Sunday, Sept 21, 14 – Day Eleven – St. Sulpice and Tour Montparnasse

I had a plan to go to Sunday Mass at St Sulpice and stay for the organ concert, then go up to the organ loft to meet the organist and take photos of the 6500 plus pipes in this world famous pipe organ. Then Jeff and I planned to go to Sacre Coeur in the afternoon and have a picnic on the Cathedral Steps and watch the sunset over Paris. Jeff woke up with a very sore throat and upper respiratory infection and the weather looked very dodgy for a picnic as it was threatening rain. So we scarpped the plan for Sacre Coeur and Jeff decided to stay in bed and rest. I struck out for St. Sulpice on the metro alone! I even switched lines and I got off at the right Metro stop. I was pretty impressed with myself. Then I spent an hour trying to find St. Sulpice, even though it is only a block and half from the St Germaine des Pres metro stop where I got off. The Latin Quarter of Paris is a warren of curving little lanes and streets going up and down hill, so it is very easy to get lost every time you leave a main road. After consulting my map for the fourth time, I finally realized it was one block from a main street called Rue Bonaparte and found my way there. I did see while I was on Rue Bonaparte, in the distance Tour Montparnasse, Paris’s one true skyscraper. You can go to the top and see the whole city. I decided I could do that in the afternoon if the rain held off.

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St. Sulpice, like so many buildings in Paris is truly huge. It is a rather somber looking baroque period building. However, inside it seemed warm and inviting despite the overwhelming size.

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There are chapels that run along both the north and south walls and continue around behind the altar on the east wall. The French mass was very beautiful, with a great entrance procession. There was an officiating priest, two assistant priests, a deacon, two altar servers and a music director. The music director led the choir and cantored the service. There was a lot of incense, many readings and of course the organ music. I am not really a fan of pipe organ music, but it was truly something to hear this organ, especially the high delicate notes it is able to emit. When the mass was over, the pipe organ concert began. I opted to wander the chapels while the concert was going on.

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This church is blessed to have two Delicroix murals in one of the chapels. A few of the chapels are not in the best of repair, with peeling paint and damaged plaster. And I noticed while mass was going on, a few pigeons flying around and walking the high ledges close to the ceiling. I could see some of the windows have small holes. This prompted me to donate to their building fund. I cannot even imagine how much money it takes to maintain a building of this size.

In the end I opted not to climb to the organ loft and meet the organist and take pictures of the pipes. My knees were sore from the the many stairs in the metro and my long walk looking for the church before mass. I took some pictures of the inside of The building and then headed back to Rue Bonaparte to catch a bus.

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I arrived at the Monparnasse tower after only a few bus stops. I paid my €14.5 and waited in the elevator line. The elevator has a timer in it and it takes a mere 43 seconds to go from the ground to the 55th where the enclosed observation area is. The 360 degree view truly took my breath away. I was there for a couple of minutes when it started to pour rain, almost totally obscuring the view of the city. Not one to give up easily, I went to the gift shop and took my time buying postcards, a miniature Tour Eiffel, a tin set of Paris stickers for my art journaling and a lovely souvenir Paris tin, filled with cookies. I will use that tin to hold my mini stamp pads for my art journal travel kit, once I enjoy the cookies. Then I went to the cafe for a chicken baguette and coca light. By the time I finished lunch the weather cleared. I climbed the 6 flights of stairs to the outside observation deck and was able to enjoy seeing the whole city and take some photos.

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I was able to get some really great shoots of the Tour Eiffel. We have not been there yet, so this was pretty cool.

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I was able to take pictures of some important landmarks, from top left, righ, lower left and right – the Pantheon which is only two blocks form our hotel. The dome is covered with a cloth with peoples faces on it, as they are restoring it at this time, the Grand Palace, Sacre Coeur, and Invalades.

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Some various buildings around the city.

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More city scapes.

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Pere Lachaise Cemetery, where many famous people are buried; Oscar Wilde, Sarah Bernhardt, Chopin, Delacroix, Heloise, Proust, Gertrude Stein and of course the Doors Jim Morrison. I was amazed to see the acres and acres of tombstones and realized I would not be able to walk to various burial sites there as I originally had planned.

I returned to the hotel by 3 metros and was very tired. i had a long nap and then did some watercolour sketching. Jeff and I went for a late dinner to La Contrescarpe, just up the street from our hotel.

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