Thursday, July 24, 2008

Words Fail Me...

We have actually been back from Paris since late Tuesday night. It was a short trip, I know: too short, you'll say, but as I keep telling myself, better than not going at all.

It was wonderful. It's hard to know where to begin. I could write a travelogue, detailing our minute-to-minute activities, but I'm not sure anyone would find that very interesting. I don't want to bore anyone, because our trip was anything but boring. I've had a hard time writing anything; I don't seem to be able to do justice to the experience.


However, to begin, just a few tidbits:

Saturday: we got in early morning; rode the RER with an American woman and her three children. She taught me how to say "Tuileries", which was our Metro stop, and the only word of French I knew how to pronounce. We dropped our luggage at our small, old, charming hotel, where the concierge greeted my husband personally ("How did you know?" "Only American name"), and had every intention of walking up to Notre Dame, but stopped at the Louvre, just to check, and ended up going in. We spent most of the morning in the "Denon" section, where we saw the Mona Lisa and scads of other paintings. Took a long nap in the afternoon (having not slept at all on the plane), and got up to walk down to the Champs-Elysees. Had wine, cheese and bread at a sidewalk cafe, wondering about what a lovely evening it was.


Sunday: Woke up with a start at 9:00 a.m. Almost didn't make it to the hotel breakfast. We walked up to Notre Dame in time for the late Mass. We were actually not there for the Mass, but as we walked around with all the other tourists, we noticed a choir filing in, and listened for their anthem. The liturgist chanted the verses in French, but we kept hearing the congregational refrain, and recognized the words, "Jubilate Deo." Our eyes grew wet. Then the priest began his homily, and he opened with a few words in english, words of welcome to tourists, and a hope that by attending the mass we would be transformed from tourists into pilgrims. Yes. We later wandered along the Seine, back and forth over bridges, listening to music, watching artists, peeking at used books on the stalls on the street. We took a boat ride and wandered around the Latin Quarter, where we had supper.

Monday: We went to the Eiffel Tower, and back to the Louvre for a little while. We walked up and down Rue de Rivoli. We tried to go up near the Moulin Rouge area, but my feet were hurting so much I couldn't stand the walk. Plus Husband discovered that he left his Paris guidebook back at a bookshop on the Rue de Rivoli, a famous English bookstore, with better selection than some of ours.

Regrets: We meant to return to the Crypt at Notre Dame; what happened? And while in the Latin Quarter, why did we not go to the Pantheon?

More reflection later...

9 comments:

FranIAm said...

Oh my!! There is so much to see and you did so much in a short time.

My eyes got wet when you described the Notre Dame scene.

God is very good indeed.

Songbird said...

Clearly you must return someday!

Presbyterian Gal said...

Yes, you must return to Paris for sure. Once you have been there, at least for me it was so, it gets into your blood.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Oh my. I am missing Paris so much from reading this.

We went to Easter mass at Notre Dame on Easter Sunday, 2000. It is such a special place. I could feel the 800 years of prayers in the atmosphere there.

I'm so glad you had this experience.

Jan said...

How wonderful! I love that invitation for tourists to become pilgrims. It sounds like you two felt that, too.

Thanks for the pictures, too.

Kievas said...

Sounds like it was a great trip! I'm sure you'll return.

Barbara B. said...

So wonderful you were able to be there--no matter how long!

Lindy said...

What a great travel post! I am so glad you got to go to mass at Notre Dame. It sounds like a great trip.

Mauigirl said...

I love Paris. We too once attended a mass at Notre Dame. And I lit a candle for my father another time - I'm not even Catholic but figured it wouldn't hurt since I was sincerely trying to help my dad, who had depression at the time.

Now I need to go back to Paris...we've been several times and it is never enough!