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On my way a stop in Paris -Wanderings

FRANCE | Tuesday, 22 September 2015 | Views [229]

Notre Dame on the River

Notre Dame on the River

Nobody knows my Name: 

To laugh is-to appear the fool.

To weep is-to risk appearing sentimental.

To reach out for another is-to risk involvement.

To expose feelings is-to risk exposing your true self.

To place your ideas, your dreams before the crowd is-to risk their loss. 

To love is-to risk not being loved in return.

To live is-to risk dying.

To hope is-to risk despair.

To try is-to risk failure. 


But risk must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, and is nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love-live. Chained by his certitudes, he is a slave, has forfeited freedom


~Unknown, Pacific Crest Outward Bound School



Perhaps there is some solitude in knowing that you are no one in a city of thousands of strangers, but there is also peace and a million doors that can open to adventure.


Ah yes, that familiar glaze of exhaustion with a sent of city square, the bustle of traffic on a narrow and pedestrian crowded street. The paradoxes of architecture as everything from ancient to modern combine. I sit on the white worn steps of an old palace of sorts now turned into a theater or maybe a restaurant, perhaps both. The large columns and the old roman statues on either side are nothing like the block like blues and grays of the contemporary building across for it with it’s four story white framed windowed top hat. The somewhat out of place tree on the third story of the top hat is the only thing that makes it at all similar to the building across from it with the bonsai in front. The history from Roman times until now is all around, found in the architecture, the cracks and crevasses layered and hidden in plain site. People of all sorts, foreigners and locals, rich and poor, young and not so young all hustle and bustle about. Most of them paying no mind to anything but their next task- like minute cells all working for the life of the city, or parts of gears in a clock. 

Strangely I seem to have missed the city- the smells and sounds, and maybe most of all the obsoleteness of my own being and everyone else. Perhaps the best thing though is to be around trains once again. Oh trains, the metro, public transportation- how wonderful! Getting lost in the city, heck it didn’t take me any time at all. Exploring- calm, confident. Even the exhaustion of having slept maybe 6-7 hours in the past two days adds to its wonders. Alone. Independent. But still lost, not yet afraid. 



Notre Dame Cathedral- For Ana 


The Notre Dame cathedral in Paris is comparable to me with the Westminster Abbey of London. Upon visiting both for the fist time I was fortunate enough to witness a service, have a tour, and be with my wonderful high school advisor Carrie. Each of these cathedrals holds a unique place in my memories. My second visit to the Abbey was on Ash Wednesday 2013 for a 19:00, or was it 15:00, service to start of lent. The experience of this visit to the Abbey evolved my mere appreciation for the mysterious old cathedral into a more developed  appreciation for the Abbey, her history, and her purpose past, present, and future. 

But now I am visiting the Notre Dame Cathedral for me second time. The bells sing so beautifully in their glory. If I close my eyes and listen, perhaps I can recall the tune with the traditional “Dong, Dong, Dong,” to follow. The description of the cathedral and this very area is etched in my mind form Victor Hugo’s Hunch Back of Notre Dame. The people now are not so different either. Still there are beggars and cripples, businessman, onlookers, and attendees to services. Maybe there are simply more gapers now, to look and maybe not to see, but who am I to say. The thing most etched in my mind are the doors, both in book and in life they remain magnificent. 

I shall enter... 

There is not the same magic or spirit of the church inside, perhaps it has been overridden too much by tourism, or maybe I am missing it. Still it is peaceful and the magic of the story and of the architecture is captivating. Hunch Back of Notre Dame is a memory, personal to all in their own way; I shall share this one with Anastasia Abraham. I have never been past the ground level of the cathedral, yet I have studied this level carefully in literature and sight, sketching it over and over in my mind and as unrecognizable drawings. Perhaps I do not wish to taint the magical description from Hugo's story. My picture is painted well enough. 


Pictures can be found under "Paris" in galleries and are from two days of walking and taking random trains around Paris. Thank you Anne!


Tags: paris

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