From the Arc de Triomphe, we went to the Saint Michel metro stop in search of a vegetarian restaurant Cristen had read about. We didn’t actually find it, but there were plenty of other cafes to choose from. Then we walked across the bridge to Notre Dame.
After my disappointing experience at Westminster, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Notre Dame. It was crowded outside, of course. Lots of people milling about and even lots of pigeons.
And of course, there was a line to get inside. So I spent some time outside for a while, soaking in all the details.
I love how expressive the last judgement scene carved into the tympanum is — the serene look of the angels, the sorrow of those judged unworthy, and the snarl of the devils.
Here’s a closer look at those hairy devils. On the side, you can see one poor soul going headfirst into a pot of boiling water. I can’t get over how much detail you can find. You can even see the spine of the blindfolded man. Just think, these have been around for hundreds of years. It’s just amazing to me.
Did you know that after the French Revolution, the cathedral became the Cult of Reason and then the Cult of the Supreme Being and that the heads of the Kings of Judah (that strip of statues on the facade) were cut off? A peasant gathered the chopped heads and buried them in his yard, and they weren’t found until 1977? I just read about that while writing this blog post (thanks Rick Steves).
There was a line to get inside, of course, but it wasn’t too long. And even though it was a little crowded inside, it didn’t feel as claustrophobic as Westminster Abbey. In fact, it was pretty incredible.
I love the thin columns in the upper level. It really helps to create that light and airy feel.
And then the stained glass is beautiful.
Cristen tried to climb the tower, but they closed the line early, so we decided to try and find one of the vintage shops recommended in my Herb Lester map. The walk was beautiful, even if the shop was randomly closed when we got there.
We headed back to Notre Dame and paused in the little park behind it to use the wifi and relax for a bit. I think I might like the east and south sides of the cathedral best.
And since we were hitting up all the major Paris landmarks, why not stop by the Eiffel Tower?
I was a little disappointed that there are some renovations taking place (thus, the thick lines underneath it). I wish they’d think about my photos before they begin major work like that. (winky emoticon) We didn’t go to the top. We’d already had one view from the top that day. But we did try really hard to get a good self-portrait of the two of us at the Eiffel Tower. You’d be amazed at how often the Eiffel Tower ends up looking like a hat on your head.
We were there long enough that we saw the light falling over the buildings…
and eventually the Eiffel Tower began sparkling. We decided to look again for the vegetarian restaurant Cristen had read about, so we headed back to Saint Michel. This time we found it – just a tiny little place with possibly 6 tables. I had the best pistachio chocolate milk ever. Well, and some delicious pasta, but that pistachio chocolate milk was the standout item of the meal. And then we did some more wandering. Paris is perfect for wandering.