Prayerwalking

Prayer Walking: Travel With Purpose

16 October 2013

“A prayer journey is going somewhere – around the corner or around the world – for the primary purpose of intercessory prayer on location, better known as prayer walking.”

 

From Prayer Walking: A Journey of Faith by Dan R. Crawford and Calvin Miller

Prayer Points — Tower of London

20 April 2012

These prayer points and points to ponder will be inserted at corresponding points of the Tower of London section of the Crime & Punishment chapter.

Point to Ponder – Tower of London

Dungeons, torture devices, beheadings and executions all seem like a thing of the past. The natural tendency when walking around the Tower grounds is to think, “Whew, glad I wasn’t around when all of that was going on!” But did you know that torture of a different type takes place still today? Consider how often we place others in the prison of unforgiveness or use the torture of silent treatment or commit murder in our hearts.

In Matthew 5:21-22, Jesus says that if we are angry with our brother or speak harsh words to someone, we are just as deserving of judgment as someone who kills.

Pray that God will give us the strength to forgive as we have been forgiven and to love others with the same unselfish love that God has lavished on us (John 15:12).

Point to Ponder – Our Fortress and Strong Tower

King David often compared God to a fortress, a strong tower and a refuge in times of trouble. The Tower of London may have provided shelter for kings and been a stronghold against their enemies but it had flaws and weaknesses. On the other hand, we have a Fortress that never fails.

“The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” (Psalm 18:2)

Point to Ponder – Crown Jewels

Crown him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne! As you gaze at these emblems and symbols of the Kings and Queens of England, consider the glorious upcoming ceremony of the Coronation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Consider the words of Revelation 19:12, “… and on His head were many crowns.”

Prayer Points – Tower of London

Matthew 6:13, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Many of the power struggles in history, and the Tower of London’s history in particular, were caused by the same vices that mar the human heart today.

  • Pray against the Tower’s pervasive legacy of hatred, greed, envy, pride, selfishness, caprice, murder, adultery and lies.
  • Pray against the weapons of torture and imprisonment we use on one another through the silent treatment, bitterness, harsh words, gossip and resentment.
  • Pray that power struggles between Christians would dissolve and that we would learn to love others as Christ has loved us.
  • Pray against the murder we commit in our hearts through the thoughts we think and the words we speak.

Point to Ponder – Wall Walks

There are about 75 instances each of the words “fortress” and “strong tower” in the Bible, most of which are metaphors for God. Praise the Lord for his faithful protection in our times of crisis and need! Quote these verses as you walk along the walls of the Tower.

“And he said, the Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; the God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my savior; thou savest me from violence.” 2 Samuel 22:2-3,

“For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.” Psalm 31:3

“Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.” Psalm 71:3

“I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” Psalm 91:2

“My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me.” Psalm 144:2

“For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.” Psalm 61:3

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” Proverbs 18:10

The Crown Jewels

17 April 2012

This segment of PrayerWalk London takes you from the Tower of London’s Opening Ceremony through the Crown Jewels in the Jewel Tower.

Jewel House Entrance

Once inside the front gates, resist the temptation to go on the first yeoman warder’s tour. Instead, go directly to the Crown Jewels exhibit. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200 just go directly – go, go, go! – to the Crown Jewels. You’ll enter the Jewel House just under the clock in the Waterloo Barracks.

The lines inside the Jewel House have a bit of a Disneyland feel. Large electronic screens on either side of the anti-chamber play scenes from the last coronation to date, that of Elizabeth II, to entertain the waiting hordes. But because you were very smart and came early, you will not be one of them! You can breeze through at the speed of light to the Crown Jewels exhibit.

In this room are displayed the regalia, scepters, orbs and swords used for coronations and other ceremonies of state. The value of the objects in this room is inestimable. They have been used through the centuries and are still in use today; in fact, it is not unusual to find one of the swords missing because it is in use that day for a knighting.

As to the age of the jewels, when Oliver Cromwell acceded to power as Lord Protector in 1653, he ordered the jewel collection of his predecessors – those powerful symbols and reminders of the monarchy – be destroyed, melted down and dismantled. Therefore, most of the regalia on display today date from 1661 and the reign of Charles II, whose first order of business was to replenish the royal jewel collection.

The Crown Jewels are displayed in five glass cases. Visitors pass them on a sort of moving sidewalk. No photos are allowed. When you’re done, hop off and have another go at the moving sidewalk, congratulating yourself once again on beating the crowds.

