The French Take Holidays Seriously

Paris Travel Blog

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Church at Notre Dame
Today was Sunday, but it started out with class! Again in the bar. I'm not going to lie- staying awake was torture today as the extreme days and little sleep was catching up with me.

But after class, I went with a few other guys to mass at Notre Dame. That's right, Notre Dame! I can't believe it myself! Being a Catholic, I cannot describe what an unbelievable experience that was for me. Aside from the Vatican, it is probably one the most ideal place to attend mass. However, it was interesting as there was still the stream of tourists all around, it was all in French, and I had to get a seat that had a bad view. But nonetheless, I am very fortunate for this experience.

After mass, we had class at the Center Pompidou, which is the modern museum of France. I absolutely loved it and knew I would.
Notre Dame Mass
I am very much interested in modern art over all other movements, and I have always studied the building and wanted to see it. As expected, I enjoyed the lecture and loved the art. I saw some works there that I had always admired as well, especially Mondrian and Jackson Pollock.

After the Pompidou, I wanted to see some sights that had been recommended to me- the Forum des Halles, Catacombs, and La Defense. This would be the way to "tye up the loose ends" of Paris. Well, the Forum des Halles and the Catacombs were closed because today was National Holiday in Paris for Pentecost.

When a National Holiday occurs in the US, that usually means things are open especially then for the business.
Centre Pompidou!
Here, all the shops and most restaurants were closed and only the big attractions were open. I am glad to see such respect for the religious holiday, but was sad when everything was closed. So I did not get to see the Forum nor the Catacombs, but we ran into a church called Sainte Eulpice and went inside. Absolutely amazing! The high ceilings of the Gothic architecture seemed to soar towards heaven, as expected.

After failure there, I decided to go to La Defense to see the modern architecture. It is a district, so I knew it wouldn't be technically closed. Well today the weather was 50 and raining, making it unpleasant to be outside. Therefore it was dead. Add on the exhaustion I talked about earlier, and it was practically miserable. So I decided to take a few pictures of the Grand Arch (the big square) and head back to the hotel.
Random church.
I was planning on going to the Eiffel Tower with a big group at 8, so I relaxed for once and caught a nap.

The weather cleared as went to the Tower. Somehow I had not made it there yet! But I am really glad that I did, as I felt it truly completed my Paris trip and gave it some closure. I was lucky enough to go up it just as the sun was setting, and I cannot use enough adjectives here to describe the beauty. Again, I can't believe I was actually in the Tower after seeing it my whole life! Standing in front of it, it was hard to believe it wasn't just a picture and was the real thing.

So I was at the top when it was freezing from the wind, but when it was nighttime. Beautiful! After running around these past few days so much, I was able to identify everything easily fron the top. Even though it was extremely touristy, I enjoyed it and was glad I finally went. I reflected over the great trip to Paris and felt like I had dominated the city and really gotten a feel for it.

After taking the Metro back one last time, I am back in the hotel now where I've updated all this. We are leaving tomorrow for Florence, but will be stopping the Chamioux valley along the way for the night.
katekerin says:
I remember the first time I went to Notre Dame, so I can understand your excitement. But living in the 6th arrond. and trying to attend masses there on a regular basis, I find the tourists' cameras during mass a little distracting and bizarre. Did that detract from your own spiritual experience at all?

I find it a major distraction myself and have to disagree with your comment about Notre Dame being an ideal place to attend mass.
Posted on: Jul 10, 2007
brett72 says:
Sounds like you did Paris justice. I am glad it is going well, and I look forward to hearing about Italy.
Posted on: May 29, 2007
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Church at Notre Dame
Church at Notre Dame
Notre Dame Mass
Notre Dame Mass
Centre Pompidou!
Centre Pompidou!
Random church.
Random church.
Grand Arche in La Defense
Grand Arche in La Defense
So beautiful...
So beautiful...
Sparkles!
Sparkles!
Ahhhh....
Ahhhh....
Ohhh....
Ohhh....
At the top- dont judge, it was wi…
At the top- don't judge, it was w…
Paris
photo by: Sweetski