Core Paris

LesHalles geometrics

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.

Celelbrity LesHalles

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….

Saint Eustache

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….

Place Dauphine

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.

Notre Dame front

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.

Notre Dame riverside

Over several significant construction periods, expansions and refurbishments, the building is what we see today. I remember most the façade, this rose window, and…

Notre Dame east detail

…the flying buttresses.

Sainte Chapelle

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….

Brasserie StLouis frites

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.

Motorcycle blanket

Many of the parked motorcycles have these blankets; I remember fewer in Rome. A warmer, drier way to ride….

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