Saturday, October 23, 2010

Just another Saturday afternoon stroll.

So we left the Notre Dame area late that Saturday morning, walked west along the south side of the Ile de la Cite, and crossed over the Seine to the Right Bank. After lunching on lovely ham and cheese sandwiches at a sidewalk cafĂ©, we passed through the Louvre’s courtyard and by its fantastic pyramids (I promise there will be photos in an upcoming post!), and took off for the Champs-Elysees with the goal of walking its length to the Arc de Triomphe.

Parisians spend a lot of time outdoors during nice weather, enjoying their many parks and green spaces. My theory is that they get cabin fever from living in their tiny apartments and have to escape for some fresh air. Of course, I may be wrong…but just look at this photo Kathie took of the locals sunning themselves by a pond/fountain in the Jardin des Tuileries.

(The significance of the word tuileries is that tile kilns, or tuileries, occupied the site on which the Tuileries Palace was built by Catherine de Medici in 1564. Before the palace burned down in 1871, it enclosed the Louvre’s courtyard.)

At the western end of the Tuileries Gardens is the Place de la Concorde. Its primary claim to fame is that more than 1200 peeps were guillotined here, including Louise XVI and his queen, Marie-Antoinette. Yikes! Could you hear those spirits talkin' to ya, Kath?? BTW, that obelisk is 3300 years old and is the twin of one that stands in front of the Temple of Luxor in Egypt.

On along the Avenue des Champs-Elysees, we passed the Guerlain shop - where this gentleman was shopping for some Shalimar for his honey...

...and some afternoon diners at a sidewalk cafe. Kel-kel, check out the Sephora store in the background.

I directed traffic to wait while Kathie stepped out into the busy street to get this shot of the Arc de Triomphe...

(Actually, I watched the red light and hollered for her to hustle up before it turned green.)

Ordinarily, we would've been able to go inside the monument and up to the top where there's supposedly a great view of the city. On this particular day, however, a labor strike closed the inside to visitors. (This would not be our first strike-caused inconvenience on the trip. More on that in a future post.) So we contented ourselves with exploring the exterior of this early 19th century beauty...

The names of French victories and generals during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars are inscribed on the walls.

This plaque commemorating the French soldiers and Resistance fighters who died in World War II caught Kathie's eye.

On the way back to the Ile St. Louis, we decided to cut back to the Left Bank by way of Avenue Marceau in order to avoid the masses on the Champs-Elysees. There wasn't as much to gawk at but it was much quieter. We passed Eglise St. Pierre de Chaillot, a grimy-looking church of thick walls and little windows. Kathie, Kathleen, and I thought it must surely be a medieval or Romanesque or even Byzantine structure, but guess what, Girls - it was built in the 1930s!!!

Next post, Sunday at Versailles.


Katharine said...

You are gettin' good at this history stuff!

Pat said...

Hey, that's what guidebooks and Wiki are for!

Kappa no He said...

That obelisk is mind blowing. Over 3,000-years old. What gorgeous photos. I always learn so much from you two. ^^v