Dear Diva Readers,
hile I’m in Paris every other month for work and lived there 5 years, I rarely take time to be a tourist in Paris anymore. Yesterday I attended mass at Notre Dame with my niece who is staying and traveling with me for the summer. As we entered the giant doors leading to the vestibule my soul smiled when we heard the opening hymn for mass. Kyrra and I quickly found our way to an aisle seat to watch the proceedings. Though we are Protestant and not Catholic it didn’t matter that we didn’t know the rites and rituals – our hearts knew what our minds didn’t and quickly felt enveloped in the spirit.
With a sense of awe my 15 year old niece whispered, “Is it really nearly 1,000 years old?” I smiled back, “They started building it in 1160 and it took 180 years to finish.” She let that sink in then sighed a long, slow “Woah – the people who started building it never got to see it finished”.
We imagined what it might have looked like when there wasn’t electricity and stood letting sunlight dapple on our faces through the rose window then continued our tour of the side chapels. I pointed towards a statue of a woman holding a sword and asked Kyrra, “Do you know who she is?”. She read the name in French “Sainte Jeanne D’Arc 1412- 1431″ quickly turning to me inquiring, “They have a statue of Joan of Arc in here??!!” I explained how it was in this very cathedral that the church made the decision to restore her reputation claiming she wasn’t a witch but a divine messenger from God. Her statue stands in a place of honor in a transept to the right facing the alter.
Because we were attending during the last mass of the day we didn’t have time to tour the bell tower, but that didn’t stop us from discussing the cathedral towers most famous resident. Leaving Notre Dame we crossed the road and went to the famous bookstore Shakespeare & Co and picked up the Victor Hugo tome, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”.
My niece Kyrra at Notre Dame
All in all, a perfect afternoon in Paris.
The Antiques Diva®