Saturday, September 28, 2013

September 10- Pantheon, Luxemburg Gardens, and a new tablecloth

Our apartment has a glass top table- which I assume was used because it makes our living room appear larger.  We can no longer live with the constant spots and noise of things as we put them on the table.  So off to the same linen shop where we purchased table cloths and towels when we were here in May.  Al’s good memory enabled us to find it, and the owner remembered us.  A new table cloth. Hooray!


Time for lunch.  Stopped at a place that had a hamburger for Al, and sandwich for me.  My first experience with mayonnaise on fries. Actually, quite tasty.

On to the Pantheon. The Pantheon was started before the Revolution. King Louis XV decided to build the church to honor Saint Genevieve (the patron saint of Paris) in thanks for recovery from an illness. It wasn’t completed until 1791, after the Revolution, and was converted into a nonreligious mausoleum honoring French Champions of Liberty.
 When the French monarchy was resorted in 1814, it was turned back into a church.  When the Second Republic came in 1830, it was turned back into a building to honor secular heroes of France.  When the monarchy was again restored, it was turned back into a church, and finally when the Third Republic came into being in 1870, it was turned into a national monument to heroes of France.  Some of the religious murals, however, are still in the building.  There are some religious items throughout- a fresco of Christ, the life of Saint Genevieve.  
IT IS HUGE.  I’ve included people in some pictures to give an idea of the scale of the building.



 Lots of statues honoring the Revolution.



The tombs are in the crypt (basement). Several national heroes are buried here. 
Rosseau is one. I like the hand reaching out of his tomb with a flame- symbolizing him as a figure of the Enlightenment.

Voltaire faces him from across the hall.  Both important to us, as they were read by our founding fathers.



Victor Hugo of Les Miserables fame.  I took a picture of his photo because I think he looks a bit like Liam Neeson, who play Jean Valjean in a late 90’s movie of the book (I preferred that version to the
last year’s musical).

Other people buried in the crypt.






We were unable to see Foucault’s Pendulum, which he installed in 1851 to demonstrate the rotation of the earth and a statue of Joan of Arc. They were removed/covered for restoration work.
As with many places in Paris, you can see the Eiffel Tower from the from steps.

Next to the Pantheon is the Saint-Étienne-du-Mont.  It contains the shrine of St. Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris. The church also contains the tombs of Blaise Pascal and Jean Racine. Jean-Paul Marat is buried in the church's cemetery.

On to San Francisco Book Store to re-supply me with books.  We also discovered Berkeley Book Store around the corner- both used book stores. Neighboring cities, neighboring stores. SF is a good used book stores- plenty for my needs at 3-4 E.

We stopped at McDonald’s for a coffee, and met a couple who live outside Paris.  They have invited us to visit them this week.
Then down the street to Luxemburg Gardens (Jardin de Luxumberg). Another WOW. Rick Steves describes it as “Paris’ most beautiful, interesting, and enjoyable garden/park/recreation area.” The French Senate meets in the Palace, and France’s version of the CIA is housed in the basement.

Marie de Medici built the the palace in 1615 to recreate her childhood home in Florence, the Pitti Palace. When her son grew to be Louis XIII, he sent his mother packing to Germany. People seem to really use this park.  There is a jogging trail around the edge, sport fields, tennis courts, play areas, and lots of places to sit and read.  The flower gardens are meticulous.  I read that the plants are completely changed 3 times each year.


The Pantheon in the background

Palais Luxembourg.  This is where the French Senate meets.  The French spy bureau is underneath the building and Garden.



On the way to the metro, we passed by the building where Al is taking French classes.

Home to eat dinner on our new tablecloth.



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