April 4, 2010 (Easter Sunday)

Well, that taxi “arrangement” on the part of the hotel? Maybe something like, “We’ll have a taxi waiting for you at the front door early in the morning”? Not on your life! The “arrangement” was for us to walk down to the street corner in the cold, damp, wind to stand around trying to hail a cab on Easter Sunday morning. The only problem is, it’s EASTER SUNDAY MORNING, and there aren’t any taxi cabs! There’s like, no traffic on the streets at all. After the hotel proprietor himself tried for a while on the street corner to help us get a taxi, he gave up and gave us walking instructions so we could hoof it to the train station “rolling our bags”—like we’d seen so many people in London doing over the past few days. Now we’re one of those bag rollers! When I say we walked fast, I mean fast for a long time and at a pace that could rival the Olympics. We simply did not know how far the train station was nor how long we would take to get there on foot when we were supposed to take a taxi. [I was real proud of Jean, because she really hung in there! I could just see all Jean’s extensive plans for getting us to Paris going down the drain—we already had purchased our chunnel train tickets and everything—and I was heartsick the whole time we were fast walking to think we might miss the train.—Jerry] We made it in time for the Chunnel, but I may be crippled for life. My feet will never be the same after that 20 minute fast walk.

We finally get to the station, exhausted, and locate the platform. We boarded and are off to Paris. I bought us a snack on the train. One of the things I got Jerry was a Twix candy bar, and he loved it. I think he’s hooked now. We settle back and 2 ½ hours later we are in Paris.

After arriving at the Paris train station, we que up for a taxi, and when we finally get in one, wouldn’t you know our driver has horrible B.O.! It’s so bad it could have stopped the train. Today is not starting too well. What is wrong with these Europeans?!! We try to hold our breath as much as we can.

So, after almost expiring from asphyxiation, we finally get to our boutique hotel within walking distance of the Louvre. [Way to go, Jean!—Jerry] We drop our baggage in the hotel lobby and catch a lunch at the bistro next door and then back to hotel to get into our room. Oh no I think we’re still in London. It’s Lilliput Lane! The elevator literally is almost too small for us and our two bags. When we get to the fifth floor and try to get out of the elevator, we can’t get our bags and our bodies into the hall at the same time! The room itself is tiny like everything else. If either one of us weighed one more ounce we wouldn’t be able to get into the shower door opening. We thought about Easter Sunday worship at our home church, which we were starting to miss, and called our minister of worship, Robert Comeaux, using Skype and left Easter wishes.

We then headed off to the Louvre! It’s a short walk to the museum. We arrive at the Louvre and are overwhelmed at its size. It’s beautiful and massive! No words can describe the size of this place. However, we do not realize until later that we were only on the back side of the museum!

When we get up to the que line, security guards stop us and say they have closed the line for the day. It’s the first Sunday of the month, so entrance is free, which we did not know, and Easter Sunday, so everyone is off work, and , thus, the 1000 people or more in line waiting to get in. We were not getting in the Louvre today! This day just really is not working all that well.

Jerry went ahead scouted around the interior court of the connected buildings and took some pictures. Suddenly the sky clouded up, and Jerry quickly took me to a corner overhang just before the dark sky opened up. It rained really hard in sheets sideways, and all those poor people in line got drenched. Thanks to my “boy scout,” who immediately sensed what was coming, I was perfectly dry. After the hard rain stopped, we walked around the courtyard and saw the famous glass pyramid of the Tom Hanks movie, “The DaVinci Code.”

In the courtyard we ran into a couple from California who told us they couldn’t get in either, and their concierge had told them the Louvre would be closed tomorrow on Monday. My heart is sinking. What will we do if that is true? We do not have hardly any time for error or change in our tight schedule. I found a security guard and ask (in my broken pitiful French) about tomorrow and thankfully am told (and shown a sign) that the Louvre is open on Monday but closed on Tuesday! Yea!

But, what to do now for the rest of today? We need to improvise our schedule to redeem the time. On the way back to the hotel to review our sightseeing plans, we go see a pretty church across the street on the backside of the Louvre (St. Germain). Jerry liked the architecture and took some pictures.

Back at the hotel, we review our tour guides and decide we should try to see Notre Dame Cathedral before it closes. The afternoon is late by now, so we have to make a fast walk to try to make the cathedral in time. Unfortunately, in walking so fast, Jerry stepped off a high curb in just the wrong way and pulled a muscle in his right leg so badly that now he’s in significant pain and limping seriously. Today just has not been a good day on the whole.

We get to Notre Dame, and the sky has clouded up ominously again, but shortly thereafter looks like the sun might pop out again, and it does! The que to get into Notre Dame is very long too. To take advantage of the unexpected afternoon sunlight, Jerry first decides to go ahead and take pictures of the building and statue of Emperor Charlemagne outside before we think about whether we will have a chance to get in if we que up in the long line.

We decide after taking pics to get in line and see what happens. The line starts moving pretty well, and we are relieved. Maybe we’ll get in under the wire after all! As we approach the door, I begin to hear beautiful singing. Easter mass is underway! So, we join in. The liturgy is in French, but the program has translations in about 8 languages. The organ music is so moving! Christ is risen. He is risen indeed! So, I have to wonder. Were all today’s missteps, from no taxi early this morning in London to Jerry’s lame leg getting to the cathedral this afternoon, actually the path to worship—really meaningful worship—on this Easter Sunday? Praise be to God! Worship at Notre Dame Cathedral on Easter Sunday! Already one of the great highlights of the trip.

After services, we stayed around outside for a while and then start back to the hotel looking for a restaurant as we go along. We settle on a cute place that has omelettes. Just what we needed. The food is delicious. While we were eating, a luscious banana split was delivered to the table behind us. We can’t resist so we order one! What a great way to end a day that started out so badly. We walk back to the hotel, and the Louvre is beautiful at night. We’ll plan to be at the Louvre when it opens tomorrow to be sure to get in without too much of a wait.

Here is a video of the Paris action today: