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2012-May-13 - France Trip 2012 - Notre Dame, Latin Quarter, Moulin Rouge, Asnieres River (Sunday)
From the quick river tour we took the other day we knew that we wanted to look at Isle de Cite and the Latin quarter.

We bought some all day metro passes at the Asnieres station, headed to Saint Lazare station as usual and then took the metro to Le Chapiteau station.

We walked across one of the bridges onto the island and almost immediately came across Notre Dame.

There were only about 100 people waiting to go in so we joined the back of the queue and were inside within minutes.

A mass was in progress so we were lucky to hear some of the lesson spoken in french, followed by a choir singing.

We slowly shuffled around the periphery along with 300 other people taking in the beautiful stained glass windows, elaborate carvings and statuary.

Upon leaving the cathedral we took a small lunch at a café overlooking the bridge to the second island.

We had chicken omlettes and coffee.

Linda wasn't too keen on hers but I enjoyed mine, along with the ambience - the hurrying waiters, boats traversing the river, pedestrians and sellers on the bridge.

After the snack I was a bit confused about our orientation so I fired up my trusty smart phone and used Google Maps and GPS to work out where we were.(I'm determined to justifying purchasing the data allowance for my phone).

We located the bridge across to the river bank and walked towards the green boxes where the second hand book sellers operate from.

Along the bridge we saw thousands of padlocks that lovers had attached to the steel work proclaiming their perpetual embrace.

Many locks merely had their names written in texta.

Others, evidencing a little more forward planning, had locks that had been engraved and enamelled with their names.

There was even a seller making his living dispensing brand new padlocks to couples.

I'm not sure what happens to the keys - are they merely thrown in the river?

Also most of the visible dates on the locks were 2010/2011 making me wonder if some municipal employee comes along every two years with a bolt cutter to make room for new locks.

Next we walked along several blocks along the river bank looking at the book sellers and the restaurant and tour boats on the river.

By now I was craving my next coffee fix so we crossed the road to a very busy, crowed café in search of a drink.

It turned out that we had to have either a meal or cake before they would serve us a coffee.

I had a lemon tart. I was expecting it be quite sour and I was prepared for this.

However, it seems that in France they are very averse to sour desserts so they add enormous amounts of sugar.

Linda had a cherry tart which seemed much nicer.

We lent a map to an American doctor sitting next to us and started chatting.

Apparently they had a 7 hour layover in Paris on the way to Croatia which gave them 2 hours in Paris (they had just asked their taxi driver to drop them "where it is all happening').

We left the café and proceeded towards a large fountain and the sound of bagpipes and drumming.

It was a touring celtic band looking very wild, windswept and interesting.

We walked on in to the narrow twisting streets of the Latin Quarter.

After the noise and traffic of the main street this area seemed almost serene and contemplative.

We enjoyed looking at the store windows of all the fashionable shops.

Linda really wanted to see the Moulin Rouge theatre so I looked up its location on trusty google maps and after a few changes on the Metro we arrived at the front of the building.

The cheapest price was 95 Eur to view a performance with no meal.

This was too much for our pocket so we merely took some photographs, looked in their foyer and then headed back to our hotel.

After all the bustle of the day it was a pleasant change to just lie back on our beds and watch the one English language channel on french TV before heading down to our usual café for an evening meal.

We soon discovered that most French hotels do not provide a fridge of food preparation areas so apart from any supermarket shopping that we could preserve, it was necessary to eat out each night.

Omlette and Coffee behind Notre Dame

Looking towards the second island

Lovers' locks on the bridge

Notre Dame from the river bank

One of the bridges over the Seine

Moulin Rouge