Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Paris' Best #4a: Notre-Dame

 If you have four days to spend in Paris, then here is our recommendation for the fourth day: Notre-Dame. Actually, this will only take an hour or two to tour, so we recommend spending the whole day on the Ile de la Cite (Cite Island) and visiting Sainte-Chapelle and the Conciergerie also - we'll talk about those in the next post.

But I'm getting ahead of myself - let's talk Notre-Dame.

 When we exited the metro station and first peaked our head above ground into the sunshine, this is what we saw when we turned our head to the right. I mistakenly thought the steeple was Notre-Dame so we took off in that direction. In actuality, the steeple is Sainte-Chapelle.
 As soon as we discovered my mistake, we decided we were hungry and stopped into a cafe for breakfast (the green canopy in the previous photo). The cafe was fairly run down, but the waiter was excellent (are you tired of me saying that yet?) and the food good.
 I didn't realize it until we got back home, but I had captured the wine-by-the-glass list in the previous photo. Here is it up close in case you are wondering what is typically served and what it costs.
 With our hunger satisfied, we took off to find the real Notre-Dame. After about 20 minutes of walking around (it's a small island) we found it. I took this photo while we were waiting in line to enter. The wait wasn't long - under a minute I would say - but it did give me the opportunity to snap this photo and...
 ...this one. I actually didn't look up but instead just tilted the camera up. For some reason, I spent the day fairly dizzy. Beginning at the Louvre, I had been fighting dizziness with stairs and heights the entire time in Paris. We're not sure why but we have several theories: the time change, my progressive lens glasses, and just the enormous scale of things. Magically, the diziness disappeared when we got back home (for the most part).
 Now let's step inside. Just inside the door, this is what you see. It does not look very crowded, and that is because the seating area is mostly roped off...the majority of the crowd is routed along both sides of this seating area. The interior of Notre-Dame is very dark, and I was very worried that the camera would produce nothing but blackness. I know my old Olympus would have done that. But I brought the new Canon on this day and as you can see it did a wonderful job! These pictures actually look brighter than the actual room looked in person.
 When seated, I could look up to my heart's content....this is the magificent view that we saw. It is a very beautiful space.
 On the right side of the seating, there was this structure. For some reason, it reminded me of Waldorf and Statler from the Muppet Show.
 Looking back towards the entrance was this view. The purple tinged lighting was just perfect to accentuate the structure.
 And along the left side...
 ...another shot emphasizing the height. There were displays and confessionals (in use!) along the sides, but I somehow failed to get a photo of any of it. Probably for two reasons: it was just too crowded, and it would have felt like I was invading worshipper's privacy.
 Stepping back outside, we came across this flower display just a few feet from the building (my back is to Notre-Dame right now). Just to the right out of view is a huge temporary canvas tent in which a crew was baking large quantities of bread. I have no idea why
 Just on the far side of the tent was this temporary basketball court. Again, I have no idea why it was there.
Here is a close-up of the woman shooting. A tourist like the rest of us, I would imagine. What do you think, from Italy?

Time Required: 1-2 hours
Stairs, main floor: none
Stairs, towers: lots (optional - we didn't go up there)
Walking: minimal
What to bring: camera
Photos taken with: Canon S5 IS

1 comment:

Sandy said...

Those are gorgeous photos and I would be dizzy too looking up like that...

This was great getting to see it through your lens.