Some wise guy (as in, um, smarty pants, not as in sage) once said that the best thing about Paris in August is that there aren’t any Parisiens there. I don’t know about that, but I do know that there were plenty of tourists – from all around the globe – there. Including D and me as we went to get some biometric info taken for D as part of his application for a student visa to Great Britain this fall.
Here are a few stories and photos (with links to even more photos) from our all too brief stay in the City of Light:
- “Dee-Fense! Dee-Fense!” Yesterday was opening day for most NFL teams in the US and you inevitably see “Dee-Fense” up on each stadium’s Jumbotron during some moment when the visiting team has the ball. You also see someone(s) holding up a big ‘D’ along with a cardboard cutout of a picket fence. This naturally made me remember our time in the La Defense section of Paris. D really wanted to go there – something about seeing “a big cube-shaped building.” His bio work was done on the same side of town as La Defense, so we headed there when he was done. I admit I wasn’t looking forward to it. But after a few wrong turns – even with Mully Man guiding us – we found a parking garage, emerged into a shopping mall, and then popped outdoors to see this:
I have to say that I really enjoyed our time there. It’s certainly different than what you think of when you think of ‘Paris.’ The different architecture, the tree-lined pathways – where office workers played petanque – and the various ginormous sculptures were really interesting.
To see more photos, click on https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=FCB2CF114ECC39C7!5876.
- “Recognize Any of These From the Movie?” As I mentioned in the prior story, D and I climbed the 400 steps to the top of Notre Dame. When you arrive at the lower level, you’re immediately greeted by gargoyles such as these:
I asked D if any of them looked familiar from “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” by Disney. He assured me that he did recognize some of them from repeated viewings as a wee lad. To see more of the gargoyles and some terrific views of Paris, click on the link: https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=FCB2CF114ECC39C7!5848.
- “Speaking of Notre Dame.” On our first first to Paris some five years ago, each time we went to Notre Dame, the lines were ridiculous. So we never saw the inside. But this time, we showed up around 5:15 and there was absolutely nobody in line. So we scooted right in.
A couple of moments later, an actual Mass started. It was in French but D and I understand it well enough – and we have experience hearing Mass – so we actually stayed for the whole thing. It was actually a pretty moving experience.
To see more photos, click here: https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=FCB2CF114ECC39C7!5891.
- “1789 Was a Lousy Year to Open a Church in Paris.” Talk about bad timing: St. Genevieve Church opened in 1789. This just happened to be the year the French Revolution started. So the new king-less government decides that this new basilica should be a monument to the people and renames the church “The Pantheon.”
The interior is decorated with statuary celebrating non-royal personnages:
It also acts as a mausoleum for famous FR figures, including Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Marie Curie, Louis Pasteur and many more.
To see more photos from the Pantheon, click here: https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=FCB2CF114ECC39C7!5918.
Back tomorrow with stories and photos from Sacre Coeur, St. Chapelle, and a Bateau Mouche ride.