Notre-Dame Cathedral

Trip Start Oct 19, 2012
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Trip End Oct 26, 2012


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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Sunday, October 21, 2012

I landed in Paris around 9:50 AM, and had a restless night of sleep to say the least. Not much sleep on the plane, which seems to be normal operating procedures at this point.  So being pretty groggy is never a pleasant feeling in a new city.  However, I found navigating Paris to be surprisingly simple so even an American working on one transistor can find his way to the City Center with not much effort. I took the RER (which is there version of a local regional train) right into the City Center for less then ten dollars American which is pretty affordable considering the option of taking a taxing for fifty dollars.  No thanks… Ho ho.

I had a few hours before check in to my room so I surveyed the map and headed down to see the Notre-Dame Cathedral.  I found it hard to encapsulate this building.  The sheer size and intricate architecture is a lot to take in.  The first stone was laid by Pope Alexander III in 1163.  That stat alone is sort of mind boggling.  Life in 1163 is pretty hard to imagine.  One thing is for sure they were using a lot of levers, wedges and strait up hand labor to move the stones, talk about back breaking work.  I complain if I am on my feet for more than a half hour at work.  The man hours spent building this Cathedral is mind boggling.  It took over 170 years to "Complete".  One hundred and seventy years had to be a least 6-9 generations of families working on this building and a majority of them were peasants.  I sure hope God exists or what a colossal waste of 170 years.

 As I walked in the first thing I did was look up.  The ceiling to this Cathedral is so high up.  Then you notice all the super cool stain glass windows.  The windows sort of stand out because of the fact that is so dark within Notre Dame.  Even with the man mad lighting its still hard to see anything inside the Cathedral.  Without the man mad lights its like you're walking around in a very dark room where the only thing you can see are candles and the stain glass windows.  The most famous stain glass window is the North Rose Window.  This a 13th century stained glass window depicting the Virgin encircled by figures from the Old Testament. 

A fun fact about this Cathedral was that it was built on top of a Roman Temple.  Another fun fact about Notre Dame is that within the cathedrals treasury building where religious artifacts are stored is where purportedly, at some point, Christ's crown of thorns was supposed to be stored.

As I walked around the grounds of the Cathedral and across the river you notice a lot of people selling all sorts of trinkets, old books, CD's and paintings all up and down the river.  As I walked passed these vendors I sort of wondered who bought all this stuff.  Most of it seemed like junk or just really out of date antique books.  Then I thought well someone must be buying this stuff because there are a lot of people selling these antique books. 
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