After leaving St. Vincent, I walked up and east, always heading towards the dome of Sacre Coeur. I came in on the back side of Sacre Coeur and walked around it on the east side then ventured inside. It’s a beautiful space and there was a mass going on when I wandered through with tons of other people. No photos were allowed inside, but I did take a few outside. It was so crowded, mostly with Parisienne school children on class outtings and quite a few English children (expatriate? or do they take school trips to Paris to draw cathedrals?). Afterwards, I wandered over to Dreyfus, only to be severely disappointed. They were almost out of the crinkle dyed velvet I bought last year, and the only colors they had were very pale washed out colors. After this I was just too tired, so I went back to the hotel, where luckily I could check in.
I woke up this morning and decided to go through the Marais. I bought a Frommer’s book before I left titled “24 Great Walks in Paris” and did walk number 6, then number 5. It was cool and rainy all day. I was glad I brought a jacket and an umbrella. I took the metro to the Hotel de Ville and walked around the plaza in front looking at the ornamentation and statuary of the facade. It’s pretty incredible.
I walked around the Hotel de Ville to St. Gervais church and went inside. The stained glass is fantastic as are the organs.
After St. Gervais, I walked down rue de Ville and went around the Hotel de Sens. I walked past this last summer from the other direction. After walking around it, I wandered through the Villages of St. Paul and up the passage de St. Paul into the back of the church. Another gorgeous church and stained glass. After St. Paul, I stopped and had an omelette des fines herbes on rue St. Antoine for lunch.
I went back along rue St. Antoine to rue de Birague and walked up it to the Place des Vosges. I was here last year as well, but totally missed the Victor Hugo museum because I went straight to the statue of Louis XIII. This year, I went through the Victor Hugo museum, which is really interesting. I need to go get a biography of Victor Hugo now. I didn’t know that he was exiled during the Revolution (2nd, I think), nor that he lived in Guernsey. Anyway – lots of good art and interesting pieces of furniture in here – plus you get to see the inside of one of the mansions that lines the Place.
After the Place des Vosges, I went to the Musee Carnavalet. This museum used to be the mansion of the Madame de Sevigne. It is a museum of the architectural history of Paris, with a lot of the interiors and some exteriors of various buildings and homes that are no longer around. It also has a history of the Revolution, in Paintings mostly, but does have some of the personal effects of Louis XVI and his wife, Marie-Antoinette, and their children. It’s kind of grusome to see the portait of the inventor of the guillotine in the same room as portraits and busts of the King who was executed by said machine. The other thing of great interest in the Musee Carnavalet is the huge collection of signs from old Paris shops, restaurants, clubs and other business establishments.
After leaving the Musee Carnavalet, I went to the rue des Rosiers, which is the heart of the old Jewish quarter. Earlier, I had seen the Jewish Memorial to the victims of WWII. I didn’t go inside, but did scrutinize the wall of honor, where those who rescued Jews during the Nazi occupation have been honored. I stopped in a Jewish bakery and selected a lemon cheesecake to go (gateau du frommage au citron) and found a spot in a park a bit further on to stop and eat it under my umbrella.
I continued to wander, generally along the path of the guide book and passed by the National Archives, which used to be the Palace de Soubise (which was built for a mistress of Louis XIV), then went by the building that now houses the Picasso Museum. It’s closed, so I didn’t venture in. By this point, I was cold and tired and decided to find something to eat on the rue des Rosiers and head back to the hotel. I ended up finding a hotdog vendor outside the Jewish quarter. I would never have known he was there except for this fabulous mosaic next to it, that I stopped to photograph.
I ate my hot dog while walking back towards the Hotel de Ville, passing by a Starbucks (yes, they are everywhere) and getting a Chai Latte. I then had the joy of the rush hour Metro in Paris. Standing toe to heel with a bunch of other Parisiens/Parisiennes on the subway is not so much fun, except for the people watching opportunities. It seems there are a lot more tourists here this year than last. I see people with guide books and cameras everywhere!