Paris: Notre Dame

by jenjenk on August 29, 2011

Notre DameIs it possible to be in love with a building?? If it is, I’m deeply and passionately in love with Notre Dame. Notre Dame isn’t just any building – it inspired Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” where you can imagine the deformed Quasimodo ringing that bell in the belfry. Notre Dame is a dark and sexy Gothic cathedral that just screams out to be explored, studied, and appreciated.  Notre Dame took almost 200 years to build, beginning in 1163 and completed around 1345. Just the perfectly symmetrical facade of the building is enough to cause me to stare for hours.

Notre DameFor as much as the sight of the outside of Notre Dame causes me to get all tingly when I see it from afar, it’s the inside of the cathedral that captures my heart and attention.  Beautiful stonework curves, mathematically perfect; ornate metal grillwork; gorgeous chandeliers; breathtaking heights; and stained glass windows that glowed in the darkness of the cathedral – it’s such an imposing sight and makes me feel so small.
Notre DameI was so anxious to enjoy the cathedral before the crowds that I arrived at Il de la Cite just before 7:30 in the morning.  Since doors didn’t open until 8:00, I spent the time stalking the front door, pretending to take a ton of detail photos.  I’ve been to Notre Dame when it was over run by tourists – I still loved it but I was constantly battling the crowds to get a good angle for my shot.  In contrast, when you are the very first person there, you’ve got run of the place.  I nearly lost my teeny little mind [and filled an entire CF card] snapping photos of every. single. nook. and. cranny.

Notre DameSadly, there is still so much I haven’t explored within Notre Dame – my desire to be there when the doors open precludes me from certain activities, such as walking up the belfry which opens up later in the morning [crazy, i know].  I will go back again and I will eventually get up there.  You can’t keep me away.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

inka August 29, 2011 at 4:02 pm

You are right, one can be in love with a building. Mine is the Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul. Every stone breathes the spirit of those who have passed through, among them Hemingway, Agatha Christie, Eleanora Duncan and many, many more.

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jenjenk August 29, 2011 at 4:14 pm

I’m glad you said that – It’s one of the top places I plan to visit when I’m in IST!

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Cathy Sweeney August 29, 2011 at 4:02 pm

I understand your passion for Notre Dame — it’s so beautiful and full of historical significance. I haven’t been there when the belfry was open either. Can’t wait to do that sometime. Nice photos!

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jenjenk August 29, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Meet you at the top of the belfry! :)

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Jade August 29, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Ah- totally love this building too. When we were there, we did take the hike up to the top and even though I was completely out of breath, it was really worth it.

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Stephanie - The Travel Chica August 29, 2011 at 10:29 pm

I love Notre Dame too! This is the first man-made structure that has had such a huge emotional effect on me. I just sat inside and admired it and enjoyed the sense of calm (despite the hordes of tourists around me).

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Scott - Ordinary Traveler August 30, 2011 at 12:41 am

I really love photos of amazing architecture. You can really take the time to admire all the wonderful details that you may have never noticed before. I love you starting point for the bottom of the photo.

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5 Star Foodie August 30, 2011 at 1:10 am

Notre Dame is amazing to visit. We went up to the top and it was a spectacular experience.

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John in France August 31, 2011 at 12:32 am

If you go here again I suggest that you ask at the desk inside for an English tour – these are offered several times a day. Such a tour will greatly enhance your knowledge and you will go away feeling even closer to the building than you do at the moment. Also a visit up the towers is amazing – I always say the view is better from here than from the Tour Eiffel!

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jenjenk August 31, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Will definitely go back! Good to know!!

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Kristina at wired2theworld August 31, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Ah Paris, what’s not to love? I didn’t realize you’d been recently. And Notre Dame is spectacular! How can you not love the gargoyles? Hope you get up near the top next time.

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Sailor September 1, 2011 at 12:37 am

You have some amazing pictures with a different perspective.

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