Notre Dame sans bossu

After lunch, we walked towards the Île de la Cité, one of two large islands in the Seine, in the center of Paris.

We wandered over Le Pont Neuf (the new bridge, built in 1607), taking pictures as we went. The somewhat overcast clouds parted as the sun began to set, creating some dramatic cloudscapes. We walked through a flower market with parakeets and canaries for sale. There seemed to be quite literally a cafe on every corner.

Before we knew it, there was Notre Dame. Which I know next to nothing about, other than something about a hunchback (le bossu). I did read the Macaulay book about building it (or a cathedral like it) a long time ago, but it almost surprised me to see it right there in the center of Paris (how did Notre Dame survive the French Revolution?). I would have guessed it was a little more remote, but no, there it was, giant, and yet hidden among all the other stately Parisian buildings. Oh, and there were all the tourists!

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

We tried to get a picture of the both of the us in front of Notre Dame—we look great, but where’s the cathedral?

Stephanie and Justin in front of Notre Dame

How unusual to be a tourist in a church on Sunday. People were actually there for services, it seemed. I wonder what kind of people say, “I think I’m going to start attending services at Notre Dame”? Do they live nearby (“this is just my local Catholic Church”) or maybe metro in from all the way out in the burbs? Or maybe everyone in the pews were Christian cathedral tourists.

I walked around thinking about how to take cool picture in such low light without a tripod. How does one capture Notre Dame? And then I got this idea to just set my camera timer and lay it on the floor, facing the ceiling. Here was my first attempt.

Notre Dame ceiling

This is one of the lower arched ceilings, to the left of the central colonnade. It was definitely a challenge waiting for an opening to set my camera on the floor with all the people milling about. Here was my second try, of a slightly higher ceiling (this would be a lot of fun with a wide angle lens).

Notre Dame ceiling

On the way out I took a picture of the one of the doorways, densely packed with sculptures. Examining it just afterwards, I captured a gem of a detail, some dude holding his own head as his neighbors look on, unamused.

Dude holding his own head in the doorway of Notre Dame

4 Comments

Katie

Well, believe it or not, people still live in the ile de la cite and the ile st louis. Rents are astronomical, but the ile st louis in particular is still a proper village.

I believe that is St. Denis. If you get a chance to see the other statue of him in Sq. Suzanne-Buisson in the 18e. He looks like any other boule player in this park, except he’s holding his head.

Katie, the funny thing about those islands is that they felt nothing like I was on an island. By the way, it looks like we’ll be back in Paris all day Friday the 30th and Saturday the 31st.

csg, I think you’re right, I just happened upon a mention of St. Denis in my wikipediaing, but now I can’t find it.

And unrelated, French is infecting my brain. I just kind of stared at the “Comment” button for a while thinking “how?”

Brian/Dad

Not being a French speaker, I had to type in “comment” to Babelfish to understand your comment above about “how?”.

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