Concluding this tour in Paris puts us back where we started. We view islands in the Seine and old Notre Dame. There are more eyefuls of the Eiffel day and night, a spectacular war museum, and two new points of interest “discovered” that will be favored memories.
Just around the corner from the more famous cathedral is that of Saint Chapelle, a museum like no other I’ve known. Here are gathered stained glass windows from various old churches, recovered, restored, and reinstalled for all to see. Visitors bathe in the colorful scene that was once the chapel of royalty.
Tip: If you visit, the chapel of glass is on the second floor. Once you climb the stairs, find the rack of explanatory guides in all languages at the top of the downward staircase.
All that glass has you looking upward, potentially missing bits of old flooring made to complement a window that towers above it.
Bookstores have not died! They are thriving on many Parisian streets, including Blvd Saint-Michel heading south from the city center islands in the Seine through the Latin Quarter past the Sorbonne University.
A tip from the travels of a previous Parisian pair put the ‘Jardin du Luxembourg’ on the walking route. If the crowds of a big city drive you mad . . .
… this garden is a place of respite and beauty that calms the soul. Flowers, statuary, and palace (now government offices) are striking but sedate (as well as SeNate – ha!), with the Eiffel Tower still able to peak into the frame.
Circling back toward the Seine, there is no stopping for shopping at Le Bon Marché, the full-city-block grand department store. There’s no rest until reaching the final resting place of the Emperor.
This Chapel of the Invalides in Paris is the starting point in a complex that houses a museum covering world wars one and two thoroughly. It is a short walk from the Eiffel Tower and a deep dive into elements of wartime from all perspectives, not just the activities that involved France.
I was blown away by the detail in this museum; it can wear you out.
The stroll back to ship passes the Eiffel through Parc du Champs de Mars. This afternoon there is an orchestra and choir at the tower’s base. It is July 13, and they are practicing for a big day tomorrow.
The 14th of July is often called “Bastille Day” when the French remember their 1789 Revolution and “Storming the Bastille [Prison].” The date is also used to commemorate the Allied liberation of Paris in August of 1944, plus the return of troops from “The Great War” in 1919.
Next, the 15th of July, Sunday, will be celebrated robustly when France wins the World Cup Futbol (soccer) tournament. The electricity of that contest has caused excitement the entire week. Even our monastery host Brother Lucien (day 3) addressed it, albeit professing that the monks maintain no interest and, “do not care if the ball is round or if it is square.”
Finally, the following weekend will bring Le Tour de France bicycles onto the streets of Paris to conclude the 21-day race through the country. Our travels never caught them on the roads, but our tour intersected the route “Le Tour” would pass days later in Vernon and Les Andelys (day 2).
It is time for a nightcap! A bus through Paris after dark was the final tour offered. We view the Arc de Triomphe at dusk, roll down the Champs Elysees, pass the Opera House, and walk into the Louvre’s pyramid courtyard.
Thus the sun sets on both
the seven-day excursion via the River Seine
as well as my 7 days of blog entries.
Au revoir; vive la France; vive la Normandy.
The entire trip is capsulated in a slide show of about 40 captioned images at this link: