Geo: 48.8566, 2.35097
Today was jam-packed with site after site after site. We went approximately 7.9 miles today, some of which was climbing up and down stairs, which caused my legs to protest a lot after yesterdays climb of the Arc. I better have great leg muscles after this!
The morning started out with a walk to the Musee d'Orsay. We walked along the Seine and crossed over at the Alexandre III bridge. This bridge lines up with Invalides and is a great spot for a photo. This is also one of the fancier bridges with lots of statues, some with golden touches to them. Apparently we timed our walk correctly as we got to see a parade of the Republican Guard! These gentlemen were mounted on horses and walked up the street and turned towards Invalides. Not sure what they were out for, but it was quite a sight! After the excitement of that, we continued on our walk. The Musee d'Orsay used to be a train station, but was converted to an art museum in the 1980s. It houses a large collection of Impressionist works ranging from Manet to Renoir to Van Gogh to Monet. I was most interested in Monet
One picture since it was ok in this area.
as, again, I don't particularly care for art museums.
The museum normally opens at 9:30 but today was delayed until 9:45 for some reason. That was ok as someone (Matthew) forgot his Museum Pass and he had to go back to the hotel to find it. Renee and I waited in the short line for those who had a Museum Pass and were able to enter fairly quickly. Inside, we discovered that photography is not allowed in the galleries so that was disappointing. In the Louvre, you can take pictures of everything, just sometimes not with flash. Anyway, pretty much everything I wanted to see was on the 5th floor so I headed up there while Renee waited for Matthew. The museum recently underwent a 2 year renovation and the 5th floor houses the masterpieces of the Impressionist movement, which was from 1860 to 1900. I was surprised at some of the works by Monet that were landscapes and people who were clearly painted. I am familiar with the water lilies and bridges and haystacks, but wasn't really aware that he had works that were less splotchy (not really the right word, but I can't think of a better one) and
fuzzy. There was a really nice water lily near the end of the exhibit and I enjoyed sitting in front of it for a few minutes. The d'Orsay is not as busy as the Louvre and feels less hectic. You can sit and enjoy a work of art without too many people getting in your way!
The three of us were finally all together at the museum and we got some lunch. Then went quickly to the 2nd floor to see Van Gogh's self portrait. There were a few other Van Gogh works that were very nice, but that was enough art for the day.
Our next stop, the Sacre Coeur. This Basilica is located in Montmartre, which is quite a ways from where we were at the Musee. Luckily, the metro is great and we were able to get up there quickly. This is a hilly area of the city and so we had to first climb stairs out of the metro stop and then climb two more sets of stairs to get close to the Basilica. Once there, we were disappointed as it was quite foggy out over the city and the views weren't very clear. However, the Sacre Coeur
itself is quite impressive. It was built between 1875 and 1912, This is another place where photography is not allowed inside. We headed back down the hill, into the metro and arrived at our next stop, Notre Dame.
I think pretty much everyone is familiar with Notre Dame as it is one of the iconic images of Paris. Or, you know Quasimodo. Whatever the case, this is one gorgeous cathedral! It was built between 1163 and 1351 so a long stretch of time. The twin pillars that make up the entrance are actually the newest part of the cathedral. You can't enter from the other side. Unfortunately for us, Christmas is coming and there was a giant Christmas tree right in the way of our pictures. There wasn't much we could do about it other than just grumble to ourselves. Entrance is free (there is an extra charge if you want to go up into the bell tower) and pictures are allowed inside! You can walk around the outer edges of the cathedral or sit in a pew if you want to pray. They do have mass here and I would imagine that would be odd with all the people walking
around during the service. However, pretty much everyone observed the silence signs and that was nice. It's very hard to do a place like this justice in photos as there is so much to see and the architecture is so grand. I don't know how they built something like this back then, but they did an awesome job!
The exterior is equally as grand as the interior. We walked all the way around and it is much quieter on the other side. I guess most people take pictures of the "front," go inside and then leave. But the other side is the creepier, more interesting side with the flying buttresses and spiny spire. I was glad for the peacefulness to be able to take the pictures I wanted without a ton of people in the way. We also went down into the archeological crypt, which is included with the Museum Pass.
Next stop was Sainte-Chapelle. This church was built between 1242 and 1248 and has 15 beautiful stained glass windows. It and the Conciergerie are the only visible remains of the oldest palace of France. The church is currently undergoing a renovation so portions were covered up. Sainte-Chapelle is also included
in the Museum Pass. The church consists of a lower chapel and upper chapel. The lower is beautiful with it's arches and columns. Up a short flight of curving steps is the upper chapel. I walked through the doorway and it was just breathtaking. The 15 stained glass windows surround you and glow in the light. I was so impressed and that they have survived for so long.
And since we were right there, we had to visit the Conciergerie, which is also part of the Museum Pass. This building started out as a palace and then became a prison at the end of the 14th century. The lower portion of the building houses some early artifacts and also has some impressive archways. Once through that area, you next go through the gift shop to the prison section of the tour. There are examples of what cells would have looked like if you were poor and if you were higher class. The main attraction is the spot that was the cell of Marie-Antoinette. She spent the final days of her life here before being guillotined across the Seine.
My legs were about ready to give out at this point and there
was no way I was able to walk back to the hotel. So back on the Metro we got. We exited on the Champs-Elysees right by a cafe, which was perfect to grab some dinner. We sat in the covered outside portion of the George V cafe and enjoyed a nice dinner. It was the most expensive yet, which was expected as they charge more in the touristy area. They even charged for the water, which no other place has done so far. 6.80 euro for tap water! That's the same price as the Coke I ordered. Ridiculous!
One last stop today at the Arc again. I wanted to get some pictures of it lit up and we decided to go up to the top again. Matthew took the stairs but Renee and I took the elevator. It's really supposed to be for old or injured people, but we were hobbling so it was ok. I'm glad we went up as we got to see Paris lit up and watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle at 6:00. We also got to watch the ceremony for the re-lighting of the eternal flame, which is done every night at 6:30.
This was the
first day we did not stop back at the hotel in the afternoon to rest our feet. But we don't have to get up as early tomorrow morning so they can rest longer in bed tonight. I'm just hoping to not fall when I try to get up in the morning!
Tot: 3.283s; Tpl: 0.051s; cc: 8; qc: 49; dbt: 0.0423s; 2; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb