I started writing about our Parisian adventure immediately after we returned home, however, blogging really took a back seat in 2019. And although I didn’t publish much, I did work on quite a few “drafts,” and I’m finally ready to start sharing our travel experiences again.
Thanks for following along on our adventures, even if I am a little bit behind. Here’s to getting caught up in the next few months.
During our first visit to Paris Cody and I skipped a tour of Cathedral Notre-Dame due to time constraints. The line was loooooong and we didn’t want to spend our precious vacation time waiting in line, so we decided to add this site to our “next time” list. Yet of course, after we returned home I found myself with a little bit of FOMO. I mean, I’m sure the line wouldn’t have taken that long.
So after we booked our flights for our return trip to Paris, the first thing I added to the itinerary was a visit to Cathedral Notre-Dame.
And how grateful I am for that decision.
On our first night in Paris, Cody and I decided to visit Notre-Dame at night. It was already past visiting hours, however, we braved the cold to see her lit up under the dark sky. And as we stood together in the square, we marveled at the intricate details of this medieval cathedral under the soft glow of the exterior lights. We delightfully spotted the gargoyles perched high above our location, pointed out the famed spire, and examined the historical carvings and statues found all around the building.
The large square in front of the Cathedral was relatively empty that evening, and as we enjoyed the view we told ourselves that in a few short days we would come back to tour the interior.
A few mornings later as we enjoyed our chocolate croissants and espressos, we turned on the news and saw the Gilets Jaunes (yellow jacket) protests going on throughout the City. Our original plan for the day was to go to Champs Elysees to see the Christmas displays; however, we quickly realized that our plans would need to change as Champs Elysees was in complete chaos. The cobble-stone streets were being destroyed, motorcycles and cars were being set on fire, store-front windows were smashed, and traffic throughout the city was a mess.
We stepped out onto our balcony and saw the police helicopters hovering above the city; and soon after we heard loud chanting and air horns nearby. The Gilets Jaunes marched down our rue as we watched the scene unfold from our balcony above the boulevard. The protesters in this specific group were peaceful, however, there were a small amount of protesters who had violence on their minds that day, so we decided to play it safe and made new plans within walking distance of the hotel.
Luckily, Notre Dame was only a ten-minute walk from our hotel, so it was an easy decision to visit one day earlier than originally planned.
We walked quickly over to Notre Dame and to our surprise, there was no line to enter the cathedral. We removed our hats and stepped inside, and upon entering we were both completely blown away.
Large columns supported the intricate archways, and colorful stained-glass windows filled the interior with a kaleidoscope of rainbow hues. As we wandered through the interior we read about the history of Notre Dame; I never realized how many different phases of construction this cathedral had undergone over the centuries.
We admired the many statues, religious relics, and incredible artwork which filled the stone walls and large spaces throughout the cathedral; and afterwards we found a seat in the middle of the grand hall and sat in silence as we soaked in the peaceful scene.
Our travels over the last ten years have provided us many memorable experiences and countless opportunities for personal growth. We both realize how lucky we are to have seen and experienced all that we have in such a short amount of time; and there have been quite a few times during our travels where I’ve stopped in my tracks and have been overwhelmed with gratitude for the adventures we’ve shared together. And as we sat in the middle of the cathedral I looked over at Cody and felt so grateful for that very moment.
And sadly, as they say, “hind sight is 20/20.”
Last April we watched with the rest of the world as Notre-Dame was consumed by flames. The scenes from that day were gut-wrenching, and my heart ached for all the people with significant ties to Notre-Dame–whether it be religious, personal, or historical. We may have only visited for a short period of time, however, the significance of Notre-Dame was not lost on us. I’m looking forward to the day when we can return and enjoy the peace and hope found within those stone walls.