For as long as we have been coming to Paris, Raymonde has been strongly encouraging us to visit the Basilica of St Denis. For one reason or another, the least of which being that we have only mild curiosity about structures ecclesiastic, that particular visitation was a fair way down our list of things to do in Paris.
This morning when we checked that very list, it suddenly loomed quite near the top, and since that district was one which had thus far escaped our footprints today was the day. It was of course instructive in an historic sort of way, this building being crudely to France what Westminster Abby is to Britain, housing as it does the tombs of an entire dynasty of rulers and their companions. I could of course go on to describe the architecture and the stained glass in some detail, but while it is definitely noteworthy, so noteworthy that arguably it is of more interest and importance than that other noteworthy Cathedral in Paris, it is the context rather than the building that interests us, so we repaired to the nearest luncheon spot to discuss that very thing.
There, the young waiter, waived off our compliments at the standard of his English. “It’s the future for us”, he said before correcting himself with “but perhaps we had better learn Chinese if we really want to be in the future.” “Yesterday”, he continued, “we have begun to buy petrol from China, and we are not paying in US dollars.”
Whatever the veracity of that statement, one can sense that there may be a dynasty of a very different kind readying it’s resources for the future.