Monday, September 8, 2014

The Pantheon

We had seen The Pantheon in Rome and decided to check out the French version.  The Roman version was built in 126 AD while the French version is relatively modern, begun in 1758 and finished in 1790.  I have to admit, I think I like the French version better.  It's quite gorgeous inside and the crypts are very interesting.  Many famous people are buried in its necropolis including Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Emile Zola, Louis Braille and Marie Curie, the only woman interred based on her own merits.  It was a real thrill to see them.

This urn holds the heart of Leon Gambetta, the 45th Prime Minister of France.  We only know the name as a metro stop.

This is an artist's rendering of what the Pantheon looked like in the 18th century.

This is Louis Braille who invented, you guessed it, braille.  The interpretive plaque is in French and braille.

 Inside the first floor, which is enormous.

On November 30, 2002, in an elaborate but solemn procession, six Republican Guards carried the coffin of Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870), the author of The Three Musketeers and other famous novels, to the Pantheon.  Draped in a blue-velvet cloth inscribed with the Musketeers' motto:  "One for all, all for one," the remains had been transported from their original interment site.
We were dying to sit down and have a coffee.  It was about noon so we decided to get lunch and sit for awhile.  We both chose from the "formula" either a starter and a plat or a plat and a dessert.  Guess who chose what?
This is my fabulous raw vegetable salad starter.  Potatoes, carrots, tomato, cucumbers, beets, green beans and mixed greens.  I ate every bite.  I think I'm done with croissants and cheese.

 Chuck chose the pork dish for his plat and loved it.

I chose the mussels for my plat.  So many I only managed about half.  Delicious.

Chuck finished with another chocolate mousse.  I had a taste and it was just as good and deeply, dark chocolate as the other night.

We hadn't really seen the Eiffel Tower up close this trip and decided after our very satisfying lunch and rest to try and hustle over there before our Latin Quarter walking tour was to begin in 90 minutes.  It took a fairly lengthy walk to a metro station and a transfer with yet another lengthy walk.  Unfortunately, we got on the wrong metro, had to jump off at the next station, run to the other side, use another ticket, then wait for 6 minutes for the next, correct train.  By the time we got to the Eiffel, we had about 15 minutes to take it in.  It really is something, close up.  It was fun to watch the elevators, which look like funiculars, and all the tiny people at the top.

We ended up running to do the reverse trip, and as we sat on the final, correct metro, I looked at my watch to see how long it took from station to station.  We had 6 stops to go and it was getting close.  I saw that the train stops for only 15 seconds in each station and it generally takes 60 seconds between stops.  We made it with 6 minutes to spare and a need for a toilette.  I decided to ask in the cafe right as we came up from the station, offering them a Euro.  They were extremely nice, refused the Euro and directed us to their toilettes.
Our tour guide was Chris, the same guy we had for the Marais walking tour.  He is really great, tells wonderful stories and is a wealth of information.  He does tours all over Paris through Paris Walks.  12 Euros for 2 hours.  This is one of the interesting little streets in the Latin Quarter.  The building on the right, painted green and red, dates from the 17th century.
Dinner at Grom, our favorite gelato establishment, discovered in Florence.  These had been worked on a bit before I remembered to take a photo.  Also, I ordered a Moyon Pot and Chuck ordered a Grande Pot.  However, when the woman held up the first pot I said yes, thinking it was the Moyon (medium sized) pot, when it was actually the Grande pot meant for Chuck.  She was so nice, she gave Chuck a Grande too.

Going through one of the metro exits, my purse was caught and I turned to free it.  Unfortunately, by turning, my face was slammed with the door.  I'm lucky my glasses weren't broken.  It was momentarily quite painful and swelled to the point where I could see it out of the corner of my eye.  Within minutes I couldn't even feel it.  All part of the adventure.


No comments: