Friday, November 20, 2009

France, Day 7

Day 7, Sunday.
Attended a worship gathering at Un Coeur Pour Paris worship gathering that meets at La Fonderie. It was such a blessing to worship with this little community, Jeremy and I were so grateful we had the opportunity to be with them. I recognized several of the songs translated from English to French and made it about 10 minutes into the message before I felt my brain cells were completely fried from the effort required to understand. Then I picked up my knitting hoping I wasn’t too rude knitting during the message but since I do it at home all the time and it was the only chance I stood of staying awake I took the risk and knit away. Good thing too, the message was quite long and staying awake was a challenge even with knitting. La Fonderie had a new art show hanging in the space, very impressed with the quality of the artist and enjoyed getting to spend a little time before each piece following the message. Beautiful work that required you to think about each image and appreciate not only the artistic talent but also the thought he put into challenging our perspective. This little France Mission church is full of wonderful people, pastor, missionaries and congregation members and we received a very warm welcome. I was surprised to be one of three pregnant women in the congregation, I had probably only seen two other pregnant women in the entire week before while in Paris! The worship leader, anther missionary couple and several of the local congregation members as well as the pastor were excited to hear what we feel called to in the Paris area and confirmed over and over again the great need.
Following worship we headed back to the hotel and met Steve and Pete for a walking tour of Montmartre. Having left the church late we didn’t have time for lunch and thought we would stop along the way for a sandwich but instead grabbed some fresh blackberries from a little local grocery. Darn it, I like blackberries better in Paris too. Good grief. The walking tour we took was one I’m pretty sure Steve and Pete had done before and we absolutely loved it. Instead of feeling like we were visiting one tourist attraction after another it just felt like we were meandering through a neighborhood and would happen to notice a sign here or there indicating that Picasso had lived there or Toulouse leTrec hung out in this little place or Dali had a Montmartre studio right here, etc. I absolutely loved it. The neighborhood was a delightful mix and still very active in the arts but with families and small business here and there. We drooled over a building we’d love to live in and only after declaring that we hoped some day that would be home did we notice a plaque sharing that Hector Berlioz had lived there. I took that as a sign that we indeed should live there some day. Our walking tour led us to Le Sacre Coeur via the back where it didn’t appear to be infested with tourists but plenty of locals. Just down a little bit from where we were approaching le Sacre Coeur we spotted a neighborhood game of boule going on and stopped to watch for a bit. Jeremy and I mused over the possibility of getting a set to take home, how we would do that and where we would play. We should probably just move here, that seems less complicated. There was a park directly behind Le Sacre Coeur with some beautiful graffiti, kids playing, a Sunday School program for children going on (loved it! Could totally see our girls a part of the things they were doing too), some boys kicking a soccer ball around, pigeons and other normal, every day activities. We rested for a bit and then headed around to the front of the church where the throngs of tourists gathered. My camera started having issues, not sure why but I had difficulty capturing some of the beautiful detail of the architecture which was both frustrating and freeing as I was able to just soak it all in after muttering a few curses. The building is truly beautiful. Made out of limestone it gleams white when cleaned but it looks like it has been a while since it received a good cleaning and I think I may like it better a little dirty. The deep contrast between the crevices and the smooth stone gives the artistic detail eye popping attention. Looking over Paris from the top of the hill standing in front of the church was quieting, well, for us anyway. There were plenty of people not quieted at all and several street performers competing for our attention but we soaked in it anyway to the tune of a very poor English rendition of
We walked through Le Sacre Coeur. Having visited Westminster Chapel before I kind of knew what to expect as far as a church as a tourist attraction but it was still difficult for me. Mass was about to begin and yet there were thousands of people walking around the roped off chairs, paying to light candles, buying books of photographs, sneaking pictures, and ogling sculptures and art while talking loudly to their companions. Bad tourist that I am I wanted to demand for everyone to remember that we were in a sacred space and even if they didn’t give a hoot about the worship service beginning they still needed to be respectful of where they were. I couldn’t stand it. Sure, there were some beautiful pieces of sacred art and moving artifacts and sculptures but I felt so uncomfortable that I couldn’t wait to leave.
Jeremy and I finished the tour alone, Pete and Steve went to take in a piano recital they had seen advertised. Artists row was fun, there were some very Bed, Bath and Beyond style paintings to choose from, some obvious famous painter knock-offs to snatch up and a small handful of true original artists. The row of caricature artists were a lot of fun and several of them tried to lure us over so they could sketch Jeremy. With his face, how could they not?! Once back to the hotel I took a nap and Jeremy watched some French TV before we met back up with Steve and Pete for a great dinner with a waiter that insisted on calling Jeremy Mon. President and Pete Mon. Ambassador. I had creme brulee for dessert, mmmmmm. It is better in Paris too. That night was a better sleep than the night before.


  1. We thought of you all the whole time we did our meandering walking tour of Mont Martre. Glad you got to finally do it yourselves!

  2. Thank you for your respect during Mass.
    I was pleased, in Italy, that the guards were good about keeping tourists out during Mass, but I have heard that only during large Masses, is it that way in France.
    The crown of thorns is kept in Notre Dame. (what is left of it)
    When they bring it out once a year to venerate, during Mass, the place is packed. During then, my husband testified, the guards do keep a check on the door, and let in only professing pilgrims and keep out the tourists. And so it goes....