We started with a guided tour of Notre Dame. It is a beautiful church that took many years to build, and yet I can’t pick out anything to report. In fact, Notre Dame went unused for years, forgotten and beginning to crumble until Victor Hugo wrote his “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” and Paris returned their attention to it. For me, the artwork, architecture and the like make it remarkable building, and yet it falls short for me when there is no liturgy there.
From there we went to Montmartre, the Mount of the martyr. The martyr they are talking about is St. Dennis, patron of France. Dennis was decapitated/martyred there protecting Paris from the Roman troops. St. Dennis is portrayed in Paris as carrying his head, because he is said to have carried his head several miles to the place where his church was built.
Struggling artists often lived there because of inexpensive housing, such as Van Gogh, Lautrec and Renoir in their early years. Today it is cost prohibitive for artists to live there, but many find their way up there to display their art for tourists. Montmartre has commanding views of Paris. It is also known for the white Basilica that can be seen in many parts of Paris, Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart).
Today was the feast of our diocesan patron, St. Vincent de Paul. It was an interesting alignment of circumstances that we would be here, in the city where St. Vincent ministered and a few miles where his body lies and is venerated, at a basically that shares the name of our cathedral.
This was a free day for the group, so after Mass we came down the mountain, each to their own. See my photos below of my time at the museum d’Orsay.