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September 16, 2022

The Latin Quarter in Paris

Today was a day to eat well-appreciated French cuisine. The escargot (very large snails) was really quite good. Randy and I tried it two ways—in a cream sauce and in olive oil pesto. Both were good. You dig the snail out of the shell with a small two pronged fork, swirl it in the sauce and put it on a small piece of French baguette. And wallah! We went to the patisserie for some goodies. I picked out the one that was attracting bees. I thought if the bees liked it, I would also. After I picked it out, the clerk said, “You picked the best one—it was recently named the fourth best pastry in Paris!” It was a bite of heaven—crusty shell encased in powdered sugar with a soft almond paste and lemon dough interior. We could not leave Paris without a crepe, so we purchased one with lemon butter and sugar. We decided we had enough snacks for one day.  

Enjoying the Latin Quarter of Paris

The entire day was relaxing, educational and fun. We lollygagged in the Latin Quarter (left bank) the whole day. The area has the design of the old Paris, with narrow cobblestoned side streets and alleyways, small shops and eateries. It is home to the Sorbonne, the world class university. The area gets its name, Latin Quarter, because the students at the Sorbonne spoke Latin for their classes. We walked through it, as our intent was to visit the nearby French National Memorial to great French thinkers, writers and artists of the past. It was designed after the ancient Pantheon in Rome. We appreciated our time in this hushed atmosphere looking at their burial tombs. Of great interest is the Foucault Pendulum (the original was damaged in an accident and replaced with this copy) suspended from the dome of the Pantheon. It mimics the rotation of the earth. 

We also visited the Musée de Cluny, the premier medieval museum. So very well organized, it was a delight to see the development of art and culture throughout that age with magnificent artifacts from that time period. The French Revolution as well as time had brought about the destruction of much of the Parisian past and this museum became the gathering spot for the remains that have been discovered. Several painted wood altar pieces with intricate carvings depicting the life of Christ were of special note. However, the crowning work of art, the “Lady and the Unicorn” tapestry series, was a highlight. Five of the series depict the five senses, while the last one is a mystery with the wording, “My only desire.” Beautiful hand work! 

Musee De Cluny in Paris
The Lady and the Unicorn Tapestry in Musee de Cluny

One of the amazing coincidences of the day was that the Paluch’s and Krahn’s went their own way for the day while the Standly’s and us went ours, and all of the sudden, while we were taking an afternoon break in an outdoor café, we saw them walking by. Paris is quite large and yet, we ran into each other. We leave tomorrow for Switzerland and we can honestly say it was a grand time in Paris.   

Friends in Paris, L to R: Wayne & Kathy Graumann, Marty & Karen Paluch, Allen & Rhonda Krahn, Randy & Melisa Standly