Welcome to Thom Randolph's photo site for France 2008!

To see the pictures, select from the photo albums below. In many of them, there are more photos than you might see at first; they have sub-folders inside the albums. Some albums allow comments, others don't. To navigate among the albums when you're away from this home page, use the drop-down list above, or click the site name above. I hope you enjoy viewing the photos as much as I did taking them.

France 2008

Our trip to France in October 2008: This is the long-awaited album of Margot and my vacation in France. It was wonderful! I cannot say enough good things about the place! The people were 99% kind and warm and friendly, the food was outstanding, the sights were indeed magnificent. No wonder everyone wants to go! Thank you to everyone who made our visit possible, our trip memorable, and our time in your country wonderful.

Friends and Family

The great people we met and shared our time withThe great people we met and shared our time with: Margot, born and raised in France, was not only my personal interpret and tour-guide, but she also helped me see the not-so-touristy side of France. Namely, Nancy and the Lorraine countryside. The photos in this area are of the many kind and generous and wonderful people in her family, and their homes. I can't thank Margot's mother enough for her kindness, patience and generosity throughout our stay. For a woman who does not drive...EVER, she did amazingly well as we drove around the countryside, abruptly stopping to look at ancient buildings in near ruin, a graveyard, and so on. Thanks Mama!

Topics of Study

Food, Urban Art, People on the Street, and other interesting sightsFood, Urban Art, People on the Street, and other interesting sights: This section collects some subjects that I purposely tried to get a wide variety of. Some really weren't all that thrilled with having me store the photons they freely sprayed from themselves, but I captured them nonetheless. People are always a fascinating subject, and candid shots of them being themselves are sometimes difficult to get. Paris is also home to a wide variety of cultures and thus their foods, so I've captures a good deal of those as well. Unlike America where we all seem to drive either a Prius or and SUV, France has a wider variety of oddly shaped vehicles. And finally, what city would be complete without graffiti, tagging and the creative defacement of anything vertical? While there is little graffiti in France, there is some, even if it's not quite as good as New York or Los Angeles.

Areas of Paris

Places and things to see and do around ParisPlaces and things to see and do around Paris: The wonderful city of Paris has many neighborhoods, each with their own flavor, charm, and even seedy underbelly. Starting with the studio apartment with an excellent location but not enough room for our luggage, and then Montmarte, the cute top-of-the-hill artist colony near the hotel we found. The Hotel Sofie, right between Barbes and Pigalle. WARNING: Pigalle is the Red Light District of Paris, and no matter how fashionable, it's still a place of adult themes and images; if you are offended by them, please don't view the sub-folder of Barbes and Pigalle. I kept those images from the top-level set, so hopefully nobody will be offended there.From there it's on the Pont Neuf and along the River Seine, and a favorite of mine, the Institute of France. It's where they keep the language locked up from pesky Americanisms and Quebeckers. Past the Louvre is the Jardins de Tuileries. Around the Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris is the island Cites. The Pantheon is a cool place with lots of old schools. And finally we end up with the required boat tour of Paris. Only this time we do the tour in the pouring rain. Made me feel right at home.

Arc De Triomphe and Eiffel Tower

The Arc and the TowerThe Arc and the Tower: What trip to France would be complete without visiting these iconic, and frankly HUGE monuments. Margot and I figured we had only so many days, and on the map the two seem like they're right next door, and we wanted to get the more touristy areas done in one major day. So we went back to the gardens near the Louvre, and walked up the Champs Elysee, walked around the Arc, but not up it this time. We then walked down the deceptively long Rue Kleber where all the embassies are, and then to the Eiffel Tower. We went up the tower and took quite a few photos of the surrounding areas. Once back on the ground, we decided we were tired, so we took a taxi back to the hotel, took a nap, and then came back to the Arc De Triomphe at 10pm to see the light show playing on the Eiffel Tower. So up we climbed, only to be told "sorry, no tripods". Oh well, we made do, and got some decent photos nonetheless. Even witnessed a car accident far far below!

The Louvre Museum

The endless and splendid LouvreThe endless and splendid Louvre: If you've ever been to the Louvre, you know that you can't see everything. It's like going to Seattle and visiting every single store. You just can't do it in one day. So instead, we did about four hours. By the third hour, Margot found a comfy bench and went to sleep while I took pictures of ever Baby Jesus and Angel I could find. And my there were lots of them. WARNING: The old master painters and sculptors didn't always put clothing on their subjects. If you are offended by images of nudity, either male or female, you might be better off staying away from these pictures. They are art of the highest form, world-renowned and priceless. But, that doesn't mean they don't offend people. The top-level images have little or no obvious nudity except for the Venus de Milo, but Paintings and Sculpture definitely do.

