Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Vacation: Paris, Day 3

Paris, Day 3

On the third day, we ventured into the 5th arrondissement to see the Pantheon, the Bibliotheque Sainte-Genevieve, and the 6th to see the Luxembourg Gardens.

The Pantheon was originally built to be a church, but happened to be finished during a time that opening churches was not a great idea, so it became a secular institution. It's now sort of a hybrid, with beautiful murals telling important French stories on the walls of the ground floor, the Foucault pendulum (usually... it's away, being restored right now), and underground, a crypt holding the remains of some of France's most cherished dead.

The banner says that they're open during work (they're renovating quite a bit)

Birk is standing where the brochure map says the Foucault pendulum normally would be

One of the most ornately decorated rooms of the crypt (and I don't
even remember whose it is... royalty of some kind?)

Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, and Emile Zola walk into a bar share a crypt room

I need some serious help understanding why this is what Voltaire's inscription says.
At least, the first line. I'm thinking it doesn't say "je" because that definitely isn't
something Voltaire would have done, right? ("combattit les athees et les fanatiques")
After the Pantheon, we headed across the street to something only I would put on the "top three must see in Paris" list: the Bibliotheque Sainte Genevieve.

I don't think I'd get any studying done in a library like this. It's too
distractingly pretty.

There are authors' names engraved on the outside under every window.
We went in, and a security guy asked for our library cards. I explained (in French!) that we just wanted to see the library, as visitors, and we went to a young lady who showed us around. There's a small... for lack of a better word, pen... where you can stand in the middle of the library and look around at the pretty architecture without disturbing the students and researchers hard at work. I had a nice little discussion with the lady about how pretty it is, and how we're from the USA and I'm a librarian so I wanted to see one of the French libraries. I was quite proud of my conversation skills, if I do say so myself.

After that, we headed toward the Luxembourg Gardens up the street.

The Medici fountain

Palm tree, what are you doing here? Go home, palm tree. You're drunk.
We spent a lovely afternoon having lunch (Caesar salad - which apparently should have hard-boiled egg, tomato, and chicken on it - and fries) at the Pavilion de la Fontaine while listening to what we think was an American high school band play music.

As it turns out, on our way back to the metro, we passed a MacDo and a Quick across the street from each other. When I told Christopher this, he asked a few questions about the area and told me we had been right in front of the place he stayed when he took classes in Paris! That was pretty cool.

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