Bands of Colored Light OR Substantial Piles of Crap--Take Your Pick

We went to mass at Notre Dame today. On our way there, coming out of the metro station, there was a big line of cars, tons of police, very excited people lining the street. Obama, of course. We arrived just in time to see him drive by. People in France loooovvvveee Obama. Love him. They find out you're American and they want to discuss. And while I don't loathe him, and I confess I did vote for him, I'm increasingly disturbed by the hero-worship I see with this guy. Anyway, I must say that to be so close to the president, and by accident, was sort of cool for about ten seconds. Sam was mostly just worried we'd be late for mass.

Mass was lovely. Different than LDS services, but lovely. I liked the movement, the interaction, the call and answer, the music, the incense, the gorgeous, gorgeous setting (see below). Sam was moved, felt connected to it. And I like to see him feel connected to it.

Afterwards, and after a brilliant lunch in a vegetarian place near Notre Dame, we went here, to Saint Chapelle. Sitting in the church, we talked about our faith(s) in God, what it meant that they were different, how they were similar, etc. It was a lovely, quiet, peaceful, hopeful conversation. The whole church is basically stained glass, and as clouds passed outside, the light inside changed from glowing to muted and back to glowing. We watched bands of colored light move on the stone windowsills as we whispered in each other's ears.

After a failed attempt at going to the catacombs, we decided to dash to the Louvre after all. We had no expectations, just thought we'd check it out. And we loved it. Loved. It. It was free day, so it was crazy-crowded, but it didn't seem to matter. Sam fell hard for several pieces. I was too busy squealing over old favorites from my art history book, and man oh man were there a lot of them to squeal over. We bought about four million postcards and plan to buy dollar store frames and put them all over the house.

Here's an odd thing. For all the loveliness of the day, the theme in Paris appears to have been defecation. We kept smelling urine and feces, over and over and over again. In the trains, on the street, in the churches, in museums. The only bad part about mass was that these British teenage boys in front of us smelled so badly of urine that I thought I would pass out. Wow, it was bad. Aside from the smell, I must have seen at least three substantial piles of crap--literally--on the street. Why so much ick, I ask? Was it us? Gosh, I hope not. We certainly didn't make the piles on the street.

Anyway, so we're in the Louvre, and we figure that since we're in a gallery close to Mona Lisa, we might as well stop by and see her, say hello. And we're going into her gallery, and we pass, again, a very very bad stink. And Sam says, earnestly, "The people are pooping their pants and not leaving. Why don't they go home when they poop their pants?" Does that seem funny? Maybe it doesn't seem as funny as it was, and generally I'm not into the potty humor, but it was seriously just the weirdest day smell-wise, and I couldn't stop laughing. So there I was, in front of Mona trying to pay my respects with about 400 other people snapping her picture with their iphones, and I'm giggling about a feces joke. It was very silly.

Here is a picture of me in front of the Louvre. It was a rainy, yet sunny day.

We walked back up to the Latin Quarter where I had a very strange, but very tasty vegetable pate and an apricot tart.

This was the day. Walking and laughing and talking with Sam. In truth, we had kind of a rough time adjusting to being here. A bit of jetlag, probably. And just not being on the same schedule because I got here a day early. So we were a bit cranky with each other for a few days. Today, it seems to have clicked. I love this city, especially when it's been raining just a little, so it looks like this.


Amara said…
yum, and yuck. Study in contrasts sounds like. I heard Germany and Switzerland are very clean. Isn't it strange the different standards in different countries? Tia wanted to know what a vegetable pate is. I tried to explain, and she said "like guacamole?" I thought that was funny.
Kira said…
Keaton would love the potty jokes, trust me. He also would have been fascinated with poo in the street, that is what you get with 3 year old boys. There is a couple in our ward that always arives early and gets a great seat. We were pretty thrilled when we were new in the ward and the seat behind them was open. Then we realized why the seat behind them is ALWAYS open :)
Anonymous said…
Ok, so I've been meaning to ask this, and I think this is the perfect post to comment/ask it on. I think you should ask someone how they would say "Yes you may go wee wee" I think I would laugh at people saying 'yes' over there. Sounds like you guys are having fun. I thought Sam's poop in the pants joke was funny.
eden said…
every time i hear/think about paris i think of sabrina which (you probably know) is maybe my absolute favorite movie. out of all movies ever made. i'm so much loving your experience right now. it's like a dream. a beautiful dream.
Mike and Emily said…
I love Sainte-Chapelle. Every time I teach it I want to fly there and sit in her belly. You going will have to be enough for me for now. I love hearing your tales, keep telling.
belann said…
Just wondering still when those piles would happen. Night? Morning? Mid-afternoon? Wouldn't there be people around all the time? And would they care? It takes a long time to get through the Louvre, and perhaps it was so intense they couldn't leave. Overall, the sights, if not the smells of Paris seem wonderful.
Terry Earley said…
So glad you got to Saint Chapelle. It was an awe inspiring experience for us. Hard to imagine the devoted work that went into this place. So very beautiful.

I also remember that we were told that when they tried to clean the outside, the colors all washed out, so left them dirty for additional filtering. --But maybe that was Notre Dame.
k. double-u. said…
I think those are the perfect conditions under which one could see the Mona Lisa. You'll definitely remember her better than you would have otherwise.

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