Be sure to notice:

  • St. Edward’s Crown. This is the crown that the Archbishop of Canterbury places on the monarch’s head at the moment of coronation. It weighs nearly five pounds and contains 443 precious and semiprecious stones.
  • The Sovereign’s Scepter. The largest cut diamond in the world, Cullinan I (a.k.a. the First Star of Africa) is set in this scepter. The diamond weighs 530 carats.
  • The Imperial State Crown. Used annually by Queen Elizabeth II for the State Opening of Parliament, this spectacular crown contains the legendary “Stuart Sapphire,” the “Black Prince’s Ruby” and “Queen Elizabeth’s Pearls.” It includes 2,868 diamonds, 273 pearls, 17 sapphires and 11 emeralds.
  • The Crown of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. This crown contains the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond from India, which weighs 106 carats. It belonged to the Queen Mother, who died in 2002.
  • Queen Victoria’s Diamond Crown. A tiny crown, it weighs only 4 ounces and was commissioned in 1870 by special request of Queen Victoria. It cost £50,000 to make.
  • The Anointing Spoon. The oldest surviving piece of regalia on display in the Jewel Room, the anointing spoon is from the 12th century and is used to pour holy oil.

Point to Ponder. Crown him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne! As you gaze at these emblems and symbols of the Kings and Queens of England, consider the glorious upcoming ceremony of the Coronation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Consider the words of Revelation 19:12, “… and on His head were many crowns.”

Tower of London — Visitor Information

16 April 2012

This segment of PrayerWalk London takes you from Tower Hill to the Tower of London’s Opening Ceremony.

Follow “Tower of London” signs down the steps to a tunnel that takes you under busy Tower Hill Street. Take a right after the tunnel and follow signs to “Tickets.” Soon you’ll see the ticket booth for the Tower of London.

NOTE: Be the first to arrive at the Tower of London in the morning. You’ll be glad you did. Arrive twenty minutes before opening time, especially if you did not order tickets online or pick them up early. Lines will form quickly and ticket kiosks open exactly at nine.

2. Tower of London.

Visitor Information. Tues-Sat 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sun-Mon 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; last admission 5:00 p.m. Adult £20.90, Child (under 16) £10.45, Family (up to 2 adults and 6 children) £55, Children under 5 are free. Audio guides £4. Tickets can be booked ahead online or by phone. Be aware that some prices include a “voluntary donation.” www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon. 08444827799 (from UK); +44(0)2031666000 (from outside UK).

Have you ever wondered what life was like inside a moated fortress? Visitors to the Tower of London are often surprised to find that it is exactly that: a thousand-year-old fortress complete with moat, armory, torture chambers, a dungeon – and not just one but dozens of towers.

William the Conqueror built the Tower in the 11th century as a way of demonstrating his strength and frightening his new subjects into submission. Through the years it has been a place of torture, confinement and execution but also a place of refuge for kings and a royal palace. Many of Britain’s most innocent and infamous prisoners were held and executed here, from Lady Jane Grey – a queen for just nine days, whose only crime was being born on the wrong side of the royal family tree – to the notorious criminal Jack the Ripper.

Full of mystery and intrigue, the Tower is bound to top the list of every family’s favorite London destinations. Little princes of all ages will enjoy exhibits of ancient weaponry, squirm in fascination at the gruesome details of imprisonment and torture while little princesses will delight at the yeoman warder’s romantic tales of prisoners in love, shiver at the heartbreaking stories of innocent victims held captive within the towers and gaze in awe at the glittering crown jewels.

Did You Know? The Tower of London is home to a whole community of yeoman warders and their families. They live here full time in a little village around Tower Green, complete with a church, a doctor and their own little pub, the Yeoman Warders’ Club.

Fun Fact. The Tower of London, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, welcomes over 2 million visitors every year.

Opening Ceremony

If you arrive early enough and have your tickets in hand, be at the main entrance by 8:45 am to witness the unlocking ceremony. It isn’t an elaborate ceremony but features a small military contingent escorting the Yeoman Sergeant as he opens the Tower gates for the day.

Interview with Mark Williamson prayerforlondon.com

22 March 2012
I’d always been interested in London, and learning about its history, and praying for God to bring revival to the city, since that would lead to a massive change across the whole of the UK, and maybe beyond. — Mark Williamson, Prayer for London

Prayerforlondon.com is a website that exists solely to help generate prayer for the city of London, England. On the site, you’ll find prayer points for the major spheres that affect British life, you can sign up to receive real-time prayer needs for London via Twitter or book guided prayerwalking tours of the city. The last item particularly caught my attention.

