9.07.2010

Paris – Day 2

Rue Montorgueil Eclair

Our first full day in Paris was just about perfect (like every day we had there).  We visited museums, ate pastries, went to cathedrals and ate dinner on the Seine.  The first stop for the day was at Stohrer on Rue Montorgueil in the Les Halles district, for the best éclair in Paris.  After sharing one, we agree completely.  Can someone please tell me why Americans do not fill there éclairs with chocolate filling?!  Rue Montorgueil was such a fun street, with so many wonderful shops, fresh markets, and locals sitting at cafes.  Kirk discovered this street early on our first day when he had to venture out on his own (leaving me at the metro station) to find the apartment agency offices to get our key.  It was a lot busier on a Monday morning, but still quite quaint.

Cathédrale Notre-Dame

After a stroll around Les Halles we headed to the nearby Centre Pompidou but were disappointed that it wasn’t open for another hour.  Not wanting to waste any time, we kept walking and marveled at the Hotel de Ville.  On the grounds around the Hotel they had set up a fan zone to watch the French Open on a jumbotron and for kids to play on mini-clay courts.  This got Kirk very excited for our French Open plans later in the week.  We then walked across the river to Cathedral Notre Dame.  It was truly an amazing thing to see this in person.  Every inch is a beautifully sculpted masterpiece.  The interior was not at all what I expected it to be, and I can’t even say why.  I think that it was darker then I imagined and so I didn’t feel like I could see all the detail well.   

Cathédrale Notre-Dame

Cathédrale Notre-Dame

Cathédrale Notre-Dame

After Notre Dame we went to Sainte-Chapelle and this was hands down the most spectacular cathedral we saw on the trip.  Where Notre Dame let me down a bit with its interior, Sainte-Chapelle is a true wonder inside.  The cathedral is located in the courtyard of the former royal palace.  Each wall is decorated in elaborate stained glass that depict Biblical scenes.  They were doing some construction on one end wall so that was a bit of a bummer but the entire effect was still amazing.  It was also interesting to see the lower level, with its low ceilings and lack of comparative grandeur (don’t get me wrong, it was still quite fancy), where the lesser nobles had access, since only the royal family was able to worship in the main chapel.

Sainte-ChapelleSainte-Chapelle

Cathédrale Notre-Dame 

La ConciergerieAfter that, thanks to our sweet museum passes (basically, for a flat fee we were able to go into nearly any museum as often as we liked and skip some of the lines) we visited the Conciergerie next door.  This was used as a prison during the French Revolution, and Marie Antoinette was kept there for awhile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Centre Pompidou

Next we headed back to Les Halles for a relaxing lunch (humongous quiche and cafe creme) and then returned to Pompidou.  To some, this modern building is an eyesore, but we felt it was really intriguing amid the historic Parisian buildings.  It houses a modern art museum, movie theater, shops, and restaurants. The tube on the outside is a series of escalators that are the only way to move between levels.  The idea behind the building was to expose all these necessary wires, vents and so forth as something beautiful and not just functional.

Inside the museum there was a lot to take in.  Kirk isn’t a huge fan of modern art, but we found lots of pieces we really enjoyed – as well as many that left us perplexed, disgusted, or amused.  Kirk’s “favorite” example of modern art is a piece he first experienced at the Art Institute of Chicago many years ago called Red Plank.  At first, he scoffed at the fact that a simple red board leaning against a wall would be worthy of an art museum, but now it’s become the art by which he measures all other modern art, and a bit of a running joke.  You should have seen his face when we walked into a room with dozens of “red planks.”  Paris art for the win.

Pompidou Museum

Another cool thing at Pompidou was art that allowed you to participate.  In one small room there were a few exhibits that allowed the viewer to sit/lay/stand on.  A security guard only allowed three people in the room at a time, so that you could have a personal experience with the art.  We thought it was fun!

Pompidou MuseumPompidou Museum

Ile St. Louis

Pompidou also had a floor devoted to modern art from earlier in the 20th century, including works by Picasso, Kandinsky, Matisse, Chagall, Mondrian, Klee, Dali, Giacometti (one of Kirk’s favorites), and many more.  After the museum we headed to the Ile St. Louis for shopping and dinner.  There were so many great shops and very few people around, so it was quite a little retreat from the rest of the city.   There was one store that was very unique – a retailer for a duck farm in the French countryside that sold foie gras and other duck goodies.  We got a free (large) sample along with some wine they make just to pair perfectly with the foie.  It was great, and Kirk bought some duck confit to take home and cook up.  This made us hungry, so we bought some dinner to go and ate down by the river which was quite beautiful and romantic (despite the wind).  For dessert we found a fantastic little creperie and shared a crepe with honey and another with homemade vanilla ice cream, chocolate and almonds.

 

 

 

Seine River

1 comment:

Megan said...

Lynne you look gorgeous on vacay! As always my dear! Loving the commentary...reminds me of my trip there 8 years ago...