Saturday, June 8, 2013

Day 6 - Paris

There are not that many things left to cross off on our site seeing days. We started today with the Pantheon. it is a huge mausoleum with many of the famous important French people of history interred there. We caught the Metro out and wandered around the streets until we came across the Pantheon. The same thing happened that always happens for us in Paris - serendipity. We took a wrong turn and ended up right near the hotel I stayed last time I was here, was fun to see it again, we also came across the square where I had breakfast and in my memory it was quaint and quiet, in reality in tourist season, it is still quaint, but not so quiet. Once we found the Pantheon we went inside and it was not at all what I expected.  

Inside it was massive with full sized canvases on the walls and ceilings. The building had been both a church and a mausoleum. We found the stairs down into the crypt and it got quiet and cold. 

For Brett here is the place where Voltaire rests, the second Frenchman to be interred. He is across the aisle from Rousseau so I suppose that makes for interesting late night conversations. 

We left the Pantheon and made our way to the Champs Alysee. We walked the strip up to the Arc de Triomphe where we climbed the spiral stairs to the very top.

There was a magnificent 360 degree view of Paris, with something impressive every where you looked. The Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, some strange square modern looking thing near the high rise towers and the many gold adorned towers - in every direction.

We finished our day with a trip to the Musee L'Orangerie to see Monet's waterlilly series. That made us catch our breath. To imagine that he spent so long painting those and that he made them for the space made us sit down in admiration and contemplation. I watched the faces of quite a few people as they walked into the white room with a huge painting covering the entirety of each wall. I recognised the same look many times - "Oh my goodness, are we really here?"

Also in the same gallery we came across a room with Picasso paintings along one side and Matisse along the other. Random Renoir, Cezanne, and so many others stretching out before you. Talk about excess! Enough already it is just showing off! 

A leisurely wander home and now it is 6:30pm and we are pooped. We mentioned today that people are always talking about going tramping and how far they have walked - the Milford Track and so on. I don't think that has a patch on surviving site seeing in Paris!

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