In 3 days I tackled one of the most famous cities in Europe, Paris, but to be honest it originally was not on my docket of places to visit. I had a number of reasons why I didn’t want to go but with a little nudging, my parents easily changed my mind and boy am I glad I went. It truly is the city people describe it to be, and during my time there I comfortably crammed as many tourist attractions as possible into each day while successfully avoiding the tourist scams. Woohoo!
While in Paris as you can imagine I went to most of the most famous sites such as the Louvre to say hello to the Mona Lisa, I viewed the Gargoyles and cathedral of Notre Dame, summited the Eifel Tower, walked through the Hall of Mirrors and around the gardens of Versailles Palace, delighted in Croissants/Pastries every morning, navigated the Metro, sat in awe watching a Cabaret Show on the most expensive avenue in France, almost witnessed a traffic accident while watching cars travel round and round the Arch of Triumph (the end of Tour de France), met and made friends from all around the world from Australia to Argentina to a girl who was born in the same hospital as me, learned a lot of French history, and of course probably spent too much money; however, spending lots money is almost inevitable. Paris is an expensive city and if you want to see it, you have to spend money.
The Mona Lisa - there she is.
One of my favorite parts of the whole trip, however, I have yet to mention. Do you have any guesses? If you guessed the Sainte-Chapelle you are correct! The Sainte-Chapelle is a small chapel built between 1242 and 1248 under King Louis IX to house the Crown of Thorns that Christ wore on the cross. The chapel itself cost three times less than the crown, which is hard to believe because the sanctuary contains 15 panes of stained glass windows with 1,113 scenes from the Bible starting with Genesis going all the way through Revelation! The whole place is absolutely beautiful and my mind was blown by the fact that people would spend so much time and money to build a sacred place for only remnants of Christ’s belongings! It also made me think that if they went to those lengths to simply hold an item Christ touched, how much further and unworthy we are and would be to even to be in the presence of God! Does that make sense?
It also made me think about the faith of the people building these cathedrals. They must have believed whole heartedly that Christ lived, Christ died, and Christ rose again because if they didn’t they were wasting their time, efforts, and essentially their life. This cathedral only took 6 years to build, but the renowned Notre Dame cathedral took over 200 years. Many of the builders didn’t ever get to see the end product but they still happily committed their lives to this cause. This made me wonder, are there still people around like this today? Do we have the same faith as those in the past? Are we stronger? Are we weaker? Are we willing to commit our whole lives to follow a cause even if we never get to see the results? I don’t know, but either way one of the most powerful experiences of the visit was turning on my headphones and simply worshipping God, worshipping the person behind the commotion. Most tourists that day only saw beautiful glass that told stories, but when I was there I saw Christ. Not literally, but I saw His love, His grace, and His compassion through the art. If you go to any major cathedral I would recommend doing the same. Don’t just look at the surface. Dig deeper, and talk to the Person who it really is all about.