Wednesday, May 16, 2012

May 16, 2012 - Day 9 - Notre Dame and the Louvre

May 16, 2012
Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris

Rose window in N Dame
The day began a bit chaotically when we discovered that our bus could not get to the hotel on time due to traffic, so we learned at the last minute that we would be taking the Metro again that day. After arriving at Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris, the choir had a quick tour of the massive structure and viewed the beautiful and impressive stained glass "rose" windows. The group was led down a "secret" passageway to the basement of the church, where there was a choir room with a piano and chairs! There was a basic "toilette" which has become a rare commodity in France, we've learned. The choir was led up to the main sanctuary, where our liaison at the church stopped tourists so we could pass and then announced that there be silence as we filed on to the steps. We sang a 30 minute program and while our small choir could not fill the entire cathedral with sound like a choir of 150-200, we sang well and happy with the performance. The aunt of Sydney Guiallaume (the composer commissioned to write "La Providence" for the SMWC Madrigals this spring) attended the concert and when the choir sang "La Providence", she called Sydney and he listened to the performance, LIVE, from his home in Los Angeles. Very wonderful connection and meaningful for both Sydney, Michael, and the singers and their families.
Michael meets Sydney's Aunt

"La Providence" has touched so many in such little time
Following the performance, the group dispersed for 5 hours of free time and a majority headed to the Eiffel Tower which is truly impressive up close. Some headed to view the L'Arc de Triomphe, others shopped, while others headed to the Place de la Concorde and Jardin des Tuilleries (best ice cream ever), or the Musee de L'Orangerie to see the Impressionism Exhibit. This exhibit includes works by Renoir, Monet (the Water Lilies!), Matisse, Edward Munch, Degas, Cezanne, Picasso, and many more. It also included Debussy as the focus of some artwork, as well as some of his original penned compositions such as La Mer. All for just 7.50 Euros (children free)! Several people saw photo shoots going on throughout the city, with many spotting the same model in a strapless gown hovering on the edge of a bridge over the Seine River for some shots, as well as other locations. A few saw a photo shoot in the Jardin des Tuilleries as well. Shopping along the Seine was the choice of the day, and for others it was stopping to eat food at a stand near the Eiffel Tower (where they appear to know how to make hot dogs taste like a gourmet meal).

Eiffel Tower
The group met up again to tour the Musee du Louvre, which someone said would take months to go through and see everything available, for just a couple of hours. The group split into two smaller groups and Etienne took one, and a woman tour guide took the second group. Etienne demonstrated his amazing knowledge base yet again, describing everything from the Venus De Milo to the medieval foundations beneath the Louvre, as well as paintings and relics over a span of 2,000 years. Too much to truly comprehend, but the sheer expansiveness and detail in each room/area is enough to leave an impression. That and the fact that we were passing pieces by Donatello (1386-1466), a sphinx, on our way to other things! We had all been told about how big the Louvre is, but until you see it in person, it is difficult to comprehend its imposing size.

Some students on balcony of Paris hotel
We then returned to the hotel (slow going because of a holiday weekend in Paris and the traffic was extreme) and had dinner on our own. Many have discovered a wonderful little Chinese restaurant right next door and others headed for Italian food. Go figure--head to Paris for some Chinese and Italian food.

Ah, the Metro
Everyone was exhausted and sore from walking so much, so earlier bedtimes seem to abound. Tomorrow is our final performance at a mass at Saint Louis en Ile Church and then a tour of Versailles, followed by the farewell dinner and cruise on the River Seine. We are hoping for no rain!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome. Someone should have worn a pedometer to see how many steps/miles you walked!!!
    Thanks for the post!
    Julie Neyer