Strolling around Paris today, I stumbled upon a group of such talented musicians playing one of my favorite pieces of music in violin and cello. It is so impressive to me that such a group will stage an impromptu free concert, I want to think only of the passion of the music they bring rather than the cello case of euros that might be tossed in. They were so good it brought tears to my eyes to stand there and listen. That, my friend, is a good day of walking down the street.
The first time I saw Notre Dame was in 1979. I was 21 and touring Europe with a college choir, we sang inside Notre Dame. I’ll never forget the accoustics. Today I sat through part of a Mass — I like to visit and sit in churches when I travel, it makes me feel more connected to humanity, especially following the recent tragedies that have occurred in Paris and Belgium. I’ll never cease to be amazed at the sheer magnitude of architecture like this. I simply cannot imagine what it must have taken in 1163 to begin the structure — who said, “well, we’ll start with the stone footings that will each weigh 3 tons and we’ll just go from there.” At the beginning of the 13th century, it was the largest cathedral in France. How on earth did they fathom where to start?
While outside, the cathedral bells started to chime. A different kind of music, but captivating nonetheless. And over the last two days I’ve witnessed four brides in various spots, but never one in a green gown.
The Pont Neuf bridge over the Seine has a section known as “Locks of Love” because of all the padlocks that lovers attach and then throw away the key into the Seine. In 2015 the city tore down sections of padlocks due to the extra weight on the bridge. Today, however, there were thousands more attached to every possible spot. I want to attach my lock here one day and toss the key into the Seine.
And as typical for Paris and many other European cities, you just have to turn the corner and you stumble upon something unexpected.