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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

I write songs, I sing them... I play the piano and a little bit of the guitar.. I've released 5 albums of music, I love the scent of freshly fallen rain and the scent of lavender on bedsheets. I would drink tea all day long if the caffeine didn't keep me up at night. I hate driving in L.A traffic. I would love to one day catch the squirrel that steals the plums from my tree and make him a pet. I don't watch TV anymore. My 3 year old daughter is more entertaining than any TV show could ever be :)

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Paris - St. Catherine, Arc de Triomphe, Laduree

[Recount of a trip taken to France in February 2008]
6th Feb. Wednesday 2008

A day marked by dead bodies. O.k, not exactly…
Well, we made our way to see the catacombs that laid under
Paris and Kavin was looking forward to the visit.

Unfortunately, the catacombs were closed for renovation!
Poor Kavin was so bummed.

Ah, but the day was not over yet. I’d read about St. Catherine
Laboure’s incorrupt body that lay in a glass coffin at the
Miraculous Medal Chapel in Paris. It was the same chapel
where the saint had been visited by the Virgin Mary on three
separate occasions.

So, we headed for the chapel and got there
at about 3 p.m. The chapel was filled with people
in silent prayer. I walked towards the altar and took a good look
at the glass coffin where St. Catherine Laboure’s body was laid
to rest. It’s amazing that her body has remained incorrupt ie.
undecayed all these years. She died about 150 years ago!
I tried take a look at her face because I’d read somewhere that
someone once commented on the lovely blue eyes that St.
Catherine had, even after death. But her eyes were closed under that
bonnet that had been placed over her head.


I stayed a little longer in the chapel as I wanted to partake in the
4 p.m rosary. Kavin in the meantime went to the train station
to buy our tickets for our train ride to London from Paris.

It was awe-inspiring to know that I stood in the same place as
where Mary had appeared to St. Catherine. I’ve got to finish reading
the account of St. Catherine’s life. I think it was mentioned that
Mary had appeared to St. Catherine on the right hand side of the
chapel and that St. Catherine had also had a vision of St. Vincent
De Paul’s heart at the same spot on a separate occasion.

I found a place to sit, at a pew on the right hand side of the church
and I settled in there to wait the start of the rosary. There was a family
seated near me. Father, mother and 3 small girls dressed in very
dignified little jackets and dresses. I thought about how, perhaps,
St. Therese and St. Catherine could have been like those little girls
when they were at that age, going to church with their mum and dad,
who were setting a wonderful example to their children by exposing
them to the riches of their Catholic faith.

The church became even more packed before the rosary started.
There were people standing at the back of the church, looking for
a place to sit, but every seat was taken.

It was good to pray the rosary with the congregation gathered there.
And I loved the fact that even though the rosary was recited in French,
it was understood in all the languages of the peoples gathered there
who knew it by heart in their own language.

There is something touchingly beautiful about a chapel full of people
gathered to say a rosary, offering up spiritual roses to Our Lady; with
hearts full of thankful praise and hopeful yearning.


I guess it has something to do with being in the same physical place
where the Virgin Mary had shown herself and it felt good also to be
where the saint who had seen her was still present, in her mortal
body in the glass coffin…and to adore the Eucharist in the midst of such
spiritual richness and to see the throngs around me who came here
seeking answers, seeking healing, seeking a grace…well, something
moved within me and triggered my tears. There was a sense of
gratefulness for our lady’s care and mothering love.

I left the church right after the rosary was said. There were other prayers
being said and the church was packed to the brim, but I didn’t want
to keep Kavin waiting too long.
We walked next to the St. Vincent De Paul church, which was just down
the street, a little ways from the Miraculous Medal chapel.

It was a small unassuming church, nothing in the front to announce itself,
and walking in, I was surprised to find, just as Daniel from Sacre-Couer
had mentioned, that the church was devoid of the usual crowds of tourists
and visitors. It was almost empty and lighted very dimly.
Apart from Kavin and I, the only other people in the church
was a family of four who were walking towards the altar.
It was the quietest church we’d seen in all our time in churches in France.
Wooden pews within the church and wooden panels on the walls provided simple adornment and right in front of us, above the altar,
was the glass coffin that featured a wax figure of St. Vincent De Paul.
I’d read that his incorrupt physical heart had been placed within
the wax figure of his body.


