Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thursday in Paris

We skipped the breakfast at the hotel in favor of Paul, a boulangerie a few blocks away:

It was picturesque as well as delicious. And we did not make the common mistake of putting the little meringue on the saucer into our tea. I'll bet some people think it is a weird French non-dairy creamer:

After breakfast, I walked to the Luxembourg Gardens, which were gray but full of atmosphere — and other walkers.

I planned to go to the Pantheon, but there was a hefty admission charge and I suspected it would be a lot more boring to learn about French heroes than to wander the Latin Quarter, even in the rain. So I just lingered on the porch for a while.

Across the way, I saw a building that had to be the inspiration for the original Boston Public Library building. I just looked it up and, indeed, the Bibliotheque St. Geneviève was the inspiration for our BPL. I think I deserve a return trip to Paris and three caramel éclairs for figuring it out all on my own:

Since there was far too much going on the exterior of St. Mediard, below, with its mish-mash of gothic and Renaissance elements, I was especially interested in the interior. But it was closed for two more hours, and it was raining hard and getting colder. I decided to save it for my next trip, and moved on.

I visited lovely shops and courtyards in the Latin Quarter. This is the garden of the Hôtel des Grands Ecoles:

Here is another gorgeous courtyard:

Why don't we have such romantic architecture here in Boston? I guess the Stoneholm in Brookline is as close as we get.

Here's a flower shop in the rain:

More antique architecture:

I decided it was time to visit Notre Dame and light candles to St. Anthony, because he is my hero — the patron saint of lost objects, so the perfect saint for losers like moi.

I never get tired of Notre Dame's architecture, just the crowds that fill the place with too much noise and activity. The loud, recorded "shushing" announcements don't significantly improve matters.

This crypt chapel is a little disturbing. Apparently the deceased decided to escape from his tomb while someone was visiting. You can see him tumbling toward her from the upper right. Behind him, you can see Death, who must have coincidentally decided to check up on things and arrived at this interesting moment; he's gesturing in a way that reminds me of Robert DeNiro. And there's this mostly naked angel, or whatever, who is managing to sleep through the whole thing. Who knew that angels sleep? I couldn't figure it out, and it made me nervous. I like visiting cemeteries but I don't like surprise guests.

I liked these monumental but very dirty feet so much more:

The sun came out while I was inside:

I decided to go to the Ile St-Louis for a pot of apricot tea and a slice of bewitching Florentine farfelu tart at La Charlotte de l'Isle, below, with the awning:

It was a very good idea. Then I wandered home, taking a few photos of shop windows, interesting architecture, and florists along the way....

The tart at Charlotte didn't stop me from picking up a few éclairs for the evening....

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