Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Oct 15, Part 7 - Pont Notre Dame

This is such a quintessential Paris scene - the Seine, a boat, an ornate iron bridge, a Baroque building, and tree-lined boulevards. We've walked out onto the Pont Notre Dame (a bridge) from the Rue de la Cite where we were walking in the last post. We're headed toward the right bank. This is the Pont d'Arcole, and that Baroque building is the Hotel de Ville, aka City Hall.

This is again on the Pont Notre Dame, and the beautiful grillwork of the bridge. The building with the pointed towers is the Concierge, a former palace and prison of Paris built in the 1200s to 1300s. I think it's one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. And the cyclist? Well after all, it's Paris!

Here's one of the lamp/sign posts on the Pont Notre Dame. We're nearly to the Right Bank now.

This is one of my "one the fly" photos showing the same post. We're just at the intersection of the bridge and the quai. The photo is not too scenic, but I love looking back and seeing the context, not just the pretty images. It's so easy to forget all the details.

It's Henry the IV's palace again (the Concierge). I love the two central towers. It's interesting to see how the motorway runs alongside the water below the level of the city streets, which are to the right out of this photo. We're still standing almost on the Pont Notre Dame. The arched bridge you see is the Pont au Change - the bridge of "Money Changers," which is not money lenders, but the folks who would give you "coin of the realm" in exchange for whatever unspendable currency you may have brought with you when you approached the entrance of the city. At one time most, if not all of the city was here on the Ile de la Cite. I think there may have been some settlement of the Left Bank very early, but the Right Bank was built up later.

Here's a closer-up view of the Pont au Change. It is not the Pont Neuf or the Pont Notre Dame despite the bold "N." The letter "N" is in honor of Napoleon III. By the way, that's our first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower in the distance.

This view of the Conciergerie shows the prominent and very famous clock tower on the northeast corner - the Tour de l'Horlogue.

When Paris is overcast, it can be about as gray as anyplace on Earth. Even the boat conspires to create a "study in gray." The twin towers with conical roofs are in the style of Henry IV. You can just see the Gothic windows between the towers. The tower on the right has a crenellated top. These observations make me want to read and write more about it, my one of my goals is to keep moving and finish posting about this trip before too many more months go by!

This carved head or mask is on the Pont Notre Dame, the bridge we crossed from the Island.

Here's another view looking back at that bridge. The bird and flower market is marked by trees.

Looking in the same general direction we can see all the way to the dome of the Pantheon.

We're still wandering around on this corner of the Pont Notre Dame looking west down the Seine again. The broad vista of the river, the beautiful architecture of the buildings and bridges all came together for us, making it one of the more exhilarating moments of the trip so far. I kept taking photos of every new view and angle.

Here's Lee, happy to be in Paris. In the distance right by the Eiffel Tower you can see the dome of the Institut de France.

I'm happy to be in Paris, too, although I can't say I like this photo very much. I need some sleep. Despite that, I'm ecstatic to be once again at the heart of the world. Don't get me wrong, there are many, many, many other wonderful places that I love, and among them just about anyplace in nature. But, there is something about these islands and this city that has the power to make me feel about as alive and curious as I have ever felt.

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