Going to Paris--Questions on carnival, Lent, Masses, etc

I already posted this at the Water Cooler, but have only gotten one answer, so I thought I’d try here. This questions covers a lot of things, so I wasn’t sure where it should go.

I’ll be arriving in Paris on Feb. 28th, the last day of the carnival season. I’ll be there one week. It’s my first trip to Europe and I am very excited.

My first full day will be Ash Wednesday.I realize France is mostly a secular nation, but does anything special happen in Paris to celebrate the end of the carnival season? Is there some sort of Mardi Gras thing that I should know about? It might help me know how to avoid traffic, etc.

Also, I’d like to go to an Ash Wednesday Mass at Notre-Dame. Are there any Catholic travelers out there who have attended masses in Paris, particularly travelers whose French isn’t all that great? Were you able to follow along all right? I’d like to attend Mass every day if I can, maybe at Notre-Dame or someplace else. I’ll be staying in the Latin Quarter.

My friends that I’m traveling with will be at a different hotel from me. Their hotel is across the street from the SSPX headquarters, St Nicolas du Chardonnet. What is Church policy regarding SSPX churches and masses? Is it okay to tour the inside of the church, attend a mass, take communion, or what? I do not want to commit any sin or give approval to schismatic behavior, but I hear the music and the Latin masses at St. Nicolas are beautiful. Please adivse.

I have also heard there are a lot of shops with religious antiques around St. Sulpice. Any recommendations, any shops you know of?

And what are the “don’t miss” churches you’d recommend?

[quote=Pilgrim42]I already posted this at the Water Cooler, but have only gotten one answer, so I thought I’d try here. This questions covers a lot of things, so I wasn’t sure where it should go.

I’ll be arriving in Paris on Feb. 28th, the last day of the carnival season. I’ll be there one week. It’s my first trip to Europe and I am very excited.

My first full day will be Ash Wednesday.I realize France is mostly a secular nation, but does anything special happen in Paris to celebrate the end of the carnival season? Is there some sort of Mardi Gras thing that I should know about? It might help me know how to avoid traffic, etc.

Also, I’d like to go to an Ash Wednesday Mass at Notre-Dame. Are there any Catholic travelers out there who have attended masses in Paris, particularly travelers whose French isn’t all that great? Were you able to follow along all right? I’d like to attend Mass every day if I can, maybe at Notre-Dame or someplace else. I’ll be staying in the Latin Quarter.

My friends that I’m traveling with will be at a different hotel from me. Their hotel is across the street from the SSPX headquarters, St Nicolas du Chardonnet. What is Church policy regarding SSPX churches and masses? Is it okay to tour the inside of the church, attend a mass, take communion, or what? I do not want to commit any sin or give approval to schismatic behavior, but I hear the music and the Latin masses at St. Nicolas are beautiful. Please adivse.

I have also heard there are a lot of shops with religious antiques around St. Sulpice. Any recommendations, any shops you know of?

And what are the “don’t miss” churches you’d recommend?
[/quote]

If you get a chance, go to Lourdes. Saint Bernadette saw the Blessed Virgin there in 1858. Also, you can go to the convent of the sisters of Charity of Saint Gildard, and see her incorrupt body.
There is a chapel there that you can visit as well, as well as the
spring that the Blessed Virgin told Bernadette to find. The chapel
was built on the request of the Blessed Virgin. It is well worth the effort to go! :slight_smile:

Here is the official website, and they do have it in english.

lourdes-france.org/

[quote=Pilgrim42]I already posted this at the Water Cooler, but have only gotten one answer, so I thought I’d try here. This questions covers a lot of things, so I wasn’t sure where it should go.

I’ll be arriving in Paris on Feb. 28th, the last day of the carnival season. I’ll be there one week. It’s my first trip to Europe and I am very excited.

My first full day will be Ash Wednesday.I realize France is mostly a secular nation, but does anything special happen in Paris to celebrate the end of the carnival season? Is there some sort of Mardi Gras thing that I should know about? It might help me know how to avoid traffic, etc.

Also, I’d like to go to an Ash Wednesday Mass at Notre-Dame. Are there any Catholic travelers out there who have attended masses in Paris, particularly travelers whose French isn’t all that great? Were you able to follow along all right? I’d like to attend Mass every day if I can, maybe at Notre-Dame or someplace else. I’ll be staying in the Latin Quarter.

My friends that I’m traveling with will be at a different hotel from me. Their hotel is across the street from the SSPX headquarters, St Nicolas du Chardonnet. What is Church policy regarding SSPX churches and masses? Is it okay to tour the inside of the church, attend a mass, take communion, or what? I do not want to commit any sin or give approval to schismatic behavior, but I hear the music and the Latin masses at St. Nicolas are beautiful. Please adivse.

I have also heard there are a lot of shops with religious antiques around St. Sulpice. Any recommendations, any shops you know of?

And what are the “don’t miss” churches you’d recommend?
[/quote]

My understanding is that because SSPX is in schism you must not participate in their Masses.

