Wednesday Postcard: Chéticamp, Nova Scotia, Canada

St. Peter’s Church | Photo by P.J. Wall

Bonjour! This week’s carte postale features St. Peter’s Church, located on the west coast of Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada.

St. Peter’s Church, or Paroisse Saint-Pierre, was built in 1893 using the design by Québec City architect, David Ouellet (1844-1915). The church is one of only a few stone churches on Cape Breton Island. It is also culturally valued for its central role in the spiritual life of the French Acadian Catholic community in Chéticamp.

My childhood penpal from Nova Scotia sent me this postcard in 1989 from Chéticamp, where she spent summers with her family. She and I share the same first name, as well as a deep admiration for Canadian musician, Corey Hart! In fact, we met through his fan club called “Shades” — a reference to his 1984 hit song, “Sunglasses at Night.” 😎 By the way, his latest song, “Morning Sun” was released in May 2021. Listen:

For more information:

Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Visit Chéticamp

Over the years, I have accumulated hundreds of postcards from around the world, which I’ve either purchased from my local antique shops or received from thoughtful jet-setting family and friends who know I collect them. When I travel, I also like to send myself a carte postale just for fun!

I hope these postcards will make you want to revisit a favorite vacation spot or to embark on a journey to the destination of your dreams (when it’s safe to travel freely again, of course!)

And if you’ve been to the destination featured, tell me about your experience there – I’d love to hear from you.

Until the next Wednesday Postcard, take care!

Wednesday Postcard: San Juan Bautista, California

Photo by R. Lowman

Bonjour! This week’s carte postale features Mission San Juan Bautista, located about 92 miles/ 148 km south of San Francisco, California.

  • Founded in June 24, 1797, Mission San Juan Bautista (St. John the Baptist) is the 15th of 21 California Missions along El Camino Real
  • The mission has three naves, making San Juan Bautista the largest of all the California Missions
  • Alfred Hitchcock filmed crucial scenes of his 1958 movie, Vertigo, at Mission San Juan Bautista and its surrounding areas (The film was based on the 1954 French novel, D’entre les morts by Boileau & Narcejac)

For more information:

Gilroy Dispatch (2007)

Old Mission San Juan Bautista

Until the next Wednesday Postcard, stay safe!

Wednesday Postcard: Lisieux, France

Bonjour! This week’s carte postale features the Basilica of Sainte-Thérèse in Lisieux, a commune in the Calvados department in the Normandy region located in northwestern France.

The Basilica of Sainte-Thérèse is considered the second most important pilgrimage site in France after Lourdes. It is often compared to the basilica of Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre in Paris.

It covers a surface area of 4,500m² with a 95m high dome, making it one of the largest churches to have been built during the 20th century.

For more information:

Normandy Tourism – Lisieux

Until the next Wednesday Postcard, à bientôt!

Wednesday Postcard: Lourdes, France

Photo by: P. Doucet

Bonjour! This week’s carte postale features the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, located in Lourdes in southwest France.

The Basilique Notre Dame du Rosaire de Lourdes stands above the Grotto of Massabielle, where it is believed that Virgin Mary appeared to a young girl named Bernadette.

Over three million people make the pilgrimage to Lourdes each year to visit the site of the apparitions and to touch the water believed to have healing powers.

The postcard also features the Pic du Jer, which is part of the Hautes-Pyrénées. Visitors can reach the top by taking a ride on a funicular.

For more information:

Lourdes Tourisme

Until the next Wednesday Postcard, à bientôt!

Wednesday Postcard: Reims, France

Bonjour! This week’s carte postale features the 13th century Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims in northeast France.

Reims (pronounced like “Rrance”) is located in the Grand-Est region, the former administrative region of Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne, Lorraine.

Reims Cathedral

  • was designed in the High Gothic style
  • hosted the coronations of over 30 kings
  • was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site List in 1991

For more information:

Reims Cathedral 

Reims Tourism

Until the next Wednesday Postcard, à bientôt!

Wednesday Postcard: Oakland, California

postcard image by S. Woo

Bonjour! This week’s carte postale features the Cathedral of Christ the Light, located near Lake Merritt in Oakland, California.

In 1962, the Diocese of Oakland was established. Unfortunately, its first cathedral, St. Francis de Sales, was heavily damaged during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

In 2005, construction began on the Cathedral of Christ the Light. It is the first cathedral in the world to be built in the 21st century. It opened its doors in 2008.

the main entrance is underneath the cross

This 58-foot-high hologram of Christ is located above the circular altar. The image is based on the sculptural relief found on the Royal Portal of the west façade of Chartres Cathedral in France.

For more information:

Cathedral of Christ the Light – Cathedral History & Art

Visit Oakland

Until the next Wednesday Postcard, à bientôt!

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Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris

I’m a confirmed Catholic, but I must confess that I haven’t been actively practicing. Still, visiting Cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris holds a deep significance for me as it is one of the world’s largest Catholic churches.

But what does visiting this cathedral mean for non-Catholics, I wondered. Perhaps they come to see its famous Gothic architecture, flying buttresses, and gargoyles.

Regardless of the reasons that millions of visitors come to Notre Dame each year, it looked like everyone only wanted to do the same thing: take selfies in front of stained glass windows, marble statues, and the Point Zero geographical marker in front, which reportedly marks the spot where ancient Paris, or Lutèce/Lutetia, began.

Well, OK, I took a bunch of selfies outside, too. But what would I experience inside? Here are a few of my impressions of Notre Dame (based on notes from my journal):

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I’m not wearing my hat today, but I did notice the “no hats/caps sign” when I first entered Notre Dame. Unlike Sacré-Cœur, photography isallowed here. Inside, it smells like smoke from candles.

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Joan of Arc: saint, heroine, martyr, national symbol of France

There will be a mass at noon and I’m thinking of coming back for it, but we’ll see. It’s only 11:04.  If I thought there were hoards of tourists at Sacré-Cœur, that was nothing compared with the crowds here at Notre Dame. Everyone has made the pilgrimage: school groups, senior tours, YouTube vloggers – everyone’s here!

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The South Rose Window (faces the Seine River)

After going around the aisle, I found a seat in the back of the nave. I’m looking up and around, trying to experience this place. Under my breath, I say a prayer for my family, my friends, and I express my gratitude for this trip and everything.

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There’s a constant buzz. I wish the souvenir medallion vending machines weren’t inside. The clink-clunk of coins gives Notre Dame a carnival or casino vibe. But what to do? To my left, there’s a group of people speaking very loudly. (Ugh, “Ugly American” in action!) While I find the familiar American English accent oddly comforting, I feel embarrassed. For them? For me? I think the noise removes the solemnity of this holy place of worship. How is God supposed to hear my prayers?

Hallelujah! They just made an announcement over the PA system: “Shhhh…Silence, s’il vous plaît.”  (Translation: “STFU, please.”)

I stifled the urge to let out a cacophonous laugh myself. That announcement was the best moment for me! 

OK, the silence lasted a whole ten seconds. The buzz is starting up again.

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Cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris