One great thing about living near Paris is the amount of free or inexpensive stuff there is to do here. On Sundays you can always find churches with musical preludes before the morning and evening mass (or culte du dimanche, if it’s protestant). Last night I went to Saint-Eustache next to Les Halles in the middle of Paris.


(That’s Notre Dame, not Saint-Eustace, but I try to illustrate my blathering with pretty photos and it’s the only half-decent one I took last night.)

It must be irritating to be a real parishioner at one of those churches. If there are any, I mean. People that is who regularly attend because it’s their church. (Or maybe that’s just my Presbyterianism showing. Maybe Catholics don’t think that way.) Or maybe they just accept the trade-off. Attend church in a soaring Renaissance/Gothic edifice with professional musical accompaniment and in exchange you have to put up with the hoards of tourists with their backpacks and shopping bags and cameras and video-recorders on sticks wandering across the nave in the middle of mass. (“Could you step back a bit from the communion rail? You’re blocking my shot.”)

The tourists filing out after the prelude as the soloist sang “Adeste fideles” was nice touch. I’m confident the apposite nature of the moment was lost on nearly all of them.

File this under things you don’t have to put up with when you attend an Église Réformée that owns what was intended to be the basement of an apartment block out in les banlieues had the developer not run out of money.