Members of the Vatican Press Corps arriving in Philadelphia were dazzled and impressed by the city. Sebastian Maillard, Rome correspondent for the French Catholic daily La Croix, was startled as we left the pope's Mass at the Basilica to see – sacre bleu! -- the Place de la Concorde across Logan Circle.
It was, of course, the Family Court and Free Library, which were modeled directly on the two big buildings there.
Sebastian was dazzled, too , by the inside of the Basilica – "it looks like St. Peter's" in Rome, he oversed. And he really liked the front of the Reading Terminal on Market Street and the PSFS building. "What beautiful architecture," he said.
Other reporters said much the same thing, marveling at how much Center City feels like a giant park without cars on the street. "Like a big street fair," one of the South American journalists said as a band playing fiddles and conga drums came stomping down 12th Street.
Francis was running late this morning, and so was his plane. The American Airlines flight attendants had to rush through the plane, retrieving coffee cups two minutes after they'd filled them. "The pilot's making up for lost time," one said. "Pedal to the metal!"