Paris: Day 1 – Of surf and turf

The flight was uneventful and on time.  I used the wonderful Uber to get from the airport to town for only €35.

We had variations on “surf and turf” starting with terrine and snails.

On to sole meunière and steak tartare.


The view.


UPDATE morning:

Not sure what to do today.  Perhaps a train out to Chartres, where I haven’t been for many years.

I don’t know what these trees are, but they are blooming all over the city, different colors.


In the Luxembourg Gardens the orange blossoms are about to open.  They are already on the breeze.


Saint Sulpice.


Mass in the chapel of the Immaculate.  I took this as it started, but it really filled up… on a Saturday midday.  Nice to see.

At the Musee de Cluny, medieval collection, there was a fine, working sundial.


The second half of the piece, together showing the makeup of the Church.

The oldest inscription in Paris, from the time of the Emperor Tiberius.

I found a great Christological Goldfinch.

This shows a development of style.  Mary is standing and the Infant is more animated.  I am not sure the finch is having a great day.

The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries.  Who knows what this thing means?  Theories abound.

More later.


Parked on a boulevard.

What’s this?

St Germain-de-Prés

Luxembourg Gardens… back for nice stroll before supper.


Fantastic fresh tomatoes. How I have missed them over the long winter.

Bellota ham.

St. Nectaire

Paté au foie gras.

And to help it down…


Time for compline.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. benedetta says:

    A vote for Chartres, Fr. Z!

  2. robtbrown says:

    Chartres will surprise you. The cathedral looks very different because it is being cleaned. The soot of many years is being removed.

  3. StWinefride says:

    Definitely Chartres. And please pray for a successful ‘Pélé’ de Chartres from 23-25 May – and good weather too!

  4. MarkJ says:

    Definitely Chartres! Not only has the glass has cleaned and restored in the Cathedral, but also the whole altar and choir area looks “like new” (in a good way!). And for any of us not lucky enough to be going to Chartres anytime soon, this link allows one to explore the stained glass windows, with in-depth explanations (in French) of every detail…

  5. Supertradmum says:

    “The last time I was in Paris”, was the day of the moment of silence for the Je suis Charlie victims. Very moving. I have never seen Chartres, so if you go, please take lots of good photos of the renewed cathedral for us all.

  6. Charles E Flynn says:

    Perhaps there can be a Father Z investigation of the controversial renovation at Chartres Cathedral:

    A Scandalous Makeover at Chartres, by Martin Filler for the New York Review of Books, and The New Chartres: An Exchange, by Madeline H. Caviness and Jeffrey Hamburger, reply by Martin Filler.

  7. Josephus Muris Saliensis says:

    Bon apetit, what a gargantuan lunch, I should want une sieste! Anyway, bon pélerinage, they have destroyed poor Chartres. A most controversial architect who leave a trail of damage wreaked across France; ill-informed archaeologism, the Annibale Bugnini of his art. One shall be there again at Pentecost, but the goal of our 100 km trek is no longer an architectural yearning.

  8. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    “This shows a development of style. Mary is standing and the Infant is more animated.” Indeed: her left hip shifted, her right knee slightly forward to bear His Fully Human Infant weight safely and comfortably – lovely! “I am not sure the finch is having a great day.” Hmm… does the sculptor with such an eye for weights and the nature of cloth and animation have too little sense that “the God of the sparrow” cares in His Infant Flesh for the goldfinch? (I’ve read a little about pet birds down the ages, but have not idea how you can safely hold a goldfinch.)

  9. pelerin says:

    Fr Z – if you haven’t been to Chartres for many years then be prepared for a shock. I was there in September and had been warned beforehand about the cleaning up of the interior. Before this began the contrast between the blackened walls and the magnificent stained glass windows was breathtaking. I am so glad I had visited before the renovation and prefer to retain those memories.

    And as for the statue of Notre Dame du Pilier – it reduced me to tears again this time but for a totally different reason to previous visits. Before, it was blackened through years of candles offered by pilgrims in prayer. Black and mysterious but on every visit there were always people praying in front of her. She drew people in. This last time I visited the cathedral twice and each time the chapel was empty and there was a large notice saying that candles were no longer allowed to be lit there – there were electric lights instead. The statue now of Mother and Child resembles dolls with rouged cheeks. It has been preserved but at what cost?

