Mourning Notre Dame de Paris: A Brief Liturgical Perspective

Holy Week, la semaine sainte, began Sunday; yesterday evening Notre Dame de Paris lost her roof and spire to flames. The footage of her spire toppling left me hollow, ready to retch. I wonder that this has occurred in our lifetime, to gaze at the height of the landmark cathedral that has endured since the Middle Ages and watch her soaring roofline burned to ash.

The flames were doused as night fell; we appreciate the hundreds of pompiers who worked to stop the destruction. Ave Maria was sung in the twilight by some who looked on, though few knew the words. Even the morning after, it is evident that the spirit of mourning will linger long after the smoke and ashes drift away. Notre Dame's spire was a lenten candle snuffed out. Most of the world recognizes that an enduring symbol and cultural heritage has been stricken; we ultimately grieve the fracture of an enduring testament to faith.

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On Worldschooling and our Weekday Rhythms in Lyon, France

My children and I have been back in Oregon for three weeks now, but we're still savoring the seven weeks of school when we lived in Lyon this past fall. On our last worldschooling trip there three years ago, my daughter attended first grade at a private Catholic school and my oldest son attended a public preschool part-time. On this visit, all three of my oldest children attended a public school and like last time, they had great experiences. Here's what it was like:

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Automne à Lyon: Learning to Live Like a Local

My four children and I have been living in Lyon for roughly six weeks now, but it feels longer in the best way. We just love it here. I’m so grateful that God has blessed our stay, and yet at the same time I’m grieving that we’ll have to leave in two weeks. However, my husband has been waiting patiently for us in Oregon, so being with him again will truly make it feel like coming home.

What do we love about Lyon right now? Here are four aspects that are making us happy:

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La Rentrée à Lyon: Returning to Lyon as an Expat Family

We arrived in Lyon two weeks ago, mid-August. The city seemed both paradoxically full of tourists and empty of Lyonnais citizens, as is normal here in August. Since we are living in Vieux Lyon, tourists are ever present in this Renaissance neighborhood and UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it has been a relief to see the crowds dwindle and the restaurants re-open as locals return from summer vacations.

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Cité du Chocolat: A Family Day Trip from Lyon

Our family arrived in Lyon just over a week ago, so with another ten days before school begins, I decided we'd make a day trip to Valrhona's Cité du Chocolat--an educational experience (much like a hands-on museum) focused on chocolate. Located in Tain l'Hermitage roughly 50 minutes south of Lyon by train, Cite du Chocolat opened just five years ago (in 2013). Having had a delectable first visit in 2015, I was excited on this visit to see what was new (and to taste the high quality samples)!

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Our Family's Five Favorite Shows at Puy du Fou Theme Park, France

After hearing all of our French friends' incredible reviews about Puy du Fou theme park, we spent two days there late last week, and we were completely awed by the shows, the animals, and the competence that made the experience exceptional. Here are our top five favorite shows that we saw:

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Our Family Stay in Paris: Housing, Activities, & Memories Made

After an overnight flight from the West Coast, USA, our family of six (with children ages 4 months to 9 years) arrived at CDG just over two weeks ago. The last days of July were the hottest of the year here, but this was to our advantage at first: the government declared journées anti-pollution and offered price-reduced tickets for public transport, so our family was able to take the RER train from the airport to our apartment for under 20 Euros. (This was a blessing after an expensive mistake three years ago.)

Our apartment, reserved through Kid & Coe, proved to be fantastic. Spacious for the price (meaning it was not simply a studio with a loft), it was in the 7th arrondissement, within walking distance of the Musée d'Orsay, Eiffel Tower, and Jardin des Tuileries. Normally I prefer to stay in the Marais, but getting to know this relatively quiet quarter (near Les Invalides and the American University of Paris) was a nice change.

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New Books About French Homes: Home Sweet Maison & L'Appart

There's something alluring about anything French, and classic French homes and apartments are no exception. With their high ceilings and windows, ornate molding, decorative mantels, and parquet floors, they simply exude character. Of course, owning a French home or apartment also means one has to deal with antiquated plumbing and wiring, and any renovations one undertakes will require extensive--and expensive--paperwork, permissions, payments, and pain

Paris-based food blogger David Lebovitz knows this firsthand. His recently released book L'Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home traces his path from San Francisco to Paris as he sought out an appartment to purchase and renovate.

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