreja de São Domingos, dedicated in the 13th Century and once the largest church in the city. Formerly host to royal weddings, it now is a national monument.
Sunset at Santa Maria de Belém church.
That sign on the WWI Memorial in front of the Spanish Embassy says “Greve Geral,” meaning “general strike.” The strike included pilots and airport staff, and our flight home was delayed the day after we saw this sign.
Sunset with cable car and Vasco da Gama Bridge near our hotel. The 11-mile-long bridge is the second longest in Europe.