A Walk in Paris Part 2 – from Marais to Notre Dame

After a good night sleep I woke up to the sound of delivery van outside the hostel. It was chilly for a summer morning. I peeped through the window and it was drizzling. The hostel did not have a guest kitchen but we were prepared and brought along a traveler kettle. We had breakfast in the room and packed some sandwiches for the sightseeing.

We started walking along rue Vieille du Temple towards rue Rambuteau when the drizzle stopped around 8.00 am. Unlike the day before, there seem to be more cars and cyclists on the road. The Parisians also seem to have taken skating out of the parks and into the streets. It was quite an unusual sight to see them hanging to cars for a free ride. Later we found out that the public transport is not available due to ongoing worker’s strike and the Parisians being adaptive to the event had taken out their cars, bicycles and rollerblade as alternative transport.

At rue Rambuteau we took a right turn towards rue de Renaud until we reached Centre Pompidou. The building has radically altered the quatier of Beaubourg. It is made entirely of glass and surrounded by white steel grid. Its services and structure have been exposed externally and painted in primary colors. The centre houses the Musee National d’Art Moderne on the 3rd and 4th floor including works by Picasso, Braque and Matisse. From the top you could see Paris cityscape with Eiffel Tower and Sacre Coeur in the distance. There is an entrance fee charged to visit the museum. 

Outside of Centre Pompidou, there were many “wanna be” artisan who claimed that they can draw a potrait of you at a price of course. My travel buddy had her potrait drawn but it turned out a caricature that doesn’t look like her at all. The artist asked €40 for the caricature but we said we are not paying anything for that. Eventually my friend paid €10 but I think she threw it away.

 From the Centre Pompidou we head down towards the Seine. We reached Place de Greve. The square is dominated by the Hotel de Ville, the City Hall which houses the offices of the city’s mayor and is the headquarters of the municipal administration. On the river bank, a few bridges cross the Seine and the view is picture perfect. Crossing Pont Neuf (New Bridge) is Ile de la Cite a small island on the Seine and said to be the heart of Paris. We walked along the river bank until we reached Notre Dame de Paris, also widely known as the Notre Dame Cathedral. The Cathedral is widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. Many small statues were placed around the outside. Among these are the famous gargoyles. The cathedral’s arched exterior supports (flying buttress) really dominates if you looked at it from the river side. Inside the cathedral, the stained glass and the rose windows looks really spectacular.

This is where we took a break and had our sandwiches.

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