Friday, 27 November 2015

Daddy Daughter Date: Paris, France

Daddy Daughter Date: Paris, France

Winter was turning 10. A big year for my little girl. It was decided that it was time to think about her becoming a teen. So it was decided that we should do a pilgrimage and pray for Winter as she enters adolescence - that she would remain faithful to her God, her Catholic Church, and her family.

We took our time planning and decided to hit a historical site every day regarding the French Revolution. We both read books prior to leaving on the French Revolution so we could discuss what happened on the ground it happened. Then we also looked up a list of the best places to have ice cream, crepes, French food and so forth. 

With tickets at 35 euro and a budget hotel, we made a go of it. 

Our first day was grueling. We took the train to Meidling, then to the airport, then the bus to Bratislava, then the plane to Paris Beavais, then an hour bus into Paris, then 3 metros and then we walked a block to the hotel. Winter was exhausted and could barely stand by the time we arrived.

Day 2:  Pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal

Pilgrimage: Shrine of the Miraculous Medal
Historical Site: Place de la Concorde
'Best of': tried for ice cream

Our first stop was to start the trip with a pilgrimage to 'Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal'. We had both read her story and were excited to see the miraculous medal that Mary had told her to make. 

We made it just in time for Holy Mass.

Here is the fresco of the first apparition when Mary appeared to S. Catherine: Mary sitting in the chair in the chapel and invited her to lay her hands on her lap. It was Catherine's guardian angel that 
led her to the chapel.

On Nov. 27, 1830, St. Catherine saw a vision of this statue in the chapel. Mary told her the small globe represented the entire world, especially France and each person. It took a long time before the statue was made and it was completed right before she died.

And Mary said to her:

"This is the symbol of the graces that I pour out upon those who ask for them."
"Heave a medal made according to this model. Everyone who wears it around their neck will receive great graces. For those who wear it with confidence there will be abundant graces. "

Here is the statue representing Mary pour forth the grace of Christ from her hands to the world and is the picture of Mary on the medal.

Here is incorrupt body of St. Catherine Laboure in the reliquary.

Here is what the medals were to look like.

The French reads as:
"O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you."

The medal was made and because there were so many miracles it was called the miraculous medal.

As the relics of St. Vincent de Paul were just around the corner, we visited the chapel and asked for his intercession as well. It was the first time we had seen the body of a saint above the high altar with access to go up and venerate. 

By this time, we were both hungry and were looking for a pastry shop. It was a good thing we found a grocery store and bought some food. Next stop: The Eiffel Tower!

After lunch we headed across the river to the palace on the other side. (Trocadero) and cooled off by the fountains.  I was looking at the map and had the great idea of walking along the Seine river to the Place de la Concorde. So we started walking ...

and walked and walked ...

We saw the Arc de Triumph from a distance and a nice bridge leading to the Hotel des Invalides but Winter was getting too tired to notice much. So then we looked for a metro. No metro. So we walked and walked till finally, exhausted from the heat and walking we came to the Place de la Concorde. 

This was to be our historical site for the day where we would discuss the situation surrounding King Louis and Maria Antoinette and their failed escape and how the masses began a mass killing with a mock court. However, Winter was so tired (and bored) that she didn't give a hoot about my history lesson on why King Louis XVI and Maria Antoinette were beheaded here. Alas! I finally gave up and we looked for a place to rest in the gardens behind the Louvre.

After a short nap in the park we headed off to the Notre Dame to see the Cathedral and have some famous ice cream. We checked out the Church, and then went for ice cream. The shop was closed. So we opted for less than spectacular ice cream instead.

Winter was tired as the day wore on, so we opted for a quick pizza supper and an early night to bed.

Day 2: 

Pilgrimage Site: Sacre Coure
Historical Site: No historical site this day.
'Best of' Site: Creperie, French Cousine

While she was sleeping, I got wise. We couldn't go on like this for three days. Winter would wear out quickly and there was much to see and do. So, I got on line and planned our day from place to place knowing exactly which metros to take and which direction to go and how best to maximize our time. This worked! We had a great 2nd day with very little walking and lots of reading on the metros.

It was a rainy day so we got to the Eiffel Tower early and hiked to the top with no line up.

We tried out the best acclaimed Creperie and filled ourselves on buckwheat crepes. It was quite excellent.

After a journey through the Chocolate museum we headed off to our pilgrimage site: the Sacre Coure.

Here they've been having adoration for over 125 years! When you walked in there was a massive monstrance on the high altar with perpetual adoration happening right there! (vs. hidden in some side chapel).  It was quite inspiring. Here we knelt and adored Christ truly present in the Eucharist, and prayed for Winter to be faithful to her God, the Holy Catholic Church, and to her family during her years of youth.