Cathedral Notre Dame De Paris

The old and magnificent Cathedral Notre Dame...in ParisThe old and magnificent Cathedral Notre Dame...in Paris: I think that description pretty well sums it up. Yes, it's very large. Yes, it's very old. And yes, it's a church where people go to worship every day of the year. The architecture, the sheer size of it, the stained glass, and the Catholic significance is very impressive. The thing to remember about "Notre Dame" is that there are LOTS of them. Heck, there's one in Indiana! In this case, it's the Cathedral that was built in Paris, thus the name. Later on in the trip we visited a much cleaner Notre Dame, in Saint Nickolas. And no, I don't mean Santa Claus. The Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris sits on the island named Cites, right in the middle of the River Seine. There are more photos of the area around the Cathedral in the Cites section of the Areas of Paris album.

Jardin Du Luxembourg

Wonderful Paris garden with fountains and statuesWonderful Paris garden with fountains and statues: When Margot's mother worked in Paris, these are the gardens in which she ate her lunch, and strolled around in that very Parisian way. I can see why. The gardens are right in the middle of Paris, with just enough trees, benches, fountains, sculpture, flowers, grass and such to make it really quite lovely. It's a pleasant mix of old bronze and marble statues with newer metal pieces, some whimsical, and some of questionable quality. But, who wouldn't love a 20-foot tall head of Jesus in your back yard, eh?

London, England

The palace, the busses, Big Ben, noise, people, trafficThe palace, the busses, Big Ben, noise, people, traffic: Margot surprised me on Wednesday with a day trip through the Chunnel on the TGV to London! Wow, what a different place than Paris. While it's important to say nothing bad about our English friends, London seemed a mis-mash of old and new and broken and shiny, all crushed together in a tiny space, with about one half of the roads under construction at any one time. We were happy to get back to France...especially when a Lorry caught fire in the Chunnel and they closed it for 3 days after we were safely back in France!

The Palace at Versailles

The palace and gardens of Louis XIV's palace at VersaillesThe palace and gardens of Louis XIV's palace at Versailles: Our second day-trip away from Paris, the Palace and Gardens of Versailles are immense, beautiful, and very very gold. This guy Louis XIV was pretty happy with himself, and my he must have spent one pretty penny on that place! No, fast-forward to the 21st century, and along comes an American, Jeff Koons, who puts up a whole bunch of larger-than-life balloon animals, and a porcelain statue of Michael Jackson and Bubbles...the chimp. All of France was aghast. Me, being American, saw the juxtaposition of cheap mylar blow-up animals with the riches of the ancient masters as pretty darned hilarious. My favorite was definitely the huge blue mylar balloon in the hall of mirrors.

Nancy, France

The everyday, normal city of NancyThe everyday, normal city of Nancy: Margot was raised in Nancy, France. It's nearly at the Eastern end of the country, close to Germany and Strasbourg. The town is famous for a particular type of cookie: the Madelaine, of which I don't think we actually had any! There's a really nice museum there, and a cool Plaza named Place Stanislas. Somebody who King Louis really liked had a pretty nice square built; it is pretty darned nice! Every Saturday night they have a light show that's projected onto the main building, and so we went to that. We'd have gotten more pictures except for the drunk guy who simply would NOT leave us alone. Finally I tricked him into thinking I only spoke Spanish. And if you know me, you know I don't speak Spanish AT ALL. I was betting he didn't know Spanish, but probably did speak English. Eventually he went away. Anyway, it's a nice, rather quiet part of town where a lot of Margot's family live. Everyone was wonderful to us; I miss them!

Lorraine Region

The countryside and smaller villages of LorraineThe countryside and smaller villages of Lorraine: Surrounding Nancy is the very large, very French agricultural region of Lorraine. There are some, but not quite so many vineyards as other parts, but there are some. Much of it is rolling countryside, used for grazing, growing hay, and herding sheep. Very often the dust generated by the farm machinery and cars bring haze to the region, but we were very fortunate to have relatively clear skies while there. Our stops included the small and very old town of Liverdun, a trip to the Cathedral Notre Dame De Saint Nickolas, some unnamed small towns on our way to see the sadly disappointing Baccarat museum, a park, a cemetery, a TGV station, and the hill-top church at Sion.

Strasbourg, France

The nearly Germanic Alscace town of StrasbourgThe nearly Germanic Alscace town of Strasbourg: Strasbourg is further east from Nancy, very close to the German boarder. Had the Allies not won the battle of Verdun in the second world war, Strasbourg would very likely be in German hands even today. It is definitely a very Germanic town, as is most of the Alsace region. I was amused that my companions the day we traveled to Strasbourg kept saying "oh, we don't understand the French they speak here in Alsace." But after seeing some of this "foreign" tongue in print, it was clear that it was just a lot closer to German. The homes and building all have that Swiss Chalet style, which they claim as their own Alsacian style. Strasbourg of course has many large Catholic churches, but it also home to the first Protestant Church. There is also a lovely little area known as "Petite France", which is odd given the city is IN France.

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