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!
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?
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.
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).
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.