Sunday, 23 March 2008
Easter Sunday or career day in Paris
Okay, it wasn't an original idea, Notre Dame on Easter Sunday. But with our visiting family we made the Pilgrimmage, hopping on the RER and popping out at the Notre Dame. We saw a huge crowd out front, which I assumed was just passing tourist groups. It turns out that the big crowd all had the same idea, "hey let's do Notre Dame for Easter," they WERE all waiting in line to get in. A closer look revealed that there were actually two lines, one for mass and one to just visit. So when the time came, we smugly walked toward the front and were practically carried in a wave of pushing to the entrance doors.
The 11:30 mass began at 11:45 which is never good with four kids. My sister-in-law smartly snatched up the first two seats she saw. I tried to find more, but the church filled up in a matter of a few minutes. The number of people was slightly disturbing. Even the outer rim which is usually tourists only was thick with people wanting to participate in the service. You better believe that the collection baskets also made it to this outer level. The mass followed the usual international format, songs in Latin and French, readings in English, French and German and prayers in all the above plus Spanish. The choir sounded beautiful, and the organ music was ominous. We thought it would take days to get communion, but it turned out that they launched out a number of communion distributors, so before we knew it, there was someone seven feet away passing out communion which Q said was his favorite host so far in France.
We spent time in the park next to Notre Dame where the kids had a good time playing together and seeing the "invisible man". We also spotted a choir girl having a smoke between masses. It looked hilarious, her innocent look with the blue choir robe against the backdrop of the Notre DAme and the smoke going to and fro furiously from her lips.
We then headed to the Pompidou Center where more street performers entertained us. Come to think of it, the invisible man wasn't really a performer, as he just sat there. Easy money. But silver man and the fortune teller at Pompidou worked a little harder for their money, doing little sprite like dances or translating fortunes into several languages.
Later, after a lively Easter dinner with much of Sean's family, the kids took it to the streets to see if they could make a few Euros entertaining people. Of course our neighborhood is kind of quiet, but between the diablo juggling and harmonica playing (and the impish look of the children), they managed to make 2 and a half Euros in a matter of minutes. This is the kind of thing that might have us be the proud parents of a magician and circus geek in the next decade.
A great day in all, and the kids were happy that the French "Easter bells" had hidden eggs about the house. Easter in France was pretty cool after all.