On Sunday, our third day in Paris, it was fitting that we toured the iconic cathedral, Notre Dame. On a side note, when I called the kids back home to tell them we went to Notre Dame, my son reminded me that Notre Dame had just lost to Florida State, ha!
When you walk up to the towering cathedral, it’s hard not to be awestruck by its gothic grandeur. Although we had been warned about the line to enter the church, it moved quickly. We were also surprised to find that the cathedral is free to enter, no museum pass needed.
We took our time, walking quietly and respectfully around the side aisles of the church as mass was taking place in the center. It was incredible to see the architecture but what was even more interesting was reading about the history of Notre Dame and the stories behind the many statues and historic artifacts.
Even if you are not Catholic, it is easy to appreciate the importance of this monument to the Catholic faith. One can also see how Victor Hugo captured the essence of the church is his famous novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I imagined Quasimodo running along the high corridors and up through the hidden rafters, all the while going unnoticed, except by the gargoyles.
We left Notre Dame heading back over the Seine River via yet another bridge full of locks. The locks are used by couples to express their love for one another in writing, often through their initials – and then the message is locked to the bridge fence. As you can see, this bridge was quite popular for lovers from all over the world….
Toward the end of our day, we stopped by the Cluny museum to take in the famous tapestry art depicting scenes of The Lady and the Unicorn. The 6 tapestries are thought to represent the 5 senses – touch, sight, smell, taste, and hearing – while the final tapestry is thought to represent love or desire. The tapestries were definitely a sight to see, bringing to life what I had only read about in novels or art books.
From Our Lady, Notre Dame to the noble Lady and her unicorn, it was quite a full day. Next stop…Epernay and Reims in the Champagne region of France!