I jump into a taxi and ask to go to the Marais district to the church of St.Paul-St. Louis. A Metro ticket would have been a little more economical, but early morning and mid-week, I opted to avoid commuters, and pressed the easy button. The morning ride through Paris from our hotel in Saint Germain des Pres to the Marais was a little tour in itself, I rationalized. A good way to see the people of the city as they started their day, and observing the women’s outfits as they headed to their day’s activities. The fashion show on the street on everyday people was part of my fun observations while I was in Paris. But I digress, the taxi pulls up to the church and I am immediately taken with the entrance door. So red. So richly carved. Ornate in a non-ostentatious way.
The inside of the church is equally as simple, yet elegant and beautiful. It was first begun as a chapel in 1125, and in 1627 Louis XIII laid the first stone of the church as it exists today. In 1641, Cardinal de Richelieu celebrated the first mass here; there have been various restorations over the years due to revolutions, pillaging, and a destruction in 1798. The church was restored between 1804-1840, with a pillage in between those years (the three day revolution in 1831), and then one more pillage in 1871. One can only say Vive la France, and raise a glass of Bordeaux at the wonder of it all coming back to beauty.
Entering the church at this hour was soothing, quiet, there were few people.
I spent several hours here walking around the perimeter of the church, sitting in between the wandering to absorb the incredible richness, and think about the things that transpired on this very site over so many years.
In all the churches I visited in Paris, there were chairs like this, no pews; pleasing to my eye.
My final day in Paris was well spent with a few hours here.
Until next week. Travel on.