so here are some of the photos from the neighborhood once we stepped away from the tourist areas- and as you can see - the area is very hilly- not what one usually thinks of for Paris-
we stopped for lunch and then headed off to Notre Dame and the Ile de la Cite-
the cathedral is celebrating its 850 anniversary and so they have built a horrible semi-permanent set of bleachers across from the entrance where there used to be a nice park- one can only assume for some awful touristy sound and light show- somehow crass commercialism and an 850 year old cathedral don't belong together IMHO-
which actually brings us to a good point to discuss the issue of the deterioration of Paris- just like American cities it is clear that Paris is suffering from a lack of funding for infrastructure projects- broken and uneven sidewalks were never the norm in the city center but now exist with alarming regularity. things are dirtier and less well maintained than they have been at any time in the last 15 years or more-
so while I am a huge believer in "GO NOW" this time I might say wait until the economy of the EU picks up a little and they can get back to the well maintained Paris of prior decades. Memo to City Officials- in 2008 you were vying for the Olympics that London won the "right" to hold- and things looked marvelous- so let's use that as our benchmark!
back to Notre Dame- as I mentioned about the funicular to Sacre Coeur- a line - a line - a line (which we never saw in March- hint, hint!)
no those are not the same window - they are on opposite side of the church- LOL
after exiting we headed to the river to find a bus that would take us close to the d'Orsay and home to the hotel-
such a beautiful day- everyone wanted to be outside!
later that evening we stayed close to the hotel for dinner and ate right around the corner at a charming place (we sat outdoors) where the service was excellent - alas the food was nothing special- but they couldn't have been nicer-
next up - a day of museums- for which everyone in their right mind buys a museum pass and skips the incredible lines to get tickets at the entrances!