sanctuary! 04.13.07: notre dame de paris

17 04 2007


brat in the belfry.

yet another beautiful day in paris.

we started the morning at the internet café. from there we made our way through the latin quarter, past the church of st. stephen the martyr, crossed the bridge to the square in front of notre dame de paris. the light on the water was so bright — my pics are a bit overexposed.

we got into a long, but quick moving line and made our way into the church.

this was my second time at notre dame. i went to the cathedral for the first time about 5 years ago. it was my first work business trip. on my first free moment, notre dame was one of the first places that visited. my first impression of the great church was one of amazement — i had been to the vatican and the great churches of italy and spain. i had visited the old cathedrals of england.

what amazed me was the sense of purpose that i could feel emanating from the walls of the church. this was not a church built to celebrate the gloriousness of His presence on earth. this was not a church built off the spoils of conquest or war. this was a church built to convert. to educate. notre dame is graphic in it’s own right — austerity is the first word that comes to mind, but it’s not really the word i’m looking for.

on this trip, we made our way through the church. again, i was filled with the same sense of piety and purpose. we went into the treasury room and got to look at the fragments of bone in the reliquaries. but the most amazing part of the cathedral wasn’t inside.

we spent about 45 minutes in the line to get to the roof.

i can’t remember how many steps we climbed to get to the roof, but i do remember that my leg muscles felt like they were going to explode.

on the roof, there were grotesque gargoyles on every corner. we made our way around the roof, our bodies as close to the wall as possible, especially on the narrow corner edges of the rooftop. the gargoyles loomed above the street; some eating small animals, others grapes.

we made our way to the belfry, home of quasimodo’s bell. eileen went up the rickety wooden stairs. i stayed inside, much to the convenience of the other tourists who wanted their picture taken next to the famous illustration of quasimodo swinging from the bell.




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