saditycents











{September 28, 2014}   Europe Vacay: Paris 3
Day 3 in Paris, we woke up a little later. At this point the walking was starting to get to us a bit. We were easily walking 7-10 miles a day. DJ started tracking our calories burned as well. On Day two we burned 2,879 calories and today we would eventually burn more than 3,000 calories just walking.
We started the day off with the English breakfast. Mine had a three fired eggs, ham thinly sliced, croissant, buttered French bread, café au lait, and orange juice. All for a little less than 9 Euros or 6 dollars. It was great. I don’t normally eat a lot of ham, but in France ham is the meat of choice. They have no concept of being a vegan. You might find a vegetarian dish but a dish without cheese or butter, that’s probably not going to happen.
Today, we visited Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris (Cathedral of our lady in Paris), one of the most famous churches in the world. Mostly for the story of the Hunchback of Notre Dam. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the story is entirely fiction… I know, I know, I was crushed! Apparently, an enthusiast of French Gothic construction sought to stave off the destruction of such relics by bringing mass awareness to their importance. The church was in ruins and had been largely forgotten by the French people. However when the book became a success people began to revisit Notre Dame and it was restored to its original glory. The church was designed as a massive structure for the elite and aristocrats to worship, but also a place for the poor and peasants to receive service from priests and chaplains during the week. Construction began in 1170 and continued until 1250, but the embellishments on the building continued until 1345. Nearly two centuries of building! Again… foresight.
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Every detail is meant to tell the stories of the Bibles. There are massive windows, each pane in the window has a scene from the Bible . The south window represents the old testament. The north window represents the new testament with Christ’s resurrection as the center piece. There are also statutes to martyr’s. Among the most famous is Joan of Arc. Killed by the Catholic church because she opposed France as a calling from God, then martyred by the Catholic church because of her popularity among the people. Even today, people pay 2 euros to pray before her likeness, and that of any other saint.
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It is remarkable the amount of detail that is put into the structure. Imagine what man could do if we put our powers for forethought and creativity to good use, not that of controlling the masses. There was a Saint William who believed in conjugal reunification. I’m not clear on the particulars, but I think that he believed that a wife would be reunited upon death with her husband, although his chapel statute makes it appear as if she should reunited with him physically in this life. Anyway, the people believe what they want to believe.
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There were massive amounts of people at the Cathedral. It is still an active church, so people were also there praying and worshiping. It was very solemn and you could see the deep belief some people had. It made me a little uncomfortable to watch them in such a private moment.
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Afterwards, DJ and I sat at a park behind the cathedral for awhile. Today, we engaged in walking tour that I found online from Rick Steve’s a famous travel writer who lives in Washington state. We met a very nice couple from Boston, I should have taken a picture of them but I did not. Then we crossed the Seinne to the island that makes up part of Paris. This is where the Latin quarter is located. Tons of back alley deals and steals right behind high end merchants. We also passed the famous lock bridge, where millions of people have declared their love and their presence by affixing a lock to the bridge crossing the Seinne.
I know it seems like we do a lot of strolling, but honestly Paris is such a place that you really need to take it all in. Plus, as you travel you find unexpected performances and art exhibits that are there just for the day or the week. Everyday, is an opportunity for art in Paris. We found a gold plated mime/statute which was pretty interesting. People make money just doing crazy artistic things in Paris.
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We then made our way to the Palais of Justice, where the courts are held. Maybe its the attorney in me, but I have always found courthouse to be majestic places. This particular court house is connected to a chapel that is centuries old and is a historical landmark. We then found the café where the lawyers hang out and the legal book store all in one area. In many ways Paris is like New York in that it is divided in very specific areas and neighborhoods. New York is divided by race, Paris is divided by status. All the lawyers in one area, aristocrats in another. fashionistas another, etc.
From there we strolled by the Seinne, it is THE daytime romance spot in Paris. Paris is very affectionate, it is nothing to see people in extensive (and sometimes excessive) public displays of affection. DJ and I caught the bug too, we held hands almost ALL day LOL! On the Seinne you will see groups of every kind, almost like a college activity fair. We saw lovers sharing wine, lovers quarreling, students reading, Buddist singing, jugglers juggling, couples snuggling… we saw actors performing, people dreaming, keep walking down the Seinne and you will see it all.
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