Ever since we got on the plane to head over here, Katie and Jaclyn have been super gung-ho about going to a mass at Notre Dame. Last Sunday didn’t really work out so today was going to be the day. The entire gang planned on meeting at the cathedral for the 12:45 mass.

Jaclyn and I got up and got ready to go. As usual we were freaking out thinking we were going to be late the instant we got on the Metro. It turned out (as it always has) that not only did we have plenty of time but we were the first ones there.

We got there a little before the 11:45 mass ended but we were able to go in anyway. That’s the really strange thing about Notre Dame, visitors are allowed in even during services, you just can’t take pictures from the pews and such. It was sort of cool while we were on the visitor side, we got to take some pictures of the stained glass. The architecture of that building is incredible and again I had the most surreal feeling, like I wasn’t really there.

Inside Notre Dame, the whole building, inside and out, is just breathtaking.

Inside Notre Dame, the whole building, inside and out, is just breathtaking.

_MG_1922A very somber moment followed shortly though, as dozens of people wearing AirFrance uniforms and flight wings were escorted out, we think the earlier service was dedicated to the passengers and crew on the plane that went down.

As it looked like the 12:45 was about to start, Jaclyn and I grabbed a row of seats and sat down. We knew Meaghan was on her way but she was the only confirmed one. Meaghan got there right before things got under way and that was that. Andres came in right as the service started and Katie and Harrison were still MIA.

Now Meaghan and Andres are both Catholic but not super observant and Jaclyn and I are Protestant girls (although she’s Lutheran so that’s closer) so we didn’t really know what we were supposed to do when, the whole standing and sitting and kneeling was a bit unusual for us but it went okay. About half-way through Katie came and sat behind us. I guess she had come in right as it started but didn’t see us until the 3rd hymn and Martin found us as we were leaving too, I guess the same thing had happened to him.

Overall I think going to a Sunday Mass at Notre Dame is one of those pretty impressive things that will stick with me for a while. It was also great to see stained glass and hear church bells again. Those are two things I really do miss about home, both in Paris and even just at school.

After mass we were all starving so we set out in search of food. Jaclyn, Katie and I remembered seeing a super cheap place the last time we were in that neighborhood with Harrison. We found it and got some paninnis to go. We ate them on our way to the Louvre, which is free on the first Sunday of each month (which it was!) On the way we called Harrison (and woke him up) and told him to meet us there.

As we walked we went right along the Seine and again admired its beauty. The bridges are so pretty and so artistic in their quality. I feel like the entire city is a piece of art and each building and each neighborhood is just a different scene in a grand masterpiece.

Pont Neuf along the Seine, I could spend every day by this river and be content.

Pont Neuf along the Seine, I could spend every day by this river and be content.

With bridges like this (20 in all!) and buildings like this, how can this place not be seen as as much of a work of art as anything in the Louvre?

With bridges like this (20 in all!) and buildings like this, how can this place not be seen as as much of a work of art as anything in the Louvre?

The Eiffel Tower pops up everywhere! I don't think there's anywhere in the city that you can't see it if you look hard enough!

The Eiffel Tower pops up everywhere! I don't think there's anywhere in the city that you can't see it if you look hard enough!

We got to the Louvre right as it started sprinkling and got inside before it really started coming down. The first thing on our agenda (as I think is on pretty much everyone’s agenda the first time at the Louvre) was to find the Mona Lisa.

I just love these pyramids, I.M. Pei was a genius when it came to this museum! I do wonder though if it's going to be stormy every time I see the pyramids...

I just love these pyramids, I.M. Pei was a genius when it came to this museum! I do wonder though if it's going to be stormy every time I see the pyramids...

On the way to Mona we saw the Winged Victory of Simothrace. That was pretty cool to see, especially after my mythology class last year at school. She was a lot bigger than I was expecting!

Winged Victory of Simothrace. Much bigger in person, she's what's left of the mast head from a wrecked ship found in the Mediteranean Sea.

Winged Victory of Simothrace. Much bigger in person, she's what's left of the mast head from a wrecked ship found in the Mediteranean Sea.

Then it was a quick detour into a gallery with many portraits from the court of Napoleon I and selections from the crown jewels, very pretty. Harrison caught up with us around there.

Even the ceiling is beautiful!

Even the ceiling is beautiful!

Next it was down a long hallway filled with various paintings and sculptures. I found Artemis with her Hounds so I snapped a picture and we saw several renditions of David killing Goliath. Now this is where I want to stop and rant for a bit: people do not know how to behave in museums!! I was appalled (not just in this hallway but through the whole museum) at how many people were touching the art! I saw people giving Egyptian gods high-fives, petting Greek hounds and I swear I even saw one woman biting the toe of Apollo (I don’t even want to know why). This angered me so much, people are just stupid!

Anyway, back to the sites. We found Mona Lisa and even managed to get pretty close. I’ve never really been a big fan of her so I didn’t fight to hard to get up to get a good picture, I’ll go back someday when it isn’t as crowed as a free day and get a better one. It was cool and it was just incredible to see how many people were there just to see her. It makes me wonder what the real Mona Lisa would think and what Da Vinci would think if they could see her now.

The Mona Lisa, not the greatest picture but I'll get a better one some other day when it's a little less crowded.

The Mona Lisa, not the greatest picture but I'll get a better one some other day when it's a little less crowded.

Meaghan and about a hundred other people crowding to see the Mona Lisa and trying to get a picture.

Meaghan and about a hundred other people crowding to see the Mona Lisa and trying to get a picture.

From there we saw some Egyptian stuff but mainly just little teasers. While we were looking around though I found a lot of Greek sculpture and I was hooked. I’ve always loved marble sculptures because the skill amazes me. So many of those artists could take a giant hunk of stone and actually make it look like real cloth with folds and real hair with curls and it just amazes me. I love the image of Michaelangelo standing in his studio yelling at a block of marble for the form within to come out.

The others were really anxious to go see the Egyptian stuff, especially the mummy, so Harrison and I stayed behind with the Greeks and other sculptures for a little while. Somewhere along the way we had lost Martin and Andres so they were on their own.

After seeing Hercules, Apollo and the Python, Joan of Arc and several others, we decided to go find the Egyptians too. On the way we happened to find Andres and Martin, who pointed us in the right direction. We caught up with the other girls right in the middle of Egypt. They were leaving so they went to find the other guys while Harrison and I got a look at this mummy. The mummy was pretty cool, but I’m also not super obsessed with Egyptology like some people are either. I guess I’m just really not always into really popular stuff.

I just loved the title of this sculpture, "St. Joan hearing her voices" Way to make her sound crazy people.

I just loved the title of this sculpture, "St. Joan hearing her voices" Way to make her sound crazy people.

A mini-Sphinx

A mini-Sphinx

I didn't realize the Egyptians had Holsteins but hey that's cool.

I didn't realize the Egyptians had Holsteins but hey that's cool.

Yep, that's a mummy. Jaclyn could tell you the entire mumification process but I didn't take notes like she did.

Yep, that's a mummy. Jaclyn could tell you the entire mumification process but I didn't take notes like she did.

We saw the mummy and headed back to the main concourse to meet the others. Meaghan had wanted to go to the gift shop but the museum was closing so we were ushered out…into the rain…and Katie was the only one with and umbrella. For about 2 minutes all 7 of us huddled under the little thing before we decided to just give up and go to the Metro. It was a cold rain too.
We got on the Metro and headed back across town. Meaghan and Andres got off early because they had dinner with their families, Martin got of a few stops later because he stuff at his home to make dinner, so Harrison, Jaclyn, Katie and I came back to the 17th. We walked to the cheap crepe/sandwich place with the bright yellow awning and got some pizza. It was sooo good, mainly because it wasn’t another sandwich with ham.

After dinner we walked Katie and Harrison to the flower stand because it was also Mother’s Day here in France and they had yet to pick up some flowers for their host moms. Jaclyn and I got some for Mme. Chalufour last night and gave them to her this morning before the excursion. Then it was home again for all of us because, after all, Monday is a school day.

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