The Discovery Walking Tour was the second guided tour I booked. I had read good things about it, and it ended up being very nice! We learned a lot of interesting little facts about Paris, and the original city of Paris along the way. I didn’t take many pictures during the walk, as you really needed the stories that went along with the pictures. And I didn’t set out for this blog to be a book! 🙂 So I will share the pictures I did take.
Luckily the weather we had was great! Mornings were brisk, and afternoons were almost t-shirt weather! Not rainy luckily. Our Discovery Walking Tour was to start at 10am, and we had to catch a train to the right part of town. So we all got up early, ate some breakfast and headed out. We got to our meeting place early and there was a little playground there, so the girls played a bit while we waited for our guide (Emily again) to arrive.
Our meeting place was a square in the middle of town. It turns out that it was Louis XIII’s square. It had been given to him as a wedding present from his father. The square was massive for its size being in the middle of a city. And the entire square is surrounded by buildings, which were homes of the royal family. The fall colors of the leaves made this area even prettier!
Of course Louis XIII’s statue is in the front part of the square.
The King had a financial advisor who advised him to be more frugal with his money. But then when you get to the financial advisor’s house – you see he wasted no expense on his own home! It is Baroque style architecture, and it was lovely. He even had an orangery so he could have oranges year round! It was almost as big as his house (which you see below). This is the back of the house with the courtyard. Paris was having a big modern art movement going on for several months. The red pieces of art in the courtyard are part of that movement. Not sure what it represented. It will be gone this month (I think it was from March-November).
This is the front of the house, and the front door. Above the front door are 2 women figures – they represent 2 of the seasons, winter and fall. On the backside of the house are 2 other women figures that represent spring and summer.
This is the view of the home from the street. That large opening opens into a paved courtyard, where the front door is located. This house has changed somewhat from when it was originally designed and built. Some things were added, and some things were taken away. There was a whole other room above where the large opening is.
Here you see our guide Emily talking to the girls in this is an old street/passageway. Emily is telling the girls about why the old streets in Paris are slanted towards the middle and where the old adage “taking the high road” came from. If you don’t know…look at the middle of the street, and you notice the bricks are perpendicular to the others. People in their homes above would throw their chamber pots and raw sewage out of their windows, and it would land in the street. This was a “valley” or “trough” where sewage and waste would get washed down the street. As people walked down the street – you could tell people’s hierarchy based on where they stood in the street. The closer to the sewage, the lower in class you were. If you walked closer to the buildings, the higher up in class you were…thus taking the “high road”.
Before the French Revolution, this was a place where they made jam of all things! Once the Revolution started, it became a place where loyalists locked themselves in to stay alive.
Here is another cathedral we visited.
Because carving the limestone was quite expensive, one way they could help cut costs was to paint the figures instead of carving them. Below is a painted figure painted to look like it was carved.
This is a HUGE (about 18-2-” wde!!) clam shell that was gifted to the church. It holds the Holy Water. There was another one (the other half of the shell) on the opposite side of the doorway. They were incredibly beautiful.
Here are some markings that are remnants of the French Revolution. These saying were etched into the limestone with acid.
We also learned about the wall that surrounded Old Paris, which can still be seen in parts today.