Monday, July 23, 2012

Paris Day 3

Yesterday was a busy day, filled with lots of cool stuff.  We started the day out by going to Sainte Chapelle, which was one of the things I most wanted to see.  The stained glass there was truly amazing.  They're restoring it all, section by section, so we didn't quite get the full effect, but it was still breathtaking.  Nearby Sainte Chapelle is the Conciergerie, which is a former royal palace and the prison where people, including Marie-Antoinette, were kept during the French Revolution.  They had a replica of her cell and examples of the other cells they had at the time.  They had bigger cells for all the riffraff, and then, if you had money, you could buy your way into a cell that had actual beds in it.  These were supposedly slightly cleaner and, according to the signage, were not as rife with promiscuity.  They had a couple of great slide presentations about the French Revolution and Marie-Antoinette's time at the Conciergerie.  I would like to read about her life-I know very little about it, other than she didn't actually say let them eat cake.  It sounds like she was definitely a character, but also a pawn in a political game that ended up with her being executed. 

Next we went to Notre Dame.  They happened to be doing Mass when we got there, so as we walked in you could hear the angelic singing and smell the incense.  The inside wasn't hugely impressive, but the outside was cool.  I loved the gargoyles and ended up buying two cheap, touristy replicas later in the day.  There is a small crypt outside of Notre Dame that we went to that was boring and hot.  It showed the remains of the original city center that's been excavated below the Notre Dame area.

We next had Lebanese food for lunch (delicious), then went to the Cluny museum.  It's a medieval museum and it contains the famous (possibly only to me???) Lady and the Unicorn tapestries.  I was like a kid in a candy store with those things.  They're pretty darn amazing!  The rest of the pieces in the museum were pretty cool too-they had several portrayals of Jesus being circumcised.  My dad spent an excessive amount of time taking pictures here, although I think you could probably say that about just about every place we've been to at this point!

The Pantheon was next.  It's a mausoleum that houses the remains of some of the most distinguished French citizens.  We saw the burial places of Rousseau, Voltaire, Braille, Madame Curie (and her husband), Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo.  The crypt, where they are located, was actually really cool this time around.  The Pantheon, itself, houses Foucault's pendulum (although this one is from 1995), and different monuments to things I can't remember because I got distracted by Mark's app that allows you to place cats in different pictures.

We had planned to go to the Musee D'Orsay at this point, but it was too late, so instead we went over to the famous bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, and then my mom and I did a little souvenir shopping back over by Notre Dame.  We then went back to the condo, to meet up with my brother and sister in-law, who had just arrived after a few days in London.

Today we're hitting the Louvre and Europe's largest flea market.

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