DePaulBlueDemons.com will be following the softball program on its 10-day trip throughout France and the Netherlands via a series of player blogs. First up are student-athletes Kirsten Verdun and Mary Connolly.
The Blue Demons landed safely in Paris, France on Saturday, Aug. 10 after running into DePaul basketball legend Wilson Chandler at O'Hare International Airport on their way out of Chicago.
Verdun picks up the story there - telling us about the team's first full day in "The City of Light."
Sunday, August 11
What an exciting day in Paris we had!
Today Father Ed took us to several historic buildings in Paris. We visited the Vincentian motherhouse on Rue de Savres, where we got to go inside the chapel that was built in honor of Saint Vincent de Paul. It was very interesting and beautiful and it even contained de Paul's remains. To see our university's namesake in real-life was an amazing and humbling opportunity.
Adjacent to the chapel, we got to explore the Vincentian Museum. It was crazy to see the hand-made map of Paris and how many buildings remain standing from the 17th century. After that we walked to the motherhouse of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul on the Rue du Bac. The Chapel of the Miraculous Medal was breathtaking. The whole chapel looked like it was sparkling. Before heading back to the bus, we got to see the Church of Saint-Sulpice. Father Ed told us that it was the largest church in Paris, and it was very impressive to see both on the outside and the inside. We took a group photo with Father Ed's favorite statue of St. Vincent inside Saint-Sulpice to show everyone!
The last place we visited today was L'Hôtel national des Invalides, which contained Napoleon Bonaparte's tomb and is also where the first military hospital was placed.
Seeing all of the architecture was so interesting and my favorite part of the day was walking down and seeing the sculpted walls surrounding Napoleon's Tomb. I'm so excited to explore more of the city tomorrow!
- Kirsten Verdun
Monday, August 12
For me personally, today
was the best day in Paris!
We got to truly explore the streets of Paris, as well as learn about St. Vincent de Paul and the Paris Opera House as well. The amount of history in this city is overwhelming, but makes the sites so much more valuable and memorable. In the morning we began by visiting Old Saint-Lazare Train Station and the Church of Saint Marguerite. The land is very different, but some of the old prison walls from that time period were still intact. Although the church was closed, we were able to see the face of St. Vincent DePaul on the side of one of the buildings that appears when the sun hits it. The experience was great and very informational.
In the afternoon I got the opportunity to shop at the flea markets, which was very different because they bargain quite a bit. I learned how to bargain with some of the vendors, and got some awesome stuff.
After the markets, we visited a cafe for some gelato that was out of this world and then took a tour at the opera house. The architecture and murals in the opera house make the churches look like nothing! I was very impressed that it still looks that great after so many years. One fun fact they told us is that the 13th seat in the auditorium is missing because long ago a piece of the chandelier fell on a woman and the seat had to be removed. Fun facts like that made the place very fun to learn about and I would love to go back for a ballet sometime! Today was more successful than I could have asked for, and each day I become more and more grateful for this unbelievable opportunity!
- Mary Connolly