Saturday, January 29, 2011

Friday, January 28--Jardin des Plantes

We got another late start and then decided to see some places we have never visited.  We headed over Pont de Sully and saw a wonderful view of the river, Notre Dame, and the Eiffel Tower in the distance.  We walked through Isle St. Louis and then to the large, modern, glass and chrome Institut du Monde Arabe, the institute founded to promote relations between France and 20 Arab countries.

We were looking for the Jardin des Plantes, a park with botanical gardens and zoo.  Something odd and unprecedented happened--we got LOST!!  The gardens contain a number of museums, but we visited none.  We just strolled through the quite gardens, dodging the many joggers.

Jardins des Plantes

impressive prehistoric rock formation in front of museum

Upon exiting, we headed off for the Arenes de Lutece, the remains of a Roman arena (Lutecia was the Roman name for Paris).  It has undergone many transformations, but today it is used to promote physical education in the city.  Once again, we got lost.

remains of Arenes de Lutece

Upon exiting we headed over to the Rue Mouffetard, which is full of restaurants and food shops.  Guess who came up with that walk?  Little Miss Let's-Eat-and-Remember-Every-Meal-We've-Ever-Consumed.

As we continued to wander, we wound up at the Pantheon and the Sorbonne area.  The Pantheon square is beautiful, and we strolled over to a church (guess who encouraged that?) and discovered a gem, St. Etienne du Mont.  It holds a shrine to Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris, and is another gothic church with elements of renaissance architecture as well.  This is one to visit; it's really stunning.


Eiffel Tower from Pantheon

St. Etienne du Mont altar

It was damn cold (not as cold as Mont St. Michel), so we headed down Rue St. Michel, then over the Seine, past Notre Dame, and home to lunch and later wine.

Notre Dame

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