Talk about stumbling through antiquity, I wandered into a “church” to light my February candles for my family. The “church” was going through a lot of reconstruction, so I made my way to the candles, paid my fees, said my prayers, and lit my candles and took a picture to remind me of February blessings for my immediate family. February holds Mark’s birthday on the 14th and Trascey’s birthday on the 23rd. And, I need help with everything. This morning, I discovered what “church” I was in. The “church”, the oldest in Paris, and the abbatial palace are all that remain of the famous Benedictine Abbey. Just call me Mr. McGoo! Remember him?
A tad of history – In 542, King Childebert, son of Clovis, on his return from Spain with a piece of the True Cross and St. Vincent’s tunic, had a monastery built in the open field (prés) to shelter the relics. He was buried in the church as were subsequent members of his line until King Dagobert (639) who is buried in St-Denis-Cathedral. Also interred here in 576 is St. Germanus, Bishop of Paris, after who the church had taken its name of St-Germain-des-Prés or St. Germanus in the Fields. The monastery has had a lot of remodels and remodels of remodels over the years.
The interior is not large because it was built as a Monastery chapel. I took pictures but I did not know what all of it meant. I just knew that it was beautiful with impressive columns and artwork. So, I could give you a lot of history, but we both find that difficult to fathom. And, there were tombs of names that meant nothing to me. I apologize for not knowing all the ins and outs, but I have had difficulty all my life with appreciating a lot of historical details. I remember what an impressive structure it was, the quiet serenity I felt sitting there, the feeling of peace I felt lighting those candles, the musty smell of the walls, the reverence of the other people in there with me, the reconstruction taking place, the alter, and the light coming in the windows. I did not know where I was, but I knew it was special. And, I knew that it had been special in the lives of many people. Pictures by me…..
Don’t look to me for a lot of historical details. You won’t get them. I am more of a touchy – feely kind of person. I want to see it, touch it, smell it, feel it. Walk in its interior. Pray to its symbols. Hear its sounds. For the facts, go to Wikipedia. I was reading a Michelin Tourist Guide to Paris. My impressions. That is what I like to write about. That is what I like to read.
Actually, I had gone on a mission to find the local branch to my bank – HSBC – to change my address. After that was done, I wanted to go to Les Deux Maggots for breakfast. It is famous for where intellectuals and artists meet. ME!!!!! I did not see anyone who looked like an intellectual or an artist. But I had a good (expensive!) breakfast. Then, as I was leaving, I walked by that “church”, thinking “I need to light my February candles for my family. I went into a Café and used their bathroom and decided to go back to the “church” to light my candles. Now, how uninformed is that!!!!!! Besides, it was a pretty day. Chilly, but nice.
Also, some pictures of my expensive breakfast with non-intellectuals and non-artists. Haha! But, I recommend it as an interesting place to meet friends. Good food and good service and nice ambience.
Here is the ONE intellectual artist!! Without hair and makeup!!!! (Just kidding….)
Best, JAY (STAY TUNED…..)