17.11.2012 - 17.11.2012 8 °C
We slept!!!! Last night was a real break through for getting a good night's sleep. It seems like our bodies have fully adjusted to the new time finally (or I just drank enough wine last night to ensure a better night's sleep--I don't know what Muriel and kids drank). Actually, we not only slept but we slept in until 8:30 am which is pretty late for us.
Energized, we got ready to go out to the Saturday market so we could buy fresh produce and meat for our last dinner in Paris. We had been disappointed yesterday to find the market not operating. We knew that the market was definitely on for Saturday since there were huge banners hanging over the market area advertising the times. When we arrived at the site, there indeed was a market but not one selling fresh produce, meat and seafood but instead it was an artist market selling predominantly paintings. The presence of so many painters and no food certainly brought to mind the expression 'starving artist.' We got over our disappointment pretty quickly as all the art certainly was a feast for the eyes. We found our visits to the Louvre and the D'Orsay gallery gave us new insights into the styles of the art we viewed at the market. It would seem that no artist is worth their salt unless they have produced a prodigious quantity of female nudes as well. Only one realist painter had neglected the requisit nude and produced only paintings of bowls of fruit (a Freudian interpretation of fruit may reveal that he was still honoring the female form).
We went home for an early lunch and then left on a nearly five hour outing exploring the Left Bank and the Latin Quarter. We visited the used book sellers who have been plying thier trade along this side of the Seine since the middle ages. We also stopped to visit the deportation memorial located behind Notre Dame which preserves the memory of 200,000 French citizens who were sent to Nazi concentration camps during World War II. After this poignient experience, we wandered the Latin Quarter where artists and radicals have congregated and socialized for hundreds of years. The newer additions over the past century have been a large number of restaurants and tourist shops. We could not navigate this section of Paris without sampling a crepe from one of the countless creperies selling their wares. We were quite mesmirized by the abilities of our crepe maker. Hannah managed to get a bit of video footage that you might want to check out.
We loved the narrow winding street of this medieval section of Paris. None of the streets are straight and many buildings are at crazy angles. It is quite touristy but you can see many Parisians taking advantage of the shops and restaurants as well. Through our wandering we were working our way to La Sainte-Chapelle, an example of Flamboyant Gothic architecture. The Chapel was commissioned by Louis IX and completed in 1248. The Chapel was built to house what Louis believed to be Jesus' crown of thorns which he purchased from Turkey at price of 120,000 pounds. The container in which the crown is housed cost Louis 100,000 pounds. With those prices the chapel was a steal of a deal at a cost of a mere 40,000 pounds.
The Sainte Chapelle is attached to the French Palace of Justic,e or supreme court, which ended up making security more of an issue. As usual our backpacks were searched and an x-ray machine was at the ready (which was also standard at the Louvre). Muriel was asked if she had any sharp objects and being the honest person she was she produced her swiss army knife from one of the pockets of her backpack. The officer said "it is forbidden." He told Muriel to leave it outside but there was no place to put things and it became evident it would be confiscated and not returned if we stayed. We left the security area and decided that Muriel and Hannah would go in and see the site while Abby and I explored elsewhere. The funny thing was when Muriel re-entered they glanced in her pack as they did before and when she put her bag on the conveyer for the x-ray machine she was waved on saying they didn't use the machine. It appears only people who disclose they are carrying a weapon (i.e., tiny jack knife) are hassled; if you just keep your sidearm and bowie knife concealed and unmentioned, you are free to enter as you please. Just a mental note for next time for overly honest Canadians.
After reuniting an hour later we dedided to explore the neighbourhood further and have Hannah and Muriel just share their experience in pictures. We loved all the architecture of the buidlings along the Seine which included the Conciergerie, the prison in which Marie Attoinette was imprisoned before she had her date with the guillotine. Part of the prison is called the babbling tower because of all the torture that took place within its walls. The invention of the guillotine was to mark the end of torture and the beginning of a more "humane" way of treating prisoners. I guess that is why they used the guillotine so freely.
When our feet had had enough we took the metro back to our apartment, taking a small detour to a boulangerie to pick up some wonderful desserts. It looks like half our food budget for the day will have been spent on French baking. It seems like the proper percentage to devote to such purchases.
Tomorrow our European grand tour takes us out of Paris and on the road. We will be without an Internet connection for a couple of days so you can all take a break from reading until then. Note that you can subscribe to our blog and then you will automatically receive an email when we make a new post. Thanks for all your comments, we treasure each one of them. We encourage all our readers to get an account with Travelllerspoint so your comments can be permanent. Don't be shy about making a comment, it really makes the whole experience that much more special for us. Thanks for taking the time to follow our adventure.