Paris Vacation


A collection of photos from Art's Paris vacation in June of 1998. Art took along an Olympus D-600L digital camera and his notebook computer and sent pictures back. We can all share in his vacation due to Internet technology.

Included further down the page after the photos are stories from Paris.

Vacation Photos

Click on Camera Icons to View Pictures

18 Photos Received 6/26/98


9 Photos Received 6/28/98


15 Photos Received 6/29/98


3 Photos Received 6/30/98


Visiting the Sewer, Received 6/30/98


Last Batch of 8 Photos Received 7/01/98


Paris Links
LA VUE DE PARIS (Paris Web Cam)

Stories From Paris

A Paris Nightmare in Broad Daylight

By Ramona Bell 6/28/98

It was very innocent, to go shopping for some dress clothing for Art and myself. We decided to go to a Paris department store called Galleries Lafayette because I felt it would have a better choice for the both of us. So on Saturday, we take a cab to the store. Now the nightmare begins.

First, it seems that Saturday is the day everyone wants to do the same thing we are doing, shopping, and this was the place to be. It was unfortunate that there was a massive discount sale in every department on every floor of this huge shopping mall. Men and women of all walks of life and cultures seem to be wandering aimlessly from table to table, department to department, level to level, searching for that all important bargain. Heaven forbide if you had your hand on an item that someone else wanted, things were snatched from my grip before I had a chance to look at the size or price. Just moving from one area to another required serious navigational skills and sometimes it was easier to just go with the flow. To top things off, we would have to wait two to three weeks just for alterations. So, with one shirt, and two pairs of pants, we went to find a cashier.

Next problem, in France, there are not cash registers in each department, there are booths called "Cassir", there are two per floor, and the line was long, checkout complicated by those returning items. It was unfortunate that the weather was scheduled for rain, very humid inside the store as well as outside, very little air-conditioning. But the tolerance of the people in the line was in a word, subdued, like it was acceptible, a part of life. In the United States, I would have left my purchases at the closest table and walked away if I had to wait more than 5 minutes.

After that, we sat on a bench outside the store to watch the masses of people walk by. Personally, if I had been alone, I may have had better luck alone, because shopping with a husband in tow is worse than having kids with you. But we survived the experience, and made note that Saturdays are not the best time to hit the stores in Paris.

All in all, at least Art will look good in his new togs, I plan to take off on my own to maybe buy a little something for myself at another time. Until then, this is Ramona Bell wishing everyone best wishes.

Our Paris Vacation Made Easy Via The Internet

By Ramona Bell 6/30/98

We decided in early May that it was high time that Art and Ramona Bell take a long-awaited and well-needed vacation. Paris was our choice as the best place to go because we had visited the "city of lights" once before. Actually, it was five years before, we had flown over on the Concord with a group of listeners for a total of five days-too short a time to really enjoy all that Paris had to offer, plus at that time, we were both still working at K-D-W-N in Las Vegas, so in a word, we had very little money to spend. Now that our budget is a little bigger, it was time to plan our trip, without the aid of a travel agency. How was this accomplished? Through the magic of the Internet.

I first logged on to AOL and went to the travel section, typed in our desired destination, and the time that we could go and started with airline flights. There were dozens of flights leaving from different airports on different airlines, so it took more than three hours online to finally find the best route for us at a reasonable price.

Now came the hard part, where to stay. When I started to search for a hotel, I found that most of the hotels online were booked, so I called the online service to ask why I was having a problem booking a room, I was horrified to find that France was hosting the World Cup, or "Coupe du Mond" and that most of the hotels had been sold out monthes in advance. The service suggested that I call some of the major hotel chains on my own, saying that I might have better luck going that route. So with 3 hotels in mind, I started calling Paris long-distance to try and find a place to hang our hats.

One hotel was availible, but was 15 minutes outside of Paris, Art said, "Try again." So the next place I tried was availible, but they could only take our reservation if we had American Express. Art said, "Try somewhere else." Feeling mildly frustrated, I tried calling the Hilton International chain, hoping my efforts would payoff. Well, yes and no. Yes, there were rooms, but I had to reserve two nights prepaid in advance. To make the headache worse, I could not simply use my credit card over the phone, I had to fill out a prepayment form that the hotel faxed to me, plus make a photo-copy of the front and back of my card, then fax all three back to the Paris Hilton. So far so good, but I had to keep calling to be sure that my faxes were received and that my reservations were confirmed.

With that hurdle out of the way, now it was time to go back online to find information on some places to go, things to do, and how to make our way around the city, and a few other need to know things. I had to learn a little french just to make things a bit easier, like how to ask if a person could speak english, a few greetings, asking for the check, and that Art's steak has "non rouge", no red inside. This is the first time in the nearly seven years that we have been married that we have gone anywhere alone, so though is may seem a bit selfish, I wanted Art all to myself in the most romantic city in the world. So once again from the city of lights and love, Avoir and A Bientot Mon Ami.

