Unlike Franck, who found throughout his errant French youth that the prime place for meeting fetching girls from neighbouring villages was catechism classes, I didn’t spend much of my formative years in churches.
Pinned down by the centrifugal force of exhaustion, I just sat. I sat and listened to the hymns. I sat and watched the play of light shining through the stained glass windows. I sat and actually ended up experiencing a very welcome moment of peace.
It dawned on me then that you don’t have to know the religious “language” to attend a church service.
Now I enjoy going to church. I still don’t know when to stand up or sit down, but I’ve realized that simply having the desire to step out of the mish-mash of life for a moment is all the Church-ese I need to speak.
So many aspects of French culture are rooted in the Catholic religion; attending a local church service helps you understand it on a whole new level. I have found that it is one of the most peaceful ways of taking part in French life.
*”Authentic France Travel Tips” are posted every Tuesday and give ideas for savvy travellers who want to experience the authentic side of France.
I just had to include this photo of my niece and nephew lighting a candle and praying for the departed souls of their dearly beloved cats in Notre-Dame while visiting Paris.