Corrie and I woke up early and enjoyed our last day on a Sunday stroll in Paris. We leave tomorrow at o’dark thirty as my husband and I have called super early mornings since our Navy days. Lisa was snug as a bug in bed enjoying a little extra sleep since she was spending the day with gal pal Catherine while Corrie and I head off to Notre Dame and Île Saint-Louis.
The comparisons between Sacre Coeur (see my earlier blog for a description) and Notre Dame are limited. Both are impressive in magnitude with incredible architectural feats, and both have beautiful stained glass mosaics, but that is where the similarities end.
Notre Dame is the more somber of the two with its gothic figures watching your every move. It’s serious, dark and very haunting. I would not say haunting in a scary way; I would say haunting in a way where your mind focuses intensely on the sights, sounds and smells so much that you forget that other people are around. Your thoughts conjure up images of the mysteries that lie beneath the floors and behind the private walls. The mystique of this famous church is solidified when you hear the organs play during mass and listen to the Gregorian hymns being sung by its parishioners while smelling the same incense burning that ties you to all the people who have entered through these doors for hundreds of years. We lit candles in this holy place for our private intentions hoping that all the saints are looking over us and interceding on our behalf!
When in a French speaking place, I always think of Miss Johnson my French teacher at Notre Dame Academy who taught us to pray in French beginning with the sign of the cross: Un nom du Père, du fils, et du Saint Esprit Amen. Thank you Miss Johnson for giving me the ability to pray all over the world!
Sundays are great days to spend in Paris strolling from Notre Dame over one of the bridges to Île Saint-Louis which is a naturally shaped island in the middle of the Seine River. There is one main street down the middle called Rue St. Louis which has a few shops, restaurants, cafes and ice cream parlors.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for Berthillon ice cream! Maison Berthillon has been serving the best ice cream and sorbets in Europe since 1954 from its wonderful location at 31, Rue St Louis en l’Isle, 75004. They have a wonderful tea room where you can sit and sample all their delicious treats. They also sell some fabulous sweets such as flavored honey, fruity lollipops and decadent chocolate sauce which Corrie and I stocked up on for gifts to bring back home. Have I used the word amazing too much in my blog? Probably, but I have to use it again here folks because Berthillon is just amazing!!!