Alors, so my first weekend back in Paris and rather than having a ‘wild one’ it’s been a more civilised welcome back. Lydia and I watched Paris je t’aime on the first evening. Quite a strange film with lots of short stories, some good some not so good. But it made me think about how wonderful Paris is as well as look forward to doing some more exploring!
On Saturday we took the opportunity to go to Saint Chapelle and the Concierge which are inside the Palais de Justice on Ile de la Cité. Saint Chapelle was breathtakingly beautiful. It was built in the 13th century to house relics, including the Christ's crown of thorns. It is a room surrounded by stained glass windows up to 15m high telling the story of the Bible. I wasn’t expecting it, and to walk in to the room and be confronted by this glow of colour was spectacular. It’s meant to be especially spectacular when it’s really sunny. For anyone with a penchant for stained glass windows it’s a must-see. Just up from the Chapelle is La Concierge which used to be a prison. During the French Revolution hundreds of prisoners were sent here before being executed, including Marie Antoinette. After that we just ambled around the Ile’s, enjoying being back in Paris, and seeing the hundreds of creperies there are everywhere. Seriously every other shop is a creperie.
Today I spent toute seul and I went to the Musée Rodin which I’ve been meaning to go to for ages as I’ve been told how beautiful it is. And it is. It’s in a beautiful 18th century mansion with a charming garden where you can sit amongst The Thinker and The Gates of Hell. I actually found it better here to be alone as I could see the museum at my own pace, admiring all the sculptures. I even ate my lunch alone, which I think is the first time I’ve ever eaten out alone. But in France it’s very acceptable to do such a thing, it gives you an air of independence. Maybe I’m finally growing up.
After Musée Rodin I took a stroll around Hotel des Invalides which was built as a home for wounded soldiers in the seventeenth century. It’s an impressive building, especially on a beautiful day, like it was. It’s home to the National War Museum and probably most importantly, Napolean’s tomb. Which is huge. It’s underneath the big golden dome in a crypt surrounded by big tableaux and quotations of his. It’s very impressive. Plus all of this is free for EU citizens under 26. So if you want to go to Paris, now’s the time to do it folks, nearly every museum/gallery I’ve been to is free. All these wonderful attractions you can go to again and again and again (I think Musée Rodin might become another Musée D’Orsay for me in this respect).