You should see our very nice Hotel. It is so quaint. Filled with olden day memorabilia like a treadle sewing machine, a spiral staircase with ornate railings, an old pendulum clock, gold etched picture frames and lace doilies. The rooms have flowery wallpaper and old handbasins and furniture. It is an old home that has been in the family for years and been converted to a hotel. We feel rather spoilt to stay in such a place in Paris! Really hard to believe…I have to remind myself that this really is my reality for the moment!
We venture off for a walk. It’s not far to the Notre Dame Cathedral and also the Louvre says Marysia..and we can go through the Botanical gardens (known as the Jardin de plantes) and the Luxembourg gardens (known as the Jardin de luxembourg) on the way. Well it was quite a distance, maybe not for the younger person, but it was quite a walk, but well worth it. Both of the gardens were fantastic. We stopped at the Luxembourg gardens for a picnic lunch. And what a lovely lunch it was! Red wine, cheese, salami, tomatoes, fresh bread and olives…yum!
The Notre Dame is amazing. The Notre Dame Cathedral Paris or Notre Dame de Paris (‘Our Lady of Paris’ in French) is a Gothic cathedral on the eastern half of the Paris, France, with its main entrance to the west. Notre Dame Cathedral is widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in the world. It was restored and saved from destruction by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, one of France’s most famous architects. The Notre Dame Cathedral was one of the first Gothic cathedrals, and its construction spanned the Gothic period. Its sculptures and stained glass show the heavy influence of naturalism, unlike that of earlier Romanesque architecture. It was among the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress (arched exterior supports). The building was not originally designed to include the flying buttresses around the choir and nave. After the construction began and the thinner walls (popularized in the Gothic style) grew ever higher, stress fractures began to occur as the walls pushed outward. In response, the cathedral’s architects built supports around the outside walls, and later additions continued the pattern. And thank God that they did, so we can visit it and look at amazement at the wonder of the place…and take lots of photos!
Next place to walk to was the Louvre. The Louvre—is one of the world’s largest museums, and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, France, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine. Nearly 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited over an area of 60,600 square metres (652,300 square feet). With more than 8 million visitors each year, the Louvre is the world’s most visited museum. The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace (Palais du Louvre) which began as a fortress built in the late 12th century under Philip II. Remnants of the fortress are visible in the basement of the museum. The building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace. In 1682, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles for his household, leaving the Louvre primarily as a place to display the royal collection, including, from 1692, a collection of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture. The museum opened on 10 August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, the majority of the works being royal and confiscated church property. Holdings have grown steadily through donations and gifts since the Third Republic. As of 2008, the collection is divided among eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; Prints and Drawings. So, those are the factual things about the Louvre, but we know it as the place with the glass pyrimads on the square in the middle of the louvre. Everyone takes their photos with the perspective of touching the top of the pyrimad with their finger. They extend their arms and the person taking the photo positions the camera in just the right place. Fun!
We walk along the side of the river Sienne and watch the boats transporting people up and down the river. We need to find another Metro station and they are sometimes hard to find. Another bit of walking…never hurt us though and it was great to look at the markets on the way. But we really wanted to get to Montemarte before it got too late. Montemarte has to be seen in daylight..as well as at night. After a couple of Metro changes we got there and just in time.
We arrive and immediately walk through the lovely Montemarte town and up the stairs to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, commonly known as Sacré-Cœur Basilica. It is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Paris, France, and it is very picturesque. The Sacré-Cœur Basilica was designed by Paul Abadie. Construction began in 1875 and was finished in 1914. It was consecrated after the end of World War I in 1919. It is a popular landmark, the basilica is located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city. The view from the top, outside the Sacré-Cœur Basilica is amazing. It’s a great place to take in the scenery and also to take some photos the Paris landscape. There are often street performers all around the Basilica and on the many steps and levels up to it. A very interesting place to go! So if you ever go to Paris, I suggest a visit to Montmarte should be on your trip plan. It’s well worth the visit.
We wandered around the steep little roads and looked in a few shops. We also sampled the local bakery by buying some lovely custard tarts. Actually we just sat down on the steps and ate them while having a bit of a relaxing moment and also doing some people watching. And there are plenty of people to watch…the place is buzzing with them. I guess the Moulen Rouge show which is held at the theatre at Montmarte also brings a lot of people to the area.
Well you would think that that was enough action for one day, but no! We found our way back to the Metro and then back to the middle of Paris. Daniel really wanted to go to a pub where a jazz band was playing for the evening. The pub had an underground cave/theatre where the band would be playing. We wandered around until we could find the place…and then joined with about 30 other people in a little underground room. The band was great, very talented, and very loud. Daniel loved it! Both Judy and I sat there with tissue rammed into our ears. Through the tissue we loved it too. Once again it was a very late night. Paris is a fabulous place to visit! We go to bed feeling exhausted but very satisfied with the day.
Next morning we wake up to our first wet day of the holiday. We meet for breakfast and all decide that a sleep in was in order. So back to bed it was and after a little nap I wrote a little more on my blog!
Indoor shopping was the best way to fill in the day. Eventually we ended up taking the Metro to a different shopping mall and found sunshine! Lots of walking and people watching for me. I didn’t buy anything.
Tomorrow we pack up and head home (Dan and Marysia’s home) in Windlesham. The holiday has been fabulous but sadly it is coming to an end 🙁