leon gork tour guide
Was Paris in the 19th century the scene of non-stop gaiety and debauchery? Did the people of Paris contravene every conceivable sin in the Catholic book of sins? Did God wreak punishment on the Parisians?
In my last story “Portable Keyboard” on viewing the monumental structures in Paris, I concluded that the French commemorate only victories whereas the Jews commemorate defeats. On further exploration, I discovered that I was wrong. Paris has The Sacre Coeur Church on the highest point of Paris, the Butte of Monmarte, a monument to a terrible defeat.
Like the Jews, the French have their share of religious leaders who try to bring the nation to its knees in contrition, by explaining catastrophes as a warning from God.
One of these was Felix Fournier, the Bishop of Nantes who proposed building the church as a penance for sins that brought defeat in the war of 1870 against Prussia.
It was dark when I began walking, carrying my tripod and Cannon down into Maubert Mutualite Metro station. Two rattling trains and I was at Abesses. Google said turn right then left and up a flight of stairs, lined with trees with orange-yellow leaves illuminated by street lights. That may be the stairway to paradise up which Gene Kelly lightly stepped as he sang in the movie Singing in the rain. Then more stairs and still more until, at last the church’s white many spiralled towers called me to one last effort.
the Eifel tower strutting out from the misty sky.
Paris twinkled in the dark
Paris streets are well illuminated. One can enter the tiniest alleyway and find lamposts with yellow lights dotting the sidewalks. These burst out in spakling blue and white woven into the branches of trees in every town square where there’s always a statue or a fountain or both.
Even in the coldest darkest nights of Winter the boulevaards along the Seine solitary lovers can be seen holding hands and looking dreamily into the water where the reflected light give the impression that the stars have come down to earth. The long hours of darkness make Paris the city of romance.