Glimpses of Medieval Paris


One of the three famous rose windows in Notre Dame cathedral. This one dates from the year 1250.

It was a sunny day today so I walked around the oldest part of Paris. Originally the city was located on an island in the middle of the river Seine where the Notre Dame cathedral stands. I began the day exploring the area north of the river and north of the Louvre.

I went to the “garden” of a palace built in the 1630s. It’s known as the Palais Royal. I put the word garden in quotation marks because formal French gardens are nothing like what we would call a garden. Often, as in this case, there’s no grass, just sand, and long rows of trees that are kept rigidly pruned. This garden is surrounded by buildings with an arcade of columns dating from the mid-1600s. Today very expensive shops are in those buildings on the ground floor. Here are a few shots of what I saw.


A view of the garden at the Palais Royal in the center of Paris.


Among the shops I saw, this one belonging to designer Stella McCartney (Paul’s daughter). Stella’s spring window made me think that a woman needs to be young, tall, thin, and rich to shop here — bad taste might come in handy too!


Another shop I saw today featured flying pigs. I like them!

I walked across the courtyard of the Louvre and down to Ile de la Cité, the island where Notre Dame is located.


For the first time I was able to sneak a photo of the armed guards I’ve been writing about. Here are three of a group of five standing together outside the Louvre.

There’s a flower market there. The headquarters of the French police and court system are there too, as well as a lovely small church called Sainte Chapelle.


The steeple on the left is above Sainte Chapelle, built before the year 1248. It is two stories tall and the walls are almost entirely stained glass. It was built for the king of France to hold a fragment of the True Cross of Jesus.


A bit more up-to-date: pansies for spring offered in the flower market near Notre Dame.

It’s quite a large island and has parks at either end as well as an ancient hospital and several blocks of houses. And of course a giant cathedral and thousands of tourists!


Begun in the year 1163 and consecrated in 1345, Notre Dame de Paris is one of most famous churches in the world.


A view of the main altar.


Another of the many gothic stained glass windows that line the walls of the cathedral.

On the other side of the river I wandered into some of the streets which have never been modernized. This is the way all of Paris was until the late 1800s (although not so well painted). Again, pictures tell the story better than I can.


Two small narrow houses that have somehow survived for centuries and are among the best-loved buildings of Paris now.


Located just across the river from Notre Dame, and surrounded by lovely gardens, this small church was built in the 13th century on the site of one from the 8th century.

I’m tired tonight. In the past week I’ve walked about 36 miles! Incredible, even to me and I”m the one who did it! I may not be any skinnier but I’ll bet I’m shorter!

This is the end of my tour of Paris. Tomorrow I’m taking a train to Antwerp, Belgium where I’ll be for the next two weeks. Probably I won’t write on the blog tomorrow but if I do I’ll email you.

New things to discover and new things to “show and tell” coming soon!


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