Friday, October 18, 2013

Monday in Paris

On September 23rd, we started our day by walking from our accommodations at My Open Paris to Notre Dame, along the River Seine.  The Eiffel Tower was in sight but tantalizingly out of reach.

We spent the next 2 hours enjoying the "Ile de la Cite and Notre Dame" walk hosted by Paris Walks.   Whether or not you are religious, the story of how the cathedral was built is very interesting, never mind that it is a fascinating building to see.  From any and every angle.

The sculptures are mesmerizing.

The gargoyles amusing.

The windows, simply stunning.

As well as learning about the cathedral, we also walked around the island, exploring some of the old streets and hearing various tidbits about the local history. One of the things we noticed is this bridge, covered in padlocks.

I saw this last year in Florence on the Ponte Vecchio, except in that case, I noticed that the locks were there at the end of the day and gone by the next morning.  In Paris, the locks have been allowed to remain, which means they are now several layers thick, as new padlocks are attached to older ones. The tradition is known as a "love lock".  Typically, lovers inscribe their names on the padlock, attach it and throw the key into the river to symbolize their unbreakable bond.  Sure it's romantic but me, I worry about the structural integrity of the bridge with all that extra weight and the environmental impact on the river from the keys! ;)

Afterwards, we had lunch at a little cafe we'd seen on our walk.  The quiche was delicious!

Fed and refreshed, Lorraine went off to explore on her own and Lisa and I headed back to Notre Dame to take a closer look and do some sketching.  Lisa found a good spot and settled in.

I did a few quick sketches, talked to some fellow tourists and then wandered about the north end of the island taking photos of more bridges

and more padlocks,

more statues

and other fascinating buildings.

And of course, did a little people watching.

Eventually, I circled back to where Lisa was still drawing and we headed off to meet up with Lorraine. Tomorrow I'll tell you about the rest of our day, as there were more drawing adventures to come that evening!

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