That One Time in Paris

“To my mind, a picture should be something
pleasant, cheerful, and pretty, yes pretty!
There are too many unpleasant things in life as it is
without creating still more of them.”

-Pierre-Auguste Renoir

*Disclaimer: the order of events presented here is not promised*
[That is why I need to learn to write soon after going somewhere.]

The week before Holy Week was Parents’ Week. My parents weren’t able to come. To end Parents’ Week, we were given a half day of classes on Thursday and no classes on Friday, so we had a three and a half day weekend. My friends and I decided that we were going to Paris, since we weren’t going to be able to go to Paris during our 10-day. We figured out our trains, made some reservations, and then, on Thursday afternoon, we left for Paris. We passed through Munich with a layover and then went on to Paris on an overnight train.

When we got into Paris, we got our breakfast and then wandered around for a little while. 100_1771We went by Notre Dame to check out the outside, but then moved on because we knew we would be back later. One of my friends was interested in seeing the Bastille. Since we had time, we headed there. When we got there, we found out it basically just an obelisk. It was kind of disappointing, but oh well. After wandering for a little while, we got ourselves baguettes for lunch. We found a little park in which to sit and have lunch. The weather was perfect to do that. After lunch, we went back to Notre Dame for the Veneration of the Crown of Thorns.

We weren’t exactly sure what to expect from the Veneration, but we were quite excited because it was the Crown of Thorns. When we got there, we looked around for a little bit and then took our seats. The Veneration was structured as a prayer serves, with a procession, songs, readings, and a homily. At one point, I saw one of the priests get the Crown, which was set on a pillow, and brought it toward the congregation. I then saw ushers leading people to the Crown. We were going to have the opportunity to kiss the Crown! It took a while, but, once we got up to go up, I got excited. When we got up there, I saw that the Crown was in a glass casing (shaped like a crown) and covered with gold except for one place at the bottom – that is where we venerated the Crown.

Though I didn’t react as strongly as I expected, I was truly humbled as Christ’s crucifixion continued to become more real, just as when I saw the pillar on which Christ was scourged. Though the thorns were not on the Crown, I still beheld the earthly crown that Christ was given and that we are all called to wear. He accepted that Crown in pure humility. We should be able to do the same. Christ told us that we would be persecuted, condemned, and hated because the world did so to Him first. Can we accept…can I accept that Crown and the Cross that Christ bore? That’s a question I must ask myself everyday.

After the Veneration, we made our way to our hostel to check-in. We got lost, but eventually made it there. We settled in and then made our way toward the Louvre. Maps and street signs led us quite astray, bringing us to some sort of mall. We figured that, since we were there, we would get dinner. We all found some food and then eventually found the actual Louvre. We looked at some paintings there and then, because we were coming back the next day and it was closing, we made our way back to the hostel for the night.

The next morning, we had a very small and simple breakfast provided by our hostel. 100_1819Then, our plan was to rent bikes to ride around Paris, so we could see a lot, but none of our cards were working with the machine. So, we had to change our plans. We gradually made our way to the Eiffel Tower, walking. Unbeknownst to us, the Eiffel Tower is quite far from everything else. It took us a while to get there. Once there, we looked at it, took some pictures, and took a rest. After the Eiffel Tower, we made our way, slowly, to the Louvre. We found a supermarket at which to get lunch (baguette and Pringles for me) before going back into the Louvre.

We saw the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa, which seem to be arbitrarily popular. Maybe they are famous for particular reasons, but it never seems like people know. They want to see them because they are ‘famous,’ which is a poor reason to 100_1829do something. With many popular things, the fact that objects are popular does draw me to them, though in the hopes that I could understand their popularity. Also, as I looked at more and more sculptures and paintings, I realized that art museums can be dangerous places for works of art. When you put many different works of art together, they often detract from one another. Pieces can have similar styles, themes, subjects, etc., making certain beautiful works of art seem pointless, meaningless, or just not beautiful. In search of certain works, others are neglected. Art is usually an experience of beauty. While art museums bring about many experiences of beauty, so many works of art are neglected and detracted from, a sad reality perpetuated by the presence of art museums with thousands, hundreds of thousands, even millions of works of art.

After the Louvre, we made our way to the train station, by metro this time. We hung out there for a while, got some dinner from a little store in the station, and then got on our overnight train. Luckily, we ended up getting our own compartment, so it was slightly more comfortable. We eventually made our way back to Gaming to end a wonderful weekend on travel.

“Art is the lie that enables us
to realize the truth.”

-Pablo Picasso

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Duc In Altum

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: What I Learned in Austria Is… | Eärendil Star

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