Saturday, January 28, 2012

Paris Day 4 - Looking for Quasimodo

There's one place in Paris that's really special to me. A place I first heard about as a child, reading about a certain hunchback and the towers. Over the years, as I continued seeing pictures of it and reading up on its history, the fascination grew. But nothing, absolutely nothing, prepared me for the first time I set my sights on it. It was as if the illustrations from that old Victor Hugo book from my childhood suddenly came alive.

Every time I walked past the Notre Dame for the rest of my trip, I stopped and gazed longingly, much to Rave's growing worry that I might just decide to spend a few years at its footsteps! Given the chance, I'd gladly do it!

We began the day much like the others that would follow, grabbing breakfast from the bakery downstairs and eating it while we walked to the RER Port-Royal. It was a particularly cold morning and that walk from RER Saint-Michel - Notre Dame to the cathedral was pretty swift! Thankfully, there weren't too many visitors around when we got there.

I could stand here all day.

As you approach the Notre-Dame, one of the first things you encounter is Point Zero, considered the official centre of Paris. Except us, it didn't seem like a big deal to the rest of the people around.

The detailing on the entrance is really intricate. There's so much to see and I wished I had my long lens fitted on my camera so I could get a closer look at the work. The Kings of Judah were there, as was the devil weighing souls on judgement day and the unmistakable St. Denis holding his own head.

St. Denis holding his head.
The weighing of souls.
Inside, it was gothic architecture all through. I will never forget the first view as I stepped in. You don't really get a sense of how big it is when you're standing at the entrance. It was magical...the ceiling that seemed like it was impossibly tall, the blue light coming through the windows, the music that seemed to be coming from some faraway place (or was that just the sound in my head?).

Not a patch on the real thing.
I hate doing this but everything was perfect for this shot.
There's no photograph that can catch these beautiful windows.

It was so quiet when we were there, we could hear our footsteps as we walked. Although I was raised a Catholic, I'm not religious and do not believe in the concept of god. But there's something about Notre Dame that tells you there possibly is something more to it than stone and glass.

Although I could have easily stayed inside longer, we had to head out because we were planning on climbing up the towers. And boy, was it cold! We waited for close to an hour in line and it was really windy! We actually braved it out to the very end and began the long climb up. It's 400-odd steps on a winding staircase that never seems to end. If you have climbing disabilities, my advise would be to avoid the climb. There are people behind you on the narrow staircase and it's almost impossible to stop and catch your breath. There are also very few alcoves where you can stop and rest and most of them can just about fit one person. So if there's someone already resting there, you have no option but to walk on. But for those who can make it, it's worth every step on that staircase! For now, I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Quasi, get here right now!
How does everyone look so stylish down there?
Sacré Coeur in the distance.
Hello beautiful!
So this is where the music was coming from.
If I lived in Paris, I would visit the Notre Dame every day. I really mean it! And without a doubt, I'm sure I will feel exactly how I did when I first saw it. 


I just got back from my fourth trip to Paris and am already wanting to go back. Trying to satisfy my Paris hunger, I was poking around Trip Advisor and reading trip reports. That's where I found the link to your blog. Your photography is terrific! Nice job.


Years ago when I was in Paris, I visited Notre Dame. We were pressed for time so I didn't get to climb to the top. I promised myself that when I returned to Paris, I would make the climb. I sure hope nobody is using the alcoves when I'm there. lol

Saying your blog and pictures are absolutely spectacular, would be an understatement! Loved it so much. stumbled on your blog at just the right time!

You must make the climb! It's fantastic! Don't worry about the alcoves...Quasi will probably be there but he's harmless!

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