Travels with Dick and Karen


Part 4
South looping to NE

(the Light Green Line path)
Starting just south of Notre Dame, across the Seine via Pont St Michel, is Place St. Michel. Paris

with its monumental fountain of Archangel Michael wrestling with the devil. The ancillary lion-headed dragons added that Je ne sais quoi.


It is in an area of galleries

And things to fix up your home. Here a store specializes in hooks. Paris
The building that was once the townhouse of the abbots of Cluny now houses the Musee National du Myen Age (Medieval Museum). The day we visited was a "free day" (first Sunday of the month) and quite busy. The museum had student volunteers from one of the universities answering questions and assisting visitors. Paris
Well-displayed stained glass that had been rescued from Sainte-Chapelle Paris
We could get our noses (and cameras) up close to see construction and repair details. Paris


Lots of religious and not-so-religious art Paris

The museum is known for the "Lady and the Unicorn" Tapestries. There are all six wall-sized pieces surrounding you in one (crowded) room

But there are many other tapestries here too. This is a short section of a continuing story that snaked through many rooms. "Word ballons" existed long before modern comic books. Paris
A small but interesting display on warfare and several less bloody games. Paris
The building itself was an exhibit unto its own right, Paris
along with other exhibits showing medieval architectural details Paris
The Hôtel de Cluny itself sits on an even older Roman bath which is still being excavated and explored. Paris
One of the pieces displayed is this typical Roman bath mosaic Paris
Returning to the surface and surrounding streets, we admired the door of Université Rene Descartes, part of the Sorbonne. There was a pause as we worked out "university of all knowledge that follows" Paris
The Sorbonne extends for blocks, and includes a couple of observatory domes. (Notre Dame in the distant background). Paris
Continuing south past it and all the way up Boulevard St Michel you get to the Fountaine de l'Observatorie Paris
We turn north and walk down through the long but narrow swath to the ... Paris
Jardin Du Luxembourg.
(the previous photo was taken at the red dot on the upper right)
The highpoint for us was the Medici fountain, tucked into its own quiet grotto. Paris
Much of the Jardin du Luxembourg space was paths for strolling under the trees Paris
while eating ice cream and other snacks Paris
At the north end ot the gardens is the Palais du Luxembourg which now houses the French senate Paris
The gardeners were just finishing forklifting the citrus trees into place for the summer. Some of these orange and lemon trees are over 100 years old. Paris
Next door is the School of Mines Paris
Whose typical school stairway is decorated with paintings of mountains Paris
The ceiling has an angel handing laurels. Look closer and you'll see these are men of science, not the usual saints or politicians. Paris
The room at the top of the stairs is the entrance of the National museum of minerology, one of the 10 largest in Europe. Paris
Rooms fading into the distance full of 100,000 rocks in glass cases. We spent the day. (Karen has tried to restrain herself and only show a few examples) Paris
In addition to spectacular specimens Paris

They had exhibits of what rocks were found in various areas of France

As well as hundreds of cases of rocks laid out by chemical formula with examples of the same type of rock from different places in the the world. Paris
There were displays of minerals used for color in arts and industry and why they were that color. Paris
Here's a just part of a display of different colors of quartz and what impurities or electron shell variations give that color. Paris
There were several spectacular specimens Paris
including this meteorite Paris
Out in the entry the tiny gift shop would sell you small flakes of gold and a few other common mineral specimens. Paris
A few blocks away they worked with radium. Paris
The Curie museum: The original laboratory. Still radioactive (door knobs, chair backs), so we could not enter the room. Paris
Glass which had turned purple due to radiation (most modern glass won't do this because it is now manufactured differently) Paris
In the more modern (and not radioactive) part of the museum were historical instruments, such as this device for assaying radium Paris
and a "bread-board" Geiger counter Paris
As it turned out, near our apartment on l'Île Saint-Louis is a plaque on an apartment where Marie Curie (two Nobel prizes) and, much later, Rene Cassin (1968 Nobel peace prize) used to live. Paris
Wandering elsewhere in the neighborhood, Dick noticed familiar-looking labware in a basement window. Paris
Looking up we saw that it was the public school of industrial physics and chemistry Paris
A nearby architect's office has a playful entry. Paris
The above wander of streets since Jardin du Luxembourg were all circling the hill crowned by the Panthéon. Paris
It was originally constructed as a church but became a national mausoleum at the time of the first French Revolution. This statue shows France herself standing between the revolutionairies and the members of the Convention National.
The walls have a series of monumental murals depicting the History of Paris as mediated by various historical religious and revolutionary figures
Here is where Foucault set up his original pendulum to prove that the earth rotates.. Because of the ongoing dome restoration, it was moved from here to the Museum Arts et Mietiers (which you saw in our North Loop) Paris
The original model of the building is also on display  Paris
Down in the basement is the crypt: doors leading to rooms with famous people interred within, including Pierre and Marie Curie.
("interred" is a slight mis-statement. Some honorees are represented by only their hearts (in urns), or their bodies without their hearts, or merely soil from their actual graves when the families requested that their remains remained undisturbed)
Back outside, we descended the hill's east side to reach the Jardin des Plantes. Outside is a mix of the usual French plant sculpting and more natural plant forms... Paris
... in some areas predominently the "sculpted".
The monumental buildings contained museums of zoology (shown), minerology (columned entrance in distance), paleontology and comparative anatomy.
There are a series of greenhouses (with entry fee, hence guard) Paris
Karen's obligatory tree fern photo (see our other travels... tree ferns will appear) Paris
The desert house paris
They have an interesting trellis for their vines in their tropical house Paris
At the end of which is a tower to allow you to climb to the building on the next level Paris
Nice view down Paris
The glass cube seen at the beginning of this sequence houses an essay on plant evolution Paris
Outside again we decide not to go to the small petting zoo, but head into the next building Paris
For the small but amazing minerology display. Well worth the fee to see well-lit crystals the size of people. Paris
The smaller samples were also exquisite Paris
Compare these to the less theatrical (but accessible-for-research) cases and drawers of the School of Mining.  Paris
Karen is trying to restrain herself (again) and show only one of the examples of worked stone: this gorgeous inlay. Paris
Chased out by "closing time", we strolled the remainder of the gardens Paris

