Sunday, May 3, 2009

Paris Jour 5

Our fifth day in Paris was Sunday, so we started out hopping on the Metro to go to church.

The metro was usually really busy and crowded, but on Sunday it was pretty empty. We were glad to have a seat together!

We found the address okay, but were a little dismayed to find a door with no handle on it. It wouldn't open... there was a box where you could key in a code or buzz (we thought) so we pushed the button a few times and waited... we heard voices and footsteps... and waited some more and buzzed again... but no luck. No one opened the door for us. It was a strange feeling to want to go to church and not be able to get in. Finally another member came down the street and pushed the button and opened the door (all it took was a little coordination... and the knowledge that pushing the button WOULD open the door) so we snuck in behind.

It opened up into a big courtyard and we could see many members and cars parked, so we figured we could go on in. We found lots of missionaries and members and visitors from all parts of the world. The meeting was in French, but they had headsets for translation into various languages. We didn't get there early enough to snag one of the English headsets, but between our knowledge of Spanish and English we caught a few words here and there. We recognized the hymns from the titles and the music ("Seigneur je te suivrai" (Lord I Would Follow Thee) was the opening song and "Viens et suis-moi!" (Come Follow Me) for the Sacrament hymn). Then they had a combination meeting with talks slash testimony meeting. The speaker said several words that I recognized like Pere Celeste (padre celestial-Heavenly Father) and Livro de Mormon (Book of Mormon) and then I think he spoke about the story of the loaves and fishes (I heard 2 poisson (fish) and 5 pain (bread)) which was significant to me because the other Sunday I spent in Paris (in 2005) we discussed this miracle as well. We were in the Cathedral of the Madeleine and my dad offered a new interpretation to that miracle, which I don't think diminishes the miraculousness of it at all. He said that he believes that baskets were passed around, that started with 5 loaves and 2 fishes. People who needed took and ate while those who had extra added their contribution to the basket. The miracle is that as Christ was teaching he was able to feed such a large group with only 5 loaves and 2 fishes--but in order to bring the miracle to pass, his followers were required to give what they had. I like thinking of it that way, that for Christ to do His work, we must do our work and give all that we have.

After his talk they opened it up for testimonies. A sister from Russia (who was currently living in the Netherlands and visiting France) shared hers in English (and it was then translated to French) so we were glad to understand her. She was so earnest and genuine and she said so many great things. I jotted down a few of her choice phrases that I'm sure won't mean a lot to you, but they touched me that Sunday and still bring a smile to my face:

"And now I know and you know and there are millions of people on earth who know."

"I've been to churches everywhere and the most fabulous thing--we preach of the same Christ everywhere."

"...and it all started in the middle of nowhere in America."

"...our favorite loving brother Jesus Christ."

We closed the meeting by singing a hymn that was more popular in Chile than I've seen here in the states, "O Toi, Verite!" (O Say What is Truth).

We were glad that we went to church!

I think French is so beautiful, and I like the way the name of the church looks in any language, but particularly in French. (Side note: could my hair look any poofier?)

The church building is very close to the Pompidou Center which is a very unique building (and it houses a museum). All of the pipes are color-coded for their function (i.e. blue is for water pipes, green is for the cooling system, etc.) and are on the outside of the building. It's a very interesting concept!

There was a pool (or fountain of sorts?) with moving sculptures. We thought our kiddos really would have liked these works of art.

There was a street artist who spent some time gathering a crowd and spun his canvas around on a tripod, making all of us feel very intrigued with what he was about to do.

He started painting with various shades of white, and it became obvious that he was doing a portrait of a man. Pretty early on I turned to Ryan and said, "Hey, it's Barack Obama!"

The artist spun the portrait...

...and revealed that I was right. He drew big applause for the final product. It was pretty neat to see him do something so accurate so quickly and upside down nonetheless.

After going back to the hotel to change our clothes we made our way to the Basilique du Sacre Couer (Sacred Heart Basilica). I think it's such a neat building on the outside, and the inside is amazing (but they don't allow photography inside) with incredibly detailed mosaic works of art.

There are a lot of steps going up to the building or you can bypass the stairs and ride on the "funiculaire" which is like a hillside elevator (they had these in Valparaiso, Chile but they were much older and called ascensors). We decided to give the funiculaire a try.

We rode up in a large car (sort of like riding in a tram) and got to the top without breathing heavy--which we surely would have been had we climbed all the stairs.

There were more street performers there and it was much more crowded than my visit in 2005.

The view of the city was pretty incredible... you can see it was a little bit misty outside. We toured the inside and were amazed at the tile work. I wish we could have taken photos!

Around the corner from the Sacre Couer is an area called Montmartre and there are all sorts of shops and restaurants and cafes. It was busy with tourists and locals shopping and eating.

Ryan actually found a geocache there! (See this website if you want to know more about geocaching:

We went into an art gallery and kind of laughed at this painting because we hadn't eaten any vegetables since the salad on the plane ride. It wasn't enough to motivate us to actually EAT vegetables, just enough to make us chuckle softly to ourselves.

