Day 189, Wednesday 11 July 2012 – Paris
Earlier start to breakfast today, coffee wasn’t any better, damnit ! had a bit of a planning session morning and a visit to the local laundromat. While the washing was on we went to a cafe round the corner and had a great espresso and I spent an hour preparing yesterdays blog post. The internet in the hotel is sporadic and even when it is working it hopelessly slow – at least it is free I guess.
We headed off for a late lunch up Boulevard St Germain where I had a great onion soup and a Stella Artois, while people watching near the Seine. I loved how some of the buildings are sagging in the middle – a bit like me.
Notre Dame from the Seine
After lunch we checked out the Bastille.
And then Place de Vosges
With its homage to Victor Hugo.
We then wandered the streets back towards Notre Dame.
How is this for a location for a basketball court !
The queue for Notre Dame was ridiculous..
So we headed off from there to the smaller queues at La Conciergerie and Sainte Chappelle. Both part of the historic Palais de la Cite, now the Palace of Justice.
La Conciergerie started off in the 6th century but most of what can be seen is from the 14th when King Charles V left for a more secure location and left the palace in charge of a concierge who was given power to run the palace and the nearby prison. Numerous prisoners of state were kept there until the revolutionary period of the 1700’s when it used by the various revolutionary council factions to house their opponents during trial and up to execution day. The most famous being Queen Marie-Antoinette and Robespierrie himself who was part committee that set up law of suspects which led to the “reign of terror” that swept Paris in the 1750’s.
I loved the vaulted ceilings in the Hall of men at arms, originally started in 1302.
After the dubious charms of La Conciergerie we joined another short queue for Sainte Chapelle. A chapel built under the wishes of King Louis IX (later Saint Louis) between 1242 and 1248 to house the relics of the passion of Christ.
The entry is via the lower chapel.
The upper chapel, houses the great shrine, which contains the relics of the passion of Christ, including the crown of thorns.
Even the floor was ornate.
The interior of the building is stunning, it is constantly under minor renovation but the stained glass is all original and amazing to look at, a bit too far to photograph under low light, but I highly recommend a visit to the chapel.
Dinner was bread, ham cheese and wine – oh and another bottle of my new favourite beer, Punk IPA.