I spotted the Eiffel tower against an early morning sky as the shuttle bus drove me into the city at 7 am.
In the distance the grey-white Byzantine dome of the basilica of Sacre-Coeur could be seen where that same afternoon I would stand once more in awe of the mosaic ceiling depicting a triumphant risen Christ surrounded by apostles, saints, clergymen, popes and the nations in postures of adoration. I love the mosaic of St Peter holding his keys and accompanied by a cockerel to remind him of his human frailty. And I am so pleased the artists, Marcel Magne and Luc-Olivier Merson, included a handsome dog among the heavenly crowd of worshippers!
I roused some sleepy pigeons at the Opera House on my early morning exploration.
The foyer at the Opera House and the giant chandelier with the ceiling of the auditorium painted by Marc Chagall. His modern art coexists happily with the baroque splendour. Of course, each time I turned, I glimpsed the Phantom lurking just behind my shoulder...
A little shopping...this is not a monument - just the interior of La Fayette's department store.
But for the real thing, I chose the Place Vendome where the big names like Chanel and Cartier jostled for my attention.
A chocolatier for something sweet...
or a necklace or two to tuck into my travel bag...
On Sunday I attended St Michael's Evangelical Anglican church where I was welcomed with great warmth. Thank you, Isobel!
After church I strolled up the Champs Elysees.
At the Louvre I saw the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. But I still think my all time favourite art musem is the Musee d' Orsay housed in the old railway station on the Left Bank. I viewed the work of Renoir, Degas, van Gogh, Millet, Cezanne, Manet and Monet, to name a view.
Bridges over the Seine...
...and artists on its banks.
The grim conciergerie where Marie Antionette spent her last days. One of the towers, the Bonbec tower, was a place of torture and in the Courtyard of the Twelve those condemned to death in 1793-4 were assembled in groups of twelve before taking their last ride to Madame Guillotine.
I had a three course Sunday lunch at a tiny sidewalk cafe on the Left Bank in sight of Notre Dame. The simple meal was served with such elegance and care over a period of two and a half hours. No rushing a Frenchman at his food! When presented with a choice of five desserts, I selected the creme caramel. "Aah," the waiter sighed, "A good choice, madame!"
And so it was.
And so it was.