Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Paris, the Left Bank

Drove to the epic Gare de Lyon and parked in their expensive underground lot.  Paris has buses, trams, subways, trains, and the TGV.  They all converge on the Gare de Lyon in a vast confusion of levels, directions and services.  The same Metro line, for instance, may have two completely different end destinations in one direction and three in the other, so that just because you caught the A14 to go to your destination, doesn't mean you can take just any A14 to get back.  You can transfer from a Metro to a train on the same platform in some stations, and trains don't stop as frequently as Metros, so you can get a good distance in the wrong direction before figuring it out.  It pays to study some of the thousands of signs.

Grabbed the Metro to St. Lazare station and transferred to the Varennes line, debarking near the Rodin Museum.  After touring the gardens (his most famous works are there), we had lunch al fresco at their restaurant and toured the small museum.  Then it was off through occasional sprinkles of rain, for a long walk along the left bank, the Eiffel Tower, Tour Montparnasse and Les Invalides peeking at us down side streets.  We passed the PM's office (oh, that's what all the police are for!), the Sorbonne, the university's still-working astronomical observatory, the Senate, strolled through the magnificent Luxembourg Gardens, stopped for a cafe crema in a bistro and eventually arrived at the awesome Pantheon.

Once a great Basilica, it was trashed in the Revolution, then converted into a museum of France's great men.  Louis XV restored it's use as a church and the Republic returned it to it's present status as the resting place of France's great.  Entombed here are such luminaries as Voltaire, Rousseau, the Curies and innumerable generals.  Foucault's Pendulum, much anticipated by Paul, is displayed here but was closed for repairs?  A wire and a weight?

Then back through several Metros to the Gare de Lyon and home just before the rush hour hit its stride, tired but happy.   Turns out the oddly painted house across the street from our hotel is a shrine to the painter Eugene Delacroix.  There's something famous everywhere you look.

Rodin Museum and gardens

Rodin's Balzac

The Thinker

The Burghers of Calais

The Kiss

The Gates of Hell

Statue of Mary Stuart in Luxembourg Gardens

Luxembourg Gardens

Pond in the Gardens

The Senate (formerly Luxembourg Palace) from the gardens

Pantheon interior

Pantheon exterior, under repairs of course

Rousseau's tomb in the Pantheon crypt

Voltaire's tomb

Marie and Pierre Curie

Eugene Delacroix birthplace and museum

1 comment:

  1. Fond memories of my visit to Paris when Lee lived there..... What a great city! Thanks for jarring my memory with these fabulous snapshots.