Most of the things we wanted to go see yesterday were closed. Most businesses here are closed on Sunday or Monday–sometimes Tuesday. Private businesses here can open and close whenever they like. They don’t have to follow a schedule at all. You may find yourself looking online ahead of time and making note of the hours and when you show up, the place may be closed, or vice versa. It sometimes can be unpredictable here with businesses. For example, our neighbor owns an ice cream shop, but you have no idea when she opens. She opens when she’s good and ready, and still manages to run a successful business.
We were meeting our leasing agent Kristin in the 8th arrondissement, to reserve our apartment of interest. Kristin’s office is on rue Royale, which is next to Place de la Concorde. On rue Royale, the Madeleine church dominates the block. La Madeleine was another one of Napolean’s ideas that was intended as a monument to the glory of his French army. Now a church, it opens daily with scheduled masses.
When we entered the façade, the noise of the traffic and people immediately seized. The silence of the church was calming. In spite of the college choir practicing at the moment, it was peaceful in there. The lighting was dim; only the elaborate chandeliers and the prayer’s candles were lit. We spent some time observing the statues, the choir, the massive ceilings, and the architecture of the building as a whole. I felt a bit shy and guilty to be taking pictures in such a holy place, as if I were exposing a very private event. However, I wasn’t the only tourist snapping away. I did it as discreetly as I could, and remained quiet until we stepped back out into the hustle and bustle of the city.