Saturday, September 29, 2012

Notre Dame in Paris | Shakespeare and Company

Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Latin Quarters, Paris

I was contemplating on purchasing Victor Hugo's "Les Miserables" at the Shakespeare and Company store in Paris but then I shuddered at the thought of stuffing what looked like a 1000 plus page paperback into my bursting-at-the seam luggage.

The book would have been a memorable souvenir with the "Paris Point Zero" stamp on the front page.

The Shakespeare and Company book store was crowded each time we dropped by in the late afternoon. The store was packed with books from floor to ceiling filling in every nook and cranny. I was too tired to go upstairs to have a peek.

Instead of browsing there, we sat at a nearby cafe taking a break and watching the Parisian flow of human traffic from Notre Dame to Latin Quarters and vice versa.

Notre Dame in Paris

Victor Hugo was one of the instrumental figures in helping to restore Notre Dame to its former glory. The gothic cathedral was badly damaged during the French Revolution. It was here in Notre Dame that Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself as Emperor of France.

Notre Dame in Paris

My earliest memory of Notre Dame was from Victor Hugo's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" book. Alas we were not able to walk in all the footsteps of Esmeralda and the Hunchback. We did not have the patience to stand in line to wait for our turn to climb the 387 steps to the bell tower.

Point Zero marker in Paris

We did find the Point Zero plate, a bronze marker in front of Notre Dame whereby all distances from Paris are measured.

Notre Dame is not the oldest church in Paris. The distinction belongs to Saint Germain des Pres which was constructed around the year 1000.

Sitting in these churches gave pause to marveling at the majestic vaulted ceilings, the beautiful stained glass windows and the resourcefulness of men in building these majestic cathedrals with medieval tools. Just like hundreds of years before them, the congregation today continue to worship here, bathing in the sunlight streaming through those stained glass windows and lifting their musical voices to God.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Louvre museum in Paris

Louvre museum - home of Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo

The Louvre museum in Paris has multiple entry points. The glass pyramid is the most popular entry point, often inundated with long lines. If you have the Paris museum pass (good for multiple museums in Paris), you could move to the beginning of the line and then go through the security checkpoint. 

The lines are much shorter in the afternoons especially on days when the Louvre museum is open late (Wednesday and Friday). Waiting on line, there are signs informing the visitors to be beware of pickpockets. That surely bring the euphoria of being in a beautiful city down a couple of notches.

Venus de Milo statue in the Louvre, Paris

I myself still am in awe of the sheer vastness of this place and the treasures it hold despite several visits before. On the most recent trip, I finally get to see the "Venus de Milo" statue - an image that I have seen as a child not knowing what it meant except that the lady was armless. Seeing it in person, it is a marvel that this Greek classic statue was sculptured so perfectly and remained very well preserved over the centuries. 

Louvre sculpture gallery

The Louvre museum has a huge sculpture gallery with wide expanse of marble figures. One would really need days to explore this museum so it is best to take in the Louvre's treasures in small appreciative  doses.

The Eiffel Tower as seen from the Louvre palace grounds in Paris

The Louvre, a former palace, with its pyramid and surroundings are illuminated at night. The glow of the lights cast a really magical spectacle. On the palace grounds, one could also see the Eiffel Tower glowing and sparkling at the top of the hour.

Paris is definitely breathtaking at night !


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...