April 29 - Rick Steves' Historic Walk
We awoke to beautiful blue skies this morning. The sun was shining on the sides of the building around us. It was still a bit chilly,though.
At breakfast we were surrounded by a Rick Steves tour group. They were all excited about making a walking tour of the major attractions of the city. We were too. Because of the nice weather and the forecast of it staying that way throughout the day, we decided to take the "Historic City Walk" which was in Rick Steves tour book.
The starting point was at Notre Dame, so we went underground and took two metro lines over to Hotel de Ville. No, that's not a hotel. It's the American equivalent of the city hall. We had to cross over the Seine to get there.
Outside, on the facade of Notre Dame, you can see "Our Lady". You can also see St Denis carrying his head in his hands. Over the main door is the Last Judgment and statues of the a Kings of Judah.
We walked inside where there is lots more to see. Besides a statue of Joan of Arc, there is an altar with a pieta and an intricately carved choir. Another point of interest is a rose-shaped window with its original medieval glass.
We spent just enough time in the cathedral to see the major sights and to get a sense of the enormity of the building.
Next on our tour was the Deportation Memorial that was created by Charles de Gaulle to honor the 200,000 Jews from France that died during WWII. We crossed over the Seine and continued our walk past the kiosks of used book sellers and wandered into medieval Paris where we stopped at the church of St Julien-le-Pauvre. It is now a Greek Orthodox Church.
We were now approaching the Latin Quarter. We walked past Shakespeare and Company Book Store, St Severin Church with its gargoyles, Boulevard St Michel, Place St Andre-Des-Arts and Place St Michel where we snacked on crepes. Our next stop would have been Sainte Chapelle, but the line was too long and our legs were too tired to stand there. So we visited the Conciergerie, walked through Place Dauphine, past a statue of Henry IV and over Pont Neuf. Our destination was Pompidou Center. It was closed, so we stopped for lunch at a fast food shop that had good sandwiches, salads, and desserts.
We retraced our steps slightly and went back to Sainte Chapelle. This time the line was shorter and we went in. Many of the stained glass windows were being refurbished but the ones that were not blocked off were very bright and colorful. They tell the story of the Bible.
After Sainte Chapelle, we found a Metro station at St Michel and took four trains back to our hotel. It is very easy and fast on this fantastic subway system.
Dinner tonight was on the Rue Cler at the Tribeca Italian Restaurant. The weather turned on us on the way over. A light rain started to fall. We both had penne pasta. Ann had a tomato and basil sauce while mine was string beans, egg plant, sun dried tomatoes and ham. The walk back to the hotel was wet, too.