Mark leading tour in London

From a continent away, Mark Williamson answers my questions concerning the tours and Prayer for London.

Nathalie Jeter: What is the focus of these guided prayerwalks?

Mark Williamson: The walks have three aims:

1. Tourism – we wanted it to be a genuinely fun and informative walking tour around the sites of central London.

2. Intercession – we wanted to do some serious and strategic praying outside different places of influence.

3. Evangelism – we wanted others to see what we were doing, ask questions, even come and join us, and ultimately help introduce some people to a relationship with God. (We had one guy called Ivan meet us outside Buckingham Palace in 2009, and he gave his life to Jesus!)

NJ: How did this idea of guided prayerwalks of London come about?

MW: Some friends of mine coordinate a huge Christian festival in London in the week before Pentecost. The first of these was in 2008, and I remember thinking “what event can I bring to the festival?” Previously, I’d always been interested in London, and learning about its history, and praying for God to bring revival to the city, since that would lead to a massive change across the whole of the UK, and maybe beyond. So I got together with a friend (Vicki Sokolowski), we got introduced to two other people (Richard Smart and Sarah Bingham) [and we began to run these walks].

NJ: How long have you (and the other team members) been leading these walks?

MW: [We] started at Pentecost 2008, then did more at Pentecost 2009 and 2010. In 2011 other groups and churches then started hearing about it, and asking whether tours could run at other times, not just during Pentecost Festival. So we started to run a few more. And alongside that we’ve run various prayer meetings around central London, and started to meet other intercessors and networks with a heart for praying for London. So in January we said, let’s set up a website to advertise the walks, try and list all the many different prayer meetings actually happening for the capital. And that then led to us starting a blog, and trying to put a list of resources together. And who knows where God will lead us…?

NJ: What is the main thing you want people to know about this ministry?

MW: I’m actually not sure! We don’t know what it will end up becoming. But I guess we want people to know the website is there as a resource, that they can come to events or sign up to the Twitter account to get prayer points/ requests, and hopefully that there will be more prayer for London happening as a result of the site…

If you are passionate about prayer for the nations and want to find out more, check out Prayer for London.

 

PrayerWalk London: “Crime & Punishment” Highlights

20 March 2012

Walk 3

Crime & Punishment: Tower of London to St. Paul’s

Summary of Area

The Tower of London has stood as a powerful symbol of crime and punishment for nearly 900 years. In this walk, you will follow in the footsteps of condemned prisoners up to Tower Hill, gaze at the royal jewels and hear the Tower’s guards weave centuries’ worth of fascinating tales. You will then make your way through London’s busy financial district and criminal courts to contemplate the many crimes committed through the centuries for wealth and greed. Your tour terminates at St. Paul’s cathedral, where you will have leisure to ponder God’s grace and mercy that takes even the vilest repentant sinner and washes him white as snow.

 

The White Tower, Tower of London

Key Facts

  • Starting Point: Tower Hill (underground station: Tower Hill)
  • Finishing Point: St. Paul’s Cathedral (underground station: St. Paul’s, Mansion House, Blackfriars Station)
  • Days to Avoid: None, but note the City is deserted on weekends
  • Length of Walk: 2.5miles
  • Time Needed: 4 hours at Tower of London + 2 hours for other sites

Walk Highlights*

1. Tower Hill. With no TV or radio, executions were the popular entertainment in the Tower’s heyday. A bell rang one hour before the execution and crowds would rush to watch the gruesome proceedings on Tower Hill, where all but the highest profile prisoners would meet their fate.

2. Tower of London. William the Conqueror built the Tower in the 11th century as a way of showing his strength and cowing his enemies. It has been a place of torture, confinement and execution for the most innocent and infamous prisoners of British history – from Nine Days’ Queen Jane Grey, whose only crime was being on the wrong side of the royal family tree, to the notorious criminal Jack the Ripper.

3. The Monument. This 202-ft-tall monument designed by Sir Christopher Wren commemorates the place where the Great Fire of London began in 1666. If the monument were laid flat in a westward direction, it would end at the spot where the fire broke out in a bake shop on Pudding Lane.

4. Financial District. At the heart of the original Roman settlement of Londinium, where later during the Middle Ages wealthy and powerful merchants gathered into guilds, lies the vibrant modern business district of the City of London. Today’s Royal Exchange has been transformed into a luxury shopping center but its neighboring Bank of England, nicknamed The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street,  still busily carries out its original mission and purpose.

