Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Lazy Winter Day in Paris

The Sunday Bird Market, Bookstores and The Luxembourg Gardens

Today was supposed to include a trip to Paris' Sunday Bird Market and a tour of the Palais Garnier (The Paris Opera.) 

It was sunny so the Parisians were out in droves enjoying family time. They start off by lining up at their favorite boulangerie. On a cold day with stores mostly closed, they bundle up and visit a museum, library or park. The very old and the very young get rolled, everyone else walks. The crazy ones go running in shorts.

I began the day with a wake for my lost scarf. What would any trip be without a lost scarf?

So anyway....

The bird market is located near the center of the Ile de la Cite. The Ile is the island in the middle of the Seine with the Cathedral of Notre Dame at one end, Sainte Chapelle in the middle and La Pont Neuf on the other.

The Place Dauphine on The Ile de la Cite 

I think it was just too cold for them to sell their more exotic birds (like the bizarre mop-top chickens we saw on a previous trip.) So today there were lots of small birds along with squirrels, ferrets, chinchillas and little bunnies. Miss M swooned over the ferrets alerting me of her plans to get a ferret when she has a place of her own. Duly noted.

Kids and Bunnies

We started off for the Garnier via the Louvre for lunch in its big (and warm) food court. Miss M spent some quality time buying books at the Virgin Megastore. I found a new scarf.

The Pyramid Entry to The Louvre

We then made our way to the Garnier Opera.

The Garnier Opera

The Garnier is named after the architect (a nice touch). This neo-baroque edifice was commissioned by Napolean III.

It took 13 years to build with construction delayed at one point by a huge amount of water in (what would become) its basement. While pumping out the water they created a lake under the building. Hence, the subterranean lake on which The Phantom of the Opera sails. Lore also has it that the ghost of the Phantom demands a salary and requires Box 5 remain unsold for his exclusive use. The first managers of the Opera complied.

Well Phantom or no, although there are usually guided tours "en Anglaise" on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, this Sunday it was closed. I guess that just constitutes another reason to plan a return to Paris. Sigh.

Shadow Shot of The Column
La Place Vendome

We retraced our steps across La Pont Neuf making a stop at Notre Dame (which looks amazing after many years of cleaning.) We also stopped to watch a bird lady.

Miss M on La Pont Neuf

Notre Dame After Mr. Clean was Finished

The Wonderful Gargoyles

A Bird Lady

We made our way back through the Latin Quarter with a stroll through the Luxembourg Gardens. With a fountain partially glaciated and its bare squared off trees, the park was a spectacular way to end the day.

The Box Trees

The Luxembourg Palace and Gardens

Only one full day left, We plan to sleep in then just bum around. I am already starting to miss my morning tart du pomme.

Roadboy's Travels © 2011

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