#6: And Last, but Not Least, There’s Paris

by | Jun 6, 2014 | France, Travel, Travel With Kids | 18 comments

Our last stop was Paris. After our flight to France was delayed by a day, Air Canada offered to slide our return date one day as well. Since we were staying in so many different cities and hotels, there really wasn’t a way to shift the whole trip. So, we decided to stick with only one day in Lourdes and add an extra day in Paris to the end of the trip.

As usual, His ways are above my ways, and the scheduling worked out perfectly. We got to everything we wanted to do in one very busy day in Lourdes, and we really appreciated having the extra day in Paris.

Our first stop was my reigning “Favorite Church in the World:” Sacré Coeur for morning Mass.

It has beautiful views (when it’s not raining!) and beautiful mosaics.

I love that in the focal artwork of the dome, the artist blends modern composition and style with the pre-Renaissance hieratic scale, making saints or members of the family of God larger in scale than ordinary or less important figures. It is SO COOL.

Next, on account of all the rainy, rainy, rain. We headed to the Louvre to do us some art appreciatin.’

That bottom left photo is the one I took after I had to say, “Stop picking your nose while I’m trying to take your picture in front of the Mona Lisa.” Frankie and Anita really explored the the quality and nature of sensory responses related to, but not limited by, the concept of beauty. Ya know?

This is what it looked like when we lined up all the family so my dad could take a photo of us in the Louvre:

This is what it looked like for us:

We walked all over the city. We saw the Arc de Triomphe. We ate fancy ice cream that looked like flowers.

We wandered underneath La Tour Eiffel in the rain. It was pretty great.

The next morning we went to Notre Dame Cathedral.

Pro-tip: If you want to get into the restricted area behind the altar and sit in the actual choir stalls, just show up for morning Mass!

Next stop was Rue du Bac, the convent in which St. Catherine Laboure received at least three apparitions of the Blessed Virgin in 1830. Mary gave St. Catherine a vision of the Miraculous Medal, along with the charge to have it created. Easier said than done, that sort of thing. St. Catherine remained anonymous as the recipient of the apparition, all her life, working through her always dubious spiritual director. But, eventually the medals were created and have become extraordinarily popular.

That little sign is all there is to the outside of the convent, but inside are the sister’s living quarters, a pilgrimage office and gift shop, and a really lovely little chapel. St. Catherine Laboure’s incorrupt body is in the chapel.

The Chapel of the Miraculous Medal has just the sweetest altar painting you ever did see. It looks like it could have been done by Eloise Wilkin, of all those precious Little Golden Books. I love how it is so unassuming the outside, but so lovely on the inside.

St. Catherine Laboure’s order of nuns was started by St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac, our Lulu’s patron saint. St. Louise is another incorruptible, and is also in the chapel.

After Rue du Bac, we had the great pleasure of meeting up with Isabelle!

She reads this blog and offered to show us around, and since she’s a PhD candidate in 19th century France history, the kids can now skip history in school next year. We learned it all and walked everywhere to do it.

Gus likes the stance of the French do not walk guy.

And that was it. Our trip home was relatively uneventful! Thanks for sticking out all the recaps and thanks to those of you who let us pray for you on our trip.

St. Joan of Arc, Patroness of France, pray for us!



  1. Isabelle Lubbock

    Well Jack can certainly provide a most excellent summary of the French revolution! It was a pleasure to walk around with you guys! 😀

  2. Elizabeth@SuperSwellTimes

    All the people taking a picture of your guys reminds me of what happened when we took my grandmother to the market in Korea. Hordes of school kids kept coming up to her to get their picture taken with her. I wish I had been more proactive in taking pictures but somewhere in some Korean school kid's scrapbook, my Grandma will live forever.

  3. Keeley L.

    It rained during our whole trip to Paris, too. I think the day we went to Sacre Coeur was the only time it wasn't raining. I still loved it! Glad you guys had fun!

