This post turned out to be mostly anecdotes, and really only covered a few hours of the day (oops!). I have writing ADHD. Enjoy!
What I’m pointing to above is how Eglise minus the “g” is Elise…I realize I’m a dork for being thrilled over this, but I still get excited when I see my name on things. I guess that’s because I was denied stickers and keychains monogrammed with my name growing up, while all the Jennifers and Laurens in my class got personalized crap. These are very important things when you’re 7.
Back to the cathedral.
I actually have rather traumatic Notre Dame memories from my first trip to Paris. For some reason my parents felt it necessary to completely immerse the family in the French lifestyle (how and why they came to this decision I’ll never know), which meant attending Sunday mass at Notre Dame. I was raised Catholic, so attending church on Sundays was nothing new. I wasn’t exactly stoked to be going while we were on vacation, but I figured there were worse things. As it turns out, there aren’t worse things.
First of all, the mass was in French. Not Latin. Not English. French. A language none of us spoke, understood, or even cared for.
Second, it lasted for hours. HOURS. I mean, it went on, and on, and on. And on. After well over two hours we finally started communion, at which point we made a family decision to bounce the eff outta there.
And that was my first time in Notre Dame.
I can promise you, after 120+ minutes of sitting on a hard wooden pew, unable to speak, unable to comprehend what’s going on, there’s little else to do but stare at the stained glass, the altar, the Archbishop’s chair, the sculptures, the choir, the nave, the organ…you get the idea. It’s safe to say I know the Cathedral very well.
Still, I had never been to the top. Since we had free admission included in our museum passes, we decided to go for it. Why not?! Plus, I really wanted to see those cute gargoyles. We didn’t anticipate the 30 minute wait to climb up (while freezing in the shade of the cathedral), but we still did it.
The good news was we had the most entertaining street performer to distract us while we waited. I’m not joking he was almost the highlight of the day (that sounds bad, but it was really hilarious).
He snuck up behind innocent people walking by (usually in a group – see above), and then pretended to be their friend or significant other. Hilariously, he would put an arm on their should or around their neck…
And the funniest part was how the poor unsuspecting person simply went with it…until he/she looked over and shrieked when they realized they were holding hands with some creep!! Oh, did I forget to mention he had a crazy mask on? Some people screamed really loud. The entire line of people waiting to climb Notre Dame was watching and cracking up.
Here’s one sequence of events I caught on film…
How awesome is that reaction! Hahaha. The thing is, the street performer was really nice about it and for some reason everyone was cool with the prank after they got over the initial shock.
I doubt I would have had the same reaction. I probably would have thought I was being mugged and socked the guy in the jaw.
Eventually we reached the front of the line and it was time to get climbing. The organization of the stair sitch was pretty lame if you ask me. We had to stop at several points to let the descending folk get by. One pit-stop was ever so strategically located in the gift shop. Seriously Paris, you’re going to have to do better than that to get me to buy a snow globe with the Eiffel Tower in it. I hate trinkets.
As you can see, we did finally make it to the top. And inched our way around the perimeter to check out the flying buttresses and city views. I enjoyed the buttresses. I also enjoy saying the word buttresses.
It was all absolutely beautiful, minus the douchebag who dropped his LIT CIGARETTE onto the crowd below. Yeah. Who does that? I don’t even know where to begin to describe all the things wrong with the scene:
(1) Who smokes on top of a Cathedral, especially one as famous as Notre Dame? Is nothing sacred?!
(2) Then there’s the issue of health. I mean seriously, you huff and puff up several flights of stairs and that’s the first thing you think to do? Light up?
(3) Beyond all that, is it really acceptable to chuck a lit cigarette over the side rail hundreds of feet in the air? The answer is no.
(4) Provided someone wasn’t lit on fire, it’s still littering!
After we made it back down, we returned to the hotel for some siesta time. Ethel, Laura and I ended up leaving the napping members behind to explore on our own because we wanted to see the Pantheon.
FYI This is NOT the Pantheon. We thought it was, and then tried to go in, and discovered it was not the correct building. ;) Dorks.
This, however, is the Pantheon. We found our way there after a
quick 10 minute map intervention.
To be continued…