Monday, June 27, 2011

Paris When it Sizzles

Today we slept in.  Until 8:30!  The box of cereal contained too little cereal for everyone to get some, so I brought out the baguette and croissants with butter and apricot jam.  Rounded out with some Camembert and cut up peaches and nectarines and we were all sufficiently filled up to start the day.  Our goal for the day was to go to Notre Dame and the L'Arc de Triomphe.  Before we left the apartment, we closed both the windows and drapes as the sun had already hit our wall and it was beginning to heat up.

We took the Metro into the heart of the City and walked into the usual throng around the Notre Dame.  After some recon, we determined that there was a 2 hour wait to go up the tower (standing in the sun) and the Archaeological Crypt is closed on Mondays.  I waited outside with the backpacks and sent Bob and the kids in to the church since the line was moving quite nicely.

Afterwards, we walked towards the Jewish Holocaust Memorial (also closed on Mondays) walking through the park at the back end of the church.   It was lunch time and the park was FULL of children involved in some summer program as they all were wearing red baseball hats.  There were a lot of kids and a lot of activity and I have no idea how anyone was making sure they didn't wander off.

These two boys were playing a clapping game similar to patty cake that involved spinning around in place and convoluted hand movements.  They were quite intent on their game.

We then crossed the Petit Pont.  This bridge connecting the little island in the middle of the Seine with the Left Bank was covered with padlocks.   Here is a link describing why.  Cute concept but we were baffled by the plastic bags (yes, just like the little ones that you use to pick up your doggy's poop when you take him on his walkies) that were also tied in amongst all the locks.  If anyone finds anything on line about these, please feel free to post in a comment.  Then we'll ALL know.
At this point the temperature was increasing and we were trying to walk in the shade.  We walked down the Rue de Colbert just opposite the South Rose window of the cathedral to see the hotel I stayed in on my first trip to Paris in 1972. The Hotel Colbert is now a four star hotel.  Needless to say, it wasn't back then.  Justin asked me if I remember which room I stayed in.  I didn't, but just now I remembered with whom I shared the room.  Her name was Sue LaVoie and she was a year behind me in high school and she bought French bird seed to take back to her bird as a souvenir.  Perhaps I should of simply remembered which room.

 A little further away from the Seine, we stopped for lunch at a nice little creperie called Creposuk.  Yes, Don, that is how it was spelled and we can't comment on the pronunciation.  How unfortunate for them that it doesn't translate to English speakers very well.   Furthermore, there was a Chinese restaurant across the street called Palais de Grisirie.  The temperature was not retreating, but neither were we.  Up the hill to the Pantheon where it was relatively cool inside.  This was originally a church dedicated to Saint Genevieve but was decommissioned in the late 1800's and now serves as a memorial to all the "great French people" such as Marie Curie, Victor Hugo, Voltaire,  etc., who are now interred in the nicely chilled crypt below the building.  Many of the occupants of the crypt were exhumed from other locations and re-interred in the Pantheon with great ceremony.  We decided it was a great place to be on a hot day.
Justin and Bob through the scale model of the Parthenon.
Interior shots is all you get to see of the Pantheon!

After we had successfully dried the first (or was it the second) layer of sweat, we headed out into the bright sunshine and over to the Gardens of Luxembourg where we walked on the gravel paths and collected a fine layer of grit on our second or third layer of sweat.
Back to Notre Dame, with a side trip to Saint Sulpice church.
We only had to stand in line for about 45 minutes until we were allowed to descend the tower.  Along the way the bells were chiming the half hour and it was evident that we were in the bell tower.  Again, having been here in '72, I noticed that the tour wasn't the same as the one I took then.  Now we were confined to the tower and before we had walked along the roof.  Gargoyle viewing was much better in the old days.
We came back down out of the tower and the line to get into the cathedral was really short now so we all went in again so I could see it since you WERE allowed to take backpacks and purses in. Luggage is a no-no.  Taking pictures of the stained glass windows is not easy without a tripod and using other people's shoulders does NOT work well at all.  Even then I managed to get an ok shot which I cropped with the software on my handy little Airbook.
Back to the apartment, stopping at the market along the way.  I saw the roasted chickens and decided that I was not going to heat up the apartment any further by cooking chicken to put on a nice green salad.  Added some feta, olives, tomato, cucumber and some purchased vinaigrette.  Followed by an apple tart chaser and we were satisfied.  The only downside was that the white wine didn't chill fast enough or it would have been opened to accompany dinner.

Fortified by this hearty repast, we headed out to see the light show at the Eiffel Tower which provided the final layer of sweat for the day.  I failed to get a photo of the light show, but I got a lot of really short little videos of it.  Operator error.   Got some great shots of the tower all lit up though.  The other day, we were all talking about the color that they paint the tower.  It's a non-descript blah-brown.  Hayley suggested last night that maybe they pick that color because it illuminates so well.  I think she's right!
Here's Hayley rocking that little Canon camera of hers.  It doesn't have enough buttons and knobs for what she'd like to do with it, but she takes some great shots with it and she's got the intricacies of how it works down cold.  I ask her camera questions all the time.
We walked back through the quiet streets and after a shower, will be fast asleep in no time at all.  We are pooped.  It has been another busy day.  As Justin said at dinner, "If you aren't tired by the end of the day, you're just not doing something right."  That's a fact.

So, Paris When it Sizzles.  It was forecast to hit 95 degrees today and it is possible that it was even hotter.  It's also a bit on the humid side.  Tomorrow will be 10 degrees cooler and rain is possible.  Hopefully, we won't feel like we're swimming down the sidewalk.

Steps logged today:  21,760.  My calves can't decide if they want to keep going or reject the rest of the body that keeps abusing them.

1 comment:

  1. Love, love, love the staircase photos. They were built on the Fibonacci spiral, which can be found in nature in the cross-sections of certain shells and is the basis of pi. Very cool.