Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Despite being up into the wee hours of the morning, I was determined to be out the door by 8 so I could have a couple hours to visit the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise.  I was only a few minutes behind schedule because I confirmed the metro stations with the desk at the hostel.  The metro was full of commuters this morning and the energy of yesterday’s holiday had faded away. 

When I researched Cimetière du Père-Lachaise I learned that if one enters from La Rue Gambetta the trek through the city of graves is downhill!  With my sleep deprivation, downhill was good!  The domed structure that is found early on when entering from Gambetta is the Crématorium du Pere Lachaise.   So much history is buried in this amazing cemetery, including Tombe de Frédéric Chopin.

Tombe de Frédéric Chopin

Silly me, I actually thought I would have time to squeeze in a visit to Notre Dame afterwards, but it was difficult to leave the dead too quickly.  As I wandered through and snapped pictures of moss-covered, centuries-old graves only a few steps away from memorials for those who passed in this century I decided I must return to Paris.  There’s no choice, really, because Versailles is poised to be knocked off of my list since there will not be two full museum days and I am not willing to sacrifice my trio of museums:  Musée d'Orsay, Musée de l'Orangerie and the Louvre.   We shall see. 

Dr. V. toured us quickly through Le Marais, the area of Paris once known for those who were looked upon as outcasts due to religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation.  It has transformed into a trendy shopping area with fashionable shops and art galleries.  This is also the home to kosher Middle Eastern L'As du Fallafel where our marketing class enjoyed lunch followed by a visit to to Chez Marianne where we each selected a different delicious confection.  

I didn’t get a picture of this, but the memory of sitting under a tree in Place des Vosges in Le Marais where we were all enjoying our desserts, a little down time and some blessed shade, is forever burned in my memory.  In the peaceful park an unidentified bird attacked from above and delivered a gift directly onto my, up-until-then, delicious poppy seed strudel.  Sadness, great sadness but accompanied with welcome warm laughter by all.  

We continued our exploration, moving through Arrondissement 4’s Le Marais and onward to Place de la Bastille where the actual Bastille Prison once stood.  Now the Colonne de Juillet stands proudly in the middle of the plaza.  It doesn’t look a bit tired from yesterday’s celebration.
Colonne de Juillet

Bonne nuit!