Sunday, July 16, 2017

Churches, Helicopters and Fireworks!!

Today started early. We we up and out before 8 this morning with the hopes of beating the crowd to get into St. Chapelle. Well, we beat the crowd. In fact I would say that Bastille day is the the day to go someplace in Paris. It seems that most people were going to the parade. We skipped that and opted for St. Chapelle instead. For those of you new to Paris, St. Chapelle is in the middle of the Palace of Justice. I think I was here three or four times before I found it. They tend to have much better signage now.

St. Chapelle was built by Louis IX, he was a bit of a kook and a religious zealot. He paid dearly for relics. He got the crown of thorns (wink) and a piece of the true cross and a bridge in Brooklyn. The crown and cross are currently across the street in Notre Dame in the vault. But Louis did build this beautiful place for his collection. The windows tell the story of the Bible in stained glass. When I first saw it, I thought wow what a great king. You know, people being unable to read and all... Yeah, those people never saw the inside of this place unless they worked on it or maybe cleaned the floors. The windows reach up to the sky and it was almost empty for the first few minutes we were there. You could sit in the chairs provided and just look up at the glass. Beautiful. Even more beautiful than the woman in the linen pants with no panties that was being photographed by her man in all kinds of poses in the church. Weird. Here I am in St. Chapelle, giving the peace sign and hoping you notice I have no bra on under my t-shirt. Lovely.

We left St. Chapelle happy. Every time I go there I feel like I have never been before. I see something new. I learn something new.  

We crossed the street and had a petit dejeuner. Yummy! A little fuel for the next church. St. Severin. Now this is a neighborhood church. It has been a neighborhood church for somewhere around 800 years! Maybe not this exact building, it has only been around for about 600 years in one form or another, but a church for the neighborhood all those years. How the neighborhood has changed, no doubt. But people still come and pray and are part of this community. While I doubt that God is real, I do not doubt that the people that have been coming to this spot for hundreds of years have a faith in something. A belief that in this building they are closer to something and I do believe it gives them hope. Hope for what I don't know, but is is theirs and they have kept this building alive for a long time buy putting their asses into those little tiny chairs and giving it up to something. I might not agree with them, but I believe they can believe.

Then we were off to yet one more church. St. Germaine des Pres. This is really an Abbey and it is even older than St. Chapelle. Originally on the outskirts of Paris, I cannot imagine a more central spot. Well, except for that star in the plaza in front of Notre Dame, which is the official center of Paris.

St. Germaine is old, really old. And in constant renovation to keep it from falling down. Yet is it is also a neighborhood church. Used every day, kept alive by the faith of people.

Then onto the Metro and home for a few hours until... the fireworks!

After a nice nap - I see a pattern here. We were off once more to the metro and to stake a spot to watch the fireworks. Now, I will admit the best place to watch the fireworks is at the Champ de Mars, you and a million of your best friends, and I won't do that again. So we will settle for a spot on the river between Pont des Arts and the Pont Neuf. And while you might miss some of the lower fireworks, it is still a spectacular display.

We parked our asses on a wall and waited and waited and waited. We got there about three hours before the show was to start. Why? Because it gets crowded and well, because.

We had a little picnic put together by Upstate and it was really nice. Imagine, sitting on the bank of the Seine waiting for a firework show and having dinner. It does not get much better than that!

As the time grew near the crowd grew around us. I am going to complain about the smoking one more time. It seems that every young person in Paris smokes. I don't get it. I never will. Don't they know that they are not going to stay young and pretty by smoking those butts. OK, you might stay skinny by smoking, but that will only get you a thin corpse. Then not only do they smoke, they just toss the butts into the river. What is wrong with them? OK, rant over.

So the fireworks get closer and the crowd gets closer. Suddenly we were surrounded. A group of young men, one with really nice hair and another that tried really hard to play the guitar and sing. As I said to Upstates daughter, everybody has got to start somewhere... But I do wish he had started a bit further down the quay from us.

We ended our night by a walk to the Latin Quarter and an ice cream. I am not going to feel bad about ice cream on vacation, I am just not. I'll wait till I get home.

We jumped on the metro and came back to La Musique for one last night. We leave tomorrow for the Loire. Currently I am sitting in bed typing this and wondering where to stay for the next visit to this place that has my heart.

Oh and just because I mentioned helicopters

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