(September 5, 2007) Notre Dame and Louvre
A very ambitious plan for this day when including the visit
Museum of Louvre at afternoon, after lunching on Latin Quarter. The
itinerary, from South to North, would be done by walking joining the
three main spots for today: Pantheon, Notre Dame and Louvre. On our way
we will be able of visiting some other interesting places as Luxembourg
gardens, Sorbonne, Le Sainte Chapelle or Museum d’Orsay. This day we
will have the help of Paris Museum card.
The spots marked at map for visits on this day are:
0- Hotel Eiffel Cambronne
5- Luxembourg Gardens
7- Notre Dame
8- Sainte Chapelle
9- Museum d'Orsay
We don't like to wake up early so, on despite of
our tight agenda for today, we go out from hotel, gotten breakfast,
around 11h. This has been the first and last time we're going to
breakfast at hotel as, although bars are expensive, 13€ per person at
hotel is even more.
We purchase two Mobilis card again and 5 stops of
metro, a line change on Denfert Rochereau, and two more train station
later we're on Luxembourg station, ready for going out to the street,
just along one of the entrance to Luxembourg gardens, which we use.
The park is big and is full of well conserved
gardens, clean and nice, as everything we could see in this city. There
is a palace with the name of "Le Senat" here too, but I would be
surprised if the senate was actually there. You can see all these
places with the unavoidable presence of Montparnasse tower at the
bottom and the people coming to here, who get this place full of life.
We go out from the gardens with the same feeling
we've got yesterday about all these "minor" visits as we are loving
them. We're sure, then, there are a lot of places in Paris we're not
going to visit but we would enjoy that well too.
Just around 100 metres from
here we can see the impressive Pantheon, which frontal reminds us the
architecture of Les Invalides. It's here where we get the Museum Pass
Card for two days by 30€ each.
In a closer look, this building is even more
fantastic as the size of the elements, far from being for humans, can
amaze you: Big and tall columns and doors through which could enter
five persons at a time, in vertical, one over each other!
The first we can see once inside is the great hall
over the dome, which center is occupied by the Foucault pendulum, which
I already knew, but the walls around are full of works of art, like
paintings and statues or sculpture representations, most of them about
the French Revolution. Then, we go downstairs to the crypt as here are
the tombs with the remains of the considered great men in the history
of France. So, after a hall with some sarcophagus with statues of
important figures as Voltaire, we can walk along a corridor with opened
small chambers with three or four tombs on each one. We're talking
about people like Rousseau, Pier and Marie Curie or Jean Mannet. On the
picture below you can see the tombs of - from left to right - Victor
Hugo, Alexandre Dumas and Emile Zola.
We like it that much as per spending the time in
there without any worries. When we get the street again I check the
time... 13:20h! We’re in troubles with all spots we must visit before
lunching, as the afternoon should be entirely for Louvre!. But we
cannot regret as the time has been well spent in here. For me, Pantheon
should be on the same Paris visitor’s list as Eiffel Tower and Notre
Dame, to which we must go now, by the way.
This city is so amazing that even the small church
in the picture, sited just besides Pantheon, is magnificent, but don't
manage to get its name until returning home: Le Paroisse Saint Etienne
We take Rue Sant Jacques to North surrounded by a
college environment. The buildings on nearby looks classic and are
labelled as different faculties. We pass then, in front of the one in
the picture, which is the famous Sorbonne, the oldest university in the
As we follow our way quite directly, with no
distractions, in 15 minutes we're in front of Notre Dame Cathedral
side, known by its gargoyles and hunchback, but I cannot see any of
both. We take the short bridge saving the narrow part of Senna river
separating the City Island (Ile de la Cité) from the South riverside,
where we're coming from. The facade is wonderful, it is full of
elaborated decorations and statues of stone.
It is magnificent from inside too, with big and
colourful windows and statues of people related with religion as Joan
of Arc. We look for the stairs to reach the top of one of the towers
but we cannot find them there in. It is because they're outside, on its
right side, and you can detect them because of the long row of people
waiting for "enjoying" them, which makes us desist from it. As we're
late in our agenda, we cannot wait that long for going the way up of
the 387 steps. At least I've found the gargoyles: they're very high and
smaller than I thought. Actually, they're ending the water spouts which
drain the rain from the roof and they're not "realistic" statues, but
something more functional.
In the small park in front of the Cathedral there
is a place where you can do the perfect picture and, therefore,
everybody is doing it. It is exactly in front of the building and far
enough of it as per taking the whole Notre Dame in your photo.