and crossed the street to the Seine. This is the Musee de La Sculpture en Plein Air (we'd say sculpture garden)

This day it was also a display of Tango.

Relatively durable public art.  Paris
Some puzzling but playful...   Paris
Dick couldn't at first figure out if this was a sculpture or a piece of infrastructure
(it was art, and performed magic with the round mirrors)
The park also includes workout devices Paris
Across the river is the final lock of the Canal St Martin, where it empties into the Seine. Paris

Lower the water.

boats come out
(from the "Port of Pleasure")


boats go in

raise the water

all day long

Here's the small mooring area and barge passage at the top of the lock. Note the tower of the Place de la Bastille at the far end. paris
Place de la Bastille (remember the Bastille itself was torn down by angry crowds at the beginning of the French revolution) is also the location of the current opera house, Opera Bastille (you saw the old one, Opera Garnier, in our North Loop). Paris
There was also an antique fair going on Paris
With an imposing samovar. Paris
There were also several antique stores in the area Paris
and a restaurant with very French seating... Paris
... under a familiar logo. Paris
Back to the Canal St Martin... it goes underground at Place de la Bastille. Above it is Boulevard Richard Lenoir, a paired street (dual carriageway). A linear park is laid out over the canal and between the boulevard's two opposing one-way streets. The park is mostly tree-lined and walled with occasional bridges like this one crossing it Paris
The walled areas are full of various things like children's play equipment or more adult play equipment like this cement ping pong table. Paris
There were occasional light and air wells for the canal passing underneath. Paris
After over a mile underground (and a corner), the canal comes to light again northeast of the Place de la Republique Paris
with another lock Paris
and boat traffic  Paris
It's a three-gate lock, to give shorter boats (or light traffic) faster fill/empty cycles.  Paris
There are tour boats which ply the canal and locks.  Paris
We don't know if he's going to risk eating what he catches or if it is just catch and release.
After a few more wider (and narrower) stretches...  Paris
...the canal broadens out into the Basin de la Villette, almost 4 miles from the Seine. Paris
The park at this point has a nice fountain.
If we had continued along the Bassin and the subsequent canal, in less than a mile we would have reached a junction of two other canals (and the Cite des Sciences et de l'Industrie), and soon after that, Paris' Boulevard Peripherique.
Instead, we turned right (east) and left the water. Six blocks along is the sub-city hall for that (19th) arrondissement Paris
...Which faces on to the Parc des Buttes Chaumont. Yes, that's "hills of Chaumont". Paris
Parts of it were under renovation but it is still worth the trip Paris
An idyllic textured landscape..  Paris
We decend into an area which seem more ordinary (less wealthy) Paris
The graffiti is high class though Paris
next is Parc de Belleville Paris
it too has great views Paris
The pavillon at the top Paris
Has an interesting mosaic Paris
Including the usual here-are-the-names-of-what-you-are-seeing display with a twist. The kids added future items like a spaceport so it won't become obsolete. This was one of Karen's favorite art installations of the entire trip. Paris
Climbing down Belleville's hill Paris
We run into wall art featuring the French revolution's rights of man declaration. Paris
Somewhere along the lower streets, we came across an ancient city well still flowing Paris

And a more modern curb-side gas station - Dick was wondering what the price of gas was and where Parisians bought it. (remember that the prices you are seeing are for a litre (about a quart))

Now travel with us to two "forests" (Boise) on the east and west edges of the city.


Next Stop: Boise Vincennes & Boise Boulogne

The Neighborhood Along the Seine
North Loop South to NE Boise Vincennes & B. Boulogne Versailles
Inside the Larger Museums: Louvre Arts Décoratifs Orsay Guimet (Asian art) Quai Branly

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all text and images copyright Karen and Dick Seymour 2012,
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