Tuesday, 8 December 2009

A weekend trip to Paris #5. Notre Dame Cathedral and Musee D'Orsey

From our apartment window, we could see the Eiffel Tower in one direction, and to the left the Seine River and the Statue of Liberty. The boys were confused about this statue, as they know it is in New York. This statue is the first bronze model made on a much smaller scale. So we went down to the River to have a better view of it!

Sunday morning in Paris. A small bakery with Croissants fresh out of the oven (trays of them!). After getting ourselves checked out of the hotel and storing our bags, we found this little bakery for breakfast. We sent Alexander up to practice his French, (he has started French in school this year) and he did a magnificent job of ordering 6 croissants, a hot chocolate, juices and a couple of cafe au laits. Delicious!

We caught the Metro into town again, and visited Notre Dame Cathedral. It rained a little whilst we lined up, but with umberellas and jackets, we were fine. It is amazing how quick the hawkers change from selling Eiffel Tower key rings (3 to the Euro this morning) to selling umbrellas (5 Euros each!).

We entered the cathedral during Mass, and when the soloist or the choir sings, it is an amazing sound and an incredible experience. We were fortunate to hear this during our visit, and to spend time looking around inside.

Our next planned stop was St Chapelle, however two things got in our way. The first was a street market selling animals. The boys (especially Cameron, who adores animals) looked at every goldfish, bird and other small animal on display. A Cockatoo in a cage was really screeching, and there were plenty of cockatiels, budgies and lots of different types of finches. On other stalls there were chickens, ducks and all manner of small rodents. It was noisy, but really interesting.
There were lots of Christmas trees on sale, and we loved the stands that came with every tree!

The second problem was the strike. No one was going in to St Chapelle, and a stationary queue stretched back to the Seine. We decided that it was not worth it, and decided to walk along the Seine River (in hope) to Musee D'Orsey.

The Museum was open, and even better it was the first Sunday of the month, which is free entry. There was a long queue, and just as we were getting set for a long wait, a museum employee ushered us over to a different entrance because we had children. Straight in, no waiting!! Fantastic!! We went straight to the Cafe for a delicious lunch, and then set about exploring the collection.

Musee D'Orsey is is an old railway station, and perhaps not the best space for art collections - however, the work that they have is spectacular! Many of the key impressionists are represented, and some of the works that you have seen in books as images are so much better when seen for real, Van Gough is a perfect example of this. We particularly loved Van Gogh, Cezanne, Degas, Manet, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin and Monet. Here is Alxander in front of Monet's, Lily Pond, a painting both Alexander and Cameron knew quite well from art lessons at school.

Spending 3 hours in a Museum is tough on little legs, and Cameron would stop and do his leg stretches that he learned in PE to keep him going. Some of the sections were closed for refurbishment, but we saw a lot, and were incredibly impressed.

After such a great effort by the kids, we took them for an afternoon tea at a cafe where we had delicious tortes and ice creams, and hot chocolates. we then walked the 3 km back to the hotel, stopping for some photos of Invaliden dome. The colour of the sky in the evening was amazing. We collected our gear from the hotel, walked to the metro and caught the train to Orly airport for our flight home.

A brilliant, full and fun weekend.

This was such a great weekend, we want to take an extra Friday off and visit Barcelona, then Rome, then Athens........then...

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