Saturday, July 18, 2015

First on the agenda today was returning to Notre Dame to visit the bored gargoyle.  I arrived early and perched myself up on the wall by the entrance and took the lead spot!  YES!  Waiting is a necessary evil in our crowded world, but being the first one waiting makes it bearable.

First on the agenda was going back to Notre Dame to visit the bored gargoyle.  I arrived at 9 sharp and as a couple was looking at the information sign I perched myself up on the wall by the entrance and took the lead spot!  YES!  First in line is good.  I waited, but there’s something nice about not having to wait behind anyone. 

Several Notre Dame tour staff arrived and from the first to the last they had difficulty opening the door because the sun heated the metal and made the heavy barred door expand.  They opened promptly at the stroke of ten and ushered the first few of us in the direction of the stone spiral staircase and to the ticket/waiting area and then more, many more stone spiral stairs.  I heard much huffing and puffing and a Spanish-speaking gentleman commented that the ancient French must not have smoked.  I felt proud of my steady trot and the only symptom I suffered was a little dizziness from the spiraling climb.  After all these years of waiting I finally met the bored one and some of his friends. 

They have quite the view. 

As I snapped a few pictures of the statues of the 12 apostles on Notre Dame’s spire the quarter hour bells tolled and I had the most inappropriate reaction to hearing them; I giggled.  Ok, I admit it, I pictured Hugo’s Quasimodo and an old joke…I won’t tell it here.

My next stop wins my top spot for the week, as I knew it would.   The Musée d'Orsay is a gorgeous building that was once a railway station whose too short platforms were unable to accommodate the development of longer trains.  This Beaux Arts treasure came close to being demolished in the 1970’s but thankfully the Minister for Cultural Affairs at that time saved it from being replaced by a hotel.

Inside this museum is the home of incredible examples of Impressionism and I could have spent the rest of the afternoon taking in the great Impressionist artists’ works. 

Vincent Van Gogh

My day continued with a walk through Jardin des Tuileries and a visit to the Musée de l'Orangerie to spend some time in the cool oval rooms that house the large Monet’s water lilies that he painted late in life as he lost his eyesight. 

Next, since I was so close, I walked to the Place de la Concorde and took a stroll and glimpsed the Arc de Triomphe in the distance.  I hadn’t planned on it, but I made up my mind to grab the metro and head to the top of the Arc for more incredible views from the top of another of the Parisian iconic monuments. 

View from the top of the Arc de Triomphe
On this last full day in Paris the duality of time is truly palpable.  I feel as if I have been here a long time because of all the things I’ve done and no time at all because of the things I haven’t done.  Scratching the surface of the Parisian treasures has been wonderful and I hope that life allows me to visit again.

Merci, Paris!