Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Four hundred and twenty-two steps

After a tasty breakfast mostly consisting of brioche swiss pastry, shown below, we went to Notre Dame to get in line for a tour of Quasimodo's stomping grounds, the high towers and belfry of the cathedral.


After about two thirds of the 422 steps were ascended, we encountered gargoyles, pretty much face to face. I took a lot of photos in my delirium at reaching this height without a stop for oxygen. Here's Gino taking one of his closeups of one of the beasts; a photo which can be found on his blog.

Here's one of my favorites which indicates at least a little bit the height to which we had ascended. The guidebook said, "no lifts and no bathrooms" and both were correct.

The view from the top was pretty nice, even on an overcast day. The city of Paris lies out all around the tower. Three hundred and sixty degrees of city.  You can see the Seine in the foreground and the Eiffel tower near the horizon.

Here are two more of the concrete monsters looking down on the city.

The circular stairway on the way down felt endless. They were narrower at the top and showed signs of wear of their 850 years all the way to the bottom. As Gino said, I'm glad I made this climb while I was young.

Then after a lunch of  chicken pita sandwich and a chocolate eclair, we set off to the Georges Pompidou Museum of modern art.  This is one of the twentieth century sculptures that I liked, "Deux negresses" by Henri Matisse.

On the fifth floor they have some sculptures gracing the balconies that overlook the city. We had a sit down here for a while while we recharged and went back to see more. There were very many recognizable artist names here and some of their more famous works on display - Picasso and Dali and famous artists like that.

This is me posed in front of a work of art featuring a bending female form painted on a mirror - a form popularized in a slightly different form in American folk art as "yard butts."

Another interesting, but somewhat taxing day. We went to the local food market and found the necessary ingredients for a dinner at home - grilled cheese and ham (a fancy French cheese and jambon), plus coleslaw and fancy olives.


Retired Professor said...

I'm liking this new food theme you guys are doing. That brioche looks tasty.

The gargoyles are fascinating, aren't they? Unique. Good job on climbing all those stairs. Especially without any hope of a lift or a bathroom.

I think you need a rest day.

BDE said...

Great photos. I love the two concrete monsters looking down at the city, the staircase (!), and the ones from the Pompidou. You two are having an excellent adventure.