On previous visits to Paris, we had been on at least two bus tours that traveled past the Rodin Museum where we were teased with a fleeting view – over a garden wall – of the back of Rodin’s famous sculpture The Thinker. This trip, we made a point of making it to the inside of the museum to look him in the eye.
The museum is two miles away from our hotel, but in the finest tradition of the flaneurs of Paris, we decided to walk instead of taking the Metro. We started out from our hotel on Île Saint-Louis and cut across the square in front of Notre-Dame on Île de la Cité. One of the hidden gems found at the far end of the Notre-Dame square is the Crypte archéologique de l’Île de la Cité – a City of Paris museum that holds archeological remains discovered in the 1960’s and 1970’s while excavating for a parking garage by the cathedral. The artifacts range through centuries of Parisian history, back to its Gallo-Roman origins. Here are just two pictures from the museum:
We could have spent much more time at this museum, but I had my usual too-long list of destinations, so we pressed on. Crossing over the Seine on the Petit Pont, we made a point of going down what’s advertised as the narrowest street in Paris:
Continuing on, we happened upon a variety of Left Bank sights:
The Rodin museum is housed in a beautiful hôtel particulier, located across from the Army Museum that houses Napoleon’s tomb. Inside is an array of sculptures:
The outside of the museum is gorgeous, with dozens of sculptures placed around the grounds, including an instance of the Gates of Hell, a complex sculpture that Rodin worked on for 37 years. A plaster version of that work can also be found in the nearby Musée d’Orsay. Other versions can be found in Zurich, Tokyo, Philadelphia, and at Stanford University.
Oh, yeah. It also has The Thinker. As you can see..
We didn’t spend all our time in Paris in museums. After a nice big lunch, we took the Metro to Place d’Italie in the 13th arrondissement to visit a special shopping destination. We filled an order from a friend at home for some of the special hand-dyed yarn from La Bien Aimée Boutique. You can be sure that the friend wasn’t the only person to end up with new yarn.
After the yarn shopping, we made our way back “home” to Île Saint-Louis where we indulged in sorbet at La Maison Berthillon, the mecca of Parisian frozen desserts. I picked scoops of blackberry/cassis and pistachio. Now we know why everyone makes a point of traveling there. It was so good, even on a cool mid-November day.
Our time in Paris was nearing an end. We had just one more night in the city before taking a train to Provence. More about that in our next post.
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