Friday, 22 July 2016

Day one

Busy day at the coalface of a sightseeing. Woke up at 1am and all of us wake and compos mentis by 3. Various administrative tasks sorted and blog post written then headed out at 6, went first to Gare Montparnasse to buy travel cards, all very straightforward, then to the bakery to buy breakfast, very pleasant croissants in the station seating area.

To the Ile de la Cite, in front of Notre Dame at 7am, deserted so a magnificent view with no crowds. Was there as the sun come up beside the towers, a glorious scene. Didn't open for a while so we went for a wander past the Palais de Justice up to Pont Neuf. Then back to Notre Dame for opening time, absolutely stunning inside, and we got to look around whilst a service was taking place which added to the atmosphere.

Saint Chapelle didn't open for an hour so we had coffee then wandered back, found a queue but not too long. Saint Chapelle was gorgeous inside, the stained glass amazing, a small chapel but we'll worth a visit. Bought combined ticket with the Concergerie next door, haven't visited before, was the prison where revolutionary prisoners were held before trial and execution, not too many got out at the height of the terror, including Marie Antoinette. Again well worth a visit.

Went bank to Notre Dame to see if we could climb the towers but by now the place was heaving and queues enormous, no thanks, so we wandered to the Ile de St Louis to buy lunch, found a lovely bakery and had a picnic with a view down the Seine.

Fueled up we went to the Museum of Anatomy & Palaeontology, Marcus wanted to go to a science museum. Lots of bones, which was impressive, but a very old style place so just, literally, a big room full of bones. There most interactive things where the signs saying Do Not Touch. Must try harder, this is the 21st century!

Museum was very hot and we were flagging by now so back to the hotel for a rest. Refreshed we went to the Jardins du Luxembourg, which are just down the road and had a pleasant stroll amongst many happy and relaxed Parisians. Then just a short walk to the Pantheon, not sure I've been here before either but again a most impressive monument, high domed ceilings and lots of interesting people interred in the crypt, including Marie Curie so Marcus was happy (he likes a scientific angle).

Flagging again so we stopped to buy some victuals for dinner which unromantically for Paris were eaten in the hotel room before we all dropped off by 9pm.  History and religion done, culture tomorrow at the Louvre.

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