5. Old Bailey. The Central Criminal Court of England and Wales, nicknamed Old Bailey, treats London’s major criminal cases as well as major cases from other parts of the country. It has been featured in literature such as Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities and more recently has appeared in movies such as Witness for the Prosecution and Patriot Games.

6. St. Paul’s Cathedral. Sir Christopher Wren’s great church and monument, St. Paul’s is one of London’s most beloved places of worship. Lady Diana Spencer chose this church in which to wed Prince Charles in 1981, although traditionally royals had given precedence to Westminster Abbey for their nuptial ceremonies. The present cathedral was built 300 years ago but there has been a church on the site for 1,400 years.

*As mentioned in a previous blog, this manuscript is a work in progress. Each highlight above currently links to Internet sites providing general information. Eventually they will link to relevant sections of PrayerWalk London.

 

Tackling Crime & Punishment

16 March 2012

Woohoo! I just love the hour or two first thing in the morning when I get to work on PrayerWalk London. It feels like such a luxury to spend time on something that’s so exciting to me and that I’m so passionate about. I could spend the whole day on it but I usually have to transition to other things like the writing and consulting work that actually pays the bills! 🙂

I’m thankful for bills, though. Sometimes they act as a great motivating factor. I’d be a lot less productive were it not for that added incentive!

So, back to prayerwalking. I’ve set aside 52 days – until April 25 – to make the PrayerWalk London manuscript an absolute priority. If I don’t do that, then too many other “important” things take precedent and PWL gets shoved back farther and farther on the agenda, kind of like those thank you notes I’ve been meaning to write since February.

The chapter I’m currently working on is CRIME & PUNISHMENT. It’s the third chapter in the book and follows CHURCH & STATE and CROWN & GLORY. It tackles the “underworld” of London and takes the reader through the parts of the city related to crime, law and justice:

  • The Tower of London that dates back to the 11th century and has been a royal palace, a prison and a place of execution. It’s also where the Crown Jewels are displayed.
  • The Central Criminal Court nicknamed “Old Bailey” where infamous criminals like Jack the Ripper were tried and held.
  • The site of the former Newgate Prison, written about by Charles Dickens and other writers, and another site of public execution.
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral – to throw in an element of God’s justice versus man’s, along with the aspect of forgiveness and redemption.

London's busy business district

Did You Know? London is divided into two “cities”: the City of Westminster and the City of London.

The first two walks in the book take place within the City of Westminster where you’ll find Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, the West End and many other popular places to visit. The City of London is the main financial and business district and can be easily spotted by its glittering skyscrapers and modern buildings. CRIME & PUNISHMENT takes the reader through the heart of the City of London.

The Royal Exchange or "REX"

Take a Break. As you walk from the Tower of London to St. Paul’s Cathedral, take some time to pause at the little park in front of the Royal Exchange, where business has been transacted since the Middle Ages and that they’ve now turned into a commercial establishment selling luxury goods. You’ll see to your left the famous Bank of England, looking like a fortress surrounded by a high windowless wall. Behind you is Mansion House, the residence and office of the Lord Mayor of the City of London.

Okay, so much for the sneak peak. Gotta get back to writing the chapter!

PrayerWalk London: Good News, Bad News

6 March 2012

Several people have asked lately how PrayerWalk London is coming along. With the London 2012 Olympics just a few months away, it’s an understandable question. Well, as the saying goes, there’s good news and bad news.

Westminster Abbey

The bad news is that due to a technological mishap, I’ve lost all my PrayerWalk London manuscript files. I have all my hard copy research documents but it would take months to retype and rewrite all the walks. I had transferred all my files onto a jump drive — temporarily — while I returned a loaner laptop from work and waited a couple of weeks for my new laptop to be delivered. When I put the drive into the new machine, it did not recognize the device. In another laptop, the device was recognized but it said there were no contents. Yeah!! Just what every writer wants to hear!

My dad asked the IT people at his office and they said there was nothing that could be done. I have a vivid memory of him coming home from the office and almost casually tossing the flash drive in its Ziploc bag to me and saying, “Sorry. They said it’s dead and there’s nothing that can be done about it.” I was nearly in tears — but c’est la vie! 

I contacted IT at my work to see if by any chance they could still access the loaner laptop’s information … but it had been sent out for recycling.

