Notre Dame | such sad feelings

gargoyle on Notre Dame (c) 2019 by David Ourisman, all rights reserved

The sight of Notre Dame in flames was so overwhelmingly sad. I've always been a francophile. Paris has always been my favorite city in the world. Notre Dame represents the heart and soul of Paris, indeed of France. The photographs of the fire were so tragic, this iconic Gothic cathedral at the center of Paris on fire.

I first visited Notre Dame in 1969, my first trip to Europe (fifty years ago!). After visiting London and Amsterdam, the student group I was part of continued on to Paris. I captured the image below with my Minolta SRT-101 film camera; I believe I was using Agfachrome ASA 64 slide film. I have visited Paris many times since, more than I can count. My most recent visit was this January when I climbed the tower and captured the close-up image of a gargoyle (see above).

evening shot of Notre Dame in 1969

How to visit any cathedral... (at least how I do it). I always walk to the very back of the sanctuary and stand in the center aisle, behind all of the seats. I stand there for awhile — or even sit in one of the pews — and look forward and upward, taking in the soaring lines of the arches as they lead my eyes to the heavens. This is the very purpose of Gothic architecture. When you visit any church, try to sense what the architect wanted to convey to worshippers. If you can, attend a service or a concert. Enjoy the cathedral the way it was intended — as a place of worship, not as a tourist attraction.

It's impossible to imagine Paris without Notre Dame. I intend to contribute to the reconstruction fund, and I hope one day to visit the fully restored cathedral.

copyright (c) 2019 by Ourisman Travel LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

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