You can see how many people are there, milling about, shopping, and enjoying the atmosphere.

There were rows and rows of artists, many of whom were sketching people from the street. It was an amazing sight!

We stopped at a creperie for lunch and loved watching the guy make them. I'd love to get my hands on an industrial crepe maker like this!

He used a wooden spreader to make them thin and even all the way around. He didn't mess up on any of them!

Ryan got jambon et fromage (ham and cheese) and I got sucre et burre (sugar and butter). Both of them were delicious!

We loved this "Le Consulat" shop. I hope Ryan posts some of his pictures from this corner, they turned out really well.

We kept walking and found the wall of love... there are tiles with "I love you" written in many different languages.

Ryan was looking for another geocache but only found little remnants. We had some other tourists take our picture in front of the "second most romantic place in Paris" (next to the Eiffel Tower?). Please take note that I tamed my unruly hair by putting it in a ponytail :).

Next stop: Arc de Triomphe.

This is the view of the 284 steps to the top (from the bottom)...

We made it! This is the view from the top of the stairs and includes Ryan shoe.

I thought this sign was humorous for some reason--we saw "Passage interdit" signs all over the place, which I had loosely translated to mean "No entrance". I loved this translation though "No way!"

Here's Ryan on top of the Arc. I love the tall spikes they have to keep people from falling (or jumping?) off the edge.

There are twelve large roads that lead to the Arc and around it is the biggest roundabout I've ever seen. I don't think I'd love driving there! This is the most famous of the roads leading to the Arc... Champs Elysees. It has lots of high end stores and shops, many of which were closed because it was Sunday.

Ryan's trying to take pictures above the spikes.

There was a good view of the Eiffel Tower from the top.

This sign made me laugh too. I get most of the pictures... no cell phones, no tripods, no smoking, and the last one, no food or drink... but what's the person symbol supposed to mean? No underwear? No people allowed? What the?

We walked down to the bottom and started walking down Champs Elysees--we found the restaurant we were looking for, just off of the main road. Kristen (my sister-in-law) recommended this place for their chocolate mousse. Since we had fairly recently had eaten delicious crepes, we decided to order dessert only (no reason to break our no-veggies streak).

One of my favorite desserts is Creme Brulee, so that was one of our choices.

We couldn't NOT order chocolate mousse, since that's the whole reason we went there! It should be noted that neither of these desserts are among Ryan's favorites, but he knew that they were mine, so he indulged me and we ordered what I wanted to. I'm not sure he enjoyed them as much as I did...

...but if it had been socially acceptable in an any form or manner I would have buried my face in the dishes and licked out every last drop, or at the very least scraped what I could with my fingers. I decided that it wouldn't be very polite... so I sadly left these little morsels of heaven in the dishes. Both of them were so delicious and rich and filling!

With full tummies we continued walking down Champs Elysees and found this beautiful flower bed.

I was so impressed with the colors--it smelled so good there too.

I liked this view with the trees that lined the street in the background.

We kept walking until we got to the Grand Palais. It's a beautiful building! There was an Andy Warhol exhibit there that I was mildly interested in going to, but decided against.

I liked this flower bed too--the bushes were trimmed with exactness.

This is another view of the Grand Palais. You can tell it is immense!

We made it to our destination: Pont Alexandre. There are four pillars with gold statues on top of them and it has a beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower. I took lots of photos (although I'm SURE Ryan took more :)) so just scroll to the bottom if you don't want to look.

There were such neat lamps there.

I love this view of the Eiffel Tower and the lamp.

This was a pretty view of one of the pillars with the sunlight coming right onto it.

I love that the bridge had an ornate stone saying what it was... "Pont Alexandre III."

There were all sorts of magical colors with the sunset.

Here's another pillar (or maybe the same one?) with great sunset sky coloring.

I think this is the same view of the Tower and lamp post, just with different coloring in the sky, and perhaps a slightly different angle.

I love this view of the Seine (which Pont Alexandre spans) with boats and the other bridge.

There was a big spider web on the bridge right by where I was standing. I don't love spiders in any way, but I thought the web with the lighted Eiffel Tower in the back was intriguing.

After much picture taking, we made our way back to our hotel and realized that we didn't have any bread to eat. All of the boulangeries were closed, but we found a Lebanese restaurant that was just closing... we asked if they had any bread to sell and they said "Yes!" and brought out this flat bread. We were pretty desperate, so we went for it. It wasn't bad... but it certainly wasn't the caliber of the baguettes we'd become accustomed too :). La Vache Qui Rit cheese made it tasty.

Stay tuned for day 6....


Linn said...

BEAUTIFUL pictures!

Cheristy said...

Love all the pictures. Me and the kids have enjoyed looking at them. McKenna and Asher liked the Catacomb pictures. I liked the double decker Eclair. Yum!

Sara White said...

Thanks for sharing your vacation. I am glad that you guys had such a wonderful time! It will be something that you will remember for ever!

Janene said...

oh, lisa. I love these pictures! The creme brulee, the Kiss statue, the sunsets! I'm so glad you had a mahhhhvelous time!