Taking a Walk on the Odd Side of Paris

By Ramona Bell 7/14/98

It was a dream come true, after 5 years, we were finally returning to Paris. With our hotel situated on the left bank of the "Seine" river, the "Eiffel Tower" and "Palais de Chaillot" serving as backdrops for our first vacation all to ourselves, we were ready to rediscover the "City of Lights" once again. But it was not what I expected or planned for, spending our vacation in Paris while France was in the throes of several major sporting events. With the "Coupe du Monde" or "World Cup Soccer Championship" in it's second week, the French Open Golf tournament begining on that saturday, the French Grand Prix for the formula fuel car fans and the continuing saga of "The Tour de France" bicycle competition all going on at the same time, "The City of Lights" aquired a wild, frantic air of "SportsMania", which if you are not a fan of any of these sports may seem quite boring. But this made for some of the crazier moments we captured during our treks around the city. Sunday found us heading to what may be called the main drag of Paris, the "Champs-Elysees".

From the "Arc de Triomphe" to the "Place' de la Concorde" soccer fans from France, Brazil and other countries crowded the sidewalks, their team colors on clothing, flags, scarves, in crazy hats and some of the wildest face paint jobs that I have seen since an "Alice Cooper" concert that I attended in '78. After hearing news reports of problems with English, German, and Yugoslavian fans, I will admit that we were a little ambivilent going into crowds of soccer fanaticos, but everyone we encountered expressed a true passion for enjoying themselves, even though some of that enthusiasm was due to spirited celebration of a liquid nature. Once we reached the "Place' de la Concorde", our intentions were to take pictures in front of the Egyptian Obelisk, but, due to the traffic that constantly circle it at speeds which would make any Indy 500 driver jealous, and barricades surrounding the 3500 year-old monument preventing us from getting any closer than 20 feet, we took a few long distance pics, then proceeded to the "Tuileries Gardens" to do a bit more people watching and have a short break before heading back to the hotel. Now being on vacation has this strange effect on me, I have a slight problem with judging distance and directions. It happens on every trip we have taken, but Art always seems to leave the job of map reading and finding the right "Metro" line to take in my hands. The "Metro", by the way, is the form of public transportation that links the city's 22 districts by railways. Since there is never a taxi when you need one, I had the great brainstorm that we could take the "Metro" back, but as luck would have it, I got us lost walking nearly a mile underground before finding the right number rail stop-right number metro-wrong direction, which entailed walking another quarter-mile just so we can catch our ride. By now I realized that with all that wandering around, we could have just walked back with time to spare. Just call me "Pathfinder".

Another day found us at visiting the studios of Radio France International once again, enjoying a reunion with our friend, John Maguire, who was now the Chief Editor for the News Department. My, how things change, but sometimes they remain the same. Though the station now had it's own web sites, now offered programs that can be heard on real audio, in french and english, and finding John newly promoted, the studios still use reel to reel to record news clips and commmercials. It's like finding an 8-track tape in your CD collection. We offered our congradulations to John, had a quick tour of the studios for some pictures, introduced John to Art's web site and gave him a listen to some of the show on real audio. Then, because the poor man still had to finish his workday, we said our adieus', and returned to our hotel. Our fearless leader then asked me if there were any sights that I wanted to see. Which now leads us to......

"Les egouts de Paris", The Paris Sewer System. Yes, as we descended into the depths of Paris, to see the "city beneath the city", we discovered why the guidebook said "not for the squeamish or claustorphobic". Our noses assaulted by the foul odors of sewege flowing through canals built more that 100 years ago that service Paris to this day, still marked by the original street signs of a century gone by, we learned that no other city in the world has a sewer network like this one, housing drinking and non-potable water mains, compressed air pipes, telephone cables and pneumatic tubes. And though this history of this place was very rich, the odors were starting to make me feel queasy, so we hurried through the remainder of the mueseum, purchased a coin to commemorate our visit to yet another weird place, then made our way to the surface. I had to agree with Art that it had to be the worst idea I had since we arrived. As they say in France, "C'est la Vie".

The final stop in our adventures into the strange and unusual was to visit the famed "Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise" or "The Pere Lachaise Cemetary", final resting place of "The Lizard King", rock legend Jim Morrison. I had read an article in the magazine "High Times", by John Rocco about Morrison, his fall from grace in Miami that, as rock critic Richard Goldstein wrote, was the begining of the end for the Doors and literally for Morrison, of his demise in July 1971 in Paris, the fact that the site he is buried at was leased for 30 years and that in the year 2001, when the current lease expires, it will not be renewed because of damage to surrounding sites and tombs caused by tourists. His remains will be removed, destination unknown as to where they will go, but it is said Morrison requested that his ashes be scattered along Venice Beach, where the Doors got their start. Now trying to find the man's resting place was like participating in a easter egg hunt in a haunted forest. The cemetary was huge, 115 acres, and old, established in 1626 by the Jesuits as a rest home for their order, was transformed into a cemetary by Napoleon in 1803, and is the final resting place for many famous people, Fredric Chopin, Maria Callas, Sarah Bernhardt, Oscar Wilde and Isadora Duncan to name a few. Seems like Morrison was in good company. After trudging around for an hour and a half, we found his headstone. Some of the more morbid fans who were there posed with the stone for pictures, but when they were finshed, I took a small pin of an American Flag from my pocket, kissed it, then placing it at the foot of the stone, I said, "Here's a little reminder of where you will be coming back to soon, rest in peace, see you on the other side". Well that brings us to the end of our journey, Mon Amis. Merci Beaucoup and A bientot.