After this, we went to the Arc de Triomphe and climbed the stairs to the
top of the Arc to take in the view of Paris. It was lovely standing atop
the Arc de Triomphe and just watching Paris make the transition
from late afternoon to dusk, from dusk to evening, the indigo slowly
creeping upon us, the gradual lighting up of buildings and streets, and it
was pretty amazing to see the cars making their way around Paris’
most scary roundabout, the ‘Rue de Présbourg’. The Eiffle
started dancing in her nightgown flashing lights once 6 p.m came around.

Looking out onto the Champs Elysees



Cars in a carousel around the Arc

After this, we walked along the Champs Elysees and took a peek into
the Louis Vuitton store because Steph has mentioned that the store
was super ‘utt!’ (ie. rich and decadent) and worth checking out
just for kicks.

Then we walked along to Laduree. Oh…the display of pastries was
mouth-watering. There were pastries dressed in pink frosting,
macaroons in all colours of the rainbow, tarts, éclairs and more
all sitting pretty, alluring, breathtaking.


We decided to have dinner there from the set menu.
I had salmon and toast triangles for appetizer and a lovely fish
dish for my main course. Kavin had a creamy chicken dish that was
served in a pastry crust and a chocolate dessert that looked absolutely

Salmon and Toast Triangles appetizer

Dinner. Dressed up in colour.

After dinner, I couldn’t resist picking up some macarons and pastries.
I bought three : a blackcurrant, an orange blossom and a rose flavoured
macaroon. I also picked up a citron tarte and a framboise-rhubarb tarte.

[Later when I tasted the tartes back at the hotel, I realized that citron
was not ‘orange’ as I had thought, but actually lemon. Arggh.
Also, the rhubarb was a little too sour for my taste and I only ate a
couple of bites. Ann would have liked that rhubarb tart. Too bad
I couldn’t bring it back to the states for her. The macarons were good
too, but a little too sweet. I preferred the rose flavoured macarons
from the Angelina Tea Salon. It had a better rose flavour. Oh, but
Laduree’s packaging was so pretty…sigh]


The setting for Laduree was also very cosy, despite the fact that
there were many tables packed into that small space, there was
enough of a sense of privacy for all. Nice warm lighting and
the curtains, window trimmings etc. looked very ‘royal’, for lack
of a better word.


After dinner, we walked, or rather, strolled the rest of the
Champs Elysees and made our way along Ave. Winston Churchill.
We took pics of the chariot and four horses, ‘Quadriga’ by Récipon
at the top corner of the Grand Palais. It was nice to have the street
almost all to ourselves. The buildings stood beautifully lit and serene.

We soon stumbled upon Pont Alexandre III, said to be Paris’
prettiest bridge. It was close to 10 p.m by now and it felt
like the bridge was there, showing off its splendour just for us
because no other people were around. A couple of boats
cruised by on the Seine.



We then took the metro back to the hotel from the ‘Invalides’
metro station.

More photos are on my flickr page here.


Blogger Ben_Shirl_Nathaniel said...

Sigh, I will have to go back to France and to explore it more. Shirley and I spent only a few days in Paris before heading over to London and up north last year. We visited St Catherine Laboure as well, and attended mass there. A simple place, but oh so beautiful. I missed out on St Vincent de Paul. Could have kicked myself for that!!!! Oh and Versailles was great too. So scenic!Anyways, I will go back to Paris and of course hopefully to other parts of France. It is such a beautiful country!!

Friday, October 10, 2008 1:10:00 AM  
Blogger sherry said...

I came across your blog while looking for different photos of St. Catherine Laboure. I really hope to visit there some day. I work for the Association of the Miraculous Medal in Perryville, MO. I know her story well. But I really want to see it in person. Your story really took me there. Thank You!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010 7:23:00 AM  
Blogger diane said...

You write beautifully, and have a certain elegant grace in the way you express this. Thank you.

Saturday, April 07, 2012 8:51:00 AM  

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