DAY 3, Friday
WAKE UP CALL 6:30 breakfast served from 6:30
We met after breakfast at 8:15.
The city tour generally offered by Gate 1 is really a high level overview with few stops. We have taken one before with Avalon when we did their Paris to Normandy river cruise.
Paris City Tour
Drive along the impressive Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe, Concorde Square, and the iconic Eiffel Tower, symbol of Paris. None of these need any description.
Horses being trained at Les Invalides with the tower behind.
Traffic cops take their job seriously here.
A stop at the Arc de Triomphe.
On to the celebrated "Rive Gauche", the vivacious Left Bank, where artists, philosophers and writers in a long-gone era flourished in the artistic community at Montparnasse.
View the imposing Cathedral of Notre Dame, and the Latin Quarter, home to many of France's higher education establishments, such as the Sorbonne. We covered a lot of this on our own, the other day.
We do a circle of the Pantheon and wish that this was a stop by the bus so we could head off on our own, but it was not to be.
Pass the colorful Luxembourg Gardens, the second largest park in Paris and garden of the French Senate, housed in the Luxembourg Palace. We had made a stop here in 2012, see link above.
The tour did give the option to exit at the Musee d'Orsay and we did and headed back on Ave Bonaparte.
We decided to stop for a coffee at Les Deux Magots.
Les Deux Magots has played an important part in Paris cultural life since 1884. Not mentioning the old days when Verlaine, Rimbaud and Mallarmé used to meet there, it has been visited by many renowned artists among whom were:
Elsa Triolet, André Gide, Jean Giraudoux, Picasso, Fernand Léger, Prévert, Hemingway, Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Françoise Mallet-Joris.
Long before the Existentialists who were the “heynights” of Saint-Germain-des-Prés cellar clubs, the Surrealists gathered there under the aegis of André Breton.
Today, it is frequented by personalities from the world of arts and literature, as well as from the world of fashion and politics.
The Deux Magots Award, created in 1933 to bring talented and original writers to the public’s attention, is one of the oldest literary prizes.
In front of the cafe.
And across the street.
A structure built just outside Medieval Paris, Saint Germain des Prés has survived over 1,400 years as the city's oldest church. The storied history of this institution runs through the ages, from Viking incursions to the French Revolution, Concordats and beyond.
Sous le Chapeau, a sculpture of a young woman with a large hat, a summer dress and barefoot, sits in front of the entrance to the Hungarian Institute Balassi.
Turning a corner and the Pantheon is in front of us.
The Pantheon was originally built as a church dedicated to St. Genevieve and to house the reliquary châsse containing her relics but, after many changes, now functions as a secular mausoleum containing the remains of distinguished French citizens. It is an early example of neo-classicism, with a façade modelled on the Pantheon in Rome, surmounted by a dome that owes some of its character to Bramante's Tempietto. Designer Jacques-Germain Soufflot had the intention of combining the lightness and brightness of the Gothic cathedral with classical principles, but its role as a mausoleum required the great Gothic windows to be blocked.
In 1851, physicist Léon Foucault demonstrated the rotation of the Earth by constructing a 67-metre (220 ft) Foucault pendulum beneath the central dome. The original pendulum was later returned to the Musée des Arts et Métiers, and a copy is now displayed at the Panthéon. From 1906 to 1922 the Panthéon was the site of Auguste Rodin's famous sculpture The Thinker.
Among those buried in its necropolis are Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, Jean Moulin, Louis Braille, Jean Jaurès and Soufflot, its architect. In 1907 Marcellin Berthelot was buried with his wife Mme Sophie Berthelot. Marie Curie was interred in 1995, the first woman interred on merit. Geneviève de Gaulle-Anthonioz and Germaine Tillion, heroines of the French resistance, were interred in 2015. Simone Veil was interred in 2018, and her husband Antoine Veil was interred alongside her so not to be separated.
Part of the Sorbonne as we walk through the Latin Quarter.
AHA! On my scavenger list for this trip!
Up above Rue Saint-Jacques in Paris is a curious sundial designed by artist Salvador Dalí. Its human-like face is a scallop shell, while blue eyes with eyebrows like flames are cast in the concrete.
The shell face is meant to reference the scallop symbol of the pilgrimage of St. Jacques de Compostella (also known as the Way of St. James), for whom the street is named. Others, however, see it as a self-portrait with Dalí’s iconic mustache flaring out from the face. Either way, the sundial unfortunately does not work, although what do you expect from the artist of melting clocks?
What are the melting clocks? Here is a photo from last November in Barcelona.
In 1951, a new English-language bookstore was opened by American ex-serviceman George Whitman under the name of "Le Mistral." Its premises, the site of a 16th-century monastery,Much like Sylvia Beach's Shakespeare and Company, Whitman's store quickly became the focal point of literary culture in bohemian Paris. Early habitués included writers of the Beat Generation--Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, and William S. Burroughs, who is said to have researched sections of Naked Lunch in the medical section of the bookstore's library. Other visitors were James Baldwin, Anaïs Nin, Julio Cortázar, Richard Wright, Lawrence Durrell, Max Ernest, Bertolt Brecht, William Saroyan, Terry Southern, and editors of The Paris Review, such as George Plimpton, Peter Matthiessen, and Robert Silvers. George Whitman had modeled his shop after Sylvia Beach's. In 1958, while dining with Whitman at a party for James Jones who had newly arrived in Paris, Beach announced that she was handing the name to him for his bookshop. In 1964, after Sylvia Beach's death and on the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's birth, Whitman renamed his store "Shakespeare and Company," which is, as he described it, "a novel in three words.
Tucked away ever so slightly from the bustling streets surrounding the Notre-Dame Cathedral, is one of Paris’ true hidden gems: Odette.
We stop for a late lupper, lunch and dinner, Indian, before we head back to the hotel to relax and get packed for our 8 AM departure in the morning.
Again, we had done this in 2012 with dinner at Moulin Rouge. One of those, been there, done it events. We were in the area the other day on our own.
STEPS 17,101 12.9 km 8 miles
Optional: Montmartre & Illuminations with dinner (PM)
Mercure Paris Centre Tour Eiffel
Links to previous posts about this trip:
April 27 Toronto to Paris
April 28 Paris
April 29 Paris
April 30 Paris
April 27 Toronto to Paris
April 28 Paris
April 29 Paris
April 30 Paris
May 1 Paris
May 2 Paris