My flight was on time, but that of my friends (hosts, actually) was delayed, so I made my way into the city and then, to stay awake, took a walk. I am in the 6th, so I headed over to see what was up at St. Germain. It has become a sad place, it seems to me, since the last time I saw it many years ago. Junk is piled in the side chapels. It seems dirty and uncared for.
However, I did take interest in the monument to Jean Mabillon (+1707) who was a great scholar and a pioneer in the field of Paleography. Who of us did not study him, after all?
Once my friends were well-ensconced, we had some lunch, a little soup and some goodies:
And continued staying awake with a walk across the Pont des Arts, around the Louvre, and towards the Opera, and then over to L’église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine (“La Madeleine”). Part of this was an research tour for my friends business, but… I won’t dig into that.
There is right now at the Grand Palais an exhibit of the Japanese engraver Katsushika Hokusai. Therefore, the épicerie Fauchon had to do a little éclair decorated with the famous Great Wave off of Kanagawa, which everyone has seen everywhere and which artists reinterpret in infinite ways. I hadn’t seen it on white chocolate.
And then around the corner to Hediard, with its spectacular displays of spices and teas and candied fruits. I’ve never seen anything quite like this. It made a real impression, especially the whole pineapples, with the leaves.
Over to the Place de la Concorde and then through the Tuileries Garden back to the 6th for supper and an early evening.
On the way home, we stuck our heads into St. Germain des’Auxerrois, near the Louvre. I saw on the schedule that they have the Extraordinary Form there. Thus, when I got home, I shot the place an email with the request that I might be able to say Mass at the church. This is one of the problems for a priest when traveling: finding a friendly place to say Mass where they don’t force you into a purgatory of concelebration.
For supper I started with snails. What else, given the way I was feeling by this time.
And a beef casserole. It wasn’t Boeuf bourgignon, but one of its numerous regional iterations. The carrots had a touch of cumin, which was nice.
I went to St. Germain des’Auxerrois this morning for the 9:45 TLM. It was a sung Mass.
Afterwards, I spoke with whom I assume to be the parish priest. He recognized me right away (as often happens). We couldn’t chat long, because he wanted to greet people after Mass, but I think I may be on for their Thursday evening TLM. I still need a place for daily Mass but… I brought my Mass kit, complete with the SPORCH travel altar cards.
The Mass itself was well-attended, some 150+ and the majority of them young. There were quite a few families with children. Alas, they use for Mass a tiny versus populum altar, which is pretty cramped for the TLM. There is a grand altar in the sanctuary, however. A choral group sang for the Mass and there was good congregational participation in the sung responses.
On my way home, I looped around to the Cathedral, Notre-Dame, and listened to the bells in full peal for a while. The square already had a long line for people to visit the church, which I declined. I don’t do lines for churches.
Then, across the river and a brief visit to Saint-Séverin. Mass was just concluding and it was still pretty full, even after the rush of people leaving immediately after (I presume) receiving Communion. I saw a lot of gray hair and not many children or strollers. The modern glass in the ambulatory is horrific, by the way.
These strollers I see today… they look like something engineered by the European Space Agency to land on a comet.
Even now, from my open hotel window I can hear bells across the city. It makes me think of what the city sounded like when it was announced that the war was over.
Now to find some lunch.
Prayers for you readers during my perambulations. This is a bit of a vacation for me, in that I get to be a tourist, I don’t have anything in particular that I have to do here (conference, talk, errands as I always have in Rome, NYC, etc.). I haven’t been to Paris for years. I don’t know the city all that well, so it is fun to reacquaint myself and do some exploring. I am straining at the leash to visit the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay and to get up to Sacré Coeur de Montmartre.
I won’t detain you with the details of the great day I had. I’ll cut to the chase.
Supper started with oysters. They were rather briny, but good.
This one seems to be an artists long-lost ear. Tasty.
Some bread and frenchy schmear, with a Suze. I like Suze. Can one get it stateside now? You can get everything else these days.
I had already started to dig into my terrine when I remembered all of you. Have a bite.
And, boeuf saignante comme il faut. I think my sauce béarnaise is marginally better. This was not bad at all!
For dessert had an assortment des fromages, which was okay, but not exciting enough to take a photo of an recount.
Tomorrow, I hope I will be hacking my way through part of the Louvre, which I designate for tomorrow and Friday.