After our two weeks in Switzerland, we had the opportunity to spend several days in Paris. It was a good time even though Paris is not one of my favorite cities (and I'm not a particular fan of cities). For me the most memorable experience was attending Sunday School and church at the American Church in Paris. No pictures of that adventure, however.

Picture

Narrative

Eiffel Tower

Our first stop in Paris was the Eiffel Tower. We had been to the city before, but had never visited this iconic site.

Paris from mid-point

You get a pretty good view of the city from the first stop.

The domed building in the middle is the Grand Palais. The Tuileries Garden is on far side of it. (Our hotel was on the far side of the garden from here.)

The Basilica of Sacre Coeur is visible on the skyline.

You can see the shadow of the tower in the photo.

Looking down from Eiffel Tower

I remember climbing the stairs (huff puff) from the first level (187ft) to the second (337ft). I then took the elevator the rest of the way to the top (906ft).

This picture is from the second level looking down to the first and then the ground below. Just looking at the picture gives you vertigo!

Seine River from Eiffel Tower

This is the Seine, looking in the opposite direction from the picture above. It is getting late in the day, but I loved the light on the river.

The island in the river is called Iles des Cygnes. It is an artificial island with a walkway along its length. There is a one-fourth replica of the Statue of Liberty on the island.

Paris Metro Stop

One of the lovely entrances to the Paris subway system.

Seine River

The Seine was at flood stage during our visit. This road running under the Louvre was completely flooded.

Seine Bridge Statue

This statue of a Zouave is on the Pont de l'Alma across the Seine. He would not normally be up to his knees in water. The bridge originally had four such statues. When it was rebuilt in the 1970s only this one was retained.

We signed up for a river excursion that advertised narration in French, English & German. The guide chattered away in French and we gathered he must have been informative and amusing based on the reaction of our fellow passengers. The English and German narration was recorded and was on the order of: "We are now passing under the Pont Neuf." No matter, it was a nice cruise.

Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in a tunnel near here and there is now a memorial near the bridge.

Sainte-Chapelle

We visited the Sainte-Chapelle, built in the 13th century by Louis IX (St. Louis) of France. Much has been reconstructed, but the windows are original.

 

Sainte-Chapelle detail It was magnificent from the stunning windows to the smallest carving:
Notre Dame

We also visited Notre Dame Cathedral. The outside is spectacular, but the inside is pretty humdrum.

There were earlier places of worship in the vicinity, pagan and Christian. In the 12th century the decision was made to build an entirely new structure in the then-cutting-edge Gothic style.

Construction continued during the 12th to the 14th centuries. There was a restoration project in the 17th century. During the French Revolution, however, there was a lot of destruction within the cathedral.

The cathedral was restored in the mid-19th century. At that time the installed windows were monochrome. They were replaced with modern colored windows in 1965.

Maintenance and restoration are ongoing.

Notre Dame Gargoyles

Gargoyles have to be the best part of any Gothic cathedral.

We visited another downtown church quite by accident. We were walking past Saint-Germain-des-Pres when we heard wonderful organ music. We went inside and stayed for quite a while. It wasn't a recital, but just someone practicing. Exquisite nevertheless.

Sacre-Coeur

Our final Parisian church visited on this trip was Sacre-Coeur on Montmartre. As I recall its exterior also trumped its interior.

As we were walking up to Montmartre from the nearest Metro stop, a shady looking character began to follow us closely. At one point Jim told me to keep walking while he turned to face the guy. The shadower suddenly remembered that he had to stop off in a neighboring shop.

In another instance some young thugs singled out fellow skier Steve Grenlenski in the Metro. They thought he looked like an easy mark. They were very wrong. We don't know when he picked up his defense skills, probably the military, but he quickly sent them packing.

Carousel

This wonderful two-level carousel was located in the plaza below Sacre-Coeur. I've not been able to find out anything about its history.

Moulin Rouge

Of course every visitor to Montmartre has to take a picture of Toulouse-Lautrec's Moulin Rouge.

We didn't otherwise visit it as it looked like a Class A tourist trap. In general I never felt comfortable in the neighborhood. Based on info from the WWW it has improved in the past 25 years.

Monument Aux Morts Another one of our stops was the Pere Lachaise cemetery. I'm fond of cemeteries and this has the reputation of being one of the world's finest. I don't think we took the time to find Jim Morrison's grave, but there were a number of interesting monuments. A video at the link shows many of them.

This, the monument Aux Morts, is the entrance to an ossuary. Grave sites are leased rather than purchased. If the lease is not renewed, the remains are exhumed and the bones stored in catacombs here. The site is then reused.

Somewhere on the WWW I had found an explanation of the iconography, but I can't find it again. Oh well.
Musee d'Orsay

We also visited the Musee d'Orsay. At the time it had only been opened as a museum for a couple of years. It was a great way to repurpose a graceful old train station.

Painter

A fitting last shot of Paris. We saw this artist tucked in this rather flimsy-looking perch over the flooded Seine. He was bundled against the cold and busily at work on his painting of the river scene.

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