Posts Tagged ‘Paris’

4:20 am

Paris, Je T’aime

I went to see this the other day, with no particularly high expectations. I was pleasantly surprised. Of the 18 mini-films, 3 were laugh-out-loud funny, and 4 made me cry. Some of the other 12 were merely "heh", but none was actively bad. So not a bad mix.

I particularly like Carol in the last segment, 14e Arrondisement:


Her accent, and her French, are perfectly execrable. While I flatter myself that I’m not that bad, my professor in Oral French has observed, somewhat reluctantly, that I continue to speak with a strong American accent. Which can be charming, she hastened to assure me.

3:53 pm

I’m going to Disneyland!

Okay, it’s totally silly and pointless and why did I even come to France in the first place if I’m just going to go to Disneyland?

But I am. Tomorrow. For no real reason except that my classes are winding down to a conclusion and I want to. So just lay off, okay? (What? Am I just a little defensive here?)

Details (and probably pictures) will follow after my return.

4:56 am

Versailles, Revisited

There’s only one excuse for visiting Versailles on a summer weekend: to see the fountains in action. It’s too expensive to run the fountains all the time, so they’re only on for a few hours a day on weekends from April through September. (Versailles also charges admission to the gardens on these days; otherwise, entry is free.) There’s also a soundtrack of Baroque music, played by Le Concert Spirituel.

While I had enjoyed the gardens on the occasion of my earlier visit, being able to see the fountains in action made it ever so much better.

A smattering of the fountains, starting with the Apollo fountain:

The fountain in the Bosquet of the Pyramid:

The Dragon basin:

The fountain in the Bosquet de la Girandole:

There were more people in the gardens this time (surprise, surprise), and the row boat rentals were open:

Pity they don’t have paddle boats, though, like the ones at Stow Lake.

Since I was there, though, I took advantage of the opportunity to visit the Dauphin’s apartments (which I hadn’t had time for before) and the apartments of Mesdames (which are open only on weekends), as well to spend a little more time in the gardens at the Petit Trianon:

4:22 am

Crown of Thorns

Notre Dame de Paris has three major relics:

  • the Crown of Thorns
  • a piece of the Holy Cross, and
  • one of the nails of the Passion.

Indeed, it was to house these that Louis IX built Sainte-Chapelle, which I visited in January. But after the Revolution, the relics ended up in the keeping of the Cathedral, where they are displayed to the faithful on the first Friday of every month (as well as the Fridays of Lent and Good Friday).

This past Friday was the first Friday of June, and I cut class to attend the 3 PM service of Veneration of the Crown of Thorns. After a brief Liturgy of the Word, the Crown is presented for Veneration. The fragment of the Cross and the Nail are also displayed, but not presented. The Crown, mostly stripped of its thorns (there are several churches that claim individual thorns as relics), is kept in a reliquary in the form of a glass tube ornamented with gold and tied to a velvet pillow. I filed up with the rest of the congregation to kiss the reliquary.

Now, widespread counterfeiting of relics in the Middle Ages makes authenticity of any purported relic dubious. (Just how many heads did John the Baptist have, after all? And if you assembled all the alleged pieces of the True Cross, you could build a small village.) And even if authenticity is conceded (the Crown of Thorns has a pretty solid provenance), the veneration of relics still makes me a little uncomfortable, smacking as it does of superstition. It’s not as though the relic itself has any power.

So then why did kissing the reliquary make me cry?

2:43 pm

Réjouis-toi, Marie

Notre-Dame is showing another "opera of images", like the Lumen de Lumine, Lumière née de la Lumiére show I saw in January. This one is based upon the Akathist hymn, a Byzantine hymn to Our Lady.

This one was not quite as successful, in my opinion. It is projected from behind onto a sheer screen. But this time of year at 9 PM, it’s still light, so the windows and sanctuary were visible through the screen, and the double images gave me a headache. In addition, the English translation (where it existed) stood in serious need of proofreading. It seems that Mary bore in her womb a "bake," thus serving as a sanctuary for "Gog," who is a friend of "makind".

The images were lovely, though (if only I could have seen them better!), and the music was splendid. And there was only one occasion on which a barbarian decided to take a flash picture.

After the show, I wandered along the Seine a little and watched the bateaux mouches go by.

I’m going to have to take one of those boat trips sometime soon. Before I leave Paris.

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