Friday, May 27, 2016

Quasimodo's Place and an Imperial Tomb

Having been past it but not gone in yesterday, today was the day I went into (and up on top of) Notre Dame de Paris. I had to line up for a *long* time. But it was worth it; it's fascinating and the views (as you'll soon see) are amazing.

I took a few pictures along the way there.

And then I got there. To line up. For a looooooong time.

Eventually, though, I got to go inside.

And up one of the towers.


At some point we went up even higher. I can't remember where that began, though.

After seeing the outside I went to see the inside.

I also went into the separate (i.e. costs extra) 'Treasury' exhibit. Some...interesting stuff in there.

This is AN ACTUAL BONE. You creepy bastards.

Huh. That thing in the middle looks like it has eyes and a face. It doesn't in real life.

I think this is considered to be a piece from the actual cross of Jesus. The plaque - in the next pic down - describes it as the cross of Saint Claude so I'm a bit confused; however, further research tells me that Saint Claude wasn't crucified, so it's not *his* cross in that sense, so perhaps they really think it was the actual cross?

Not an accidental inclusion. There was a big tent across from Notre Dame; it was La Fête du Pain – "The Bread Festival"; they had ovens in there and you could watch the whole breadmaking process from start to finish.

Given France's demonstrated obsession with bread and their gradual increase in non-believers, it's entirely possible there were more people in there having a religious experience than there were in Notre Dame...

Anyway, more of the church. I had to go the whole way around to do it justice. It helped that it was a beautiful day.

Next destination was Le Musee de l'Armee - the museum of military history. It, too was amazing. And so damn big I didn't get through all of it. And I got more than a little annoyed I couldn't find the enigma machine they said they had; I've read a few books about WWII cryptography, and since I failed to get to Bletchley Park last time I was in the UK, I thought I'd been given a chance to see one.

But first up some pictures I took along the way.

As a big fan of both The Silence of the Lambs and the Hannibal tv series, I got a kick out of this sign - for those unaware, Benjamin Raspail is a character in the former, which the makers of the latter couldn't get the rights to (lawyers, I guess). So, when they wanted to include a scene in the tv series, they renamed him Franklin Froidevaux, which is a twofold Paris geography joke - the two given names together is Benjamin Franklin, who has a street named after him  on the other side of the Seine from the Eiffel Tower; and Froidevaux is another street - it nearly intersects with Boulevard Raspail near the Montparnasse cemetery.

Had I more time I'd have wandered down to get a photo of Rue Froidevaux, but I was behind as it was.

Now we're inside the army museum. I picked up an audio guide and went wandering.

There are monuments here to important French military leaders.

At some point around here my audio guide stopped working. But it was a long way back to the entrance, and I didn't have the much time, so I put that off until I was closer. As a result, I don't have a lot of information about what's in here.

Napoleon's sarcophagus. As in, that's where his remains are.

A memorial of Napoleon II, the son of the really famous Napoleon. He didn't do a great deal.

It's not showing up so well in the picture, but that stained glass is blue - something I don't think I've seen before. I liked the effect.

There are several other sections to the museum, as well as some random things about the place.

This is inside the Two World Wars section.

This man has an interesting beard.

Pointy German helmets.

You probably can't see it in the picture, but on the flag right in the centre of the display is a the picture of a chameleon - France had a camouflage unit, and the chameleon was its symbol.

They also have an extensive collection of medieval (and after) armour and weapons.

A hunting horn from the 12th Century (I think; I should have written it down):

Statue of Napoleon.

Got a bit freaked out when on the way out I saw a rabbit. Then a few more. I was not expecting that.

More parklife - on the way back to the apartment I walked through the Tuileries Garden and found a patch of grass covered with crows. So, I sat down and read for a while.

Another fat Paris pigeon.

Oh, and once it finally got dark I went for a walk. Sadly, it was cloudy so the sky was still kind of grey - and then it started raining. I picked a bad time to see the lights part of the City of Lights...

The Eiffel Tower lights up at night, and there's a sweeping spotlight on top of it. I wish I'd bothered to get closer.

This is an arc that's near the Louvre. It has a name, but I'm in a hurry.

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