Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Go BYU or The Cleanest Bathrooms in Paris!

Thursday we got an earlier start, 9:30 am. It's good to pace yourself when jet-lagged. We were feeling better today. We were rewarded for our early rising with very few people inside Notre Dame Cathedral.  What an incredible church, so much history. It's been through it all right along side the people of Paris. Construction started on it in 1163 and it has continued to grow since. The last time I visited 16 years ago the outside of it was almost black. They scrubbed it good for its 850 year anniversary on Sunday. It really looked beautiful inside and out and was a pleasure to walk by it every day we were there.
Hidden (it takes a bit of looking to find the entrance) underground next to the Cathedral is the archaeological crypt of Paris. It was well worth the visit and we learned so much more about the beginnings of Paris and how it's changed throughout the years. They actually have excavated homes, walls and streets of Paris as old as 27 B.C. and maps and models of how the city has changed over the years.
After that we visited the Deportation Memorial, which is free and right next to Notre Dame also. It is a very beautiful remembrance to the Jews who lost their lives in the concentration camps in France during WWII. I was very aware of what happened in Paris during the war after reading Sarah's Key. Probably some of the most horrific atrocities took place in and around Paris to children. The only concentration camp for children was located just outside of Paris. This memorial helped me remember them.
We then hopped on the subway and headed over to the Rodin museum. A very small museum (thank goodness) in Rodin's home and garden. It was a gorgeous day, the lilacs were in bloom and intoxicatingly fragrant. Rodin's student and lover Camille Claudel's work was there as well and I concluded that she was more talented than him. Too bad he drove her crazy, but I guess that's the way things worked back then.
We were spotted twice today by an LDS missionary couple and some random dude who shouted, "Go BYU!" The Greek was wearing his BYU t-shirt.
Next we wandered around Napoleon's tomb and the Military museum. The tomb was ridiculous just like the little man inside. The military museum was one of my favorite's, surprisingly. It covered everything from medieval times to WWII maybe more because we had to stop eventually for lunch. This was a really great museum for war and history buffs.
So last time I was in Paris I stayed in the Rue Cler neighborhood and we wanted to go there for lunch. It was harder to find than we thought, but we found it. We ate at a little Greek Creperie. The Greek food was as good as we had in Greece, outstanding, the crepes not so much. But we would go back in a heartbeat for the Greek food. We made friends with the owner who gave us free dessert.
That afternoon we spent at the Opera Garnier, although we couldn't see the theater. The foyer and staircase leading to the theater were amazing, just like in the movie Phantom of the Opera. I could hear "Masquerade" playing in my head and feel the Phantom's presence. This was another favorite of mine. They had a great museum chronicling all the years of performers, costumes, and scenery backdrops for the operas. The bathrooms were the cleanest in all of Paris too!
That night we dined at Bourguignon and had of course the best beef bourguignon ever. We topped it off with our favorite ice cream. Tonight's flavors were pistachio, strawberry and chocolate.
It's hard to get good photos inside Notre Dame because it's very dark.
Joan of Arc: now they love her.
Notre Dame
Lilacs at Rodin's garden.
The Thinker
Such a big tomb for such a little man.
Dress up for medieval kids.
Masquerade 
Looking out onto the boulevard in front of the Opera House.

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