Michael got in another run this morning, and after breakfast we headed out to explore Paris.
We started with a relatively modest church next to the Panthéon in the Latin Quarter, Eglise St. Etienne du Mont. I had never heard of it but my friend Alexis said it was his favorite church in Paris so I wanted to have a look. Michael and I really fell for this church. It is gorgeously decorated and grand but not grandiose in size.
We then went into the Panthéon, and were pleased to be able to join a group going up to the dome, which has a terrific view.
The Panthéon is quite an interesting and complex building. It was constructed by Louis XVI as a church in honor of the Vth century Sainte Geneviève, patron saint of Paris. But after the French Revolution in 1789 it was converted to a republican monument to honor the great people who contributed to French history. Paintings commemorate historical figures such as Clovis, Joan of Arc, Charlemagne and of course Sainte Geneviève. In the crypt below are buried notables who declined a religious burial, such as Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Emil Zola and (within the past few years) Alexander Dumas.
We then took the Métro over to the Canal Saint-Martin and walked along the canal (which I had traversed by boat a few weeks ago). We didn’t see a boat going through the locks but it was still interesting to get a good look at the mechanism, and to stop in the occasional shop along the quai.
Michael took a look at the modern art collection of the Pompidou Center with his friend Daniel while I caught up with my blog and took a little nap. Then we caught up with Daniel and his boyfriend Ric for a drink, dinner, another drink, etc. I think Michael enjoyed our meal at Le Gai Moulin, although he was a bit taken aback when one of us mentioned that he was the only straight guy in the restaurant. (“Even the waiters?” he asked, and we nodded.)