Thursday, January 3, 2008

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

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.


Life As I Know It said...

Magical, indeed! And something she will never forget, I'm sure.

I was there in High School, but didn't have anywhere near the experience your daughter did.

Beautiful pictures!

laurie said...

( many days to your birthday?)

the rotten correspondent said...

You will both treasure that trip forever. I've said it before, but what a fabulous thing for you to do together.

Jenni said...

Thank you for the wonderful tour! What an incredible experience to share with your daughter.

Is that John the Baptist with his head in his hands. Very, very strange!

laurie said...

see, this is another part of paris that you explored and we didn't. we walked past notre dame several times but never went in.

are those all your pictures? including the view from the top? wowser.

i need to go back.

laurie said...

ps you might like this french photo blog. very magical pictures.

Kim said...

It was an incredible trip, LAIKI. I am glad I went as an adult, and I hope that the experience is still as meaningful to her when she is my age as it was last spring.

Laurie, it's in just a few days. Why are we whispering?

I'm sure you're right, RC. I'm glad you enjoy reading about it.

Jenni, I think that's St. Denis holding his head.

The view from the top is mine, Laurie, and it was a damp, dreary day by the time we reached the top of the bell tower. I would like to go back and photograph that on a sunny day. I did not take the close up of the gargoyle, it was taken by a young man in the group with a fantastic zoom lens. I included it to show the wonderful detail. He also took the view of the cathedral from St. Louis at the top of the entry. The flying buttresses are simply amazing. You always see the cathedral from the Ile-de-la-cite, but it is gorgeous from the other direction as well.

Some of the pictures are mine and some are my daughter's. We both had cameras, and it is difficult to tell who took what. I do know that is her Joan of Arc shot, as mine still had the stupid, incorrect date stamp on it at that time. Every time I took the batteries out at night, the date reset, and if I forgot to turn it off, I've got big yellow dates on my pics. We also passed the cameras to one another quite a bit, but we both took Joan of Arc from slightly different angles.

Jen said...

Oh, Kaycie, the pictures are magnificent! I've always wanted to go to France (esp. after so many years of French lessons!). I once had my chance but squandered it on a man...What a lovely thing to do with your daughter!

Potty Mummy said...

It's so great when teenagers allow themselves to get excited about things rather than just thinking they are too cool... I really hope my boys are like that.

Fire Byrd said...

regarding your comment on my post, those photos sum it up... you are indeed the mum that knows and tells your daughter.

Rick said...

Beautiful - the first photo: Someone got their head put in their hands.

I'm visiting the blogs of everyone that has left a comment on my blog this past year. I'm having a little give-away to celebrate my first annivesary. No gimicks - just fun. I'm hoping you'll sign up.

elizabethm said...

Kaycie your photos are fabulous. I have been a number of times (as I should because I can) but you have still shown me new things. so glad your daughter had a great time. she will remember it all life long.

Swearing Mother said...

What a great thing to do Kaycie!

Sandy said...

I just stopped by to thank you for visiting my blog but, my gosh, what gorgeous photos!

How wonderful that you got to share that with your daughter and how wonderful that you are sharing it with us.


Beth said...

How lovely!!! And what gorgeous photos!!