Picturesque Pub

So much for that. Discouraged, and with only myself to blame, I put the project on hold for a few months while I grappled with the realities of my new job as a freelance writer and editor (esp. the part where if you don’t work, you don’t get paid!). I’m only just now coming back to it and have looked up some data recovery businesses in town that may, just may, be able to help recover the files.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that I’m reenergized about the project and the need for prayer and prayerwalking in London. Today, I searched online for “london prayer walk” and found that after the first search result (which was a dead link), results #2 and #3 direct to my PrayerWalk Guides website. That was pretty neat. But I was actually wanting to see if there are any prayerwalks currently going on in London and couldn’t find much of anything. That’s okay, though, that’s what PrayerWalk London is for: to fill a gap — a “prayer” gap.

Tower of London

On Thursday I should find out if the documents on my flash drive can be saved. Please pray!!!!

In the meantime, I’m working on the only chapter I was able to salvage: the Crime & Punishment Walk, starting at the Tower of London and winding its way through the narrow streets of London’s “City” district to a monument called, ironically, Monument (where the Great Fire of London started in 1666) then to the Bank of England and finally to St. Paul’s Cathedral and Old Bailey, the court of justice. It’s an exciting chapter and I’m loving going back through it and trying to remember little descriptive details from my own walks in the area.

Stay tuned for more! I hope to have some of the chapter posted within the week.

Your prayers for this project are most appreciated!!

Prayerwalking: How to Pray

25 November 2011

These suggestions for prayer will apply whether you are prayerwalking in your own neighborhood or cities around the world. The following prayer points are excerpts from Prayerwalking by Steve Hawthorne and Graham Kendrick (Creation House 1993)

1. Concerning Christ

 Proclaim him to be the one Mediator and the ransom for all. Name him Lord of the neighborhood and of the lives you see.

2. Concerning leaders

Pray for people in positions of authority — for teachers, police, administrators and parents.

3. Concerning peace

Cry out for the godliness and holiness of God’s people to increase into substantial peace. Pray for new churches to be established.

4. Concerning truth

Declare openly the bedrock reality that there is one God.

Pray that minds would cease to be blinded by Satan so that they could come to a knowledge of the truth.

5. Concerning the gospel

Praise God for his heart’s desire that all people be saved.

Ask that heaven would designate this year as a “proper time” for the testimony of Christ to be given afresh with simple power (I Tim 2:6)

6. Concerning the blessing of God

Give God the thanks he deserves for the goodness he constantly bestows on the homes you pass by.

Ask to see the city with his eyes, that you might sense what is good and pleasing in his sight as well as what things grieve him deeply.

Ask God to bring forth an enduring spiritual awakening.

7. Concerning the Church

Ask for healing in relationships, that there be no wrath or dissension among God’s people.

Ask that God would make his people, men and women alike, expressive in worship with the substance of radiant, relational holiness.

PrayerWalk Paris — Walk 1 (Sneak Peek)

7 September 2011

Notre Dame, ParisThe Historic Heart of Paris

Ile de la Cité & Ile St. Louis

Summary of Area

It is thought that Paris began around 250 BC as a primitive Celtic fishing village on Ile de la Cité, a little island in the middle of the Seine. Ile St. Louis, the other island in the Seine, is tree-lined and picturesque these days but was a swampy pastureland prior to development efforts in the 17th century. Today, Ile St. Louis houses one of the most exclusive residential neighborhoods of Paris. Enjoy centuries of natural and man-made history as you walk from the Gothic masterpiece of Notre-Dame to King Louis IX’s intimate royal chapel, Sainte-Chapelle.

Key Facts

      • Starting Point: Point Zéro (metro: St. Michel; Cité)
      • Finishing Point: Palais de Justice (metro: Cité)
      • Days to Avoid: None
      • Length of Walk: 1 mile 1/2
      • Time Needed: 3 hours

1. Point Zéro

Point Zéro (also Kilomètre Zéro) is a circular bronze plaque on the ground about 30 yards from the central doorway of Notre-Dame that marks the geographical center of Paris. It is also the spot from which all highway distances in France are measured. The equestrian statue to the right as you face the church is of Charlemagne (“Charles the Great”), known as the first Holy Roman Emperor. Catholicism was the “politically correct” religion of the French people until the Revolution in 1789.

