I had a good flight home, and now, the first of the promised posts of my last couple days in Paris.
I had a very nice meal at a little cafe on the left bank overlooking the Quai Montebello which is part of the road which runs along the Seine, and I had a great view of Notre Dame just across the river. After a leisurely second pot of tea I walked along the Seine down to Pont Neuf to take a few more pictures of Notre Dame in the late afternoon sun. I am still marvelling at the fact that I was standing on the top of the tower closest to the river.
The road along both sides of the Seine is the home of the used book sellers. Their iconic green boxes can be seen in many paintings of Paris, especially those of the Impressionist period. There are 900 boxes along the Seine, three kilometres of used and antique books, old magazines, manuscripts, postcards, as well as stamps, souvenirs, magnets, posters, painting reproductions and even locks for lovers to put on the Pont Neuf.
I don’t think they should be allowed to sell locks, as the poor bridges in this area are becoming overburdened with all the locks tourists have attached to them. Lovers write their names on a lock, attach it onto the bridge and throw the key into the Seine River. These locks are removed periodically in an attempt to prevent damage to the bridges but I saw several sections that had boards placed over areas of railing which had collapsed under the weight of thousands of locks. I don’t suppose that all the keys thrown into the river can be good for it either.I wander along the streets looking for Shakespeare and Company, but have a hard time locating it. Along the way I so see lots of other interesting places though.
Another interesting art store, but it is closed so I have to be content looking through the windows.
An interesting mix of automobiles, motorcycles, scooters and bicycles. The guy looking back had just got honked at and one of the motorcyclists was yelling at him. I think maybe he cut someone off. He is riding a velib bicycle, one of 20,000 bicycles you can use in Paris, after buying a daily or weekly pass, for 1.7 euros or 8 euros respectively. The first 30 minutes of each ride are free, so you can ride, exchange your bike for another and keep doing this as often as you want.
Another beautiful Paris building and one of the many Paris policeman directing traffic. They love to blow their whistles, and do so very often and repeatedly
This plaque is on a primary school wall. It is in memory of young students who were taken by the Nazis to the death camps. I found the dried flower tucked into the ring below the plaque very touching.
I find it interesting how the old churches are surrounded by other buildings and shops. This is Sainte-Séverin. It is very dark inside and it has beautiful ancient and modern stained windows.
There are a set of seven stained glass windows inspired by the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. These two are the Wedding (with yellow tones) and the Confirmation (with red tones) designed by an artist named Jean René Bazaine in 1970.
A view of some of the ancient windows.
More windows and the incredible ceiling arches, and then I looked up!
It is impossible to capture the grandeur of these cathedrals in a photo.
This pillar is the Twisted pillar, very unusual and quite famous. This church was built in the early 14th Century, and chapels along the outer aisle were added in1520. It is one of the oldest churches on the Left Bank, and is still used for services today.
A mass was just starting in one of the chapels along the outer aisles while I was visiting. Because it was so dark in the church it was a bit difficult to take pictures. This one is a bit blurry but gives an idea of the little side chapels that were completed in 1520.
For some reason the lights on the pillars are green, which gave the place a strange eerie sort of glow. The guy in the bottom right corner with a ladder was replacing burned out lights.
This church is badly in need of restoration, it is very old and it shows its age.
I am still looking for Shakespeare and Company, and pass by a little park and which contains the oldest tree in Paris. The park it is in is closed but I do get to see this 413 year old tree from the sidewalk. It has a cement support to help hold it up and was planted in 1601. I think it is quite amazing that we know when and by whom a tree this old was planted.
Success at last! I figure out why I had such a hard time fining this place: it is right along the main road! I thought it was a couple of blocks in so I was looking in the wrong place entirely. Bob and I visited here last time we were in Paris and thought it was a pretty fascinating place. It has an interesting history as it started out as a private collection of books. Much too long a story to get into here but do look it up if you are at all curious, it is a very curious and intriguing tale.
There are several beds in this bookstore, including the upper bunk bed behind the curtain here. People are still allowed to spend the night in the bookstore. Really, do go read about all this!
The bookstore is a maze of rooms and hallways, on two levels.
Here is a view of the store. Sometimes if I wait a bit I am able to take photos without list of people, but no luck here. This is a very busy place. It is getting late so I head for home, walk back to the Cité Metro station which is on the other end of the same island as Notre Dame.
The cathedral is quite beautiful all lit up at night.
Cité is one of the art Nouveau stations designed by Hector Guimard.
This is a picture of some of the rail lines of the Dare du Nord taken form the Metro on the way home. Do you see me?
This is a long post, but I did promise lots of pictures!