A Strange Law!
One strange thing I learned about the city and why many of the streets had buildings that were setback in different widths is due to the fact that in 1823 the city decided that it was time to pave the streets, they were behind London by about 50 years. When they began paving the streets they passed a law that no one could refurbish the front of their buildings. The reasoning behind this was the belief that after a while the buildings would deteriorate and fall apart. Then the streets could be widened! Of course this didn't happen, the front of the buildings fell apart making the city look even worse. Only after Napoleon decided to redo Paris and widen the avenues, did it resemble the city we know today.
Here I am in Paris doing the usual things. A boat ride on the Seine which is really a treat, around Notre Dame and back to the newer section of Paris and a walk on the Left Bank!
The second day in Paris we spent the morning touring the Louvre. We were lucky as there were hardly any people in the room with the Mona Lisa. We stood in front of it, about eight feet away and no one bothered us.
The guide said she wasn't sure why people thought it was such a great painting but as soon as she said it she knew she shouldn't have. We were mesmerized, just kept staring at it! It seemed that her eyes follow you around where ever you walked!
We also went to the Follies Bergere but after seeing the shows in Las Vegas and Reno they were a lot smaller. Of course at the table next to us were a group from Ohio and they were scandalized, both by the show and the fact that everyone at our table didn't watch the show half of the time because it was too tame for us.
I met two woman on the trip, they were in their 70's and full of life, live in Humboldt County and we decided to go to lunch somewhere very French. We were trying to decide where to go when the men said, "Lets go to a McDonald and have a hamburger." Sure we will, they and their wives went down the street and we found an outdoor restaurant, inside was a glass covered ceiling like a Tiffany lamp. We sat outside on the terrace and had a very handsome and snooty waiter which of course didn't bother us as we get that all of the time in the City. A waiter - and they act like their job of delivering food is the greatest thing on earth. We cracked up, decided to have crepe suzettes, wine, then tea. The crepes were made on a wheeled cart with a burner on it and they wheeled it right up to us. Another waiter made the crepes and the filler and was very pleasant. We kept saying "Merci beaucoup" and "Tres bon!" which made him feel good. Fresh fruit was ladled on top and we sat there feeling very grand, eating crepes, wine, and fresh French bread. As we were taking our time, the group that went to for hamburgers came back and did a double take when they saw us. They laughed and said, "Who do we know in Paris?" They all wish they had stuck with us instead of having hamburgers. They said the hamburgers weren't too good and of course I had to tell them that a lot of the hamburger sold in France was made from horses too old to work any more. This went over big and when they asked the guide and she of course agreed with me!
Green Bean Incident!
We had other experiences with food as we traveled around France. The funniest was in the Loire River Valley. We went into a restaurant and the food was terrible. This in France. Everything was tough. The only things decent were the string beans, green. We were pissed, not only was the food bad but when they got to our table they said they hadn't made enough food for everyone so our group would have to cut everything into 18 pieces and share. We were all mad but I really throw a fit. Get us food or else and we all started to pound the table! The maitre di and the waitress cursed us but came out of the kitchen with several big serving trays and when the covers were taken off, they were filled high with green beans. We screamed and laughed and we all ate plates full of baby green beans. Now the staff wasn't sure if they should keep being mad or laugh. We didn't care. The last day of the trip we had a going away dinner and everyone kept suspiciously quiet. The lights were dimmed and a waiter came out with a big silver dish and in the middle was a can of green beans. Everyone laughed and said it was a present to me for at least getting us something eat! I kept that can of baby green beans on a shelf in my bed room as a reminder of the trip. About four years later I came into the bedroom one day and noticed my cat Jennifer was looking at the can because it was tilted slightly and looked like it was going to explode! I guess it had started to ferment so I thought the best thing to do was to throw it out before I experienced an explosion of baby green beans all over my bedroom, revenge of the French!
In May of 1804 Napoleon crowned himself emperor here. Full scale restoration started in 1850, it was decided then to tear down the warren of little buildings in front of the cathedral, creating the du Paris.
The first level of the facade is the Portal of the Virgin, Portal of the Last Judgment and Portal of Anne. Above the gallery is the famous Rose Window and above that the base of the twin bell towers. There are 387 steps to the top of the towers and allows a close up of the famous gargoyles and the expansive view of the city.
The interior is supported by 12th century columns supporting the twin towers. Louis the XIII vowed to decorate the church if the queen had a son. After 23 years they had a son and he dedicated the entire country to the Virgin Mary.
Under the square in front of the cathedral is
the Crypte Archeologique museum. It contains the remains of previous churches on
the site, models of the district through the ages and artifacts from 2000 years
ago. Across the street is the Musee Notre-Dame with paintings, engravings,
medallions and other documents and objects charting the history of Notre-Dame.
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