Thursday, August 11, 2011

Historic Paris Walk,

***no quilting in this post, more detail of Paris 2010 trip!***

After enjoying the view from the top of Notre Dame we brought out our guidebook and started out on the Historic Paris walk from Rick Steves. His self guided tours are probably not for everyone, but we enjoyed his slightly corny sense of humor and the historic insights presented. They can be downloaded for free, and are a great resource that can really add to your trip, especially if you don't plan on taking organized tours.

The first place we went afterwards was the Deportation Memorial. It was closed, but we listened to the guide and were sobered by the things that this memorial seeks to remind visitors of. Such a sad piece of history that World War II is.

After hearing about the Isle de la Cite we proceeded on to the left bank and enjoyed strolling the narrow streets and taking in the sights. We loved the book stalls and picked up a nice stash of postcards at a wonderful price!
I don't remember what church this was, but the gates were locked! We were brought into the world of medieval paris. We skipped the bookstores, knowing that we didn't have room in our luggage for all the temptations there! We actually passed up the quilt shop, not even realizing it, but would return there later, for today we were on the way to the Latin Quarter.

This is St Severins. It is an example of flamboyant architecture. Flamboyant means flame like. Really interesting, as I just thought of the word as meaning something showy and extravagant. Words are so interesting to me, and learning the root of this word really added a different point of view on it! This church also featured some great gargoyles!
This is St. Michael's fountain in Place St Michelle, aren't the dragons great? We learned about the Sorbonne, cafe culture, and revolutionists! Lots of history took place in this area, very interesting!
St. Chapelle -I was very excited to see this church's famous stained glass windows. We were also eager to use our special passes to skip the line, but since the church is located in the courtyard of the government buildings we didn't see much, if any benefit to our passes. There was a long line of people outside and on occasion a man would come out and pull a few people with passes through. Eventually we got to go in, having to pass through metal detectors and having our bags checked out first. Can you believe this magnificent cathedral was quilt in only 5 years? This is the ground floor - for the common folks.
Upstairs was for the wealthy patrons! (More spiral stairs, but not as many as Notre Dame!) We had a fabulous time looking at the windows - they tell the entire Christian history of the world in these glass panels, there are so many to look at you could literally spend hours here. They are simply breathtaking with all the detail.
The outside, which is beautiful, but nothing compared to the lovely windows inside.
The huge gates outside the church (and government buidings!). The bathrooms here were awful, we figured that they would be nice, but the public ones are actually a little scary, no attendant, the lighting is iffy and I wouldn't linger here alone at all. We looked at the Palais de Justice, complete with robed attorneys!
At this point we headed for the Conciergerie, but it had closed for the day, so we decided to return after our visit to the Louvre Museum the next day. This clock there was built in 1370! By this time were a bit tired, so decided to return to our hotel room for a rest before we ventured out for dinner and more sight seeing. We were definitely in need of a little rest before we could carry on after the climb up Notre Dame, and it made our evening so much nicer.

After several successful meals we were ready to tackle finding our dinner near the Eiffel Tower. We had thoughts of going up the tower, but the lines were long so we settled for a stroll from the busy Trocadero to the Eiffel Tower, then on to the Champs De Mars Brasserie for dinner. Naomi had a pasta dish and I had a Salade Nicoise, complete with anchovies which I tried for the first time! Very salty, but not too bad. We enjoyed a leisurely meal there - loving that we didn't feel rushed to complete our meal and make way for the next diners. One of the best things about Paris is that leisurely attitude toward dining. I loved the feeling of not being in a hurry! We stayed til it was dark, then made our way back to the Eiffel Tower, being treated to a lovely sight of it starting to glitter just as we turned the corner through the trees - simply breathtaking. We debated taking a boat tour, or simply returning to the hotel so we could make an early assault on the Louvre Museum the next day. Sleep won out, so we headed to the metro and ended our evening with plenty of time for a hot bath and a good night of rest, looking forward to Mona Lisa and Winged Victory.

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