Wednesday, August 05, 2009


Good luck finding the Paris Ward if you want to find it. You may have the address, but do you have the skills? In order to get to the chapel, you basically have to crack the Da Vinci code. It’s all secret doors and buzz buttons, but we found it. And though the service was in French, it still felt very international. After the closing prayer everyone started talking, and they were all Americans. So we fit in fine. It was fun to be there, and it’s always nice to be reminded that every ward has noisy babies who toddle up and down the row, so it’s not just Margaret.

After church we went back to church, this time at Notre Dame. It was a beautiful day, which was probably the reason the lines were so long to get in. Lisa and I opted out, though the students, who were listening to the Disney Hunchback soundtrack (busted!) were determined to climb the bell tower. Lisa and I headed to the Pompidou, where she has never been. The things I like about the Pompidou are the strange sounds in the courtyard (gypsy lady on the zither?) the outside escalator, and the view from the top. I love the art inside, but half of it was this exhibition called Angry Women, or I think that’s what it was called. These ladies were angry! They painted themselves screaming and rolling around in pig fat. Upstairs the paintings were a little more recognizable, and far less horrifying. I particularly liked:

Delaunay, Joie de Vivre

Chagall, Verre de Vin

Lisa and I had lunch, and to fulfil French stereotypes, we ate baguettes on a bridge over the Seine. They were delicious, and several pigeons agreed. Then we headed south to Butte-aux-Cailles, a charming little village set on a hill south of Montparnasse. The minute you step off of the metro everything is quiet, and it looks like this:

We stopped for a treat. I kept asking Lisa if her feet were OK – we walked a lot – and she would reply that her feet were great, but might be a bit better if she had a treat. So we got one at a little bakery. Lisa had chocolate flan and I had a rhubarb tart. Then we kept walking, and we saw little streets like this:

We also stopped at a fountain which is supposedly like 1900 feet deep and is reputed to have magical healing powers. There were all these old people there filling up plastic water bottles. Lisa and I each took a swig. I didn’t need a healing, but I felt it might be pre-emptive to the swine flu. We finished our walk in Butte-aux-Cailles by seeing things like this:

Later that evening we had lunch in the Latin Quarter at a little Pizza Restaurante called Pescatore. We both had the meat tray with bread, the ham pizza, and ice cream for dessert. It took an hour to get through all three courses, but we didn’t mind. It tasted fantastic and we had a great conversation. I know not every couple can afford the time and expense of a trip to Paris, without this job I certainly couldn’t; but it’s worth saving for. We know there’s a Visa bill coming, and yet we can’t help but feel that this was worth every penny.

After dinner we crossed the street to the Action Ecole cinema, one of the classic cinema houses Paris is famous for. We watched the 1955 English comedy The Ladykillers with Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers. It was in English with French subtitles. I had never seen it, and it was hilarious. Lisa and I whistled the minuet all the way home on the metro.