Freeway-Free in France: Saturday on the Seine
WB and I took the bus to the Pont Neuf today and walked down to Notre Dame. Since we had Museum Passes we spend about an hour down in the Crypt, which harbors a number of relics of Gallic, Roman, and medieval times which were exhumed when they built an underground garage under the Pavee in front of the cathedral. Very interesting but fearsomely educational with all sorts of cool interactive 3D computer representations of the Ile de Cite at various stages, the cathedral in various states of construction, etc. We would have spent even more time but it began to feel a little claustrophobic.
We then strolled across the pavee to the cathedral, where an impressive mass was being held. We were able to walk quietly around the edges of the church, admiring the wonderful carvings around the sacristy and the gorgeous windows.
Then we went to the memorial to the 200K Frenchmen who were taken away by the Nazis and never returned, which is hidden below ground level at the end of the garden behind the cathedral. After that, a cup of restorative tea and a couple of scoops of glacé at Berthillon’s seemed in order.
By the time we finished our break, it seemed a strike of bus drivers had broken out, (what is a visit to Paris without a manifestation of some kind?)and we were forced underground to the Metro, which involved a lot more steps and stairs for poor WB’s knee.
Happily, the Galleries Lafayette has a direct entrance from the Metro at their stop, so we executed some efficient shopping and then went to ooh and aah at the Art Deco atrium and stained glass dome which they acquired when they merged with La Samaritaine a few years ago. Next up to the rooftop terrace to admire the view of everywhere we had been and wave at the folks up on the Eiffel Tower.
By the time we got down, the manifestation seemed to be over, so we caught a bus which nearly took us to where we wanted to be. Winifred chugged off to the Musee d’Orsay, while I decided to skip the Louvre this trip and check out the Monet water lilies and the Picassos and Renoirs at l’Orangerie. Lots of lilies.
I didn’t feel like going back to the Metro station and there were a whole lot of policemen around, so I walked slowly back to the hotel, stopping here and there to check out some menus for possible dinner tonight, and a little browsing of the clearance rack in the dress shop on the corner.
A bit later WB arrived – the buses were stopped again so she had to walk from the Musee d’Orsay. She is taking an exhausted rest’. We will decide about dinner in an hour. No word from Dianne, who was planning to spend at least part of the day circling the city on the Route 69 bus – hope she didn’t get marooned somewhere.