And of course we had to get ourselves drawn together as a keepsake of our journey together.

The critics recommended the restaurant Bouillon Chartier so we tried it out. We arrived in time to a full place, but with no line up yet and there was still a seat for us. They sat folks right beside people they didn't know. That was a bit strange. So we sat at a table of 4 and had to completely ignore the couple we were sitting with.

We wanted typical Parisian cousine. So we began with escargot, which were delicious. 

Then we ordered Confit de Canard pommes grenailles - simply duck with potatoes. There wasn't much there but it filled Winter's little belly up.

I ordered Tete de veau sauce gribiche - Calf's head with sauce. 

I found the brain sponge stuff a bit hard to stomach, but I finished my meal as well.

Calf's Head with potatoes.

Day 3:

Pilgrimage: Piscus Cemetery
Historical Site: Nation Place, Catacombs 
'Best of': Creperie, Candy, Ice Cream

We began our day with the first half of our third pilgrimage site: the place where the Martyrs of Compi├Ęgne, Carmelite nuns, (17 July 1794) were beheaded: Nation Place.

Here, there was no remembrance of what their death - only this giant statue called "The Triumph of the Republic." 

Here we saw the ideals of the Republic allegorized. The lady on top was lady justice, there was liberty, wealth, reason symbolized as well. There was a complete absence of the Catholic Faith as their intention was to do away completely with Christianity and begin anew under the goddess of reason.

We then went to go to the cemetery when the Carmelite nuns were buried, but it wasn't open just yet. So went to stand in line at the Catacombs where we would witness the devastation of the French Revolution. 

Here we saw the bones of many of the graveyards all around France that were desecrated during the revolution. The bones were collected and brought here after Catholicism was made legal again.

After the visit with death we needed to strengthen our life - so we went to another critically acclaimed Creperie: the Little Breizh. The prices were a bit better than the first, though it was a bit crowded. 

We had buckwheat crepes with chocolate desert crepes after. We were stuffed to the hilt!

Then we headed off to le Bon Bon au Palais!

Here was the owner was passionate about candy! He, with much enthusiasm, showed us candy from every region of the Paris made from original old recipes and from all natural products. 

We purchased soft candies, hard candies, Parisian marshmallows and these unbelievable, explode in your mouth flavourable candied flowers. A mite expensive but worth it!

Our last pilgrimage site: Picpus Cemetery

We found our way, after a bit of searching, to the Picpus Cemetery where the Carmelite Martyrs were buried. 

During the Great Terror of the French Revolution (June 14th - July 27th of 1794) 1306 folk were executed at the Nation Place we visited earlier. The Carmelites of Compiegne were amoung them. They famously sang a song to Mary on the way to the guillotine - the oldest being over 80 years old the youngest being a youth. 

Their bodies were thrown on a cart and dumped in a pit. Some faithful Catholics, followed the cart and purchased the land around the pit and made this place a sacred cemetery.

Here is the original gate the bodies were carried through and where the original wall was standing. 

Here we prayed for you to have courage as these nuns did. That you would have courage to stand for the faith in the face of persecution and even death.

Sisters of Compiegne, pray for Winter!

We went for a wonderful journey through the Deyrolle Taxidermist's shop. We watched a lady making art with bugs and enjoyed the unicorn and many stuffed animals!

Then we hopped out to find the 'best ice cream in Paris' place: Une Grace a Paris. I had black current and smoked chocolate that literally left you feeling like you could blow smoke out of your mouth. Winter had carrot ginger and white cheese. We loved it!

We had not had supper yet, but Winter was so energized by the lively street shows and the dancing that she just wanted to check out every place. We made our way to the Notre Dame and enjoyed a wonderful sunset. 

We ended our night with a hot sandwich on the hill across from the famous tower and looked at the beautiful sight and listened to music being played. Then, at 10:30pm Winter finally started to lose energy and got very tired. We began our long metro journey home. 

The next morning we left over an hour extra to find our place to take the bus to Paris Beauvais airport. We needed every second. The signs were incomplete and we couldn't find our way. We were running through tunnels, sweating like crazy with our suitcases. We got locked into a station and had to throw our suitcases over the fence and climb over to get out. We ran around a huge building and finally found our buses just in the nick of time. We were huffing and sweating and thanking God! It took us all day to get home and we were exhausted! 

It was a wonderful trip Winter and I will treasure this memory for many years to come.  I love you my daughter.

God bless.

Kenton E. Biffert

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