Larisa Choir Tour to Barcelona and Paris 2018! travel blog

Notre Dame 1

Notre Dame 2

Notre Dame 3

Sainte-Chapelle 1

Sainte-Chapelle 2

Jardin du Luxembourg 1

Jardin du Luxembourg 2

Jardin du Luxembourg

Muse of Music

Cafe Angelina

Today was the day that we would give our first of two concerts in Notre Dame Cathedral!! The entire choir took this concert very seriously and we all had to work through various emotions of awe, nervousness, excitement, overwhelm, etc. Thankfully we had time to rehearse in the space prior to the concert itself!

After a lovely breakfast provided by the hotel, we boarded our coach bus for Notre Dame. Paris traffic makes Denver traffic look like a picnic, so we planned lots of travel time into our morning. When we unloaded, we went to a separate entrance outside of the gate of the Presbytery and were escorted by M. Ivan Musnier into the back of the church so that we could enter the cathedral directly into the "choir" by the altar. We were able to rehearse in our standing formation that we would use for the Mass service on Sunday and get a sense of the acoustics of the space. The sound we heard back was unlike any acoustical space we had sung in, so it was incredibly helpful to have 45-minutes to experiment with our approach to each piece.

Our Community Concert began promptly at 11:00 am and lasted 30-minutes! The cathedral handled all business in an extremely organized and orderly fashion and had portions of seats roped off for a seated audience, all the while still moving through hundreds of tourists! What was most phenomenal was to look out and see my Aunt Betty, mom, and dad present in the audience! (My Aunt Jan was unable to attend that performance due to illness, but had also travelled to Paris and was able to attend the Mass). They had traveled from Los Angeles, CA, Colorado Springs, CO, and Leavenworth, KS to support me and watch me sing and conduct! Their presence meant the world!!

Following the concert I met up with my family to grab some lunch at a cafe nearby before we went to tour Sainte-Chapelle chapel. The 13-century Gothic royal chapel was built and consecrated to house the relics of the Passion of Christ, including the Crown of Thorns. (Interesting fact: the Crown of Thorns is now housed in Notre Dame Cathedral). The chapel also houses an extensive collection of stained-glass! The entire Bible is pictured in stained glass in the upper chapel (originally only accessible to royalty) and is just stunning!

We walked from the chapel to the Jardin du Luxembourg and stopped to take pictures, sight-see, and window shop along the way. The French Senate now owns the gardens and meets in the Luxembourg Palace, but the gardens have been in existence since the early 1600's. There are beautiful garden beds, tree-lined walkways, fountains, and statues, and lovely places to stop and take a moment of respite from the crowds of people and noise of the city. We decided to take a brief break and enjoy a mid-afternoon glass of French wine before continuing to walk the Paris streets.

As we continued walking, my Aunt Betty helped to teach me the public transit of Paris-- trains and metro. The hotel was so far away from the City Center and we had no coach transport for the next couple of days, so it was so helpful to have her expertise and guidance prior to heading back to the hotel for the night. We practiced reading signage, getting on and off metro stops, switching from metro to train, and coming up with a plan to meet in the morning. We made our way to the next day's meeting spot, which happened to be outside of another great Paris cafe-- Cafe Angelinas! We stopped for a sweet treat-- cafe au lait, some macarons, and French chocolate, and then said our goodbyes for the evening. I was loving Paris!

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