Photos from Paris, France, Unloaded From Camera January 24, 2004  (January 24, 2004)

(Click on any of the thumbnails below to view the full-sized photo.)

These are pictures of my hotel room after I got all unpacked and figured out where to put things.  Not bad for a 3-month prison cell ... a bit small, but it will work.

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On French TV in the mornings around 7:30 a.m., I discovered the PBS show with the talking airplanes.

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Today I'll go to Cergy-Le Haut to get a cup of coffee and something sweet ... on the way to the train station, I pass the university in Cergy-St. Christophe.  I have no idea what is taught at the university; and it seems to be only a single building.

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Also some interesting graffiti on what I believe is an elementary school ... overall not a bad spray job ...

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Now I'm aboard the train for my exciting journey going to the next train stop ... the "A" train can be a bit confusing if you don't know what you're looking for because at both ends (after it leaves the most dense area of Paris) it can go to different destinations.  The situation is further confounded by maintenance that has been going on the past few weekends.  You have to read the train schedules ... not just any "A" train will do ...

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A universal constant seems to be posters to entice young men and women to join the armed forces ... these posters were at the Cergy-St. Christophe train station ...

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Ah, yes, I've arrived about 120 seconds later at Cergy-Le Haut.

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This is my good friend, the theatre chain that shows some movies in English ... YES!

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The entrance/exit of the RER station in Cergy-Le Haut.

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Now, I'm off for another exciting train journey.  I noticed that at one end of the "A" train lies Parcs Disneyland.  I'd like to check it out to see how enticing it is.  Spending my Euros there will have to wait for another day, if ever.  The first checklist item is to be sure that I have my train pass ...

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And let's photograph the fire alarm (I think) on the way out ...

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And here is a familiar piece of technology ...

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Here is the exterior view of my room.  It is Room 9, center of boredom in Cergy-St. Christophe.

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Here is a cool warning sign on an electrical equipment cabinet at the hotel ...

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Here is the exterior view of the hotel ...

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Next door is the Hotel Bonsai.  Who names a hotel Bonsai?

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The sign on the Hotel Bonsai needs some translation.  The translation is "Once you take a shower, use the toilet, and watch some TV, you'll get a C+ on your exam and be as happy as a dog".  Really, that is what it means.

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On weekdays and Saturdays the market area of Cergy-St. Christophe is quite active.  This is the market area on a Saturday.

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The main lobby of the train station, including one of the terror machines.  The machines are a true terror if you don't speak French.  I can barely use them.

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On the "A" line, there is a station (Archeres-Ville) near a cemetery.  I had noticed the cemetery and often wanted to visit it.  Today seemed like a good day to look around.  The pictures below were taken from the train station.

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This is the schematic of the major Paris train lines ... 

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Destination:  Parcs Disneyland.

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The display confirms that I have about 22 minutes until the next train, so time to leave the train station and take some pictures of the cemetery ...

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One thing I had noticed about the cemetery is that there seemed to be an abundance of flowers, which seemed like an expensive proposition.  However, when I examined the flowers, I noticed that all seemed to be plastic flowers.  That is a real money-saver and keeps the cemetery looking sharp!

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More photos of the cemetery ...

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... getting back on the train platform ...

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This sign was on one of the metal columns ... I have no idea what it means ... but it can't be good ...

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The informational board confirms that there is maintenance again this weekend and the train will go to St. Lazare ...

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... on the train ... probably to St. Lazare.

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Have switched trains at St. Lazare ... destination:  La Defense.

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A universal constant seems to be cash-strapped governments that dupe the public into gambling ... I wonder if French citizens are assured that half of the lottery proceeds go for education ...

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Pain is bought and sold in France, just like rice or steel.  This store sells pain inflicted using potatoes.

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Another universal constant ...

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Another universal constant ...

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The entrance to the RER station at La Defense.

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At this point, I had to tap a kidney real bad.  So, I went above ground in search of a restroom, and also to see what the "grand arch" was.  I was surprised at what I found ... the grand arch is a fairly recent structure, and is really quite a piece of art.  The size is deceptive ... it is a huge office building ... the people in the pictures below should provide a size reference.  There is kind of an amphitheater and open-air tourist elevators to the top built in to the design.  I would assume that for those who work in the office building, there are internal elevators.  The structure inside the arch in the photos below is the open-air elevator shaft.

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This dome below is an IMAX theater.

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View from the ground floor while waiting for the elevator.

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Elevator entrance ...

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Looking up at the open-air elevator shaft ...

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Cattle car on its way down ...

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In the elevator, on the way up ...

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Here approaching the inner ceiling ...

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Once inside, there is an art gallery at the top.  Disappointingly, there was not a phone number with the painting of a woman ...

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Stairs up to the observation deck on the roof ...

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Map near the gift shop ...

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The view from the top.  In some of the photos, you can see the Eiffel Tower in the distance.  A Dutch tourist was nice enough to take my picture for me ...

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A little coffee shop, also at the top ...

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Me having coffee ... the picture was taken by me holding the camera at arm's length ...

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Looking through the plexiglass door down the elevator shaft waiting for the cattle car to come ...

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Here comes the cattle car ...

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On the steps, there was a lot of graffiti ...

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Some visitors enjoying a snack on the steps ...

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A photo of the steps ... the scale is deceiving ... that thing is huge.

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Oops, I've been distracted by the arch ... destination:  Parc Disneyland.

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Train and train station photos on the way ...

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This was a comic piece of signage.  It essentially enumerates every way you can possibly accidentally launch yourself in front of a train, and cautions you not to do it.

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Another piece of signage.  It means that rabbits are not allowed to put their fingers in the doors.

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At last, Parc Disneyland, complete with a water tower with mouse ears.  I need to check out the park on the internet before I decide if I actually want to pay to get in.

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Now I'm going back to Cergy-St. Christophe ...

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This is a tacky coin bag I bought at the grand arch, and it will let me take my coins to the laundromat ...

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These are a few photos of the double-decker train cars.  Some trains have single-level cars, others have double-deckers.  They did a nice job on the double-decker cars.  They seem well built and comfortable.

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Another constant in life ... people accumulate too much stuff so self-storage places are useful ...

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Yet another constant ... priority seating for elderly and mothers with children, etc.

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What I believe is a caution against unattended baggage ...

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A schematic depiction of the "A" line again ...

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A nice train station I found near a mall ...

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The never let tourists go anywhere fun ...

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More pain for sale ...

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Vending machines, another universal constant.  The prices are unworldly ... that is essentially a $2.50 coke for sale ...

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The St. Lazare station is a monster of a train station ... here are some photos ...

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