Sunday, May 27, 2012


Sunday, May 27, 2012

We all met in the lobby at 9:30 am this morning and walked to Notre Dame for our journey up the bell tower; the door was scheduled to open at 10 am and the line was already long when we arrived.  It was nearly 10:30 am by the time we started our climb up the 400 steps.  The climb is broken into several sections going up; the first flight takes you through the security check and ticket booth area in the gift shop.  Our ticket was included in our Museum Pass but there is no “pass the line” option here. 
We then started the longest stretch up the winding tower to the first level where we had an opportunity to catch our breath and enjoy the views far down below.  We were on eye level with the massive gargoyles that peer over the edge and took some wonderful photos for you.   

It was at this level that we almost missed the bells.  They are off to one side…part of our group had gone past and it was a real challenge to get back around the one way path; but we did.  The bells are reached by climbing up wood steps inside the tower…yes…more steps.  Waited for ten minutes thinking the bells would ring while we were there; alas…they didn’t…so we went back down the wood steps (one way) and out and around the narrow path towards another step of steps that we went up to another level for some fabulous views of the city.

The way down was a spiral staircase that didn’t stop…400 steps down and down and down until we reach the ground.  The bell began to ring as we entered the tower steps…it was the one attached to our tower…yes….the one we’d waited for earlier; and it was reverberating sound nearly all the way down!

For lunch we walked to a “hole in the wall” restaurant that Jim had found yesterday on his walk back from the Orsay Museum.  Quai 21 is a very small restaurant with questionable d├ęcor but the food was delicious.  After lunch we walked over to Sainte Chapelle to view the royal chapel with the floor to ceiling stained glass windows.   I do think that both Linda and Terry were impressed with the magnitude of these magnificent windows.

We’ve been going back and forth to the hotel between each site today; nice to be so close to the hotel instead of looking for public restrooms.  After this visit we headed for the elevator to the RER that we’d found the other day.  We were checking out if it would work for our trip to the airport on Wednesday.  Yes…perfect…the elevator takes you right to the RER tracks for the train to Charles de Gaule Airport.  No steps and/or escalators!

Then we had to get from RER B to RER C…that took some doing but everyone hung together and we finally figured out where we needed to go.  That took us to another stop where we were able to transfer to the Metro.  One more change and we were at the Musee Rodin.

With our Museum Pass we walked directly in to the museum with no waiting…yes…there was a long line of people waiting to purchase tickets.  The house is undergoing some renovation but we were able to tour the house and see many of the sculptures and a few painting before spending time in the gardens to see some of the more famous sculptures.  A bonus was the beautiful rose bushes throughout the gardens.  I hope you enjoy the photos.

Tonight we’re meeting at 6:30 pm and walking to the I’sle St. Louis for dinner at La Brasserie de I’lle St. Louis.  This is the restaurant that we were originally going to visit on our first night but ended at one closer to the hotel after we finished our walk.  Rick Steves’ recommends this one as having good Alsatian cuisine and that sounds good to all of us.

After dinner the plan is to take an evening illumination cruise for an hour on the Seine River. I’ll let you know how it goes later.  The weather prediction is for possible rain tonight!  The good news is that we returned from the Musee Rodin about 3 pm and have had two hours to put our feet up and rest.  I think we’re all ready to go home; we been going every day at a rather fast pace and everyone is a bit tired.  I’m going to post this now and will add a bit to the blog if there are major changes….if not…will only add a few photos of the evening.

Tomorrow is Monday and our plan is to spend most of the day at the Louvre Museum. 

Home again...great dinner...then we walked for about an hour; Linda got some ice cream...the rest of us were too full!  The sky is overcast; looks like we may get some rain tonight.  Beautiful sunset photos; decided not to go for a boat ride...everyone too tired and since it doesn't get dark until after 10 pm...too late we decided.

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