Wednesday, 3 August 2011
My second day in Paris started out in the Latin Quarter, which I wanted to re-explore. I never did find the pedestrian streets I seem to remember from my last time there, but my guidebook is only fractionally as good as the one I had last time, so that may explain why. I also thought it was about time for me to eat the fresh mushrooms I had bought in Amsterdam but hadn’t had the chance to eat yet. I’ll admit they had a peculiar flavor, but what do you expect? So I sat down across from the Notre Dame and ate them, and stayed there for the next four hours or so, as passenger boats came and go (damn the grammar, it rhymes). The Notre Dame hasn’t been one of my favorite cathedrals, architecturally, but sitting there by the Seine, my legs dangling over the edge, I got to see it in a different way. Clouds passed and the light changed subtly over time. The two western towers, which always seemed so boxy and plain to me, struck me as more delicate and intricate under further examination. And I had the best possible view – of the cathedral’s side, so I could enjoy the flying buttresses, the southern facade, the towers, the garden, and the Seine and the arched bridges which crossed it. This was my immediate view:
I found these two trees, just starting to change color, absolutely entrancing:
To my right, two floating restaurants contributed a wealth of delicious smells:
On the left, you can see steps leading down to a passenger tour boat. The boats came and went (proper grammar there, because what do I have to rhyme with? I know you’re grateful; you don’t have to thank me; you’re welcome) and the passengers got on and got off again. I stayed, unmoving, taking in everything in as much detail as I could.
This is the view of the Seine to the left, with all those gorgeous bridges:
And this is the spot I sat in when, four hours later, I left the trance and moved over to the other bank for a closer view:
Another view of the Seine, looking west:
And this is that same, gorgeous southern side, but closer:
What a magnificent way to spend an afternoon in Paris. A highlight of my entire trip.