Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May 15, 2012 --Paris!

After a breakfast of cheeses, breads (there are always cheeses and breads!), yogurts, eggs, juice, and coffee (oh, the wonderful coffee!), everyone climbed on to our new bus with a new bus driver. We miss Dominique, but he could only work 6 straight days by French law, so today was new for everyone. We did have handy trays for every seat this time, but we are human and routine is part of what we need...so most sat in the same seats as they did on the previous bus. Below are some sites of Paris:

Always flowers!

Glad she isn't driving in Paris

Joan of Arc Statue
Fun ads along the streets (note the purple goat)

Moulin Rouge (less glitzy by day)
Etienne provided us with a wonderful overview of Parisian history as we took a bus tour through the city. We passed the building where Voltaire died (it is now a restaurant), saw the restaurant where Hemingway used to always eat (not the same restaurant, of course!), drove by the Paris Opera House, the building where Comédie Française is currently housed (France's oldest theater group founded in 1680), and the Musee du Louvre. We have all heard how large the Louvre Museum is and how you would need days or weeks to see everything...but nothing prepared us for the massive size of the building. 

Louvre Museum (a portion)
We then headed to La Basilique du Sacre Coeur in Montmartre. As we got out of the bus and headed to the tram which would take us up the large hill, it began to get very windy and rained. We headed to lunch in a huddle, umbrellas being pushed to their limit by the rain, and Etienne led us to a quaint restaurant for lunch, with brightly colored stone walls and waiters waiting to take all our umbrellas for us. Here many ate french onion soup for lunch and it was some of the best, if not THE best, they had ever eaten (The cappuccino and hot chocolate drinks were wonderful as well). After lunch the group was free to walk through Sacre Coeur and the area on their own, with warnings of high incidences of pick pockets. In the church, there was silence and reverence....calm and peace. It felt very, very peaceful. Beautiful ceiling art depicting many biblical scenes, as well as statues and many prayer candles lit, made many reflective. 

Window shopping, the Parisian way

Then, it was time to head to Parish de La Madeleine, where the choir was to perform in the afternoon. Amazingly, we were in Paris the same day that the new French President was to be inaugurated! Unfortunately, this impacted our ability to get to the church easily, so we had to abandon the bus on a busy street (with people honking angrily at us), grabbing our change of clothes and music, and head to the nearest Metro. We went underground and raced to the correct train, hoping everyone got on and off easily. After we got off the Metro, we raced up the stairs to the street to find it pouring rain and starting to hail a bit. Some did not have umbrellas (left on the bus), but the wind blew so hard, it didn't matter one way or the other because we ALL got wet. We walked for what seemed a long time (but in reality was likely not far), rather miserable in the rain, wind, and hail..but at the same time joking about the adventure. We arrived for our rehearsal in the church soaked, left valuables with our wonderful companions on the trip NOT singing in the choir, and ended up having a terrific performance. The size of the church could have easily swallowed up the sound of  such a small ensemble, but we were able to fill it, drawing a larger crowd as the concert continued. The alum &nIbsp;tour group came for this concert, the last they will be able to attend via their tour, so the support was wonderful. Pictures were taken and we changed back to street clothes and headed to the hotel to prepare for dinner.

Madrigals following concert at La Madeleine 
Michael Boswell, Director 

Tomorrow we sing in Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris (Notre Dame!) which is very exciting. The choir had to send in recordings in order to be accepted to sing. Then several hours of free time (what to do, what to do...) prior to the Louvre tour and dinner.


  1. What a day! I will never, EVER be able to say, "I got hailed on in France."

  2. Yes! What a day-as they all are. Paris is absolutely beautiful. Everyday is an adventure and a pleasure to share with this group. I feel so lucky to be here