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Mary in Paris with Notre Dame in the background.

Number of resturants, cafes and clubs in Paris: over 15,000

A view down the Seine with Notre Dame to the right.

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Built for the 1889 Exposition Universelle, the Eiffel Tower was never intended to be a permanent feature of the city

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On the Pont d'Arcolle (Arcolle Bridge) with ILe de la Cité (Cité Island) in the background.

Number of bridges that span the Seine: 36 (the Pont Alexandre III is the most ornate)

Rick at the corner of Rue Mazarine and Rue de Seine. That's the Institute de France in the background illustrating quite well the wonderful architecture Paris is famous for.

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The contents of the Musée Picasso - no fewer than 200 paintings, 158 sculptures, and 3,000 drawings - were acquired by France in lieu of an inheritance tax. This collection amounts to 1/4 of Picasso's works

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Along the River Seine with the impressively huge Musée du Louvre (Louvre Museum) across the river, home of the most famous painting in the world, Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa.

Number of tourists who visit Paris each year: over 20 million

Inside our favorite Paris museum, the Musée d'Orsay (Orsay Museum). Situated in an old railway station, the building itself is a work of art.

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90% of French women and 50% of French men use perfume

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The Musée Rodin (Rodin Museum), with a modern Paris skyscraper in the background.

The bell in the tower of Sacré Coeur, called La Savoyarde, weighs in at 21 tons

On the steps of Basilica Sacré Coeur at the top of the hill in Montmartre, a favorite place for people to sit and relax for awhile. From these steps is a great view overlooking Paris.

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The Eiffel Tower, at 1,050 feet tall, only sways 5 inches in high winds!

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One of our favorite "hangouts". This little bistro is on the Plaza du Tertre near Sacré-Coeur.

Mary contemplating the uncanny similarities between herself and the mermaid in this fountain near Pompidou Center in Paris.

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The Eiffel Tower was scheduled to be dismantled shortly after the 1889 Exposition Universelle, but was saved by an entrepreneur’s clever idea of using the top of the tower to house radio antennas. There are two ways to get to the middle platform - take an elevator or walk up a zillion steps (actually, "only" 1,652). My advice: take the elevator. From the middle another elevator will take you to the top where the views are exceptional.

Celebrating Rick's 50th birthday on a dinner cruise along the Seine.

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Annual visitors to the Eiffel Tower: over 4 million

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We always stay at the Hotel Abbatial St. Germain whenever we're in Paris. A block from Notre Dame, it's in one of the more vibrant sections of Paris, the Latin Quarter.

Rick under the Eiffel Tower. At a height of 1,050 feet, it was the tallest structure in the world for 40 years. When it was built by Gustav Eiffel in 1888, the tower created a great deal of opposition from Parisians. Elevators will take you to less than 100 feet from the top.

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Going from downtown London to downtown Paris is a comfortable three hour ride on a Eurostar train by way of the Channel Tunnel. Even when travelling at 189 miles per hour, the ride is smooth and quiet. Here are two of the trains waiting at Gar du Nord station in Paris.

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One of Rick's business trips to Europe required him to travel to Bordeaux to provide training to his company's local site on the business software they were implementing. This is Margaret, a co-worker and fellow trainer, on a rainy morning in downtown Bordeaux.

Rick's train to Bordeaux pulls into the station at Paris' Charles De Gualle airport where the flight from San Francisco landed. A trip from Paris to Bordeaux goes by quickly when riding a train travelling 185 miles per hour.

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Arcachon is a beach resort on the Atlantic ocean about an hour's drive west of Bordeaux.

Near Arcachon is Europe's highest sand dune, the 360 foot tall Dune de Pilat.

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