Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Saturday, August 1

It was another beautiful day in Paris ! We started our day with a trip to the Louvre. I had visited the Louvre in the past, but this was the first time I had been there since the addition of the pyramid. We entered through the pyramid into a wonderful open and sunny space that was filled with eager tourists just like us. We strolled through the galleries within, stopping to admire Winged Victory, the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, the Grand Gallery filled with paintings by Ingres, David, Gericault plus much, much more. We rested our feet and eyes at lunch in the cafe and compared notes on all the wonders we had seen. We all agreed that the Louvre is a multi-day project in that no one can begin to see everything in just one visit. Our next stop was St. Chappelle and then on to Notre Dame.

We had visited St. Chappelle years ago while in Paris and it was an amazing experience. We had stumbled upon this beautiful church on a rainy October afternoon and were only two of a handful of visitors. I was sorry to see and hear that things had changed and that this lovely church had become quite the tourist attraction. Vendors were selling souvenirs in the church hall, and upstairs in the sanctuary tons of tourists were talking and taking photos. Not the quiet and reverent experience that I had remembered and hoped that we could enjoy on this visit.

We walked on a few short blocks to Notre Dame. The line to enter stretched far out into the courtyard, but it was moving quickly and the crowds were well-mannered. The cathedral was full of visitors, most of whom were quiet and respectful of their surroundings. Notre Dame was as awe-inspiring and beautiful and I remembered and I'm glad that Victor Hugo was successful in saving this iconic church from destruction.

Our plan was to grab a taxi back to the hotel but with none in sight, we ended up walking back to the Rue Vaneau and our Hotel de Suede. It had been a long day and we were ready for the quiet of our neighborhood.

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