Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day 3 of Paris

Today I left a little earlier and took a stroll through Montparnasse. The intention was to check out the Tour Montparnasse and the Jardins de Luxembourg, but I couldn't navigate well enough on an empty stomach to do so. So I had breakfast. I tried the 'biologie' yoghurt, which has no sugar or sweeteners but it's so sweet and delicious. I also had a tea, but the cup was just as hot as the tea, so my hands were juggling it until it cooled enough to drink.
Around 9 a.m., I headed to Saint-Chapelle. I had just heard the name on travel websites as one of the places to visit, so I put it on my list of things to do and went down. Oh. My. God. It was beautiful. This is a church that suffered some neglect with the changing of kings long ago and is still undergoing restoration.
This was the downstairs area:

And this, this masterpiece was just as you enter the upstairs part, and look up towards the right. It is supposed to depict the book of revelation in each scene that surrounds the centre circle. It was just gorgeous.

The walls also had various scenes done in glass for stories in the old testament.

I then headed to the Tours de Notre-Dame. This was on the way:

Now I should mention that after walking down stairs at the Eiffel Tower, and making the 248 steps of the Arc de Triomphe, it is a BAD idea to tackle the Notre-Dame towers the next day. The staircase is just as long and winding as the Arc since they managed to get people up pretty frigging high in a very small space.

This is the view from the first level we stopped at:

And these are some views from the second point:

And just because I'm a masochist, I took the extra steps up to get the panoramic views:

Then, after standing in line and getting sunburned (the irony that I avoid the sun back home in the tropics and get burned out here is not lost on me), I made it inside the Notre-Dame Cathedral.
To put this in perspective, this is the outside:

It in no way prepared me for this:

Amazing isn't it? Off to the right, there were areas dedicated to some of the Saints. There were candles that people were lighting. The centre of the cathedral is reserved for services and prayers since this is a functioning church. The wall art was a combination of stained glass, wood, metal and awesome.

There was a dedication to St. Teresa so there were some photos of her depicting her life and work. I'm guessing from the photo marked "Teresa today" that she is still alive and looking young.

I followed the crowd out the back, and headed for the metro station.

It is just my luck that the day I actually have to make it somewhere at a particular time, I realise the train isn't working as it should. There is some work being done on the RER C until sometime in August so I had to take a Castor bus to Invalides and then the RER C to Champ de Mars Tour Eiffel. Thank goodness the man at the Information bus spoke English.

I made it in time to board the boat and at 6:30 p.m., I was having a late lunch/ early dinner on board the Cristal boat for the Paris Essentiel river cruise. I had prawns and vegetables, mashed potato with corn-fed free-range chicken and gravy, and an apricot tart with an ice cream cude that had different flavours mashed together. I also had a glass of Chardonnay. Everything was so good. All of my pictures have some reflections because the boat was sealed so I was taking pictures through the glass.

This cruise started by the Eiffel Tower, passes Les Invalides:

L'Assemblee Nationale:

Le Musee d'Orsay

L'Institut de France

and turns around after passing La Bibliotheque Nationale de France and passes L'Hotel de Ville and Notre-Dame. Then it goes by La Conciergerie:

Le Louvre

La Place de la Concorde, Le Grand Palais

and Les Palais de Chaillot before turning around the French La Statue de la Liberte:

And making it back by La Tour Eiffel:

Aside from watching all the sites, I am continuously amazed at the effort put into the bridges here:

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