We've just returned to the hotel from a glorious dinner on the Eiffel Tower. All I can say is: what happens on the tower, stays on the tower. ;-)
What a difference a week makes! Last Monday, we were negotiating airports on our way to France. Today, we celebrated our final mass of the pilgrimage in the heart of the Champagne region.
From Reims, we rode to Epernay, passing seemingly endless hills of vineyards.
After lunch and a stroll around Epernay, we gathered for a tour and tasting at Moët & Chandon. Since it is the feast of the Nativity of Mary, we raised our glasses and wished her a happy birthday!
This is Veronique, our guide! She and we had a free day on Sunday. Thanks to her advice, the members of our group who decided to visit the Louvre were able to skip the VERY long lines and explore to their hearts' content! Merci, Veronique!
While many were in the museum, I (Cathy) went walking, and I'll post a few photos from around the city.
After Versailles, we rode to the town of Chartres, whose cathedral purports to contain the veil Mary was wearing when she gave birth to Jesus. The cathedral is famous for its labyrinth- a means of prayer by walking though a patterned path into the center (to find God at our center) and then back out into action.
The stained glass windows here are also a reason for many visitors. Beautiful colors and interesting scenes abound!
Yesterday, Versailles was our first stop. What a story of excess! The gardens were beautiful, enormous and delightful to stroll through. There was classical music playing from speakers hidden in the hedges, making me feel rather regal as I sauntered through!
The palace/chateau was so very crowded with tour groups and other visitors, and yet we could still appreciate the abundance of art and extravagance in every room. I mean, if the gates look like the photo above.... Then this bedroom is just to be expected!
Today we visited 3 churches in Paris: Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle and Sacre Coeur. Each was so different in style, and yet unified in the builders' desire to give glory to God in the design and beauty.
At Sacre Coeur, we celebrated mass in the crypt chapel. Spare and dim, with the back wall composed of the stones that support this massive church, the message for today was equally simple yet foundational: Jesus. Today is the optional memorial of St Teresa of Calcutta, and we were reminded of her single hearted focus on Jesus as the source of her strength and abilities.