Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Place Saint-Michel, the Sorbonne, and the Sainte-Geneviève Library to Luxembourg Gardens

We walk along the left bank of the Seine from the Petit Palais to Place Saint-Michel, the large public square on the left bank, passing the Tuileries and the Louvre on the other side of the river.

 Boats moored on the Seine, Grand Palais across the river

 Roue de Paris in Place de la Concorde, wing of the Louvre

In Place Saint-Michel, we head down Rue de la Huchette, lined with restaurants, to the end where we pick a Greek restaurant for a lunch of lamb and frites gyros in pita bread.  The lamb is carved off a rotisserie in the front of the shop and matches well with the frites and pita.

 Lamb and frites gyro

From Place Saint-Michel, it's only a few blocks to the Sorbonne, the famous University of Paris, where we wander through the campus looking at the striking buildings.

 Buildings of the Sorbonne

Next to the Sorbonne is the Panthéon, originally conceived by King Louis XV in 1744 as a building dedicated to Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris, but now serving as a mausoleum containing the remains of distinguished French citizens, including Voltaire, Rosseau, Victor Hugo, Marie Curie, and Alexander Dumas.


Across the street from the Panthéon is the Sainte-Geneviève Library, Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, a public and university library with over two million documents, started with the collection of the Abbey of Sainte-Geneviève dating from the 12th and 13th century.  We ask for guest access and are escorted inside to see the main reading room, with it's beautiful architecture and ceiling.  Only three percent of the library's books are available in the reading room.

 Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève

On the way out, we visit the library's "Cabinet of Wonders," a small collection of random interesting artifacts. 

 Cabinet of Wonders

Walking around the Panthéon, Rue Soufflot leads to the Luxembourg Gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg) which is busy on this crisp, beautiful day.  The gardens are owned by the French Senate, which meets in the Palais du Luxembourg on the edge of the park.  People are sailing boats in the fountain, riding ponies, playing in the playgrounds (younger people) and playing boules (older people).

 Luxembourg Gardens, people at play, French Senate

Walking back from the Luxembourg Gardens, we pass the Saint-Suplice Church and stop in for a look.  It's beautiful inside and we pause to take it all in.

 Eglise Saint-Suplice

From the church it's a short walk to the Seine, where we continue along the bank and view the ships moored at the Port Champs-Élysées.

 Back along the Seine, ships moored

It's been a long walk and we've covered a lot of Paris!  There are always great sites and this city and we never tire of just wandering.

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