Friday, 22 April 2016
First stop (after coffee): the new Les Halles. Once the site of Paris’s huge fresh food market, it’s been a shopping mall for decades, and was refurbished last year, with this remarkable swooping roof. A new garden outdoors is only partly open.
In the moving crowds, we spotted this clot that wasn’t moving. Autograph- and selfie-seekers. The tall guy is security. The ombre-dreads fellow is the celebrity. We didn’t recognize him. Musician, as he was signing CDs….
Also facing the Les Halles area, this old church, Saint-Eustache, built between 1532 and 1632, although there was a parish church here by 1223. Contrasting centuries and architectural styles….
We kept moving, crossing onto the Seine’s western isle. We enjoyed a few minutes on a sturdy bench among the leafing-out chestnuts, preparing ourselves for things to come.
Of course, next was Notre Dame, and this is the view I always remember, perhaps because it was the angle I first saw it…and realized that the façade is so truncated without the steeples.
Over several significant construction periods, expansions and refurbishments, the building is what we see today. I remember most the façade, this rose window, and…
…the flying buttresses.
Nearby, without an extensive plaza facing and highlighting the building is the 13th-C Sainte-Chapelle, the royal chapel known for its beautiful glass windows. Which I have heard about and not seen—45-minute wait on a cloudy day…we passed. Next time, we vowed….
Also, we were hungry. So we strolled down to the eastern isle and a brasserie we first visited in 1989. Simple Parisian food, well made.
Then, heading toward a subway stop, we saw a coffee shop we enjoyed on our last visit. With pastries. Yum, raspberry cheesecake-tart.
Many of the parked motorcycles have these blankets; I remember fewer in Rome. A warmer, drier way to ride….