PEP/Fra – Sector France: News from Verlomme Community

From the Mini-Lien of the French sector, a look back at May from the sector community, at rue Verlomme.

Communauté de Verlomme :

The most important event of the month is undoubtedly the Sector Council meeting.

But the one we remember best is our annual community outing: it was on Saturday, May 11th that we first met at St Etienne du Mont Church, located on Mont Ste Geneviève. The current church dates back to the flamboyant Gothic and Renaissance periods. In particular, we admired the vault of the flamboyant choir, the finely carved stone rood loft, the carved wooden pulpit, the organ buffet and the stained-glass windows. While walking around the sanctuary, everyone was able, according to their interest, to stop in front of the hunting of Saint Genevieve, the tombs of Pascal and Racine, and many works of art: frescoes, paintings, statuary.

We then crossed the square to enter the Pantheon. This XVIIIth century building of neo-classical style, has suffered the convulsions of our history. First conceived as a church by Louis XVI in 1791, it became a republican temple to house the remains of the “great men”. It once again housed the Catholic cult under Louis XVIII and Napoleon III. It was under Louis-Philippe and the Third Republic that it resumed its function as the mausoleum of the great men of the country.

It is therefore with both religious and republican devotion that we entered this édifice, which is impressive in its size and majesty. After having visited the frescoes and sculptures on the ground floor, we were able to reflect on the ashes of the 81 personalities, men and women, who were “honoured by the grateful country”. Some of us (but we won’t say who) have dreamed of being “pantheonized”.

This did not prevent us from going for a good meal at the restaurant on Place de la Contrescarpe.

On the way we sang in chorus the words of Georges Brassens:

Poor kings, pharaohs! Poor Napoleon!
Poor missing people lying in the Pantheon!
Poor ashes of consequence!

You’ll envy a little the eternal holiday-maker,
Who, with his pedal boat, climbs the wave dreaming,
That he spends his death on vacation….

You’ll envy a little the eternal White Father,
Who says his rosary dreaming of the days of yesteryear,
Passed under the African sun.

François Richard

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