Excited is not a strong enough word to describe our lovely daughter's reaction to Notre-Dame Cathedral. When she was a little girl, one of her favorite movies was set here. Being a Disney animated movie, the detail in the film was pulled directly from the cathedral and brought the setting to life for my little girl at the tender age of four or five, long before she had dreams of speaking French and walking the streets of Paris.
These figures, or others like them, came to life and had sly conversations about Quasi Modo and his adventures with Esmerelda. Our lovely daughter was delighted to see that the cathedral really housed such statues.
Even the gargoyles had their parts. Three of them were Quasi Modo's best friends in the film. The look on her face when she saw the first of the gargoyles on the facade was priceless. Even after eleven or twelve years, she was still in awe of the way the animators had brought the cathedral to life.
I asked her to pose before we went in. I adore this picture. You can see how much joy she's feeling from the look on her face.
We walked slowly through the cathedral after we entered, looking at the breathtaking French Gothic interior. The most beautiful statue of Joan of Arc I have ever seen resides in the cathedral's sanctuary.
The stained glass throughout is gorgeous. This rose window in particular is breathtaking.
Much of the story in the movie takes place in the South Tower which houses a 13 ton bell called Emmanuel. This bell chimes the hours of the day. It is now rung using machinery, but for hundreds of years was rung by hand as it is in the movie. As we stood in line to go into the tower, mist began to fall. Once inside we were glad for the dryness and the relative warmth. We climbed the winding stairs all the way to the top so my daughter could see the bell room and the bell itself. The higher we walked, the stronger the wind became. As we ascended, the stairs became smaller and more curved. It felt almost as if you were climbing around a pole. I remember slowing down because I was becoming dizzy.
She was not disappointed. This is the best shot of her I was able to take in the bell tower. You can see how the wind is whipping her hair across her face. I had to hold the camera well away from me in order to keep my hair from covering the lens of the camera. It was worth all the trouble, though. I wish that you could hear her giggling. The bell tower enchanted her.
The view was fabulous. If it had been a beautiful, calm day, I think we would have spent hours taking pictures and exploring the tower. As it was, we stayed just as long as we could stand the cool, damp air and the wind.
There wasn't a moment of Paris that disappointed, but for our lovely daughter, this day was one of the best.