Sacre bleu! It's the Sacre Coeur!
Greeting from sunny Paris in what was a marvellous day of sun, sun and more sun with a pleasurable twenty something degree day. We are staying in a beautiful cottage hostel, complete with a picturesque picket fence, green lawns and the river Seine running through the backyard, around 30kms from Paris in a town call Poissy. The day began with some breakfast with actual cereal, much to the relief of wheat deprived Aussies. An early bus journey into town was complimented with a brief glimpse of some of the major sites before arriving at the base of Monte Marte. We hiked up the hill to the basilica of Sacre Coeur which provided a stunning view of greater Paris. Sacre Coeur was built under the leadership of the Cardinal Guibert OMI and remained under the supervision of the oblates until 1880 when they were expelled. It was inside this basilica that we celebrated today’s mass with the Wollongong, Maitland and Newcastle diocese pilgrims. We were reminded by Fr Smitty (Paul Smithers) that we should be enchanted by all things large and small while admiring the crypt underneath the basilica.
From there we headed to the bus where we meet the biggest Frenchy we’ve seen so far….. I think his name was Pierre…. (Don’t quote me), who gave us a driving tour of Paris. Sites included the Moulin Rouge, Arc de Triumphe, Champs Elysees, The cathedral of Notre Dame, no tour by Quasimodo unfortunately (it was his day off), and the Eiffel Tower. We scaled the mammoth beast and had a wonderful 360 degree view of Paris. We later visited Rue de Bac where Our Lady appeared to St Catherine Laboure and the home of the miraculous medal. We also visited the chapel of St Vincent de Paul. Thus brining the body count up to five. The louvre was square in our sites as we left the chapel. After a very long and frustrating time, we gained entry. Jordan had a nasty encounter with a pay toilet. He was less than impressed as he could not see what he was doing and dropped the toilet paper on the ground.
The Mona Lisa and the statue of Aphrodite (Venus de Milo) were visited, along with numerous other pieces of historic art. This added that little touch of Culture to the day, even if the whole event lasted less than an hour inside the museum. We returned wearily to our beautiful abode to an interestingly oily bolognaise and equally uneatable appetiser of artichoke, mayonnaise and horseradish. More beers and news to come in the following days, and Kyle’ toe is just fine…. Thanks for the concern everyone, and yes Hélène that icepack was dodgy….. One week down, two to go (and a smidge)
By Damien Coyle and Kyle Hoad
P.S. No update tomorrow, as it is a leisure day.