Today many of our group took in the sights of Paris with a morning bus tour. We began in the Montparnasse District, home to the vibrant Parisian intellectual and artistic scene in the early 20th century.
Our next stop was that most famous of churches, Notre Dame Cathedral. The 849-year-old Gothic masterpiece continues to be, literally and figuratively, the heart of Paris.
We then crossed the Seine to stop at the Louvre, home to some of the world’s greatest artistic treasures, and then proceeded down the Champs-Elysees before crossing the river again to visit iconic Eiffel Tower (where my wife, Mary, and I took the obligatory photo opp!)
We ended the tour with a walk to the summit of Montmartre, the highest point in the city, home to the Sacré-Coeur Basilica. (For those not up for the 300 steps, there is a funicular railway to the top that serves 6,000 people a day.)
Consecrated in 1919, Sacré-Coeur is impressive in its own right, but the site also provides the most commanding view of the city. Our tour guide, Antoine, had told us earlier that Paris is a city of some 500 streets, 20 districts and 14 million residents. The view from atop Montmartre really brought home the meaning of those numbers!
The basilica is open around the clock, and apparently the local hotels are accustomed to leaving wakeup calls for guests who want to reach the summit early to watch the sun come up over Paris.
We descended Montmartre, and spent the remainder of the afternoon absorbing the richness of the city around us. We’ll share a final group dinner tonight, and depart tomorrow for the flight home.
Mary and I feel blessed that we were able to be part of this tour. Thank you for following my blog these past two weeks – we hope you have learned more about the history and heritage of the Norbertine order.
I would also like to acknowledge John Watters, of the St. Norbert College communications office, who helped with the editing of the blog. Thanks, John!