It’s hard to believe that last Sunday I was in Paris, but I was. A week later I am back in Houston, with a two night trip to St. Louis in the interim. But this post is about last Sunday in Paris.
You may recall that we tried to see the Edward Hopper exhibit at the Grand Palais, but gave up after waiting in line for over an hour and making only the slightest progress toward the entrance. The exhibit ended at the end of the day on Sunday, and during its final three days the exhibit was open around the clock. Crazy, right? So Sunday morning we got up at the outrageously dark hour of 6:30 and walked up the street to the Grand Palais. As we walked up deserted Franklin Roosevelt, we had grandiose visions of being alone with the Hoppers, a private tour of just us two crazies there at 6:45. When the Grand Palais appeared out of the darkness, we were shocked to see moving figures in the vicinity, and when we got close to the lighted entrance, we were confronted with a line of crazy people as long as the one we had abandoned on the previous weekend. We quickly decided that Hopper clearly wasn’t in our future, and continued walking toward Notre Dame.
Clearly, we have arrived at Notre Dame, a mere 45 minutes after abandoning the Hopper idea. Why are we at Notre Dame shortly before 8:00 in the morning? Because, my dear friends, Notre Dame had just received some brand new bells, and they were on display in the nave of the church. I really wanted to see them, and I was happy that we arrived just as the doors were opening.
The nine newly cast bells were commissioned as part of the celebration of the cathedral’s 850 year anniversary, and (it is hoped) will make a more melodious sound than the old bells, which were dreadfully off-pitch. The new bells will be on display in the church for three weeks, and will be heard for the first time on March 23, the day before Palm Sunday.
Lucky for us, fans of the new bells were not awake as early as the Hopper fans, and we had them virtually to ourselves. They were stunningly beautiful, each with unique markings, and each named after a saint or a famous Catholic.
When we finally tore ourselves away from the gorgeous bells, the sky was even more dramatic than when we had entered.
I was so glad that our early morning had not been a total wash-out. I may never see the Hopper exhibit, but I will carry the sight of those magnificent bells with me forever.