Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower

Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower
The view from Amsterdam Tower

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Notre Dame de Paris

Visiting Notre Dame de Paris is a privilege for me. As in day to day basis, I only visit Notre Dame Saigon-:)

When I saw the Notre Dame in Saigon for the first time, I knew it would be one of my favorite places.  Refer to my previous post:

My loved one said; “Wait until you see the real Notre Dame de Paris, you will like it more”.  I believed him even before I saw it.

L’ île de la Cité

The cathedral is situated in a small island called the île de la Cité.  In fact, this is the island where Paris history started… It was then extended to the land across the island where the largest part of Paris is now.  Between the two lands, it is connected by a bridge which we can easily walk.

Voila... Notre Dame de Paris!

The cornerstone or foundation stone of Notre Dame de Paris laid in 1163 and that was when the construction began.  It was completed in 1345. Comparing to Notre Dame Saigon, the building is much older, the color of the church brick is brownish instead of reddish and there are more ornaments, sculptures, stained-glass windows.

Sculptures at the Cathedral Wall

I always believe that holy places like mosque, church, temple, pagoda, etc., has spiritual energy and is full of magical aura.  A little bit indescribable.  It has to be felt by the heart.  I felt my heart chakra beating stronger when I was inside the church.  So I prayed for everyone; may all beings be happy.

Praying candle (for donation)

All tourists can enter the church with no charge.  Even there was a long queue, still everyone did it respectfully.  Taking pics inside the church is allowed but no flash. There is an exhibition area inside the church, where we have to pay.  I could see the old clothes used to be worn by the Pope, some ancient boxes used to store the relics of the Saints.

Pope clothes (old ones)

The Notre Dame Tower

Notre Dame has inspired the famous French writer Victor Hugo to write a story about Quasimodo.  Remember the Hunchback of Notre Dame?  

Inside part of the Cathedral

I wish I could see the bell tower where Quasimodo used to hide.  The place must be so secluded, dark and no one would want to come nearby.  How lonely his life was.  His love toward Esmeralda might keep him alive as human, even though this gypsy dancer is too disgusted by his ugliness.

Stained Glass inside the Cathedral

Unfortunately, we could not climb to the tower, as we had to meet with a friend and his family.  It is a good excuse to come back.

These ornaments were used to teach people, as writing was not known centuries ago

La Crypte Archéologique du Parvis Notre Dame

The museum of archaeology and history of the île de la Cité is located under the square in front of Notre Dame de Paris.  There is stairs going down, yes, it is an underground museum exhibiting the ruins of buildings where Parisians used to live.

Lutece centuries ago, it is Paris now

Paris used to be called Lutece.  Parisian used to be the Lutecians while the French were called les Gaulois.  Does the story about Asterix and Obelix ring a bell?  During this period, France was part of the Roman empire.  That explains why we can still find the ruins of Roman buildings underneath some places in Paris.

The structure of those middle age buildings still exists.  It is amazing that houses in those times had been built in 2-3 storey.  Water heater concept had already been implemented.  The hot water, after being heated by burning wood was flown using pipes under the floor.

Notre Dame view in the evening, and I was cold

Notre Dame and a Dragon

Notre Dame Saigon: ticked!  Notre Dame de Paris: ticked!

During my last trip to Bangkok just before the Chinese New Year, I went to Siam Paragon Mall.  Like anywhere else in this festive season, this mall has Chinese New Year decoration in the main lobby.

It is a dragon as to welcome the year of dragon.  What makes it different?  This dragon is in front of the Notre Dame!  What a combination…  May this be a wish for harmonious life.

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