I blogged with great frustration on my iPad unable to scroll down and finding it difficult to add captions to photos consistently. So please bear with the text and photos all separated. Unfortunately as it was Sunday today, many shops were closed. Lets hope tomorrows search effort will be more fruitful. With that out of the way, here we go...
A certain young man woke up at 2am this morning but fortunately, then fell asleep again. Hallelujah! We had a simple breakfast of fruit and cereal as we had a rope drop appointment with the Notre Dame. We got there a little after the opening time of 8am. We were able to walk straight in and admire the impressive gothic cathedral in peace. By 830am when the first service started, the crowds had arrived. It was interesting attending a French Catholic service, the book of Philippians had never sounded so good! It was worth it just to hear the beautiful voice of the soloist resounding with the acoustics of the cathedral. Sitting inside whilst the sun was still rising gave us the opportunity to see the stained glass window burst into colour before our eyes. After exercising our spirituality, we exercised our legs, climbing up the tower to get a gargoyle's view of the city, all 400 steps.
|Ile de la Cite|
|Our first glimpse of the Notre Dame|
|The nativity scene that I adored within the Cathedral|
|So full of details|
|End of the service|
|View from the top of the Notre Dame Tower|
|The sky had turned blue when we left!|
We were following yet another of Rick Steves excellent self guided walks. Jonah, however, was more interested in looking at the multitudes of 'baby birds' close by. We continued past the Cathedral to the Deportation memorial dedicated to French residents deported during World War II. From there, we made a small detour onto the Ile St, Louis to for some ice-cream at the famous Berthillon. The three Sundaes we ordered were divine and didn't last long at all. We then had a quick peek at the Paris equivalent of Tetsuya's before crossing to the left bank and exploring the Latin quarter. Once there, the children unbelievably declared that they were hungry and so we stopped for lunch. Here, we found another reason why Parisians are so skinny...to be able to eat at restaurants! Every one we've been to have been small and had tables placed very close together! We tried some cheese and meat fondue which was not bad. The cosy, hippie and bohemian feel of the Latin Quarter was a lovely contrast to the more modern Right Bank with its wide boulevards and stately buildings. It was a shame that we didn't have time to explore it further.
|The "baby birds" that Jonah was fixated on|
|Alex has been such a great help the first two days. Not just with translating but also with help with the children|
|The multitude of lovers locks along the many bridges of Paris|
|The memorial for Frances war deportee|
|Happy children. On our way to Ile St Louis...|
|...to this famous shop...|
|...for hot chocolate &...|
|delicious ice cream!|
|The children were transfixed with the music boxes so we bought a few. Some for us, some as presents...|
|The Latin Quarter|
|Fondue for lunch|
|Our meat plate for our fondue|
Unfortunately, we had to say farewell to Alex. It had been so good seeing the sights of Paris with her.
We continued on to the beautifully stunning Saint-Chapelle, home of the bible expressed in stained glass windows. The children were excited to be able to find scenes from Genesis. God creating the world, Adam and Eve, the first murder with Cain and Abel, Moses in the basket, and the Passion. It was a shame that part of it was being restored which made for difficult photo taking!
The Conciergerie, originally the torture house of the Kings of France, was the gloomy prison famous as the holding place for over two thousand victims of the guillotine. Included in that list is Marie-Antoinette whose cell we viewed. Upon finishing our self guided tour inside, we meandered past the oldest clock in Paris, Place Dauphin, the statue of Henry IV, before finally crossing Pont Neuf, Paris oldest bridge.
|Stunning stained glass windows|
|A lot of detail!|
|God makes the world|
|Adam & Eve|
|The world's first murder. Cain and Abel|
|Marie Antoinette's cell at the Conciergerie|
|Oldest clock in Paris|
Daylight was disappearing fast and we still had to get ourselves to Montmartre! We caught a subway to Abbesses and let the children guide us following yet another self guided tour we obtained free over the Internet. The streets were busy despite the dimming light. Christmas markets lined the streets much to the glee of the children. Place du Tertre was still filled with artists and tourists. It was just a lovely atmosphere. We made our way to the white-domed Sacre Coeur with great relief as that meant our sightseeing list was done for the day! We took the metro back home and indulged ourselves with some macaroons to aid our tired feet. The children have done remarkably well. We covered so much ground today, including the steps of the Notre Dame Tower as well as the endless stairs of the Paris metro stations. Little Jonah, despite his little legs, kept up and walked most of the way himself. He managed to stay awake until 630pm tonight and so here's to a "normal" waking time for all to tomorrow!
|Montmatre wall art|
|Wandering the streets of Montmatre|
|Heineken with your McValue meal?!?! Give it to me says Malcolm|