Tuesday, July 16, 2013

paris, day one.

So sweetpea had a business trip to London and Paris, and we figured it would be a great opportunity to join him, so here I am, in our hotel room in Paris, resting up after the second of two days spent on my feet and on the move alllll day, exploring. On Kevin's previous work-related trip, to Grenada and Florence, he walked for miles and miles and miles - so many miles that the cartilage in his left knee disappeared. He has been on crutches or using a cane ever since (and doing PT, but that is another story.) The only upside to all of this is that airport staff on both sides of the Atlantic have been exceptionally kind.

Some highlights thus far...

Those crazy French never met a tree they didn't want to prune into a box shape. The upside is, you get fantastic branching patterns. This either a sycamore, or a cousin thereof (also called a "plane tree"). We are in the Jardins des Plantes, not far from our hotel.

"Help! Help!" say all the trapped denizens of the old-school greenhouse.

It was Bastille Day, and as I did my flower thang, most other tourists were focused on the airshow taking place overhead.

We were hanging out here because having arrived in Paris in the early morning, we were unable to collapse in our not-yet-ready hotel room. Eventually, our room was ready, and we crashed hard for a few hours. Then we headed out to see Sacré Coeur (Kevin's fave) and Notre Dame (mine).

Sacré Coeur. No photography permitted indoors. The place was swimming with tourists, but hey - Paris in July - what do you expect?

Notre Dame has always had a profound hold on me. I'm pretty sure I've visited it every time I've been to Paris so if we count it up, this would be about my sixth visit. I'd been looking forward to seeing it for weeks, and I was not disappointed. We went inside just as Mass was getting underway - in fact, we were lucky to get in, as crowded as it was, because they closed access while we were in there. The church was packed with worshippers and tourists alike.

Televised screens of the priest meant that even those in the far back, close to the entrance, could see what was going on.

I am not a Christian - I was raised a happy heathen - but I've got a pretty serious spiritual bent, and the collected prayers of 850 years have soaked into the very stones of Notre Dame. Impossible not to feel.

Looking down the nave. I was not being naughty in taking pictures - the only rule was "no flash".

As much as I typically ignore most human-made creations, and find life's beauty in natural phenomena, Notre Dame reliably reduces me to tears.


We made a quick detour down Île Saint Louis to visit the Foyers la Vigie, a sort of boarding house facility for women - where I lived the summer I was 18.

I can't believe my parents let me live in Paris at that age. Thanks Mom!

This was all day one. By the end of it, I was all cried out, and my feet were tired. And I wasn't even the one on crutches!

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