Friday, November 05, 2010

Paris, Day 2 - Notre Dame

From the Louvre, we took a stroll along the Seine – and we had a lovely view of the islands in the middle of the river.
We also had a great view of the Eiffel Tower.

Father and son paused midway across the bridge for a pic.

As did mother and daughter.

Finally, we reached Notre Dame, which I loved.

Gorgeous architecture

and gorgeous stained glass.

The tower was closed to tours for lunch, so we took a snack break. Chloe couldn’t resist a crepe and was fascinated by how they’re made here – spread out in a rectangle, then folded into three once cooked; then another pancake is made, the first is placed in the centre of it, and then the second crepe is rolled up around the first.

We also had a Berthillon glace. Chris loved the chocolate, Chlo and Gerry liked the strawberry, and I enjoyed vanilla that had obviously been made with proper vanilla pods. (But, sorry, Paris – best ice cream in the world? Nope. That’s in Venice.)

We waited for an hour to go up the tower, getting very cold (at this point both Chloe and I were regretting not wearing a coat – though she was glad she talked me into buying her a beret).
While we waited, we looked at the gargoyles.

The tower is 387 steps each way, with narrow spiral staircases, and the treads had been worn by thousands of people before us. Hard work, but absolutely worth it, as the views were stunning.

We loved the gargoyles. The official name for the first stage is the Chimera Gallery; it’s 46m above ground level, and the creatures were designed in the 19th century by Viollet-le-Duc (who restored much of the building). The most famous one is the stryga. And there are some other fascinating ones too.

Then a climb up yet more stairs to the Great Bell, also known as Florentin le Guay. It’s made of bronze, dating from the 17th century (it was hoisted up to the top of the south tower on 14 July 1682). It weighs more than 13 tons – the clapper weighs an additional 474kg – and its note is F#.
(Well, of course you were going to get the nerdy facts.)
Actually, the bell in the other tower chimed 3pm while we were there. We were expecting it to be REALLY loud, but it actually sounded quieter than it did from ground level.

And the views from the very top can speak for themselves.

We were going to see the Conciergerie next, but sadly it was closed while an exhibition was being set up. We couldn’t face another long queue in the cold to see the Sainte Chapelle, so we decided to head for the Eiffel tower. (Note, we said no long queues…)


Caroline said...

Ohhh those gargoyles are *so* lifelike - they look as if they are about to pounce on the unsuspecting Parisians below - creepy! Lovely stained glass windows (love stained glass like you). Caroline x

Nicolettehh said...

Nerdy fact? They're only gargoyles if they're waterspouts. Otherwise, they're actually called grotesques. Looked great. Enjoying Paris vicariously.

Lacey Devlin said...

Wow, more amazing pictures :) I'm eyeing that beret, it's a gorgeous colour!