Getting off the subway and slowing down the pace a bit from the hustle of the Rive Gauche, we landed in this former hotbed of counterculture to take in the Basilica on the Rive Droite. The vibe was different. It felt like a students' town. We took the funiculaire up the steep hill and climbed some steps to go inside then around the back to a café for a late breakfast. The church like many we saw was just incredible, the sheer scope of it makes you feel puny. I loved reading how in WW2, in spite of the neighbourhood being bombarded, there were no casualties around Sacred Heart. We walked back down through side streets, witnessing the day-to-day of the place. When we got back in the subway, standing apart from others on the platform, I got a strong smell of roses (amid less pleasant scents). After climbing into the subway car, it came in wafts until I asked my other half if he smelled anything. He didn't. I told him a religious friend would say it was the Virgin Mary present and that we certainly had been knocking on her door, visiting the Chapel of the Miraculous Medallion that very morning then the basilica. He said that that was a nice thought if it were true, then he smelled it too. What an incongruous image in anyone's mind - Mary in the subway - but stranger things have happened. It may help if you're consecrated to her Immaculate Heart but it's no guarantee. I'm not likely to forget this outing anytime soon.
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