Friday, May 21, 2010

Notre Dame

Our goal on Saturday was to visit St. Chapelle and Notre Dame, both at the Cite metro stop. The line for St. Chapelle was long, so we headed the other direction to Notre Dame.

At this sign, we knew we'd made the right choice (although it didn't include icons for the really long line or the grumpy attendant at the window collecting coins).

Then, as we entered the plaza, we saw it!

No, not Notre Dame--the structure to the left, which caught us totally by surprise. Notre Dame would be there for a few more centuries, but the Fete du Pain is a one-weekend event and we'd just accidentally shown up on the right day.

If you are not familiar with French, be reassured that this was a festival of artisan bread baking, not a celebration of torture.

The top bread bakers in the city were all there demonstrating their bread and pastry making skills and techniques.

And they were sharing their techniques with everyone, especially the kids.

Outside the exhibition area were tents where we could buy sandwiches and pastries made in the exhibition room. The word had gone out to the gourmet bird community who had gathered in the nearby bushes waiting for handouts.

The plaza was packed with people from all over the world. Gypsies were working the crowd, asking for money from anyone who spoke English. I thought it was interesting that they looked for English speakers. "Madame, do you speak English?" Then they hand you a card written in English explaining why they need money.

The line to get into Notre Dame was long, so we decided to take photos of the outside and come back during the week to see the Rose windows from the inside. Here are a few of our photos.

Then I took Dave on a really long walk to the candy store Shaun and I had found when we were here before. Since I couldn't remember the name or how to get there, we spent several hours walking around the 4th arrondissement and never found it.

It was a beautiful day for a walk. A little cool, but the sun was shining. We walked along the Seine and then went back to our apartment to nap before heading out for the evening.

In the evening, we took the metro to St. Germaine des Pres. The metro was next to a church which advertised a gospel choir concert that had just begun, so we rushed in to buy tickets. It didn't take long to realize that gospel music isn't written for cathedrals. It's a lot like trying to listen to the announcement in a large train station. One person can almost sound like a choir in a cathedral because the sounds linger and produce harmonics. So instead of about 12 people singing it sounded like 100, all singing different parts of the song at the same time. It was a really muddy sound. Lots of people walked out, but we moved out along the side until we found an area where the acoustics were better.

Afterwards we went to Les Deux Magots for a late night snack of open-faced salmon sandwiches and haricot verts. The restaurants in Paris stay open really late. We passed diners at midnight in our neighborhood. This restaurant is in the Sorbonne area. Big article about Michael Jackson framed on the wall near the door.

It was cold and rainy again when we left, but Andrea said her mom had predicted sunshine for Sunday... in spite of what the weatherman was saying.

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