Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Paris Beauty

I'm a reluctant tourist and thought nothing of hanging out in the Charles de Gualle airport during our eight-hour layover in Paris. I had my Kindle and they have good coffee. Tayta had other ideas, which she put into action via some internet searching and Facebook messaging the morning that we traveled. Dear Husband encouraged these plans by going to the money-changer and buying enough Euros to get us into Paris by train.
And so we enjoyed a Paris morning full of beauty.

We arrived at the airport at about 5 o'clock am after a red-eye flight from Amman, and arrived in Paris, the city, at about 7:30 am. The weather was beautiful: sunny and not too warm, and we were traveling light--no carry-ons to contend with. This is notable for us. Tayta even thought ahead for breakfast and so we enjoyed her homemade banana-walnut-chocolate-chip muffins in front of Notre Dame cathedral. And for the next three hours we enjoyed as much enduring Parisian beauty as we could.

We enjoyed Notre Dame from every angle, taking in its complete form.

And then we enjoyed the details...

We found more enduring beauty inside the cathedral. I had so many ponderings about the role of beauty in our places of worship as I enjoyed the magnificence of the cathedral's interior.

On our flight from Paris to Chicago, Tayta chose to watch a documentary on the Georgian-born French sculptor Goudji, who, it turns out, created a baptismal found and a candlestick which now reside in the Notre Dame cathedral. The theme of beauty continued and Tayta recorded this quote from one of the commentators in the documentary:

The basis of the Christian liturgy, and not only the Catholic liturgy, is beauty. we approach the Lord through beauty; not just the beauty of the text, but the beauty of gestures, the beauty of the objects we use. Of course there are the people who say, "but that money could have been used to do this...why Lord, waste this perfume on your feet?" It's Judas who says that. It's always the same question: Why? But nothing is too beautiful for God.

Happy and content to be surrounded by so much beauty, and looking forward to this:

We emptied our pockets of our last euros to buy a cappuccino for me and a hot chocolate for Tayta. 

The hot chocolate was served as a layer of  melted chocolate, decoratively arranged in the cup into which Tayta poured hot milk.

We had a little more time to walk-about after coffee, so we ambled slowly along the river Seine.

Art quilt inspiration?

With just about 30 minutes until we needed to head for the train station to catch our train back to the airport, we explored a few nearby blocks and marveled at the beautiful architecture on every corner. I've not yet had time to investigate as to what famous (I assume as other tourist-types were taking pictures) buildings we had the privilege of beholding.

Tayta has decided she would like to return to Paris. We'd both like to visit the Louvre, but that will require a planned, longer layover.  Another encouragement to return was the opportunity Tayta had to use her French. At one Parisian information center the woman spoke no English and so Tayta was had to ask for and receive directions in French. She understood and was understood. I was just impressed (Thank you, Carol!)


EuroMom said...

Beautiful photography! So glad you ventured into town. Was this your first time in my favorite city?

And how in the world did you get that photo of Notre Dame with no one in the chairs? It is always packed when I've been there!

Quotidian Life said...

Lorri, this was my first visit to Paris (outside the airport that is!) and now I'd like to go back.

We were at Notre Dame about 7:30am. Maybe that's the secret to finding an empty cathedral.

Lori said...

That bit about beauty and worship...
my soul yearns for it.

Woman of the House said...

Wow, what breathtaking beauty! I'm so glad you left the airport just so you could share these photos with us. The quote about beauty is so true and is exactly why I'm glad we worship in a liturgical tradition. Your photos are enough to inspire worship in me. I can't imagine what being there would be like!