Awakening To Notre Dame, Paris

Bonjour mes amis,

Notre Dame Cathedral on the Ile de la Cite, beckons you with it’s opening arms of flying buttresses and succession of welcoming apostles above the entrance door into a dark, serene holy space.

You can’t go to Paris without visiting ‘Our Lady of Paris’ at least once, next time you’re in the City of Light. It’s a walk across the Seine from the Latin Quarter and in fact- all distances in France were measured from Notre Dame.

Pure Gothic in design, you can easily imagine the Hunchback, made famous in Victor Hugo’s play, ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’, swinging from the spires high above a darkened street.

Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris took about one hundred years to build and  many historical events have taken place inside its walls- such as the numerous weddings of french Kings, the self crowning of Napoleon and Josephine, the canonization of Joan of Ark, the requiem mass of Charles De Gaulle and Francois Mitterand and even Papal visits by John Paul II.

My french awakening widened to hear that stranger things have occurred in Notre Dame. When some forty or so Parisiens were terrorized and mauled to death by a pack of starving wolves in the bleak winter of 1450, the wolves were eventually hauled up at the front of  Notre Dame and killed by the locals.

Things have settled down since then thank goodness and calmer thoughts will occupy your mind when in Notre Dame.

You can have a prayer request at the end of the evening mass if you like or sit in a pew and listen to the grand peal of fifteenth century bells in the most beautiful rhythmic unison from the towers and spires.

If you’re lucky you’d  have come on the day of the monthly organ recital or better still, a concert given by the choir of angels known as the ‘Children’s Choir’. Locals tell me this is something truly special to hear. Children come from as far as Australia to sing here.

For details on these concerts, check out:

http://www.cathedraledeparis.com/Programmation-musicale-du-mois

If the mood takes, climb the three hundred and eighty seven steps of the northern tower for an eye to eye contact with terrifying gargoyles in stone and search the panoramic view of Paris at great heights.

Or, you can visit the treasury which holds many religious items including the Crown of Thorns which was placed there in 1239. Also there are remains of Saints and Bishops’ attributes such as mitres, crooks and rings and items donated by other countries and even by the Emperor of Ethiopia!

Opening hours is 8am to 6:45pm (and 7:15pm on Saturdays and Sundays). There are vesper services and International masses as well.

As for me, I just like hearing the simple gesture of marking the sign of the cross by the locals, in the shadows of glowing chandeliers above.

“Au nom de Pere, et du Fils, et du Saint Esprit.  The language and the reverence lulls me into submission every time.

It’s Amen to Notre Dame. Do visit.

Au revoir,

Best Wishes, Therese Waddell

copyright@2010 Therese Waddell

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6 Responses to “Awakening To Notre Dame, Paris”

  1. Absolutely fantastic photography. Yours Therese??

    • Thanks so much Margaret. Yes, ALL the photographs I take throughout my blogs are my own doing!
      I love photography and I’m learning a lot as I go. Hope others appreciate looking at them as much as you. Thanks again, Therese

  2. Simply beautiful. Great inspring photos, inspiring a calming and peaceful effect, a desire to travel and to look at architecture with love. The imagination travels by looking at them and they talk to you. Great photos. You are an artist. It is such great fun when you see quality.
    Now I’ll look at the quilts.

    Nous t’embrassons bien fort

    Alex et Tiger rrrrrrrr

    • Merci ma Cherie! I’m so glad you like it! Maybe next time we can sit under a chandelier in Notre Dame together and thank God we are so lucky to have such beautiful families and friends! Until next time, Therese x

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