  10. pelerin says:

    PS: Interestingly there are postcards on sale depicting the magnificent stained-glass windows and they are surrounded by jet-black borders which echo what visitors saw years ago before the renovation. It was the contrast which was so stunning.

  11. Legisperitus says:

    transitive verb grim·thorpe \?grim(p)?tho?(?)rp\

    Definition of GRIMTHORPE
    : to remodel (an ancient building) without proper knowledge or care to retain its original quality and character

    Origin of GRIMTHORPE
    after Sir Edmund Beckett, first Baron Grimthorpe †1905 English lawyer and architect whose restoration of St. Albans cathedral in England was severely criticized

  12. Gregg the Obscure says:

    The food looks terrific! Now I may have to make sole (or trout) meuniere this week.

  13. mysticalrose says:

    Wow, I am a really unenlightened eater. Maybe if you threw that tartare on the grill . . . :)

    Is it Campari?

  14. jrpascucci says:

    Dude! I mean, Father-Dude!

    I am literally in Chartes now, spent a bit of time touring the incredible Cathedral earlier today. Going to SSP mass down the road (on Rue St. Pierre) tomorrow at 10, then Heading to Versailles tomorrow, then back to Paris Monday for the midday flight home to Boston.

    Wish I had known, would have arranged to take you to the an other three star michelin that I meant to go to in Paris.

    Maybe next time. Au revoir and have a pleasant stay. May you receive all the blessings.

  15. pelerin says:

    Have just been reading about the Dame a la Licorne on the Internet. It is some years since I saw it and this picture prompted me to look further.

    I found several short videos on the Internet of which two are particularly interesting. One, put up by the Musee de Cluny, talks about the recent restoration and shows the tapestry being worked on close up and describes how the dyes were made. It has English subtitles. The other I particularly enjoyed was accompanied by very appropriate Medieval music by a group calling themselves Musica Antiqua. On searching further I discovered two groups bearing this name – one was from Iowa and another from Cologne so I don’t know which one provided the delightful music. This video was put up by someone calling themselves Champigny2010.

  16. Gratias says:

    Cher Père Z, enjoy!

    Next time try the choucrut at Brasserie Lipp and Sancerre wine with the pâté de foie gras. [Good choices, though I might go with Sauternes.]

    We were privileged to attend mass at Saint Sulplice for the 25th anniversary of the FSSP and the huge church was full. Send pictures from Chartres cathedral, pretty please?

  17. stilicho says:

    Might that mystery beverage be “un verre du kir”? [Good guess, but no. Wrong shape to the glass, right?]

  18. Mike says:

    Quelle surprise! Arrived in France yesterday for meetings in Roissy all week, and read this as I was returning via RER from Solemn High Mass at Saint-Eugène in honor of Sainte-Jeanne-d’Arc.

    Would be delighted if a meetup were possible. In any case, may your research be successful and your travels be safe.

  19. mikeinmo says:

    Thanks for the beautiful pictures of your trip. Many blessings to you, and a safe trip home.

    Several months ago, I sent you a link to The St. Louis Reviee regarding the implementation of the TLM at St. Barnabbas Parish in O’Fallon, MO. Father Hager and the parishoners have developed a plan for parish revitalization. The plan is quite lengthy, and the details are linked below. You will be most interested in Page 22 fand Page 46. Brick b y Brick…………..

  20. Elizabeth D says:

    Your parish’s proposed new design is beautiful, mikeinmo. My parish church still has that old style from the old days and people ooh and ahh when they see it for the first time, even regardless of their liturgical preferences or even being Catholic, just a response to beauty and a sense of rightness.

  21. JonPatrick says:

    I guess I never understood the attraction of steak tartare, although as someone brought up in an English household where all meat had to be cooked until nary a trace of pink could be found, maybe that is understandable. I could definitely go for the escargots though.

  22. Winfield says:

    I believe the trees blooming all over town now are princess trees. Their purple blooms are quite lovely and the trees are long-lived.

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