Saturday, April 14, 2012

Walking the Left Bank…...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Up about 7 am, Jim was awake by 8…ate our breakfast and then as soon as I finished yesterday’s blog we were off to McDonalds for the Internet. Arrived about ten….signed us both in on our individual computers on the free wifi and we were finished and out the door in about half an hour.

On the way home we walked down rue du Commerce and visited the weekly market that will last the entire day. I couldn’t resist the olive pate and purchased a fist full for 7 euros. Jim was aghast as he said that was too expensive but he did enjoy having some on bread when we returned to the apartment. By noon we were out the door and headed for the Metro and our ride all the way to the Place d’Italia in the 13th arrondissement on the left bank and to the west.

We started our day walking east through the left bank also known as the Latin Quarter. Our first site we passed was the very old Gobelins Manufacturing … now a museum… that made most of the famous tapestries in museums around the world.

We continued our walk to the rue Mouffetard shopping street that begins at Saint Medard Church and climbs slowly uphill towards the Pantheon. Along the way Jim stopped at one of the shops and purchased a pair of black clogs; said he’d always wanted a pair and for 10 euros it was a good buy he felt. By the way, rue Mouffetard is the street where Julie Childs shopped in her movie. It is also the street where I stayed at a youth hostel…Young & Happy Hostel…..with my twin sister at the end of our three month trip in 2009.

Our first stop after cresting the hill was a lovely garden entry into a very nice Hotel des Grandes Ecoles; we’d actually thought about staying there. I first looked at it in 2009 for a possible place in 2010 but they didn’t want a large group that would be checking in and out on the same day. But…if you’re planning a trip to Paris…give it a look…I think it would be a wonderful place to stay.

We then remember rue Clovis and the ancient wall…so we backtracked a bit and found another portion of the Philippe Auguste’s 12th century wall from the Roman times. There is also a roman arena very close but we’ve seen it several times so passed on that site in favor of finding the Eglise Saint Etienne where they filmed the midnight scene for “Midnight in Paris”. It’s catty cornered from the Pantheon. Before we arrived there we found the Eycee Henri IV…a beautiful school..see the photo of the courtyard in the slide show.

The filming at the church was done at place de L’Abbe Basset and yes…there is a narrow twisting road that rounds the bend as it reaches the side steps to the church….just like in the movie.

Continuing on we walked past the Pantheon and down through the buildings of the Sorbonne University towards the Jardin du Luxembourg for another visit. We also wanted to sit a bit and eat the cheese and bread that we’d put in the backpacks. By the way…the weather is dry, cloudy and warm in the sun but cool in the shade. We’re dressed a bit warmer than yesterday.

So enjoyed watching the children and their parents rent the little sailboats to sail on the fountain while we ate our snack/lunch. I noticed many people enjoying the sunshine on their faces as we walked on through the park to watch the chess players at their games.

Our next adventure was to be Rodin’s Museum but half way there we remembered we wanted to go see Saint Severin’s Church. Back to the St. Michel’s area….the church is located just beyond our hotel from 2010 and where we are staying at the end of May before we go home. The windows of stained glass were very modern but beautiful. I saw the church in 2010 but Jim had not seen it before and was especially thrilled when he found work by one of his favorite artist Georges Rouault. He discovered him in college in the 1950’s and has been looking for his work ever since. He’s only seen a very few in museums over the world.

Soon we were headed east again along the Seine River towards Musee Rodin. Along the way while I was looking at the map…Mr. Jim took off thinking I was behind him….nearly lost him in the crowds before he stopped and I finally caught up…we definitely had a moment there for a few minutes when I gave him a piece of my mind about not getting so far ahead of me….especially when I’m checking the map for us! But within a few minutes we were okay.

Noticed Bon Marche…a large department store and then found that we were walking down the back sides of the homes of the government bigwigs! Lots of security everywhere.

Finally arrived at Musee Rodin and decided due to the crowds and time and the fact that we’ve been there before and will be going in May…we’d pass today. Looked at the map for the nearest Metro for home and saw that we really were not far from home. So we continued to walk eastward pass the Hotel des Invalides; the Musee of the Armies, and then the UNESCO building that we’d visited yesterday. Suddenly I realized we were right outside the Japanese Gardens and I snapped another photo of the Nagasaka Angel and the meditation cylinder from outside the fence!

Arrived home at 5 pm….just minutes before the rain began…we could see it coming. Jim fixed us a wonderful dinner of pasta and I did the salad. With a bottle of wine, some bread and chocolate for dessert…it was a fabulous meal.

I downloaded my photos and since the rain stopped we headed for McDonalds about 6:30 to upload them to the web for posting tomorrow. Took both computers and spent an hour on the web…..about 8:45 pm we headed for the Eiffel Tower so that Jim could do a video of the flashing lights at 9 pm. Hope to post a video…we’ll see how it goes. I’m downloading it right now. Once done I’m going to post everything from the apartment as we plan to leave early tomorrow to go to Saint Denis for Mass and to see the cathedrale where most of the French royalty are buried.

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