Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Notre Dame Heat

The day we went to Notre Dame, it was hot. One might say hotter than the blazes that once burned through portions of Paris, but that's another story for another day. As we headed towards the famed cathedral, we had the most wonderful breeze blowing off the Seine, but then, once on Il de la Cite the breeze stopped. The square in front of Notre Dame was one big field of heat. The queue to enter the church had a moisture cloud above it from the patrons' sweat.

Once inside though, it was cooler, more calm, quiet. It smelled of ash and wet cement. The light shining through the stained glass was amazing. The ribbed ceilings were so high. The artwork within: breathe taking. It's quite understandable why Notre Dame is as famed as it is.

After we went through the main public areas of the church, we decided to take it a step further and go up into the bell towers. Just because we decided to do this doesn't mean that we just got to walk up the stairs and have a million dollar view of Paris. It meant waiting in a long line for a long time before taking a long walk up the long stairs. I was sure it would be completely worth it though, and it was.

Waiting: We walked around to the port side of the cathedral where we saw the line go from the base of the bell tower at the front, all of the way to the end of the church. In comparison to the line at the Louvre, this was nothing. The Louvre, though, did move pretty quickly and it was being overseen by hundred of statues. The wait wasn't awful though: we were in Paris.
While my companion stayed in line, I took some time away to sit across the street and stare up at the enormous rose window. From the outside, it's not that striking, just large. When inside though, the color is amazing and vibrant. I sat there, staring up at it, planning out my painting, when I realize, "I am out of white paint!!" This is often a problem for me when I use opaque watercolors. I improvised through it and used the memory of the amazing colors you see from inside to paint the blah that I was staring at on the outside... (to be continued)

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