A park. A church. A museum. Lots of walking in between. One more fabulous day in Paris.
Fresh from the recent photography class, I am once again rejuvenated and ready to hit the streets. My mission today is the Jardin du Luxembourg. From there, I have no plan other than to go wherever I end up. A great way to travel I think. Especially when you have time on your side.
A short walk from my apartment to the Seine and across Ile de la Cite and approach the gardens from Boulevard St. Michel. Walk through the gates and up the path approaching the Palais du Luxembourg. The main attraction here, for me anyway, are the gardens and park like atmosphere.
Everything feels bright to me here under the Paris morning sun. I always feel like I need to shade my eyes. The white paths, the sparkling teal water, the bright green leafy trees. Everything shimmers with bright light. The palace stands at the front overlooking a vast display of fountains, paths and leafy corners. Little rows of neatly ordered flowers. Green metal chairs positioned throughout, filled with people sitting, reading, chatting, napping in the sun.
My goal was to spend some time at the Fountain des Medicis, tucked away off to the right of the palace when you are facing it. Set amongst the green trees in a shady, quiet, cool and calming corner. Very peaceful. The still water of the long pool in front of the fountain perfectly reflects the surroundings. As I was there, there were half a dozen or so artists sketching the fountain. It was a very relaxing spot. Beautiful.
After wandering around a bit, I head back out to explore the St. Germain area. Lots of beautiful boutiques and little cafes line the streets. Eventually run into Saint Sulpice, a church you may be familiar with from the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. The huge church just sort of popped out of nowhere for me. Right in the middle of this little street stands this enormous and dark looking structure. Took me awhile to walk around it and find the entrance. This is a significant church, second in size to Notre Dame in Paris. The ceilings soar, small chapels tucked around the sides and an enormous center is filled with wooden chairs. I was thrilled to catch a small ray of light illuminating the floor near the back of the church.
From here, I leave to do some more wandering. I seriously want to stop at one of the inviting cafes, but I know if I stop that will be it for the afternoon for me. Once I eat or drink anything, forget it, it is all over. I have to save that for later in the day.
I end up at the Musee D’Orsay. My favorite museum in Paris. I have some other favorites, but this is the one I imagine when I think about this city. The museum was built in an old train depot and I think it is just the perfect structure for the collection. An impressionist lovers dream, this place is full of gorgeous works from all of your favorites, Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh. Everywhere you turn is a little room full of paintings you learned about in school. The soaring ceilings and windows flood the entire building with light and perfectly highlight the interior sculpture section which is more than beautiful on its own. I could sit here for hours and contemplate, but there is just so much to see to sit for too long.
I adore this place. I lost track of time as usual and spent the remaining part of my afternoon here. I did have one complete surprise as I wandered the top floor. I had never been to the Decorative Arts section. If you go, I advise you to stay and check it out. I know the focus is on the impressionist paintings, but there is much more to see. I walked around a corner and ran into the most beautiful room I have ever seen, the Salle des Fetes. Full of gold and cream, mirrors and chandeliers, exquisite details. Elegant to the extreme. The lighting is perfect. You actual feel beautiful in this room. I walked in and said to myself, wouldn’t this be a perfect place for a wedding reception? I will keep dreaming, but truly, gorgeous. It used to be the ballroom for the Hotel d’Orsay. Don’t miss this.
I heeded the warnings not to take photographs in this museum. They were posted everywhere. I think I was probably the only one following the rules. I had another fabulous visit here and it was a perfect way to spend the afternoon. My feet are killing me at this point, so I start out on the long walk back to my apartment. Time to rest for a bit.
There is just so much to see in Paris. I am exhausted thinking about it. I believe you could spend forever here and not really scratch the surface.
Well, as usual, I’m off to give it another attempt. Au revoir!