Our Blog - Paris January 2018 - Day 2
We've been on Parisien cruises multiple times, including multiple times on the Bateaux Mouches, but our Groupon came along with a cruise on the Seine, and so we decided to take another one. Mind you ... it was a bit different than normal due to the level of the Seine and the flooding (I'll show more of this later). Here is me waiting for the cruise to open, with the American Church of Paris steeple in the background. From the dock at Pont d'Alma, you can get a good view of the Eiffel Tower as well as this piece of art that they have.
I took a few pictures during the cruise. This first building are the gold domes of the Russian Orthodox cathedral, which is new (only opening in 2016) and consists of 4 buildings.
Various pictures of the Eiffel Tower ... from various points :-)
Flooding ... there have been a few large storms that have come through France in January, including Eleanor, which brought heavy rain as well as 100 mph winds. We took various pictures while on the river (and from bridges later on) to show the flooding. We don't remember ever seeing it this high, including during the 2 1/2 years that we lived there. I've also included a video that was my attempt to show how swiftly the water was moving downstream. One sad part of the story is that a female police officer disappeared in the Seine during a training exercise with the river level so high and running so fast. They had blocked off a couple of the bridges and were searching the river for her but they haven't found her body by the time we left Paris.
In 1807, Napoleon I ordered a bridge constructed that overlooked the Military school, and named it after his 1806 victory at the Battle of Jena (the bridge itself is named Pont Iena). The tympana along the sides of the bridge had been originally decorated with imperial eagles but the eagles were replaced with the royal letter "L" soon after the fall of the First Empire in 1815. In 1852, when Napoléon III ascended the throne of the Second Empire, new imperial eagles replaced the royal "L".
The TF1 tour itself is not all that interesting ... but as we floated by, they were putting up an ad for he new Star Wars movie (it is about 1/2 up). We had just seen the movie the week before.
This is Pont Mirabeau, which was built between 1895 and 1987. The two piles of the bridge represent boats. The one closest to the right bank shows the Seine flowing downstream, while the one on the left shore shows her going upstream. These boats are decorated with four allegorical statues: "The City of Paris", "Navigation", "Abundance", and "Commerce". The allegories "Paris" and "Abundance" face the Seine, while "Navigation" and "Commerce" face the bridge.
As most people know, the Statue of Liberty in the US was a gift from France. There is a replica of the Statue of Liberty in Paris (actually a couple of them), near the Pont de Grenelle. I apologize for the bad picture ... it was a bit cold and I didn't want to go outside, and so I ended up getting a not-so-good-picture.
Pont de Bir-Hakeim was built between 1903 and 1905, replacing an earlier 1878 bridge. The 4 bronze sculptures that seem to be holding up the bridge are called "The Boatmen" and are the work of a French sculptor, Gustave Michel.
One thing that we had talked about going to, dating back to the time that we actually lived in Paris, was the Museum of Wine. And after living in Paris for 2 1/2 years, and visiting it 3 times since ... we never ended up going to the Museum. We actually looked at an apartment on the same street as the museum, but we picked a different apartment. We finally ended up going to the museum on this trip. Mind you ... if you aren't interested in looking at old things associated with wine, then I recommend you skip it. I liked the Cite de Vin in Bordeaux a lot more, and it had much more information about wines and winemaking than this museum did. The museum is housed in middle age quarries that were later turned into cellars of a convent, which is interesting itself.
Here is a set of tools dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. The interesting one for me was the crossbow with clay bullets. These were used by the workers to protect the grapes from birds. Mind you, the audioguide mentioned that the workers would eat the birds that they killed.
They had an interesting collection of corkscrews there, although I only captured a few here.
Trocadéro, which sits across the river from the Eiffel Tower, is the site of the Palais de Chaillot. There are a couple museums there, as well as the Passy Cemetery. On the wall of the cemetery is one of several Great War monuments, this bas-relief named "Monument to the Glory of French Armies". It depicts the French Army Corps of WW I and while it was designed in the 1930's, it was not completed until 1956. In the middle is an allegory of a female figure holding a shield and representing France.
We've done this next part before. Le Figaro (a newspaper), has a competition to determine "the best of" different foods within Paris. One of our other trips, we had gone through and tried on several "the best of", and this year was no different. It is actually called Les Tests Gourmands - Le meilleur de la gastronomie parisienne. We did a few of them, although not always #1 purely due to location and where we happened to be. Today, we tried the Lemon Tart. What is interesting is that the pages of the website (which I linked above), talks about the methodology and criteria used (if you can read French). We sent to Sébastien Gaudard, which was tied for 4th. I LOVE lemon tarts, although I can't make them (at all) and I can't eat them that often (or I won't be able to STOP eating them!)
As we headed back to our hotel from the Patisserie, we went by a church that we hadn't ever (to our remembrance) been inside of, Notre Dame de Lorette. The exterior looks massive, in a neoclassical style. It was started in 1823 under Louis XVIII and completed in 1836 under Louis-Phillipe. An interesting point of trivia, the famous painter Claude Monet was baptized here in May 1841. The interior is very different than the stark, stern exterior. Keeping with neoclassical style, there is no transept and the murals are painted directly on the church's walls instead of having paintings hanging on them. The church is the most colorful church in Paris, as you can tell by the pictures.
This is the baptismal chapel, which underwent a restauration in 2016 to remove dust and dirt from the paintings, removing oxidizing varnish, repairing areas that had been damaged by water, and restoring much of the gilding (which makes it seem even more bright and colorful). Several of the paintings show baptisms, including Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist, Roman emperor Constantine, and French king Clovis.
We went to dinner with a Parisien friend of ours tonight, at a place called Cafe Miroir. Since we were there with a friend, we didn't do any pictures. It is a rather basic brasserie .. the food was good but not something that I would go out of the way for.
Continue to Paris 2018 Day 3