The best laid plans are meant to be changed…I think!? Arriving in Paris, I was proud of my Google Doc with our daily agenda right down to the restaurant reservation for each night. But things don’t always work out as we plan. Despite arriving early to the Paris Montparnasse train station for our 10:00 am train to Chartes, we didn’t get on a train to anywhere today. The train was running over an hour late, which meant that we would miss our much-anticipated Chartres Cathedral tour by a renown tour guide, so we had a decision to make. Luckily, Peter made it for us. “It’s still early so let’s jump over to the Louvre for the day” he said with big grin, knowing this last-minute change would be a challenge for me. But my mother raised a somewhat flexible girl, so off we went.
As many wise folks have recommended, you CANNOT do the Louvre in one day, so we didn’t even try. We bought the audio tour and sought out the highlights. (It still took us 4 hours plus a bunch of pain killers for my back but I remained flexible!) It was magnificent and Peter and I even agreed upon a favorite French painter, Francois-Auguste Biard. A few of our favorite pieces are shown below; Venus de Milo to the Winged Victory of Samothrace. You will notice that the Mona Lisa is missing. I’ll admit that while I appreciate its historical significance, it was not my favorite piece. In addition, the crowds around this tiny painting were nuts, so I couldn’t get close enough to grab a decent photo. Poor Mona.
The beauty of the museum buildings is just as grand as the paintings inside.
I think today must have been one of the hottest, most crowded days in Paris. The Paris National Football team was playing in the World Cup so people were spilling out of bars onto the streets. Did you know that it’s legal to drink in public around this city? Despite the crowds and heat, we managed to truly enjoy ourselves after our trip to the Louvre. The rest of the day included a cafe, a visit to St. Gervais church, which is near our apartment, and an evening Sunday Mass at Notre Dame.
The visits to the churches were a stark contrast to the atmosphere in the streets. At St. Gervais, one of the most beautiful churches in Paris, I could feel the chaos from the streets melt away as the ancient doors closed behind me. It was quite dark inside so I didn’t get to fully appreciate the stunning Renaissance stained glass windows, but I’ll be back another day. What I did stumble upon though was an even greater treasure – Adoration of our Lord in the back chapel. As I turned the corner in the darkness, I noticed several people fully entered into prayer. I turned my gaze toward the light and saw the Monstrance centered on the altar with candles adorning it. It was a beautiful moment of quiet when I felt our Lord whisper, “come here and rest awhile.” So I did.
We ended the day with 6:30 pm Mass at Notre Dame. We thought we were attending an English Mass – at least that is what the website said. But, flexibility is the key for happiness, so we smiled and prayed along during the French Mass. I loved watching people from all over the world pray together – we are a universal church. It does not matter who we are or where we come from, we all belong to God and he loves us just as we are.