We go further inside the island from there and, at
the moment the view of the river is lost, it looks as if we were ion
the middle of the city again. We walk some streets twice for finding
the Sainte Chapelle as, shockingly, it is inside of the old Royal
Palace complex, which now are located the Paris Courts. So we find two
rows of people on one side of it: one for the citizens needing
something from courts and another one for the ones wanting to visit the
chapel. Both of them must pass through the security control.
We follow the signs until reaching a hall, after
going up by two stairs, looking as the interior of a tiny cathedral
somewhere. Actually, what worth the visit to here are just the
colourful windows, made of the typical multicolour mosaic of stained
glass, but unusually tall and narrow. They're really beautiful, but
only them, as the rest seems to be on improvements.
This visit has been quick, just 15 minutes. That
helps! as it is 15h now and we have to lunch. We walk inside courts
area until leaving it through its big railing door and we go back to
the South riverside to look for a restaurant on Latin Quarter.
We can see a peculiar metro entrance, it belongs
to Saint-Michel station but we go on our way in the quarter. At the
moment we go off the big Boulevard Sain Michel what we find are narrow
streets full of restaurant, one besides each other. We discard some
Asiatic and one Spanish one as we want to go for local food, now we're
going to be here just for two days. And due to this we choose "Le Pré
Grill", where we can seat inside, refusing the outdoor tables, and
lunch by less than 20€.
It's going to be 16:30 when we're back to our
tasks. When we're reaching the river one more time, we can see, on our
riverside, the Museum d'Orsay and, on the opposite side, the Museum of
Louvre. I expected to be here earlier but, even with that, we decide to
take advantage of Museum Pass card to take an outlook to the first one
and spend the rest of the afternoon on Louvre.
The building allocating Museum d'Orsay is
beautiful by itself and peculiar, with these big clocks on its facade.
This is because it was used an old train station improved for locating
this art collection.
This museum is made by big, opened and clean
areas. We're looking for the impressionists, which is what we want to
see, but, as use to happen, there are a lot more of works of art
attracting our attention. Van Gogh's Portrait of Dr. Gachet is here
(one of them, a least), but I spend the time watching more freaky
things as a big model of part of Paris or Whistler's mother, the
painting which get quite destroyed on Mr. Bean's movie.
Time runs fast and we’re getting out of it, so
it’s time to go to Museum of Louvre. Is it possible I’ve organize all
this travel just for seeing Victory of Samothrace? It could be.
Actually, it was decided once returned from Greece on July, where I saw
several replicas of that statue. I’m in love of her and we’re finally
going to meet.
We take the bridge to get the other side of the
river and walk along a part of Tuileries garden, which is the park in
front of the Louvre. Now we just have to pass through a beautiful arch
of pink stone and enter into the glass pyramid.
Museum pass card gives us access to the museum a few
minutes before 18h. As Wednesday it closes at 21:30h we must organize
our visit and planning the best way of visiting all three wings
appearing at the map I’ve just got. The three accesses to them are on
this great hall: Richelieu (North), Denon (South) and Sully (East).
We start by Richelieu wing where I want to see Code of Hammurabi
overall. The first we find is two great halls with natural light and
equestrian sculptures. The picture above at right is taken from here.
When going upstairs we find out all Mesopotamian part of the Museum is
closed because of improvements, so I won’t see the Code of Hammurabi
today. The good side of this is we’re going to have more time for the
rest of the museum. We return to the main hall after completing
Richelieu wing in a half of an hour.
We spend the
rest of the time on the other two wings. It’s in Denon where we find
famous Venus de Milo, which beauty I cannot see compared with other
statues here, as the one dominating the staircase to upper levels of
this wing: my loved Winged Victory of Samothrace. It was the prow of a
boat representation and the detail on the pleats on cloth is
unbelievable to me. It makes the sensation she is really feeling wind
on face permanently. It is quite bigger than I expected.
We watch the famous Gioconda, a small portrait with an additional
security system, but I prefer Delacroix’s Barque of Dante, which I find
here too. The halls about ancient Rome and Egypt are amazing too. There
are a lot of real treasures here. We spend some minutes more than three
hours in there.
It’s dark when we’re leaving the complex by Rue de
Rivoli gate to get Palais-Royal_Musée du Louvre metro station. We buy
some fruit one more time and get into our room exhausted. I can read
clearly the tiredness of this day on Eva’s face. It’s the price for
seeing that amount of wonderful things on a single journey.