  4. Nanacamille

    All those ladies are Chinese from Shanghai and are lucky if they have one grandchild. Should have seen them going nuts over
    Louise in the line for the ladies room
    Isabella was an awesome tour guide and lovely pg lady. Great info on all the French Revolutions

    • Melissa Hunter-Kilmer

      Nana Camille, that makes sense. Poor things. You are so rich in grandchildren, and they are just beautiful!

      The French fertility rate isn't much higher, is it? :-/

  5. Heather

    My favorite was the photo of the Chinese ladies taking your picture. The Tierneys are more interesting than the Mona Lisa!

  6. Mary

    I've enjoyed living vicariously through these recaps! How funny about your Chinese fan club.

    Catherine Laboure is my daughter's patroness, although we call her Katie Rose. She's only two now, but I want to take her to the Chapel of the Miraculous Medal, preferably while she's still a child. That chapel looks like the epitome of maternal consolation. It would be so easy to pray to Mary as our true Mother there!

  7. M.E.

    Maybe Eloise Wilkin got some of her artistic inspiration from the altar at Rue de Bac, who knows?
    Seriously, your baby (in the picture with you in front of St. Catherine Laboure's glass "enclosure") looks EXACTLY like one of Eloise Wilkins's babies – she's completely adorable!
    Also must second (& third) Heather's vote that the Tierneys are certainly more interesting than Mona Lisa 🙂 ! (but everybody's got to see her at least once, don't they?)
    My vote is with those ladies from Shanghai – they know a picture of all the Tierney children, standing in front of the Mona Lisa, is wwaaaayy more interesting than Mona Lisa all by herself could ever be!
    I will continue to smile from time to time thinking about how smart all those ladies from Shanghai are!
    Thank you so much for sharing the highlights of your whole trip with us; it all looked like so much fun; pray that all the Tierney family fans will get to make a trip there too one day!
    A bientôt!

  8. M.E.

    P. S. : I believe I know the secret of why the Mona Lisa smiles.
    If you care to know, I'd be glad to share [No? Well OK, I can keep a secret too 😉 ].

  9. Anna

    Hi Kendra! I'm enjoying reading through your archives. Not being Catholic, I'm curious what "incorruptible" means. Thank you for taking time to document your trip. My mother-in-law is in France now. When she returns, I'm going to show her your blog and compare notes with what she got to see. 🙂

    • Kendra

      Thanks Anna!

      Incorruptibility is kind of mysterious. This is from Wikipedia:

      "In Roman Catholicism, if a body remains incorruptible after death, this is generally seen as a sign that the individual is a saint. Not every saint, however, is expected to have an incorruptible corpse. Although incorruptibility is recognized as supernatural, it is no longer counted as a miracle in the recognition of a saint.

      Embalmed bodies were not recognized as incorruptibles. For example, while the body of Pope John XXIII remained in a remarkably intact state after its exhumation, Church officials remarked that the body had been embalmed and additionally there was a lack of oxygen in his sealed triple coffin.

      Incorruptibility is seen as distinct from the good preservation of a body, or from mummification. Incorruptible bodies are often said to have the odour of sanctity, exuding a sweet or floral, pleasant aroma."

      Thanks for reading!

    • Kendra

      Oh, and since I never really said, incorruptible basically means that the body of the dead person doesn't decompose at all, or not as much as would be expected.

    • Anna

      Interesting. Thank you for responding. God has given you a remarkable aptitude for writing.
      (Sorry to mar your comments section. I realized I needed to move my response up to the conversation, and it left a tacky spot beneath it.)

  10. Mary Hirose

    I'm over a year late to your party, but I just finished reading all 6 installments on your amazing trip to France. As the homeschooling mother of just 3 girls ages 7, 6, and 4 with a 4th on the way, I had just a few questions for you. How do you get everyone to look at your camera at the same time? How did you keep your kids so clean after so much ice cream? How did you even start to consider booking such a huge trip with so many people? I would love to take our family on a pilgrimage like yours, but the idea of just starting to plan (and budget) is daunting. How did you manage?

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