A new angle, as we cross the Seine on the Pont au Change.
This brings us to the intersection of the bridge and the Quai de l'Horlogue behind us with the towers. Ahead, we're looking back toward the Hotel de Ville, where we were this morning. Directly behind us is something that - as big as it is - is easy to miss in the bustle and excitement of the street.
It's the Tour de l'Horlogue - the ancient clock tower. Built in 1370, it was the first public clock in Paris. During the Revolution (1793) its silver bell was melted down. I've never been on a tour of it (which is just one of about a million reasons to go back to Paris), but the 4th floor contains the room of the royal clockmaker. It's said that Charles V liked to visit in order to get away from the pressures of state and watch the clockmaker at work. Here he also had a nice view of passers-by in the streets below.
And here's the well-preserved old clock. I love the light blue Medieval pattern behind the ornate images. You can just see the underside of the arched roof. The whole clock is full of nice details.
Moving on down the Blvd du Palais. The tall Gothic church sticking up behind the office buildings is Ste-Chapelle, which we didn't visit this trip. It's amazing, but . . . again, I will have to come back. I found a great photo on Google Earth taken from across the street that puts these buildings and gates into perspective. And the lighting is very dramatic. (Kudos to the photographer.) I don't know whose hand that is, but it seems we had a similar idea.
Here's a close-up of the ornate gates. I think the first time I came to Paris, they weren't pained gold, but one year a lot of gold paint was used to brighten the city for a centennial or something, and it's been kept up. It's a little gaudy, but I actually like it.
Looking back the way we came.
Now we've walked past the palace completely and are crossing the bridge to the Place St-Michel. This building, on the island, is the Prefecture de Police. You can see it on another day from about the middle to the bottom of this post. I think it looks nice in this light. It's part of the whole justice complex that was originally a royal palace.