The day was to be spent on the islands. But the queue to the tower of Notre Dame was looooong, so we nonchalantly walked right past, shared a Nutella crepe to keep our strength up, and found our way to the Latin quarter instead. That’s the area on the left bank, across the Pont Archevêché, around the Sorbonne University, so named because the Uni students spoke Latin in the old days.
It’s a lovely area, full of young folks, plenty of niche libraries, not so touristy.
We walked to the Pantheon, and were reminded of the one in Rome, only from the outside. This one is a tomb, which holds the remains of the most prominent contributors of the country (except the military who are in Les Invalides), and no politicians, rightfully so. An interesting fact about the Pantheon other than its stated purpose is that Foucault first demonstrated his pendulum experiment suspended from the dome.
It was a lovely warm day, perfect for a picnic. We’d passed through a market earlier on, and went back to pick up some food and wine for the picnic. There was a queue at the Boulanger – it was that good!
Heading off to the Luxembourg Gardens, we found a cool bench and enjoyed our merry meal of hummus, basil tapenade, red peppers stuffed with feta, baguette and wine. Magnifique! And the 20 minute snooze after that was a must-do!!
Then on towards the Musée d’Orsay, via the Institute of France, a big imposing building where they decide what new words to add to the language, and the Seine, with the old bookstalls selling all kinds of knick-knacks.
Getting into the Musée d’Orsay was a breeze with the museum pass (now we’ve recovered the value of that pass). It’s a massive old building that was once a train station, and now has thousands of artworks. Our art preferences are not very developed. We stuck to our favourite Van Gogh and the impressionists. Some of them were old friends – they’d come to Singapore, and Vaishnavi & I had seen the exhibition together. That was nicer because they let you take pictures, unlike at this museum. Of course there were many many more to admire here, in their permanent home, and 2 hours is too less a time to spend, including a quick cup of coffee in their ornately decorated café.
We were at the museum until closing time, and as we stepped out, a few street performers had started their various acts right outside the museum.
Such a clear and sometimes sunny day was just right for a visit to Trocadéro, for (more) Eiffel Tower photography. We got distracted by the Seine river cruise instead, and spent an hour admiring the bridges and monuments along the river.
Back to the Eiffel, time to thaw in the sunshine and finish the remains of the picnic lunch with more bread.