Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Today was great. We started at Notre Dame. We went underground to the archeological crypt and looked at the remains of the Roman structures that were originally on the site. It really hammers home just how pervasive the Romans were when you are in England (like last summer) and France and see Roman artifacts (they sure liked hot tubs). Then we waited in an interminably long line for the chance to climb (there's no elevator) the towers of Notre Dame. My name is Quasimodo. It was cool seeing the great bell up close, but they wouldn't let me ring it. I wanted to swing on the clapper. Even cooler, was getting up close and personal with the gargoyles (Did you know their name is an onomonopaea? - It comes from the gargling sound they make. They are rain gutters after all) Then the climb back down and into the church. Have I mentioned I like churches? Well, I also adore rose windows and stained glass and Notre Dame has them aplenty. After we trotted over (after a brief pcnic stop in the catheral square) to Saint-Chapelle - a chapel built by St. Louis (a French king who actually made it all the way to sainthood - it wasn't Louis XIV) It is the penultimate of the gothic style. High walls allowing for lots (and I do mean lots - almost all of the walls appear to be stained glass) of stained glass. Absolutely breahtaking! - and it wasn't just the stairs we had to climb to get up there. We tried to make it to the Pantheon, with a slight detour through a French department store (did you know they were invented here - not the US) a shopping district and the Latin Quarter, (not to mention another crepe stop) but we missed the last entry time by 5 minutes. It is right near the Cluny Musem so we will tuck it into our visit there Friday. We passed the University of Paris and the Sorbonne. I wonder if I can do my masters here? After a pit stop at a pharmacy (their blinking, lighted green crosses make them easy to spot) to buy pads for my blisters and another pass through the Latin quarter, where we saw some Capoeira practioners (Capoeira is an acrobatic Brazilian martial art that is practiced with music and incorporates many handstands, cartwheels, and dance moves. It was developed by African slaves in Brazil and disguised as dance since they were forbidden to practice fighting - Random Facts Man strikes again) do some amazing flips. After grabing a panini and doing a little souvenir shopping (5 Euro Paris sweatshirts anyone?) we capped off our evening with another grueling stair climb (next time I'm planning the itinerary based on the number of stairs in each place - by the time this is over we are going to have bunions of steel) up to the roof of the Arc de Triomphe. It is so amazing looking at all the main boulevards converging on this central point. I was able to point out the Royal Perspective (just Google it I'm too tired to explain) to Juli from there. A quick stroll down the Champs Elysee with a peek in Sephora (the perfume store - no we didn't buy any - maybe later) then home. (We are calling the apartment home - Juli says she may not leave) And tomorrow (drum roll please) the Louvre.

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