I arrived safely in Paris a few days ago with only minor injuries. As I was getting into the cab in Swansea to go to the train station, I kneed the car REALLY hard. Basically I have a bruise above my right knee that is 1.5″x3″ and REALLY painful! Other than that, I got here. One thing I have to say is that Charles de Gaule Airport is really creepy on Easter Sunday; it is empty and just disconcerting. Paris is also pretty empty and it was weird to show up and have no one around. Add to that the constant rain and it made for a Gotham City-like feel. Either way, everyone came back the next day and everything was back to normal.
As I came to France 2 days earlier than planned I discovered that my trip coincided with my friend David’s trip. David and I got our masters degrees together and I haven’t seen him since Kalamazoo last year, I think. I had a coffee with him and his wife at Cafe In, on the southeast corner of the square that holds the Tour Saint-Jacques. We didn’t have long as they were heading off to a tour of Notre Dame.
On my way to and from our date, I stopped into the churches I passed. As many of you know, I really like old, European churches. They often have some of the best art you’ll find, the architecture is amazing, and they are free and quiet. When I’m overwhelmed by the sheer number of people in Paris I’ll duck into a church for some quiet time. On this day I checked out 3. First was Notre-Dame de Lorette. It was right down the street from my hotel on rue Chateaudun and was really quite pretty.It was built between 1823 and 1836 and was (according to the pamphlet) the most highly decorated church at the time.
The next church, on my way to coffee was Saint-Eustache, which is prominently outside of Les Halles. It was built between 1532 and 1640 and is much more what I’m used to when I go into old churches.
The final stop on my way home was Notre-Dame des Victoires. This church was built in 1629 by Louis XIII and became a major pilgrimage site for healing by Mary. One person in particular is St. Teresa, who was healed in the church in 1883 and is now a major part of the church (she has a shrine as you walk in). One interesting thing about this church is that the walls are covered with ex-votos, which I don’t see very often. These pictures aren’t as good as usual as I came in the middle of a chapel service and when it was done I didn’t want to disturb anyone.
The next day, I walked to my apartment (about a mile from my hotel) with my pack on (about 60 pounds) uphill. It was pretty rough, honestly. My apartment is about a block from Sacre Coeur, is adorable, and VERY tiny. So here are some pictures of that. The first two are of the apartment itself, the third is the view out my window.