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Location: Minneapolis, MN

Dempsey is a Golden Retriever puppy who is in training to become a Helping Paws service dog for an individual with a physical disability. He lives with his parents Doreen and Paul, and Bailey the cat. None has ever trained a puppy before. These are their adventures. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the blog author. The contents of this blog have not been reviewed or approved by Helping Paws, Inc.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Easter in Paris

For the past several weeks, the stores in Paris have been full of Easter displays. Even the Monoprix changed part of their cheese display to an Easter display, which seems like a big deal.

Oddly, in addition to the usual bunnies and eggs, Easter bells are popular candies. The day before Good Friday, all the church bells in France stop ringing, and they don’t start again till Easter morning. French children are told that the bells have flown away to Rome, and that they will return Easter morning with candy for all the good children. There’s even a lullaby about the magical flying bells:

The bells have flown away,
They have gone to
Down there, down there, far away, you see,
To visit the Pope, a saintly man,
An old man, dressed in white is he.
The bell of each church
To him secretly speaks
Of all the good little ones.

Because Easter seems to be such a big deal here, I thought it might be fun to see a sunrise Easter service at the Sacre Couer Basilica on Montmartre, the highest point in Paris. I asked my French teacher about it:

“Church at sunrise?” she asked, puzzled.

“Yes. It’s popular in America.”

Sunrise? The morning?”


“Oh, no no no! That is crazy, to awaken so early!”

Turns out she was right. There is no sunrise service at Sacre Couer, or anywhere else in Paris, for that matter. Doreen and I went to the 6pm service.

Because many Europeans have a 4-day weekend for Easter, Montmartre was packed. We found a seat, but with the foreign language and the foreign customs, we weren’t getting much out of it, so we left early to explore the neighborhood.

The most interesting thing we found was at the “city hall” for the 18th arrondissement, which had huge banners outside for hostages in Iraq and Colombia. The good citizens of the 18th are invited to sign a petition asking for their release. As boneheaded and counterproductive I think the war in Iraq is, I’m not sure that giving terrorists a petition is the best way to secure world peace.

But I guess believing in petitions and candy-bearing bells is just as fanciful as believing in stupid wars and candy-bearing bunnies.

Joyeux Pâques, everyone!