May 10, 2015 by IPAlchemist
On a recent trip to Paris over the Easter weekend, I recorded many highlights and thoughts from my journey on Facebook, and many of my friends were kind enough to respond with comments, suggestions and encouragement. For all of them I am producing an edited version here.
I started with a tour of the French Supreme Court (Cour de Cassation) thanks to a friend (Nicolas – he will feature later) of my friend Laurent who works there. It is a splendid building in the old Palace, and handily leads directly to the Sainte Chapelle – originally built to house the relic of the Crown of Thorns, now at Notre Dame Cathedral, and which I went beforehand to venerate, it being Good Friday and all. It was amazing to venerate the actual mediaeval relic (whatever suspicions one may have about its authenticity before that) and then see the edifice that was built to house it.
Then I went round the splendid Musee Picasso which has an astonishingly huge and comprehensive collection of his paintings. Definitely worth the 40 minutes queue in the rain.
Then back to Notre Dame for the Good Friday liturgy, which was packed and very moving, with beautifully sung music.
The next day, Holy Saturday, was one of church hopping, which was probably appropriate for the season. I started in Saint Sulpice, greatly recommended by organ friends of mine such as Mark (you know who you are), for Tenebrae. At Saint Sulpice this was a low key affair with few people but a large choir of clergy. No organ alas so I shall have to come back tomorrow. So I popped back to Notre Dame for the end of their version which started a little later. It was a little more splendid while keeping the Holy Saturday ethos. Then I dived (dove?) into the Treasury where there is much splendid tat – mostly 19th and 20th C but some ‘ancienne regime’ as well. At both establishments, Tenebrae was celebrated in the morning and by daylight – rather odd since the whole point of the symbolism of the service is that it takes place by anticipation the night before, and in the darkness, with successively extinguished candles. I am not sure what is the source of this French oddity.