Wednesday, July 25, 2007
A Grand Day of Walking in old Paris
The third of a trio of massive walking days today, headlined with an early morning trip to the Notre Damme cathedral. I'm not really much for churches for the most part, but I have to say this is probably the most stunning building I have ever seen, anywhere. It is like a baroque song, precise, detailed, intricate, massive yet intimate, and absolutely otherworldly, from an age and aethetic far beyond our own. Alden saw two angels, no kidding. He just said unprompted "there's an angel" on two seperate occasions, just like you might mention seeing a hot-dog stand or something. The second one was a pretty intense statue of Mary (no wings, just an angel).
Walked away from the great former home of Quasimoto (Elwyn had read the book a couple months ago and wondered which balcony the Hunchback through the nasty priest off of) and into another intimate section of Paris around rue St Germaine. There, we saw a fragment of the original Roman wall of the city and one of the original Roman amphitheatres, which is tucked in amongst a built-up area of appartments. These, evidently, are the oldest structures in the city (several thousand years). Immigrant kids from the housing nearby were playing and kicking balls around in the amphitheatre. Lived-in history.
Had an absurdly expensive lunch at one of Paris' only vegetarian restaurants. Vegetarianism has not caught on here at all, unlike England, where 20% of the population evidently report being some kind of vegetarian. The food was unexceptional.
From there, we made our way to the wonderful Jardin du Luxembourg. This is a very massive park. In the centre is a large pond where the kids can rent little wooden sail boats which are pushed around just by wind. There was also a peddal-wheeled go-cart that Elwyn enjoyed and a large playground (about double the scale of Sutton-Maffeo in Nanaimo).
After several hours in the Jardin, we walked around some more, scoping the spider-web of streets in the neighbourhood (me getting sore, mushy, cracked feet) and eventually settled on Crepes for supper. Elwyn and Alden hated them. I accidently ordered a blue cheese crepe, also hating it. Karen, speaking french, ordered an omlette.
For the next two hours, I walked in a haze of sore feet and hunger through a district of antique shops until we arrived back at the Louvre. There, we gave the kids a break, going to the little theme park, and endulging them in some fair rides and ice cream. Things were better again. Puttered down rue de Rivoli, Paris's version of Robson Street until we hit a metro and came home.
Feeling sore and tired tonight, the kids flopped into bed.