Friday, 6 April, 2012
After a restless night for both of us…ate that chocolate bar too late and the caffeine was working overtime…we ate breakfast, checked the Internet and left the apartment about 11 am. Caught the Metro to Cite and walked to Notre Dame. The lines were long but we decided to check things out and sure enough…if you were going in for Veneration of the Crown of Thorns…no waiting in line. We did pay two euros each for a nice card that indicated we were not just tourist trying to cut the long lines that were circling the outer rim of the church. We joined the line down the center aisle and as Jim said, “had a once in a lifetime experience”. We kissed the crown that was encased in a plastic container and also saw the containers for one of the thorns and a sliver from the Cross of Christ and one of the nails of the Passion; all relics and displayed only on the first Friday of each month and for three hours on Good Friday.
Leaving Notre Dame we walked towards the small ancient streets that wind in and out of that area. We saw a man step from a small door in a larger door and we stepped inside before it closed. A beautiful courtyard with a well in the center; as we turned to leave we discovered we were locked inside. It took a bit of doing but while I knocked on several doors and finally found someone; Jim worked with the door and found the buzzer just as the man came out with me to show us how to get out. But…we’ll continue to try doors to private courtyards wherever possible. We’ve been told if they are not locked…it’s okay to enter.
Headed over to the Saint Chapelle to purchase tickets for a concert next Thursday and then crossed the bridge to the right bank and 3rd and 4th arrondissements.
We continued to stop in for visits at all the many churches we found open today. But we also were on a quest for Passages. Small covered shopping streets. We managed to discover several of the many that I had on my list. We also stopped by the Pompidou Musee to see the Homage to Stravinsky fountain designed by Niki de Saint-Phalle. Her final work is a small open air exhibit near San Diego that we visited just prior to leaving on this trip.
We found the Tower of Jean Sans Peur, built during the 12th to 14th Century. Closed today but something we’ll try to go back to see later. We also visited the Musee des Arts et Metiers that has the first model for the statue of Liberty that was given to the USA by France.
Passages we visited today: Passage Du Grand Cerf, Passage Bourg L’abbe, Gallerie Vero Dodat, and Galerie Vivienne. We strolled through the Royal Gardens…another first and found a building built in 1407 that houses a restaurant: Auberge Nicolas Flamel. Hope, Bill’s partner, asked us to find it; she’d read about it in one of her books. The menu looks good and reasonable and maybe we’ll go back for dinner. An expat walking by highly recommended their prices and food.
We also found the Paris Stock Exchange: Bourse de Commerce over by the Louvre. Long day…seven hours of walking…and we finally called it a day just after 5 pm. We climbed on the Metro at the Lourve and after two changes we were back in the 15th and home for the night. Dinner is pizza at the apartment…cooked in the microwave. Nice to be home early; tomorrow’s another busy day as we go to visit our friends Nicolas and Maeliss in Maisons-Laffitte, a village outside of Paris.
The last photo in the slideshow is a rag in the gutter…notice the two openings…one is for water to wash the street and the other is to collect the water…the rags are used all over the city to divert the water into the correct spot. It an interesting story you can read about on the internet.