Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Paris: Museums & Churches

One of my favorite things about Paris is how culture radiates off the city like heat off a highway.  So it was we found ourselves in a number of museums and churches over the course of our visit, appreciating art both secular and spiritual in its inspiration.

Water Lilies, Musee de l'Orangerie
Both Danelle and I are big Monet fans.  So a stop at the Musee de l'Orangerie to see his masterpiece Water Lilies was a must.

Sacre-Coeur Basilica
We had beautiful weather every day, which helped make the always beautiful Sacré-Cœur Basilica even more picturesque.

Venus de Milo
We took a chance on visiting The Louvre, anticipating lengthy lines and waits.  We were pleasantly surprised to find neither, and managed to zip around to see the Venus de Milo ...

Winged Victory of Samothrace
... the Winged Victory of Samothrace and the Mona Lisa in barely half an hour.  It took longer to find a restroom, frankly.

Notre Dame de Paris
I never realized that stained glass windows would have hinged sections like this one in Notre Dame.  The practical addition does detract a bit from its grandeur.

Gargoyles, Notre Dame de Paris
I did wait in a long line and climb the 400+ steps to see the gargoyles atop Notre Dame up close.  It was totally worth it.

Gargoyle, Notre Dame de Paris
The logic of adorning a place of heavenly worship with tiny denizens of Hell does escape me a bit.

Gargoyle, Notre Dame de Paris
Because photographers are never happy with their lighting conditions, I have to confess that this is the one day of our visit that I wished we had some heavy clouds and maybe even a little rain to add a bit of gloom and menace to these statues.  But they were still creepy in the sunshine.

Belfry, Notre Dame de Paris
A short side trip takes you up some wooden stairs to a belfry inhabited by two very large bells.  No bats that I could find, unfortunately.

Seine River, Notre Dame de Paris
A nice view down the Seine from atop the tower.

A short walk from Notre Dame and slightly less well known is the Sainte-Chapelle, a royal medieval Gothic chapel with one of the most extensive collections of 13th-century stained glass in its original location anywhere in the world.

Paris: Monuments & Statues

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