18 March, 2012

Unicorns, churches and the tower.  Oh My!  Today started out with unicorns, or more precisely a museum that houses the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries.  We've all seen photos of them, but I was surprised at how pretty they are in person.  The Cluny Museum also houses all kinds of cool medieval weapons and art.  Even the building itself is pretty cool as it's built into part of the old Roman baths.  Gotta love how everyone just said, "oh here's a nice big wall/room/road" and just absorbed it.  Romans definitely built to last.

Wooden sculpture

Roman Frigidarium (Don't ask why the ceiling is purple.  It just came out that way.)

Next came a trio of churches.  The first one is the one I can see from the balcony of my hotel room, Saint-Severin.  I'll actually have more on this one later as I didn't actually mean to visit it today and didn't get a photo of the front.  Yes, I know that doesn't really make sense.  Normally I'm very good at knowing where I'm going, but either I was dazed from too much medieval art or the city is moving things around on me.  I swear after leaving the Cluny Museum I headed in the opposite direction, but no matter.

The second church today was Saint-Germain-Des-Pres.  This is the sight of the oldest church in Paris.  It dates back to the 11th century and the first Christian church that stood on the site was destroyed by vikings in 885AD.

Last of all I ended up at Église Saint-Sulpice.  Let me just say the front of this church is massive.  Most of these gothic/medieval churches are large once you get inside, but I don't think I've quite been struck by the size of an entrance right in the middle of a city that wasn't St. Peter's in Rome.  (but that's obviously a whole different ballgame.)  This church was featured in the Da Vinci Code so that's why it may seem familiar.  I arrived right at the end of mass and stayed until it finished.  For 25 minutes after mass the organist gives a lovely concert. Nothing quite like organ music played for fun in such a great setting.

At this point I'm starving and it's time for lunch.  I went back to the area just around my hotel and had that almost frightening meal some of you may have seen on my Facebook page.  Really it was all about the french fries.

After lunch it was time to try the Metro for the first time.  (Yes I've been walking around for the last two days.  I'm exhausted)  On to the Eiffel Tower and the Champ de Mars!

Eiffel Tower - I planned to be able to get to the Eiffel Tower and ascend during the daylight and be up on the 2nd level for sunset.  I thought my plans might be ruined when I received an email about my ticket before I left LA telling me that only one lift would be in service during my visit.  I purposely took the Metro so I would begin at the far end of the Champ de Mars and approach the tower with the best view.  Even though it's been raining off and on all day, it's still a breath-taking sight.

 Once underneath the actual tower, you are almost overwhelmed by the sheer size of the thing.

And yes, there are tourists EVERYWHERE.  Lots of teens running all over the place being teenagers.  However it looks like the warnings have been heeded at least by the current ticket holders as it takes me no more than about 30 minutes or so to get to the lift.  (I'm sure had both lifts been working there wouldn't really have been a wait)  Once on the 2nd level I get in the line for the top.  Oh and did I mention it's cold!  Now if it's cold on the ground, imagine being 899' in the air.  I grab a few photos and beat a hasty retreat to the 2nd level.

 Once back on the 2nd level it's time for more photos, hot chocolate and a few souvenirs as I wait for the sun to finish setting.  In a city as bright as Paris, it never really feels completely dark outside.  But the lights, oh the lights.  I must have made the circle around the platform about 5 times but it's truly beautiful.  (and I have so many other pictures!)

That streak of pink in the background... sunset

Looking up from level 2.  The top is 522' above where I'm standing.

Once back on the ground, I have timed it perfectly to find a spot and wait for the light show.  None of the photos really show how the lights dance and shimmer across the tower.  In stills they just show up as a few extra points of light.  The moment it starts, cheers erupt from the crowd spread across the grounds.

Then it was back to the Latin Quarter and time for dinner.  My hotel has an Italian restaurant attached to it so I gave it a try tonight.  Best pasta outside of Italy.  Yummy!

Well my friends, It's been another incredibly long day so I'm off to bed.  I don't really have a plan for tomorrow, but I know there isn't a bad choice to be made here.

1 comment:

  1. So jealous! Looks like you are having the most amazing time!