Paris, Day Four: Puttin’ On the Ritz, and a Change in Perspective

I really wish it were easier to share photos with you in my current situation, but my internet connection is rather slow.  I’ll just do the best I can to describe our day:

Breakfast of café express and pain au chocolat at a lovely café on Anthony’s favorite Place Des Vosges.  A little shopping for some necessaries, and then a trip to Montmartre.  Anthony just woke up this morning thinking, “we’ll go to Montmartre today.”  It’s his least favorite place, but he told me that visiting this ultra touristy part of the city is a rite of passage for every person who visits Paris.  You’re gonna do it sooner or later.

Sacre Couer

Sacre Couer

The Basilica was packed with tourists, both in and out.  We noticed that there were a lot of people sitting in the nave, as if ready for something to start, so we checked the mass schedule and noticed that not only was there mass in fifteen minutes, but that it was the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, so we decided to stay for mass.  I was grateful for the parts of the mass that we sang in Latin, which made it easier for me to participate.  It was the first time in Paris when I really had the feeling of being somewhat of an outsider, as up until then, everyone I had communicated with, both in French and English, had made a strong effort to connect with me, or I was able to communicate what I needed to.  Here, everyone was praying in French, and I so wanted to even exchange the sign of peace with all the French speaking people around me.  The best I could do was a handshake and smile, and perhaps that was more than enough.

After Montmartre, we came back to our hotel room and ate a delicious lunch which was a mixture of leftovers, and food we had bought in a delicatessen in Montmartre.  That last bit of lemon tart finally met its match!

The afternoon was all about puttin’ on the ritz, as we headed to the chic side of town, where the Louvre is, along with the Jardin de Touileries, and the Place de Concorde.  Anthony showed me the clever perspective that one could take, making all of the arches and the obelisk, miles apart, “fit” together with one’s eye.  Breathtaking.  Then, as we wandered around the city, looking here and there, we noticed this off to the left:

Paris 015

Isn’t that an interesting lesson in perspective?  If you’re not sure what i mean, compare it with the first photo…

Some of you may know that I have really been looking forward to finally seeing La Madeleine, which is the church where both Fauré and Saint Saëns were directors.  I’ve even  been fantasizing about going to mass there on Sunday, and what it might be like.  Well, without getting into too many details, and gossiping about myself, let’s just say that after visiting it today, I possibly now have a change of perspective.

Today ended with a change of perspective, opera style!  Retired dramatic soprano Romayne Beard agreed to have dinner with us, and so we met her for Vietnamese this evening.  She had some interesting stories to tell about her life, her teacher, and her career.  I was so grateful to be able to pick her brain for a whole evening, and I even got a little Puccini in the metro tunnel after dinner as an added bonus!  In Questa Reggia will never be the same for me.  Thank you, Romayne!

Birgit Nilsson–In Questa Reggia (Puccini)

Be well, and at peace,

Phil

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