Two Heineken and three aspirin later and I'm beginning to feel human again after hoofing the hills and cobbled streets of Montmartre and Sacre Coeur, and then bussing back to the Latin Quarter and visiting what must be the most beautiful public space anywhere, The Jardin de Luxembourg. And, because we just don't know when to quit, we threw in a visit to the Pantheon, too.
Have I said that I love Paris, yet? We are staying in the Latin Quarter this year, and it is boisterous and active, and colorful. The streets are lined with sidewalk cafe after sidewalk cafe with cuisine from all over the world tucked into every nook and cranny.
But, Paris is also the Montmartre. And, here it has the feel yet of the small village that it once was before it was swallowed up by the continually expanding Paris. And, of course, Sacre Coeur majestically sits at the peak of Butte de Montmartre with all of Paris spread at its feet.
Paris isn't all sweetness and light however, as we experienced today. The famous Moulin Rouge is in the Pigalle district of Montmartre and we decided to walk to it and see it for ourselves. Pigalle is historically the red light district of Paris and the boulevard we walked to get to the Moulin Rouge was lined on both sides with sex shops. Kind of tawdry.
Fortunately, the day ended with the beauty and grandeur of Le Jardin de Luxembourg. A crowded, and, yet tranquil, oasis several blocks from our hectic Latin Quarter area.
After 7 hours on our feet, we didn't for a minute think that it would be a good idea to sit at a cafe and rest a bit, oh no. Marching down the many blocks to the Pantheon we went. As we approached, we saw there was, because of the Bastille Day celebration, a military display in the plaza in front. As is the case in most national celebration, a shiny brass band was playing national songs.
We tore ourselves away from the music when we noticed that there was no line waiting to enter the Pantheon. Once again, we were fortunate to have a monument to ourselves.
There was a staircase at the end of the exhibit, a spiral staircase descending into the crypt, and since Arnie just loves going down small twisting staircases, down we went to the tombs. There in the alcoves were such French notables as Victor Hugo, Voltaire and Marie Curie.
As we get closer to our return, it seems that our appreciation of Paris continues to grow. We find ourselves wishing that we could remain here.
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