Yesterday after school I hopped on the–now not so scary–Paris Metro and made my way to Montmartre and Sacre-Coeur.
For some who appreciate architecture, it’s a magnificent building. For others who appreciate city vistas, it’s a great vantage point to see the Parisian skyline. For still others, it’s a place to worship The Lord.
For me, it’s a combination of all three, despite the fact that I am not Roman Catholic. I took the number 12 metro and disembarked at Abbesses and ambled up the streets. This route is easier because the road follows the path of least resistance through the city and up to the summit rather than fight the crowds and climb the almost innumerable steps if you take the number 2 metro to Anvers. (I will, however, say it’s not an easy walk, do it in sensible shoes!)
I came up around the side of Sacre-Coeur and was immediately struck by the imposing basilica. I felt the expected lump in my throat, took some pictures and ambled around to the front of the cathedral. I had heard that you could take lovely photos of Paris from up there but I was not prepared for that view! If you are ever in Paris and you don’t visit Sacre-Coeur, it’s a big mistake, regardless of your religious persuasions. The architecture in itself is truly breathtaking.
I saw this banner at the front of the cathedral and without even thinking, I climbed the stairs and sat down inside. I was in time for 15h00 mass which only happens on a Friday.
Of course, as I sat down I started to cry almost immediately, so taken aback was I at the sheer magnificence of that cathedral. I had just about pulled myself together when the nuns came into the cathedral. They were seated and one of them got up to sing. Well, suffice it to say the waterworks started afresh.
The acoustics in that building are some of the very best and she sounded as beautiful as any soprano I have ever heard. I am going to run out of superlatives when I try and describe the utterly astonishing and angelic beauty that filled that cathedral when all the nuns started to sing together. There were only eight of them but it sounded like the voices of eight thousand angels!
I sat and listened to the service, understood precious little, said a prayer, made a small donation for the pleasure of hearing those nuns sing and made my way outside. I’m not catholic so I didn’t take the sacrament.
I was a little disappointed that they don’t allow photographs inside because nothing I can say will ever be able to do that cathedral justice, but I can completely understand, who takes photos in church?!
It was an experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life. It was so beautiful, I am going to go back. Next time I’ll stop and have my picture drawn by one of the artists. It’ll be a nice souvenir of my time there.
Thank you for reading.