Paris 2012, Day 2
Friday, May 11, 2012

Today we plan on visiting places located on both sides of the Seine in the 1st and 6th Arrondissement or District.

From the Victor Hugo Station, we ride the subway to the Louvre Rivoli Station and proceed to visit the Louvre, a museum that holds the richest art collections in the world. 35,000 pieces of paintings, drawings, sculptures, sketches, etc.. are displayed in three masive wings of a building complex sitting on the right bank of the Seine River. You can spend months in this museum without seeing everything but since we only have a few hours, we decide to head first to the Mona Lisa, easily the most famous piece of art in the world.
Lee and Christina at the Louvre
Crowd inching forward to view Mona Lisa
It takes us awhile to bob and weave our way around the museum to the front of the 21"x 30" oil painting and there Mona Lisa poses peacefully, with her arms crossed and a smile that continues to puzzle art historians. We stand in front of the painting admiring it for a long time. With the time we have, we get to see “The Coronation of Napoleon”, a huge painting by Jacques-Louis David, the statues “Winged Victory”, and “Venus de Milo”.
THE painting. "Mona Lisa"
Lee and Christina on the stairway outside the Richlieu Wing
Jacques-Louis David's "Coronation of Napoleon"
"Winged Victory"
Tuileries Garden outside the Louvre
One section of one wing of the Louvre
Christina and Lee in front of "Venus de Milo"
Leaving the Louvre, we walk next door and tour the Tuileries Garden, an expansive garden located near Place de la Concorde and features manicured lawns, colorful flowers, matured trees, along with ponds, park benches and statues that are arranged in an organized way over 63 acres of Paris prime real estate.
Christina and Lee strolling in Tuileries Garden
From Tulieries we take the metro to Cite Station to visit Paris flower and bird market (Marché aux Fleurs). Here green metal stands are set up along two narrow streets to sell bird cages, home decorations, and flowers. Since this is springtime, the market is just exploded with colorful flowers of all kinds. Walking along the flower stands, one can be overpowered by the sweet fragrances of so many flowers including roses, orchids, jasmine, lavender, and gardenia.
Bird and flower market near the Notre Dame Cathedral
Bird and flower market near the Notre Dame Cathedral
Glass pyramids outside the Louvre
Lee and Bo relaxing in Tulieries Garden
Close to the flower and bird market is Notre Dame, a beautiful cathedral on Ile de la Cité, an island rising out of the Seine River. Completed in 1250, Notre Dame is a complex Gothic architecture.

​​The west front of the cathedral consists of the twin towers which are adorned with numerous sculptures depicting various biblical scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary to the Last Judgment.We admire the cathedral’s immense exterior and are completely in awe of the work that was done almost 700 years ago then we go inside. Wow!!! What a beautiful place.

​We sit in one of the front pews for a long time to admire its interior architectural details including the huge stained glass windows and column-supported arches.
A WW2 Era water fountain
Notre Dame Cathedral
From St Germain des-Pres, we take the Metro to Madeleine Station and have dinner at the original Madelein Café in Paris then call it a night.​​
Inside the Notre Dame
One of many gigantic stained glass windows
The original La Madelein Cafe in Paris
From Notre Dame, we cross the Seine River on the Pont de Arts Bridge into the Left Bank. The railings on the bridge are completely covered with padlocks left by Parisian lovers. It is a interesting and wonderful sight. 

Pont de Arts Bridge. Lovers engrave their names on padlocks, attach them to bridge railing and throw keys into the Seine River below
Lee and Christina on Pont de Arts. River tour boats traversing the Seine below
The Seine River flows from east to west and the Left Bank is to the left of the flow direction and on the south side of the river. This area is known as the artistic part of Paris and refered to as the Latin Quarter where Latin was the official language until late 18th century. Many of the famous writers and artists including Picasso, Matisse, and Hemingway once lived here.

​​The area's narrow roads are full of restaurants, gift shops, and art galleries. Stopping at any one of the restaurants to look at the menu and you will be whisked to a table by the restaurant greeter. We take one of the outdoor tables and order the full course lunch which includes appertizer, entrée, and dessert.
Christina on one of the bridges leading to the Left Bank
A charming sidewalk cafe on a narrow Left Bank Street
The Left Bank
Full of energy, we continue walking toward the St Germain des-Pres Area of the Latin Quarter, and see the famous Le Deux Magots Café in front of the church. Around the corner, Christina finds the Longchamp Store and plop down some Euros to purchase a purse.

Inside "Fauchon" pastry shop. Macaroons displayed in the window
Lee in front of the famous Le Deux Magots in St Germain des-Pres
Bo and Lee on Pont de Arts Bridge in front of Notre Dame

What do you think?
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