A Day Away

Apparently, a front passed through Paris on Tuesday and the weather turned delightfully cool, enough so that we donned our long pants, packed away when we left Denmark a month ago.

Paris is a very cultured place, but sometimes, you just need to get away from all the art and beautiful buildings. So, Tuesday was going to be our day to ride the rails and venture off to the northeastern edge of the 19th Arrondissement to visit Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, Europe’s biggest science museum.

As an aside, we’ve noticed that most of the main tourist attractions here in Paris have small patrols of machine-gun-toting soldiers guarding the entrances to the sites, like those shown in the photo, above. I suppose to some people that would be comforting, but it has the opposite effect on me, making me feel that perhaps they know something that I don’t, but should.

Anyway, the Science Museum was a pretty innovative structure. Here’s a view of the inside.

It was very modernistic, opened to the public in 1986.

What attracted us to the museum was its temporary display about Leonardo da Vinci, partly because we’ll be seeing some of Leonardo’s artwork when we visit the Musée de Louvre tomorrow, such his painting, the Mona Lisa.

You have undoubtedly heard of Leonardo and his famous paintings, but did you know that in addition to being a great painter, he was also an accomplished sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer? He even invented a type of diving fins and an underwater diving rig; here are mockups, based on his notebooks:

Born in 1452, just before Gutenberg’s Bible first came off the press, this true Renaissance Man lived until just after Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg in 1517. It was quite a time to be alive: the beginning of popular literacy; the discovery of the New World; the Spanish Inquisition; the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Wow!

We wandered around the museum for several hours, then headed outside where we encountered this cool infinity fountain.

You undoubtedly noticed the giant silver globe in the background. That’s La Géode, which houses an IMAX theater. But what’s not quite so apparent is the retired military submarine to the left of La Géode by the red building. Too bad we didn’t know it was out there sooner; we would have liked to have gone inside.

But, it was time for the IMAX movie on the Arctic which is part of the reason we had come to visit the museum, so we walked the platform decks, then went inside La Géode for the movie.

After the movie, we tried taking the Tram all the way back to the apartment, but we went the wrong way when we exited the 3B Tram and couldn’t find the station for the 3A; consequently, we had to take the Metro which took us over an hour.

A 20 mile journey! Too bad it was mostly underground.

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