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Date: January 1st 1918

From: Hotel D'Ostende, Paris
1 Jan. 1918

Dearest Mother -

I suppose that when I go back, there will be two or three letters from you waiting for me. Letters of course will be kept but if any parcels come to the battery, I fear they will be lost. They are sometimes rather careless with them. The battery, I hear is out on rest now. I only have two or three days left now but have had such a wonderful time. The weather has been lovely and we have been able to see most of the important places in and around Paris.

We went, one day with a party under a guide from the YMCA to Versailles which is about nineteen kilometres (12 mi.) outside the gates of Paris. At Versailles are the magnificent palaces built by Louis XIV. They took a photograph of the bunch in the courtyard beside a monument to Louis XIV. Fabulous sums were spent by Louis to build this palace and grounds and it is a wonderful sight. At the time of the Revolution, the Paris mob destroyed parts of it and in 1870, at the seige of Paris, the Germans used it as their headquarters. Oh, those pictures they took, by the way, were not very good but I bought one and left your address for them to send it away for me. I have quite a few post cards of Versailles and places in Paris which I am going to try to get home. Today, we took a streetcar some distance out of the city to Malmaison or the Chateau de Josephine which was the home of Napoleon & Josephine before their coronation. There are a lot of relics of Napoleon here and beautiful parks around the place.

What they call Circuses in London, they call Places here - a large busy square where several (maybe six or seven) streets meet. There are some great Places and Boulevards here. Take the big Place de la Concorde for example. In the centre is the Obelisk - a tall Egyptian obelisk placed there some time. On one side the famous Boulevard des Champs Elysées takes one to the Arch de Triumph built by Napoleon - a monument to his many victories - and on the other are the Gardens of the Tuillenés and the Louvre Museum. Many magnificent bridges of all kinds cross the Seine. Cross the Pont d'Alexandre III and you come to the Hotel des Invalides where is kept all sorts of arms and armour - ancient & modern as in the Tower of London. Here also is the Tomb of Napoleon which I believe is the grandest thing one could wish to see. I have picture post cards of it.

You have heard of the Eiffel Tower. No one is allowed to go up to the top of it now as it is used for military purposes. Both it and the Big Wheel were built I believe for some Exposition. I went around on the wheel. When it is at the top of its course, one can get a great view of Paris. There are great cathedrals here. Notre Dame is perhaps the largest and is much after the style of other cathedrals. I haven't seen the interior of it yet. But, the Madeleine is different. It is a huge rectangular structure surrounded by massive stone pillars. It is wonderful inside too with its ornate altar and sculptures.

The theatres too - some of them are immense. The Opera - the great national theatre of Paris where only the best grand operas are produced - is the largest and is truly wonderful. They have a great orchestra - a large stage - and the best actors. We went a couple of evenings and saw Shakespeare's Henry VIII and Samson & Delilah.

There are Tubes here as in London. The Metro (Mètropolitain) they call it. On it, one can go pretty near anywhere in Paris for 3 cents, 2nd class (15 centimes) or for 5 cents 1st class. There seems to be more streetcars than in London but few busses and a great number of taxi cabs. One has to watch carefully in crossing streets as they are dodging around all the time.

One can get all he wants to eat here in a restaurant which is more than he can do in London where they are rationing much more closely. Fellows who have come back from leave to England say they have to go to several places to make up one good meal.

There are some very large stores here - as the Grand Magasins de Lafayette on the Bde. Hauseman, covering several blocks, the Grand Magasins du Louvre, du Printemps and Bon Marché. The Rue de la Paix is lined with jewelry stores where are some of the richest & rarest stones money can buy, - and so on and so on. There are so many things I can't begin to tell you about them all. Is it not good to have been able to see London & Paris - the two largest cities - see where they are alike and where they differ. It only remains now to see New York which I imagine must be different from either Paris or London.

Love to all.

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