LETTRES : Le livre d'or des histoires dans Paris

La Cathedrale de Notre Dame stands proudly on the larger of the two islands splitting the Seine in the middle of Paris, Ile de la Cite.  It is not difficult to recognize immediately why this cathedral is "le plus connu de Paris."  It has been characterized in countless films and other media, but
nothing parallels seeing it in person.

The biggest mistake a tourist can make, however, is walking in the church before contemplating the incredible gothic architecture.  The North Tower houses some of the most ferocious-looking gargoyles, invoking thought back to the years from 1163 to 1345 when the structure was being built.  What were the artists thinking and feeling when they formed these wretched yet intriguing creatures?  Some sit with pursed brow as if deep in thought, some crouch with claws perched at
their sides if ready to fly off to attack prey, and still others lean out into space, as if to keep watch of the city below them.  It is possible that some chunks of stone have fallen from their stern faces over the many years, but this only gives them more credibility.

Considering the many centuries of time the edifice has spanned only adds to the appreciation of the long-lasting structure and its detail.  In viewing Notre Dame from the park behind it, the ornate flying buttresses are simply awe-inspiring.  They seem to stream off of the church structure in a beautiful current of symmetry and harmony to complete the regal cathedral.  There is no architecture of this caliber and age for Americans to appreciate in their country; it is truly a
unique experience.  While admiring the church from behind, the natural flowers and trees in the park add tranquility to the majesty, making for a very pleasant experience.

 Across the street, tourists and Parisians alike can relax at a small café, sip their tea and coffee, and continue to take in the noble view of the cathedral, for what they can see through the trees.
Even after doing all this during a Tuesday afternoon on April 29, 2003 and having a certainly aesthetically-pleasing experience, I was drawn back to the gothic architecture.  The gargoyles and buttresses, all of the intricacies of the artist's hand in the making of this building, were
drawing me back if for no other reason than to simply enjoy and appreciate their beauty.    

Thank you , Amanda Heisman

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