On Day 5 in Paris, we are still trying to figure out the weather patterns of Paris. It is very unlike New York…where you have a couple of days where it rains all day….or a week where the sun is so intense, and it is so hot that you can barely walk down the street without melting and gagging at the smell. But the weather in Paris is like playing red light/green light….but substitute that with rain/sun. Literally, one minute it is sunny and blue skies…and 5 minutes later it is dark and menacing and looks like rain. But it doesn’t always rain…it might mist….or it might POUR down in a 10 minute deluge…and then the sun comes out and it is hot again. Today, we were at a cafe having lunch and it was sunny…so they opened up the awning a bit. It was so nice that we put on our sunglasses and said “ahhhh”… Not less than 5 minutes later, it was raining so hard that the awning was leaking…and there was ark-making all around us! Needless to say, it’s been really hard to figure out what to wear….but all in all it has had no effect on the fun of our trip! We just act like Parisians and go with the flow!
So this morning, we opted to eat at home…so we had some really good yogurt (their options here are far better than at home)…some delicious fruit from the farmer’s market, a baguette with butter…some prosciutto, etc, etc. For some reason, the jet lag hit all 3 of us hard this morning and we were NOT on Paris time! But we made it out and headed over to Notre Dame to climb the towers.
The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays, so that means bigger crowds at all of the other attractions. We got to Notre Dame only to find a very long line. We waited an hour and a half to go up the tower…and then once up, we had to wait and wait to continue along the very narrow passage…and I mean VERY narrow! But the view….breathtaking! To be able to see all of the intricate detail up-close….it was amazing!
After we finished at Notre Dame, we walked a short distance to the Chapel of St. Chapelle. I don’t know all of the history behind the chapel itself, but it is well known for the sheer amount of stained glass that it boasts. I heard it was awe-inspiring…but until you reach the top of the spiral staircase and see for yourself….you just can’t believe your eyes! The room is cast in a red and blue glow. It is magical. It is jaw dropping. So much stained glass…so high…it’s like fireworks frozen in time.
After St. Chapelle, we went across the Seine to the Left Bank and had lunch at a cafe in St. Germaine. The weather was really nice…beautiful sunny skies…totally great. And then…clouds rolled in and within minutes there was a downpour like you’ve never seen. The waiters were totally freaking out “Sacre Bleu!” and trying to stop the water from pouring out of the awning we were sitting under. Quite the scene. A few minutes later, the sun was back out…..I am ashamed that I didn’t photo-document this for my blogger followers.
Afterwards, we headed to the Pantheon in the Latin Quarter. The Pantheon was built in 1757 as a church…but over the years became a French National mausoleum to hold the remains of folks like Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Louis Braille, and Maire Curie. The architecture was interesting to see, but as Americans we weren’t so into the famous French folk buried there. It reminded me of our visit to Arlington National Cemetery this spring and how that invoked a sense of American pride…I can see how the French would love this place….
And then we headed onto Church #4…St. Etienne du Mont Church. This church was started in the 13th century, but most of what we see was built in the 1500’s…it was all dedicated to St. Etienne, the patron Saint of Paris. I have studied a lot of architectural history, but I had never heard of this church. I was awe struck when we went inside. It was unlike anything I had seen….unlike most gothic churches, it was almost feminine and delicate…my pictures don’t do it justice. I’m glad we stopped in to see this.
The day ended early….we are feeling the jet lag today and we ate our last Farmer’s market meal…and then got ready for bed (and for blogging for some of us). Tomorrow is a museum day….