s-t-a-i-r-s!

you might guess by the title that we did a bit of climbing today. in fact we started the day with a climb up the towers of notre dame cathedral.

it was another gorgeous day, but quite cool, perfect for climbing and taking pictures. the last time we were here the upper tower was closed so it was cool to be able to finish the job and get to the top. the view is spectacular looking on down on the inner precincts of paris and a panorama of the whole city. you also get to be up close and personal with the gargoyles and angels.

i took yet more photos of the big bell “emmanuel” before finishing the climb, they only ring it on special catholic celebrations.

the climb itself is up a narrow circular stairway, each step worn smooth and hollowed by the millions who have gone up for the view. today there were only a hundred or so ahead of us including a group of loud and giggly girls from brazil…ah teenagers. i must say though that compared to many, including some of the kids, we did pretty well going non-stop to the top, other than the forced wait in the book shop half way up.

check out the pictures for the views. going down was a snap as there is no crowd ahead of you, hold on to the rail!

lunch on the quay looking at the seine and notre dame (yes we’re tourists) i had a salade with a beer and rick had a very good french onion soup, his first on the trip, with wine.

we strolled through parts of the latin quarter on our way to perhaps the best history museum in paris, the cluny, proper name: musée national du moyen age. the ancient abbot’s mansion and adjoining roman ruins and medieval gardens make it a fascinating place.

the primary purpose is to display medieval history and artifacts of which there are many, well preserved and containing details that surprise including some of the colour that was used on the statues. highlight of the visit was a beautiful set of six famous tapestries, ‘the lady and the unicorn’ woven in unusual colours and wonderfully preserved from the early 1500s, displayed effectively in a special room.

home for a well deserved nap and supper before the next outing.

it’s 8 p.m., time to head downtown for a saturday night in paris. the champs elysees does not sleep, it was as crowded at 10 as it was during the day. lit up with a huge display celebrating a 100 years of aviation history (this is a BIG event) there are marquees everywhere we go in paris including the inner courtyard of the louvre, hotel de ville and anywhere else you can think of! must say it is a pretty interesting display of jets, antique planes, anything related to aviation, even a rocket in one of the main intersections of the champs elysees.

on to our destination and next climb. the arc de triomphe! the climb was fairly quick, again we seemed to manage better than a lot of those ahead who pulled into small alcoves to rest. at the top, a cold breeze and the city of lights, what a view! perhaps the most stunning was the eiffel tower aglow in blue. the traffic filled streets radiating from the arch and the glimmer of gilded roofs all around. i took some photos but unsure how they will turn out.

a dizzy (literally) spiral down before strolling back down the champs elysees to the metro. great fun.

bon soir.

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