Mes Vacances à Paris – La Pluie

To Whom it may Concern,

So, I titled this one “La Pluie” I think quite appropriately, or at the time that “La Pluie” began, it was appropriate.

“La Pluie” is “The Rain” en francais, and it woke myself and my entire family up at 1:30 this past morning.  We were later to determine that this torrential pouring that Paris had was mixed with a thunderless-lightning and hail (explaining the sheer volume of sound produced by “la pluie”).

But when vacations are planned, with my mother’s special kind of meticulousness, rain and other weather are often factors that interrupt such planning.  “La pluie” would come to define our second day en Paris.

We were slow to start our day, but fortunately for us our day began at 6:30 am.  Jeff and I were the early risers and proceeded to hang out downstairs and kind of prepare for the day (with cafe beaucoup) and it was there that I got the itch to write to you people.

On our docket for the day were three things relatively close by: Notre Dame, La Conciergerie, et St. Chappelle.

Now, I’ll say this: even though I really don’t like the connotation that has been created around this word, I am an Atheist, and have been basically since I could first say the words “No” “believe” and “God” as well as even form a question.  But, through my study of the Middle Ages and Classical history, I have grown quite a fondness for churches.

If you’ve ever been to a European city, you probably know that these are must see monuments.  Not only are their architectures and histories marvelous achievements and stories, but their importance cannot be overstated.

This was especially prevalent to me when I entered Notre Dame.

The Cathedral itself is a magnificent testament to the achievement that is Gothic architecture, I was more stricken by the fact that regardless of it’s tourist appeal – ITS A WORKING CHURCH!  I saw one man doing confession, a monk, a few nuns, and the beginning of a short service.   It all served to remind me of the relevance the church must have in the lives of some people, and how that in itself reflects the importance it served in times like the pestilence.  I told my brother, Colin, and his girlfriend, Sarah, that in 1350 when all around them was death and despair, this is where those people went for comfort and hope.  While I couldn’t exactly ever believe in that which gave them hope, I have so far seen the reason why it gives them such a feeling.

We left Notre Dame; it had yet to rain (80% chance of showers).  La Conciergerie was fine enough, though I got my fill of the Revolution when Ms. Drogos, my AP Euro teacher spent nearly three weeks on it, getting four lectures to letter Q…

But then we went into St. Chappelle, a Chapel which appeared to be derelict and overshadowed by the surrounding structure.  While the stained glass in Notre Dame was excellent, the stained glass of St. Chappelle left nothing to be desired.  Depicting multiple stories of the Bible, the stained glass lined the walls and contained more compact and elaborate images than anything I’ve ever seen.  I thought it was quite a shame that part of it was under restoration this week, as I would have loved to get pictures of the images of Genesis.

We left St. Chappelle, still no rain, well, maybe a few drops.  But we went back to our apartment and discussed dinner.  The decision was made that given the forecast for upwards of 90% chance of precipitation, it probably wasn’t wise to stray too far.

The result? We arrived at Les Pipos (a delightful little Basque restaurant with excellent steak tartar) yet to even catch a glimpse of a cloud.  It was as if we’d looked up the wrong Paris!

Don’t get me wrong, as we approached our apartment to settle in for the night, I reflected on our fortunate weather, and thought that it is a shame for such a small internet/meteorological mistake to influence a day so much.

I couldn’t keep that thought though.  Optimism and appreciation overtook me.  My mind transitioned to a better place, I concluded that the weather can turn heads and can even turn feet when time is tight, and the courses set out by failed expectation can lead to some pretty incredible places.


On a blog-related note: In a few months, I will be traveling to Europe to live for a little while, but I realize the seeming irrelevance of the title of this blog as I am no longer in Ireland.  I had intended for this to be a travel blog, but after this trip, I will freeze this one in time and create a new one for a more personal journey blog, sharing stories from my last semester of college, travels abroad, and preparation for graduate school.  In the meantime though, my writing blog is and I will post information when that step is achieved.

I love that I have followers and I think I have a lot to learn from you all!  If you’re in Europe, I would love some help in moving in January/February as I still don’t know where I’m going (currently leaning toward Italy (Tuscany especially) as well as Germany, Sweden, and Finland).


G.D.S. O’Toole



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