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apres la soupe

Even in a stupor, I feel this city to my core and am fed. This afternoon, I just walked around with my foggy head – sat in the Jardin du Luxembourg, packed of course, walked down the Boulevard St. Michel, ditto, and because my daughter had asked me to say hello to Notre Dame for her, I went in and did so. This time, though the facade was as overwhelmingly beautiful as ever, I was also moved to tears inside. It’s so crowded, people flashing pictures everywhere and you can buy coins and medals and God knows what – in fact, according to them, God DOES know what.

But today, even that couldn’t diminish the grandeur of the place. I saw that they were dedicating today’s vespers to honour the Jews massacred this morning in Toulouse and other victims of racist attacks, and decided to come back for the service. I popped out for more wandering, went over to Shakespeare and Company which is a fabulous bookstore if you can ever see the books through the gawkers, and went back for the service.

The head priest – he had more gold on his costume than the others – mentioned the death of innocents, and then vespers proceeded, with lots of repetitious chanting, swinging of incense, musical interludes for the organist, more chanting – about the glory of God and the love of Jesus. This did not seem to mesh with today’s message. I left after an hour. Even in Notre Dame Cathedral, I confess that the rituals of the Catholic church do not inspire any kind of devotional feeling in me. Liked the incense, though. Loved the building and the windows.
More walking, the bus home, and dinner at a local bistro, just a glass of Cotes de Rhone (I asked for a glass of wine and the menu he showed me for that was two pages long) and a creamy soup, served with slivers of cheese and grilled bread. Oh mon dieu, so simple, so delicous. I watched Paris going home for the evening, their baguettes tucked under their arms, and wondered, as we all do, how a gastronomy based upon quantities of bread and cheese has continued to produce these stylish, slender people. One of the great mysteries of life.
Soon – it’s 7.30, so LATE – I can go to bed! What joy.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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