Last day & on the way home.

Trip Start Aug 18, 2009
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Trip End Aug 29, 2009


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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Saturday, August 29, 2009

My last day in the City of Lights was filled with spectacular colors and views.

We once again ventured out en masse, and began at Notre Dame Cathedral. The light, filtered through stained-glass windows and emitted by candles, along with the consequent shadows, were in many ways illuminating. The cathedral's construction dates from the 12th century, an undeniably more brutal and gruesome time. Thus, many of the representations still maintained both outside and within the cathedral are disturbing to modern eyes.

Afterward we discovered an hour-long cue at Sainte-Chapelle. Rather than wait, we instead walked about a kilometer to Palais Garnier (aka, the Paris Opera House) for a self-guided tour. The gilding on its roof embellishments appeared recently updated, but their glow only hinted at the ornate settings within. It was easy to see how Gaston Leroux could write a story where this grand building acts as a primary character.

After lunch we walked to the Place de la Concorde, toured the Orangerie (where impressionist art is liberally displayed), and from there trekked to the Louvre's entrance. (I'm leaving the Louvre's interior until my next trip to Paris.) We caught a bus back to the hotel, and dined on cuisine of Southwestern France. After dinner we went atop the 59-story-high Montparnasse Tower to watch the light show put on for 10 minutes every hour on the frame of the Eiffel Tower.

Tomorrow I leave for Boston, while almost everyone else flies back on Sunday. Toby will play the caboose role this time, and thus return to New England on Monday. I'll offer other reflections over the next few days, but tomorrow, I'll be largely incommunicado while en route.
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