Tuesday, April 27, 2010
A Special Journey.
I set out today on a special journey to Notre Dame to light candles for some people who mean the world to me. One of them is my Mom, who we lost just over three years ago. But I miss her every single day. Mom was very big on lighting candles in church and having Mass said for someone in need.
When I was here last (about 120 years ago), I lit candles in Notre Dame for Mom. But it wasn't just the lighting of the candle, it was the very personal choice of which chapel the candle was lit. Back then, there was a beautiful Chapel of St. Anthony. And that's where I chose the candles for Mom. And she always remembered that I lit candles for her in Notre Dame. Always.
All along the inside perimeter of the Cathedral are little "chapels," each with their own Patron Saint. These aren't chapels in the sense that you or I would know them. They're really just tiny alcoves with stunning stained glass and equally stunning art work.
Today, I circled Notre Dame three times looking for the St. Anthony Chapel. No such luck. I settled on St. Therese Chapel. Therese was my Grandmother's name on my Mom's side, so I figured Mom would appreciate that.
I know the pictures are pretty wonky, but it was a bit disconcerting walking in Notre Dame, on a very special mission, and having, yes, I'm going to say it, stupid Americans calling to each other from across the church. I just wanted to light the candles and go. So I apologize for the poor quality, but I'll go back and get better ones!
On the way to Notre Dame, I passed by so many interesting places. Like Palais de Justice. Just as it sounds. Tons of police and television crews in front, I wanted to take a picture, but figured I'd get arrested. I imagine they were waiting for the newest notorious prisoner, Manuel Noriega. Really didn't want to hang out there for too long!
After Notre Dame, I made my way to Place de Bastille, where they were doing, god-only-knows-what-and-leave-it-to-the-French-to-do-what? Seriously, they were racing farm equipment. Around the Bastille. Let me say that again. They were racing farm equipment around the Bastille. I have no idea why, and don't even care. It was just so....French. Even the farmer's here wear scarves. Gotta love it.
I tried to walk my way from Bastille to Place des Voges. But got lost. And hungry. Actually, I was really just really hungry, and tried to make the excuse that I was lost, when in fact, I just wanted food. And getting lost isn't a bad thing here at all. Even with all these streets that aren't really streets, hidden passages, shit that doesn't appear on any map, this is really a small city. It really is. Places on the map that look like they are truly on the other side of the planet, are just a short walk, and even shorter Metro ride away.
Try to enjoy the funky pictures. I promise to work on my photography skills. And by the way, why didn't anyone suggest I bring a back-up battery for the camera? Just asking, because I sure didn't think of it.
Tomorrow is a toss-up between Place de la Madeleine, with Fouchon, Hediard, and crazy food, Place des Voges, with touristy cafes, and a King's courtyard, or La Defense, with it's own weather channel. Stay tuned...
Oh, and to put a name to the photo:
1. The very tippy-tip of Ile de la Cite, the birthplace of Paris;
2. Pont Neuf, or "New Bridge;" the first bridge built in Paris, inaugurated in 1607. Sixxteen-O-Seven.
3. So just by looking at this building, you've got to know there's quite a bit of history here. "Conciergerie," where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned. (By the way, my grandmothers's -- on my father's, the Italian-Swiss, side -- maiden name was Antoinnette, maybe I should keep that to myself while I'm here? I doubt I should be walking around saying " je' m'appelle Antoinnette," ya know?) Built in the 11th Century (that would be 1000 YEARS ago, one thousand years, unreal), attached to the Palais de Justice. Coincidence? I think not. And the Italian equivalent? Conciligieri? Yeah, maybe I should stay incognito until I fully understand...
4 and 5. Notre Dame. Outside and Inside. I'm respecting the privacy of those who mean the world to me by not posting pictures of candles, chapels, etc. They mean way too much to me.
6 and 7. Place de la Bastille. With Bastille Opera in the background. #7 tries to show a close up of the farmers racing farm equipment in the Bastille, but I don't think it comes across very well.