The chambre d’hote we stayed in was run by a former Parisienne who was once a secretary on Rue de Rivoli before moving out to the country. She served up a home run breakfast, told us about stained glass, and recalled how Rue de Roquette was better when it was sleazier.
When we visited the cathedral the next morning, mass was about to start. The labyrinth in the middle of the floor was covered up with wooden folding chairs, but the gap was filled by the playing of “Phantom of the Opera” on the enormous, ancient pipe organ – which looks quite a bit like a giant octopus sucking on the inside of the building. The notes bounced off the ceiling and created an indescribable sound. It occurred to me that “Phantom” might well be considered the first heavy metal anthem, and then during the furious breakdown segment, I couldn’t help but recall Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.”