Saturday, March 6, 2010

Lost and found in Paris

We only had 3 days in Paris so we spent the 1st two at warp speed. There was so much to see and so little time. We bought a pass for museums and other attractions and lost ourselves in the rush of the city. On our first day we visited the Museum D'Orsey, an art gallery in a very interesting, modern building that reminded me of the Eaton Centre. It was full of sculptures and paintings, including Monet and Van Gogh. After that, we went to the Rodin museum. We didn't realize that Rodin was creator of the "Thinker" which we got to view first hand. Next was Hotel D'Invalid. This is the burial place of Napoleon Bonaparte and many others. Again, the building itself was magnificent, having been a church build by one of the Louis kings. Off to the Eiffel Tower just as the sun was setting. The view all over Paris was incredible as we watched the lights come on. We could see Notre Dame, the Hotel D'Invalides, the Seine River, and many other sights we had just learned to recognize.

We started the next day at the Louvre. We saw the Mona Lisa right off. We saw many different paintings from the 13th century up and sculptures. We barely scratched the surface and could easily have been lost there for a week. Off to Notre Dame. It is so huge and I loved it's simplicity of decoration compared to many churches we have visited. It was mostly stone without frescoes. As with many of the great cathedrals, I love the archways all over the church. The stain glass windows were magnificent, especially the Rose. We also went to the crypt in front of Notre Dame. It contains ruins from the old city of Paris from as early as 5th century AD. The city was re-build on top of older cities several times. Sometimes the old parts were torn down and the ruins used to rebuild. Next we went to the Cluny museum which was in an old Roman bath. I was more interested in the building then the 5th century artifacts which were around the 5th century. At the end of the day, we visited the Arch de Triumph. It is so much bigger then I expected. It was dark when we arrived so it was beautifully lit up. I didn't realize that you could go up inside of it to the top and as we looked out over the city we saw the Eiffel Tower suddenly light up like white flashing Christmas lights all over. Another spectacular site. Also, the city panned out in triangles from the Arch. We could see right down the Champs Elysee.

On our last day we decided to take it easy as we had been running for 2 days. We went to Basilique St. Denis. It is the crypt of most of the Kings and Queens of France and was full of burial statues. The history, monuments and building were very interesting. It also had some beautiful stain glass, including a rose window like Notre Dame. Our next stop was the Champs Elysee. We walked for a bit and saw the Grand and Petit Palaces. We stopped in a coffee shop on the Champs and watched all the people walking by. It was so fun, relaxing and fascinating just observing and chatting about the people in Paris. After 3 days, we finally found ourselves again.

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