Pilgrimages to Lourdes take many different forms, but everyone seems to arrive with some kind of faith. The grotto spring water is said to have magical properties. Miracles of healing have been scientifically confirmed. And the candlelit faces of the people taking part in the prayers and processions show the strength of their belief.
I made the journey to Lourdes not because I am faithful to a particular religion or god and not because I am seeking any miracles (although I wouldn't turn one down). I made the journey because I was curious. I knew there would be an interesting combination of commercialization of religion and purity of faith.
I was not disappointed. There were neon stores filled with religious trinkets, vending machines of pope coins, and a staggering variety of vessels to carry away the (possibly) miraculous spring water (tiny glass bottles, plastic virgin Mary's with screw caps, gallon jugs). The miracle of marketing was clear.
I was surprised, however, at how moving the evening processions were. How strangers from so many countries were so easily swept into a community that felt as one. How the flickering candles in the cold darkness seemed so warm and comforting. And how I felt as if I fit in, no matter how I defined my faith.
Meredith Mullins is a fine art photographer, photography instructor, writer for OIC Moments, and Director of the International Fine Art Photography Competition. Her work can be seen at www.meredithmullins.artspan.com or in her award-winning book, In A Paris Moment. She is available for private photography instruction/exploration in Paris. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christmas/Holiday Tour of Paris for 2014
Paris is magical during the holidays and I am happy to announce a special Christmas/Holiday Tour of Paris for 2014. Clients will experience the marvelous shop windows, gleaming outdoor lights, beautifully decorated trees, and festive Christmas markets. The tour includes a visit to Galeries Lafayette and Printemps department stores, the Champs Elysees Holiday market, the yummy gourmet shops Fauchon and Hediard on Place Madeleine overflowing with delicious holiday goodies, and the rue St. Honoré, with designer shops Hermes and Lanvin. To warm up, we stop for an authentic hot chocolate at one of the top Paris chocolate shops.
Tour times 10AM-1PM or 2PM-5PM
Cost: 225 euros for 1-3 people, 75 euros each additional person. Hot chocolate is not included in price. Click here to book the tour or for more information.
Tours will be conducted everyday from December 20, 2014 to January 5, 2015 except on Christmas and New Years Day.
New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotte's professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 185 euros per person (about $240)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday,Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.
I am pleased as punch to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I will personally be leading. The Eye Prefer Paris Tour includes many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes & food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks, and much more.
Tours cost 210 euros for up to 3 people, and 70 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com
Click here to watch a video of our famous Marais tour