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Day Nine - Notre Dame, Ile St Louis, and the Eiffel Tower

Notre Dame Cathedral
(Click to Enlarge)
The Louvre
(Click to Enlarge)
Jardin des Tuileries
(Click to Enlarge)

Finally it was laundry day. The secret to relatively light travel for long holidays is to take a laundry break about halfway through. Unlike Dublin, finding a facility in Paris was quite easy. One was a couple blocks from the hotel and I was off early to do some sudsing. While I waited, I walked around the general area, which included a rather large outdoor market and several shops.

I returned to the hotel to unload and gather Fai, then we set out into the city. There was a nice little streetside cafe called Cafe Le Luxemburg, where I had a fantastic seafood salad and a not so tasty Grimbergen, my first poor beer choice of the trip . . . and last.

Heading north toward the River Seine, we visited the Notre Dame. Known for one of the first examples of French Gothic architecture, Notre Dame is still used as a Roman Catholic cathedral and is the seat of the Archbishop of Paris. It was among the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress.

From there, we walked about the Ile St Louis for a time, an island the sits within the River Seine. It's one of the more picturesque neighborhoods in Paris, and although only less than a kilometer long and 300 meters wide, it's very much like a city unto iteself, with churches, grocery stores, pharmacies, dry cleaners, beauty salons, banks, hotels and even fuel stations all tightly packed in. Oh, and lots and lots of ice cream shops. That's its specialty.

Continuing on, we visted the Louvre, an absolutely immense structure, which is a good thing because it's the most visited art gallery in the world and requires a lot of room. Once a a royal palace, it now holds some of the world's most famous works of art, such as Leonardo da Vinci 's Mona Lisa , The Virgin and Child with St. Anne , Madonna of the Rocks , Jacques Louis David 's Oath of the Horatii , Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People and Alexandros of Antioch 's Venus de Milo.

Heading west along the Seine, we passed by the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, modeled after the Arch of Septimius Severus in Rome, it was built by Emperor Napoleon I to commemorate France's military victories in 1805.

Connecting the Louvre with the Place de la Concorde is the Jardin des Tuileries, Paris' most central garden. With many sculptures, fountains, cafes, and seating areas, it's a welcome escape for many visitors on any given day. We walked around the garden for a time, enjoying the imagery, before deciding to seek a meal.

Villa Medici de Napoli was our choice for dinner, a fine Italian restaurant with a very amusing host. I was impressed with the quality of seafood I had found in Paris thus far and this was no exception. The server recommended a bottle of Lugana Tenuta Maiolo, which was an excellent wine and great choice for our meal.

It was beginning to get a little dark, so we thought we'd head toward the Eiffel Tower and experience it at night. Gustave Eiffel originally wanted to build his tower in Canada, as an entrance arch to the Universal Exposition of 1888, but Canada rejected it. Paris had planned to tear it down after 20 years, when Eiffel's permit expired, but it became valuable as a radio tower and was kept standing.

Over 7 million people will have visted the Eiffel Tower in 2007, making it easily the most visited paid attraction in the world. At the time of its construction in 1897, it replaced the Washington Monument as the tallest structure in the world. It remains the tallest structure in Paris currently.

The Eiffel Tower
(Click to Enlarge)

We walked around and under the tower, taking in various views as it grew darker outside. Many people were in the area, several spread out on the grass with blankets and chairs, very much like a festival or concert.

Deciding not to go up into the tower, we instead had drinks at a nearby cafe, enjoying the view on a warm night as the moon set behind the landmark. A fine way to conclude the day.


Day Ten

Day: 12345678 9101112      London, Dublin, Paris