I wasn’t surprised that after the whirlwind that was my second day in Paris, on the third day I didn’t want to get out of bed. I tried but all I managed to do was roll over further into the covers. The late start didn’t help my last ditch monument hunt but I decided to chuck everything into my when I return to Paris bucket and not stress myself out. I really wanted to see Notre Dame, though, and the crypts. So after I finally dragged myself to breakfast and prepared my room for check out, I was on my way. I first made a pit stop to the Fontaine Saint-Michel and managed to snag some pretty cool photos. I contemplated making a wish but I wasn’t actually sure if it was a wishing fountain, so I saved the pennies!
My wanderlust got the best of me. Even though Notre Dame was in my direct vicinity I couldn’t help but have an aimless walk through the Latin Quarter. I ended up taking lots of pictures, popping in and out of restaurants and stores. Eventually, I settled on having a sorbet while I watched people shuffle around. The sorbet / ice-cream place was amazing. You picked a size cup and you could basically have as many different flavours as you wished. I wanted to go crazy – really, I did. Instead I settled on three. It was really good. In fact, when an American couple popped in and back out because they thought 4 Euros was a bit much to spend on a medium sized cup, I wanted to tell them they’d regret not having such deliciousness on their tongues. I didn’t though. Some people are destined to learn the hard way.
Eventually, I made my way to Notre Dame. Once there I found out along with this nice elderly couple that some monuments were closed on Mondays. Although the crypts were shut, however, the cathedral was open. I found that to be a win even though I’d been looking forward to the crypts. I shoved the disappointment away and I was content to wait in the super long line for my chance to head inside.
Notre Dame was almost as high up on my list of things to see as the Eiffel Tower, so I was quite excited. And, yes it had a lot to do with the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I’m also a casual architecture fan so the idea of checking out the gothic influence up close appealed to me! Gargoyles!!! I feel the need to point out that my Hunchback of Notre Dame is rooted in Victor Hugo’s novel which unlike the Disney version of the movie did not have a happy ending. Hugo’s novel actually wanted to showcase the wonders of Gothic architecture and because of this there were amazing descriptions. I find this cool because when I go back to the book, having been there I will be able to see the subtle (or not so subtle) changes over the many, many years.
I wandered for about half an hour before I found a pew and pulled out my writing book. Below, I’ve placed the entire entry. No second hand information here … this is how I felt in the exact moment.
I love words. I live them. I breathe them. There is power in my pen and ink in my veins. Other people see the world in shapes, colours and textures but I (even when I wish it wasn’t the case) see the world in adjectives and adverbs (but never too many 🙂 ) and metaphors. I can’t admire the blue sky on a hot summer’s day without trying to find better ways to explain the exact shade of blue or the shapes the clouds make – or if they danced, floated or sailed by. But, yet, words fail me.
I sit in the middle of the Notre Dame Cathedral with the strains of the organ floating in the air around me. Incense, fragrantly sweet, wafts along with the organ chimes as they prepare the cathedral for the pilgrims’ service. All around me are snippets of faint chatter in many different languages as other tourists make their way around the cathedral. Despite the fact there are easily a hundred people wandering around me and hundreds more outside, I could’ve been alone for how caught up I am in the beauty of this place.
Dramatic columns and arches bathed in the muted glow of ornate, brass chandeliers and naked candles transport me back to centuries past. I feel like if outside that door, and hundreds of miles away Dante Alighieri is writing the Divine Comedy, or a bit later still Shakespeare is putting the final touches on one of his tragedies.
The ceilings are high enough to make the tallest man feel small and for me, it is more than that. I sit here in a building so beautifully constructed, with its bold carvings and stained glass windows, that I not only feel small but insignificant. And, then, when I think that this building has been around for centuries, the feeling of insignificance doubles.
I’ve been sitting here for at least forty-five minutes although it is my last day in Paris and I’ve got a couple monuments left to be knocked off of my to-do list. Yet, I am content to sit here for several minutes more breathing in the rich history and beauty of this cathedral and then holding my breath so that it seeps into my soul alongside this blessed insignificance I feel. I hope that it leaves a mark there so that in times of frustration and anger, I may remember that unlike the cathedral, frustrations are fleeting. Life is fleeting… but despite this, it can be just as breath-taking, just as indescribable. Enough to make you, as I am now, lost for words .
I took an amazing amount of photos though. I will share just a few of my favourites.