The Convent of Cordelières

[Photo Credit: Jean-Pol GRANDMONT, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.]

When Julia and her roommate, Sara Whitney, visited Provins in 1898, they had trouble finding accommodations. They decided to try the city’s convent, as Julia explained to her American cousins on July 31st: “The French lady where I was last year told me that very often the sisters were glad to take one or two girls in the summer, and so when we were at a loss to find a good place in the town, the idea struck to try here . . . and [they] have been just as kindly and hospitable as one could possibly imagine.” The nuns had a hard time comprehending their French—as well as their origins: “They cannot quite understand us, and [they] say outright [that] Miss Whitney is very ‘Amusante,’ – but as they asked [us] first off if we spoke English in America, and wanted to know if we met lions or buffalos . . . when walking [outside], you [can] hardly wonder [that] we surprise them.”