Here is the official site and schedules for Notre-Dame:
chapellenotredamedelamedaillemiraculeuse.com/EN/a.asp

I would also go to Sacré-Coeur…
panoramas.dk/fullscreen/fullscreen24.html
parisdigest.com/monument/sacrecoeur.htm
virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/France/Ile_de_France/Paris-99080/Things_To_Do-Paris-Montmartre_Sacre_Coeur-BR-1.html

The Sainte Chapelle (Holy Chapel) was designed as a shrine for Jesus Christ’s thorn crown. I do not know if it is still there…
parisdigest.com/monument/sainte-chapelle-interior.htm

[quote=thistle]My understanding is that because SSPX is in schism you must not participate in their Masses.
[/quote]

Yes, you should not…

[quote=IesusDeus]Here is the official site and schedules for Notre-Dame:
chapellenotredamedelamedaillemiraculeuse.com/EN/a.asp

[/quote]

As I note.

I believe that Notre-Dame de Paris (pictured in the Disney movie The Huntchback de Notre Dame)
ndparis.free.fr/

is different than La Chapelle de Notre Dame (My link above)

You should do both, but from a religious perspective La Chapelle de Notre Dame located at Rue du Bac is more interesting (for me).
The english name for “Chapelle de Notre Dame de la medaille miraculeuse” is “Chapel of Our Lady of the
Miraculous Medal”

Enjoy your trip! :slight_smile:

I’m not sure if they keep the Crown of Thorns at St. Chappelle, but they will be bringing it out for Adoration on Fridays at Notre-Dame during Lent. And I’ll be getting there right before Ash Wednesday and going to the Ash Wednesday service at Notre-Dame, so I’m pretty excited about that.

St. Chappelle, which is noted for its walls of stained glass, is a short walk from Notre-Dame. And both are within five minutes of my hotel. I’ve heard many guests at my hotel use the chimes of Notre-Dame as their wake-up call.My hotel is across the street from St.-Julien-le-Pauvre, the oldest church in Paris.

The Chapel of the Miraculous Medal )Chapelle de Notre Dame de la medaille miraculeuse) is a third place entirely.

Unfortunately, I will only be over there a week, and so won’t be able to make it to Lourdes or anywhere outside of Paris.

I have friends who are renting a house in Rome in May for a few weeks (the same friends I’m going to Paris with) and they want me to go along on that as well, especially since I’m a Catholic and can explain things to them they might otherwise miss.

If I can afford to go–and this is by no means certain, I plan to stay with them a week or so, at least until I can go to a Papal Audience, then strike out on my own, hitting at least Paris, Amsterdam, and London.

I am a writer, and I hope to one day visit the major European pilgrimage spots like Lourdes, Santiago de Compostella, Fatima, etc., and write a book about them. I know plenty has been written, but this would be my take.

My traveling companions aren’t Catholics, but their favorite thing to see when traveling are churches.

Howdy Pilgrim,
I was just in Paris last summer. I know very little French (except for parlez vous ainglaise? :smiley: ) and got around very well in Paris. I found that if I even tried to speak French, they’d answer in English.

Like your friends, visiting churches is one of my great travelling hobbies.  There is at least one church in Paris which does celebrate in English, but I never looked it up because I wanted some French culture while I was there (when in Rome...).  

For Sunday Masses, Notre Dame Cathedral provides a handout which has the readings in several languages.  The Mass is in French and you will have a hard time with  the responses.  The structure of the Mass is of course the same Novus Ordo that we all know and love  :), but it still amazes me how one can get lost without the verbal cues.  The best purchase I made while in Paris was a small "Liturgie de Messe", which give the prayers and responses in French.  With this I find I can really keep up with Mass.  Even without that tool, Mass is wonderful, whatever the language.  

St. Chapelle, also on the ile de france, is beautiful because of the stained glass (I rank it on the same level as the Sistene Chapel) and was built to house the relics of the passion.  Unfortunately, the French revolution ended that and the Chapelle is not a functioning church now.  A visit is still worthwhile.

I love the Chapel of the Miraculous Medal on Rue de bac.  The incorruptible remains of Catherine Labouré are there.  Visit and be sure to buy a miraculous medal.

If you want to attend Mass every day, your best bet is St. Sulpice, about a half mile south of Notre Dame.  They have a simple Mass at 7 AM every weekday and saturday I believe.

Also, don’t miss Sacre Coeur (the cathedral of the Sacred Heart) on Mon Martre. This is north of the center of the city, so you might want to take the subway. In a park a few blocks away is a delightfully morbid fountain statue of St. Denis holding his newly beheaded head, complete with mitre (he was the first bishop of Paris, I believe). This was the site where he washed his head after the beheading (a wonderful story you ought to look up).

Lastly, the Cathedral of Saint Eustache has organ concerts on many thursday nights. I missed it last time, but I think it would be amazing to experience. The French were renowned for their organ technology.

 Bon voyage!  :wave:

My friends plan to eat in their hotel room to save money, but I wanna try that glorious French food. Ideally I’d like to get up, go to Mass in some great old church, then hang out in a neighborhood place for breakfast, trying to be a regular at that place for the week, and have my breakfast there, until my friends are up and ready to go. I am not normally a morning person, but I am for trips like this!

