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Feb 2, 2002
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Feb 2, 2002
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February 2, 2002
Arch Front of Notre Dame

I walked for over an hour to reach the Notre Dame Cathedral which rests on the Ile de la Cite, a boat-shaped Island (below). The bridge is the Pont Neuf, one of nine that connect the island (Click on photos with pink borders to see full-size photos).
Ile de la Cite Island

Notre Dame CathedralNotre Dame Cathedral, inside

Notre Dame Cathedral, inside

Begun in 1163 and completed in 1250 (two years after the Cologne Cathedral was begun in Germany), the Notre Dame Cathedral is the number one attraction in all of France, topping even the Eiffel Tower, with 13 million visitors a year. It is also an active Catholic church, and stands on the site of Paris' first Christian church. It is considered cradle of Paris. Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned Emperor at Notre Dame on December 2, 1804. The middle spire was part of a 23 year restoration that ran from 1845 to 1868. I guess there just weren't enough pointy things. The two main towers stand 228 feet tall each. These were the skyscrapers of their day, and although the first skyscrapers weren't built until the 19th century and stood only ten stories, this cathedral is higher than a 20-story building.

Confused by the fact that my late father associated Notre Dame more with football than a majestic gothic cathedral in Paris, and probably thought 'Hunchback' was a title given to the most prescient player, I had a strong urge to kick footballs between the two upright towers. Paris would've been 100% more enjoyable had I been with someone, but I guess it would've been pretty embarrassing for a woman trying to appreciate the culture and romance of Paris as her boyfriend's balls come crashing through the stained-glass window. I'm a cyclist--I'd be the one hanging from a gargoyle by my spandex. The photo below is the best I could do for a self portrait. I put my camera on a bench and shot this as the elderly women to my rear discussed my rear.

There were many shops around the Cathedral, and beggars. I grew tired of dealing with beggars at every cathedral I visited and afraid that if I gave to one, the rest would rush me like an offensive line blitzing a quarterback. One lady approached me carrying a baby and asked if I spoke English. I said oui, and she showed me a card that said she was from Bosnia and wanted money, and then she said,”It’s for the child…for the children, for the children...” and she kept repeating this. I wanted to punch her in the face, but she probably would've dropped the kid and some degenerate jug head football fan would've run it up the bell tower and spiked it. I hate people using children for exploitation, or touchdowns. Politicians who say they're for the family, and for the children, and then promote policies that murder thousands of innocent children every day--that bugs me too.

Notre Dame is a beautiful church (except for the beggars). Photos in these concrete monsters just don't come out too well for a man of my limited photographic prowess. It’s rather large as far as churches go, and I'm a little confused because I'd thought the flying buttresses on either side were designed to support the walls, allowing the interior to be opened up with fewer pillars and more windows, but as you can see--there were plenty of pillars. It had nice stained-glass windows, and the photo below is the rose window.
Rose Window in the Notre Dame Cathedral
After walking around for so long, I sighed, ”Another old building with pillars, statues, sculpted facades, pointy things, naked people, pretty glass, and another, and another…” There are so many, you get tired of staring. Some of the more enjoyable times were when I just visited shops around the cathedral to find presents, spoke with local merchants, and met a cat named Clovis who didn't have email. I found far more pleasure in picking out gifts for others than for myself, and as a result my only souvenir for my 2 1/2 month stay in Europe was a $5 photo from a flee market in Kaiserslautern. Below, I'm sitting hunch-back on the Pont de l'Archevêché bridge that crosses the Seine, a pseudo drawbridge, crossing a quasi-moat. I was a little concerned that my notoriously bad posture would have the Parisians thinking the Hunchback had clawed his way out of the grave, La Esmerelda in tow. Hunchback is a pretty pessimistic term--as an optimist, I like to think of myself as an Archfront. I interrupted a pair of lovers and asked them to shoot me on the bridge. Years later I found a $6 painting that was painted from this exact location.

Self Portrait of a Lonely Guy

Notre Dame Cathedral, Rear

Notre Dame Cathedral and Me

Notre Dame Cathedral, panoramic shot