Flowers, motorcycles and bakeries seemed to be the essence of Paris.
I always thought of the Louvre as a museum, but that hardly seems like an adequate label. It's more like a fortress and I couldn't figure out any way to get a picture that included it all.
So we did a quick walk through the Italian Art on our way to see the Mona Lisa (which seemed obligatory).
By the way- the painting is by Fra Angelico (Guido de Pietro) and it was done between 1450 and 1455.
We worked our way through the Italian Renaissance galleries, which were not only full of amazing paintings, but the building itself is art.
We left the Musee to find a place for lunch and found a really crowded but cozy cafe and ate our little hearts out. Gordon and Julie decided to go back to the Louvre to see more, and Richard and I wanted to see Notre Dame.
Just like the Eiffel Tower, the cathedral was bigger than I could have imagined it. Unfortunately we were there too late in the afternoon to go up into the bell towers, they were already closed. But I walked through through the main level. I have a friend from Slovenia who is planning a pilgrimage for next summer with her mother. She asked me if Mormons do pilgrimages and I wasn't sure how to answer. In my own life I have traveled with my family to visit places of historical significance in our church, and I have felt the sacred nature of those places. I suppose that's about the closest I've come to a pilgrimage, aside from periodic visits to LDS temples, where I can worship and feel close to God.
But it was really neat for me to watch the people enter the Cathedral and see the reverence in their faces. It was quiet in there, and it was clear that some people were feeling close to God and solemnity for the sanctity of the place. This moved me as well. I promise I'm not pregnant but man was I having an emotional day!
I didn't take any (except one) pictures inside the cathedral because there was just no way to do it justice and I wanted to just be still and respectful. There were stained glass windows everywhere, beautiful sculptures and statues and so many candles. It was gorgeous. Magnificent. Peaceful.
I have to say that I was so proud of the kids, and grateful. It was such a long day and we did so much walking. They were pleasant and cooperative and I think they even enjoyed/appreciated it all.