Our Paris adventures began Friday night with a Rick Steves guided walk through Montmarte and a picnic dinner. Highlights included the austere Sacre Coeur Cathedral, which is the highest natural point in Paris.
The birthplace of modern art which is where as many as 10 artists including a young Picasso lived and worked enjoying the low rent and seedy culture.
The Moulin Rouge reminding us that though the rent in this neighborhood has skyrocketed, the seediness remains.
The next morning I our Paris plans were slightly modified when we realized that Bastille Day would close down many of the museums we had planned to visit to make room for the parade on Saturday morning. Very heavily armed French military personal made it clear that we needed to flip flop our Saturday and Sunday itineraries.
Hence Caleb and I headed toward Gare Montparnesse to figure out the train system to take us an hour southwest of Paris to Chartres to take in what many believe is the most impressive and well-preserved cathedrals, hands down. Both of us really enjoyed our time there and had an amazing and educational tour that included exploring the crypt, parts of which date back to the first cathedral erected on that site from the 4th century.
One of my favorite parts of Chatres Cathedral – the depiction of Jesus’ feet in the beautifully sculpted choir screen, depicting the ascension.
French military showing their muscle.
Saturday night we hoped to get to the Eiffel Tower for some night photography. Forget it. The whole city had come out to take in fireworks and Bastille Day festivities. So we enjoyed the carnival-like atmosphere, took a few pics, and called it an early night before things got out of hand (actually 11:45 which is pretty early by French standards). Today Musee de l’Orangerie and Orsay for some Impressionist culture!