Saturday, October 14, 2017

Paris Trip Day 5

Today we set up the alarm to make sure we would be up in the morning. We left the house at 9:30 am to walk to Notre Dame where we had 10 am tickets to climb the bell tower.

It was quite the hike up nearly 400 steps along a narrow spiral stone staircase. Half way up we stopped at the base of the bell tower to admire the beautiful views of the city below, to see the gargoyles up close and go inside the south bell tower where two very large and heavy bells hang. The construction on the inside was made of large wood beams.

After exiting the bell towers we continued up another 100 stairs to the very top of the church where we had an aerial view of the church and the sprawling city below.
The descent was challenging for me. I can see why people with vertigo are discourage from entering. We just span around and around in circles 200 feet for what seemed like 5 minutes non stop. Our hands were all orange from hanging on to the rusty railing on our way down.
I am glad we waited until after the spinning ascent to have breakfast. We sat down at a café next to Notre Dame and enjoyed crepes and gaufres (waffles) for a few minutes.

Beneath the square in the front of Notre Dame is an archeological dig site and museum that explains the history of the Isle de Cite from Roman to medival times. The kids enjoyed seeing the ancient coins on display and the 3D interactive multimedia display of Notre Dame phases of construction.
From there we visited Saint Chapelle a church originally built by the king to store sacred religious relicts and famous for its stain glass windows. The painted walls and windows were really a sight to behold.
We left the Isle de Cite and walked quite a ways to the Orsay Museum which is dedicated to French Impressionist art. On the way, we stopped at Point Neuff where the railing were covered with thousands of locks glimmering in the sun light.
Once inside the museum, the kids got an information guide and a map which had pictures of 20 famous pieces of art found in the museum. The kids had fun walking the halls trying to spot each one.
We also followed a guided tour of the museum educating us about the various types of impressionist art and notable pieces. We saw several Manet, Monet, VanGogh, and many other famous artists’ works.
The kids were so hooked on finding all of the art on their map that we ended up retracing over half of the museum to find the remaining four or five pieces.

We rewarded ourselves with macaroons on the way to the Museum of Arms to visit Napoleon’s tomb and mausoleum. It was quite the large stone crypt for such a small man in stature. We didn’t spend much time there, besides snapping a few photos of the memorial.

We decided to take the metro back to Marais (the neighborhood where we were staying) and had dinner outside the Poimpodou center before walking the final stretch home. On our way to dinner, and throughout our walks around town we have been able to enjoy the talent of many street performers who entertain the public with musical instruments, dance, puppets and their other work.