 

2. Notre-Dame

Visitor Information – Free admission; church open daily; hours vary depending on day of the week: 8:00 am-6:45 pm weekdays, 8:00 am-7:45 pm weekends. Free English tours available. Visit early in the morning when the cathedral is at its brightest and least crowded. Free organ concert on Sunday afternoons. Website: www.notredamedeparis.fr

It took 170 years to create the Gothic masterpiece of Notre-Dame de Paris, with its flying buttresses, rose windows of stained glass, 295-ft spire, two massive towers and host of gargoyles. The colorful windows were designed to tell Bible stories in pictorial form to an illiterate populace.

Kings and emperors were crowned and blessed in Notre-Dame. It was here in December 1804 that Napoleon took the imperial crown out of the hands of Pope Pius VII and laid it on his own head, as depicted by Jacques-Louis David in his painting Coronation of Napoleon, which now hangs in the Louvre.

Notre-Dame is designed in the shape of a Christian cross, with the altar where the crossbeam intersects. The cathedral can hold up to 10,000 people and often does so when hosting classical music concerts. The South Rose Window depicts Christ in the center, surrounded by virgins, saints, and his twelve apostles while the North Rose Window pictures the Virgin encircled by figures from the Old Testament.

Prayer Points:

  • For the warmth of the Gospel to envelop Parisians who have only known the coldness of an impersonal religion.
  • That a genuine, transforming encounter with Christ would replace ritual and religiosity.
  • That the complete story of Christ would be preached: that the hope of his resurrection might replace the sadness of his death.
  • That the spiritual walls of stone and gates of iron that have separated a “religious” people from their Savior since the Middle Ages would be broken down.

Point to Ponder: Sitting in one of the hundreds of wooden chairs in the nave, feel the coldness of the stone and how far away God seems among the gilt and statuary. This is the god of millions of Parisians: a distant, cold and impersonal deity.

Take a Break: The café directly to your right as you exit the cathedral is a wonderful place to sit and reflect on what you’ve just seen. It’s called Aux Tours de Notre-Dame and though pricey – as are all cafés in Paris – you can enjoy a good cup of coffee and a sweet snack that will help you through the rest of your sightseeing. And you’ll need energy, especially if you plan on climbing to the top of the towers. This side street is a great place to buy postcards, too.

Tip: Candles in Churches. In visiting the many churches of Paris, you may be tempted to buy some candles to burn. Before you do, consider that – though they look pretty – Catholics consider candles an integral part of their sacred ritual of praying to saints and to Mary.

3. Towers of Notre-Dame

Visitor Information – Admission: €8 adults, €5 ages 18-26 (must meet certain conditions) and seniors, children under 18 are free. Tower entrance covered by museum pass but no bypass line for pass holders. Open daily 9:30 am-7:30 pm, with seasonal variations. To avoid crowds, arrive before 10:00 am or after 6:00 pm.

To get to the top of the towers of Notre-Dame, you must climb 387 spiral stone steps that get narrower as you get closer to the top. The reward for such painful labor is a breathtaking view of Paris. The towers are 246 feet high and the main bell, called the “Emmanuel” was last rung in 1944 to celebrate the liberation of France.

Gargoyle Fact: As you look out over Paris, notice the eerie stone creatures that are also gazing down on the city and have been doing so for centuries. These gargoyles are meant to represent souls caught between heaven and earth. Their main practical function, however, is as rain spouts.

Take a Break: Square Jean XXIII, behind the cathedral, is a delightful place to eat a picnic lunch, to read, or to watch people.

4. Ile St. Louis

Charming, enchanting, and picturesque, Ile St. Louis is quintessential Paris. Among the attractions of this quaint little island are the 17th century hôtels, cafés, chic restaurants, art galleries, and boutiques that line its main street, St.-Louis-en-l’Ile. The wealthy and the famous have resided here for centuries. The best way to view this tiny island may be to wander through the streets without any specific trajectory.

Lines at Berthillon can stretch around the block

Tip: There’s a post office here that may be a convenient place to buy stamps for your postcards. Ask for stamps for the United States:“Des timbres pour les Etats-Unis, s’il vous plait”. Show them your postcards so they know what the stamps are for. Try your French but they will probably respond to you in English.

Take a Break: Berthillon, an ice cream parlor on Ile St. Louis, is famous for having the best ice cream in Paris. Their selection includes over 70 varieties. Order a single-scoop (“Un cornet seul”) or a double (“Un cornet double”). Note that eating ice cream in-house is usually more expensive than ordering to go. Berthillon, 29-31 rue St-Louis-en-l’Ile, 75004; Open Wed-Sun 10:00 am-8:00 pm; Closed Mon, Tue, and August.

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