I had read on some sit that there are a lot of shops near St. Sulpice with religious antiques. I’d like to stock up on old religious prints, but I intend to check the book stores and the stalls along the Seine for those as well.

We’ll probably also go to La Madeleine.

Greetings,

There are alot of shops around St. Sulpice. Somewhere in there is where I bought my Mass book. I found that, even after a 7 AM Mass, most of the bistros were only just getting ready for b’fast. The shops open much later.

The 7 AM Mass at St. Sulpice is actually in the chapel of the assumption, in the back of the church. To get to it, you walk around the outside of the church to the southeast corner. There will be a wooden door which is unlocked about 5-10 minutes before 7. Priests in France often wear secular dress, so you might see him opening the door and not realize he’s the priest.

At Notre Dame Cathedral, think about going up the stairs to the bell towers. Also consider a tour (I never have time for these things). Oh, also, on one of the nights, the Louvre is open for free! I think it is Tuesday or Wednesday night. Lots of wonderful religious art there :thumbsup: but you’ll be fighting the crowd and only have a few hours. Still, it’s hard to pass up a freebie.

Oh, I just noticed from your profile that we were born within two months of each other.

If you really want to see the relics of the passion, go to Santa Croce in Girusalema, in Rome. They are supposed to be there - I saw them a year and a half ago - but I am a little skeptical about these claims. :hmmm:

Oh, also, forget about the SSPX. It is schismatic until Papa Ratzi says otherwise.

Would it be safe to photograph the interior of the SSPX church or watch the Mass without participating, or would you just steer clear altogether? The reason I say is I’ve never seen a Latin Mass in person. But my curiosity is not so great that I’ll let it drag me into schism certainly.

My friends have already booked an apartment with a terrace near Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome for May. I just don’t know if I can swing it. I’d have a free place to stay while in Rome, and I’d probably just stay in hostels for the other cities, but the airfare and expenses might be too dear.

I understand the main museums in Paris are free on the first something of the month–I forget which day, and the Louvre is open until 9:45pm on Wednesdays, so after I go to Ash Wednesday Mass I will be putting in a full day of “Louvre-ing.”

It’s a shame France has gotten so secular, what with there being a church on just about every corner in Paris.

Anybody else have any thoughts?

Anybody out there? Does CA seem less populated than it used to be?

Well, I’m back from my 2/28–3/7 trip to Paris and wanted to check in.

I wound up moving over to the same hotel my friends stayed in, which was right across the street from SSPX HQ St Nicolas du Chardonnet. My friends went in one day and looked around, but I did not. My non-Catholic friends were rather intimadated by the place. They saw a priest pacing back and force reading a Bible, and lots of people rocking back and forth while they prayed very intensely “like their lives depended on it.”

I didn’t make it to all the religious sites on my agenda, missing St. Sulpice, St. Germain De Pres, St. Augustin, St. Eustache, and La Madeleine, as well as the Chapel of the Miraculous Medal. I also missed the Adoration of the Crown of Thorns last Friday at Notre-Dame.

I did go to St. Julien-De-Pauvre, St.Severin, Sacre-Coeur, St.Clotilde, St. Germain L’Auxerrois, St. Nicolas Des Champs (for Saturday evening Mass), and St. Merry. Inside the latter were two homeless men who seemed mentally ill, one of whom had a towel over his head worn in the style of a djellaba, surmounted by a crown of thorns.

I went to Confession on 2/28 at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. My priest spoke perfect English. It was my first ever face-to-face confession. The confessional, like those in many of the churches I visited, was in a modern, glass and steel room, one story in height, set up inside one of the side chapels. It was dark and decorated like a study. Bands of frosted glass protected the privacy of the two people seated in the room. Though it had been some time since my last confession, I wasn’t even given any penance.

The next day was Ash Wednesday, and I went to the 8am Mass at Notre-Dame. There were less than 50 people in attendance, so we were seated up by the altar in the medieval choir stalls. That was a profound experience. The whole religious side of my trip really drove home how old and historic our faith is.

On the downside, I spent way too much money on myself and now feel guilty…

Howdy Pilgrim,
Glad you had such a good time. The problem with visiting Europe is that there is always more to see. I guess the only solution is to avoid the problem by never going. :smiley:

I love the deep Catholic history of Europe. Too bad the Europeans don’t want to to acknowledge it. Maybe they’ll like Islam better. :wink:

Ths SSPX priest was probably working through his daily breviary readings. Too bad our non-schismatic clergy isn’t taking as much advantage of this prayer.

Five years ago I also went to Notre Dame de Paris and made confession. The confessionals were just as you said. My confessor also spoke English. And apparently understood completely what I confessed because he gave good counsel…but unlike you, I got a penance.
I also got to attend the Stations of the Cross at the Cathedral in Bayeux in Normandy. It was all in French but we followed, knowing more or less what was being said. The nave was filled with faithful participants. It was most moving.
I am glad you were so blessed to visit Notre Dame. It is an truly holy place.

I noticed in Notre-Dame and many other old churches many old side chapels, largely unrestored, but with walls and ceilings blackened by centuries of candle smoke. That I found inspiring as well.

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