My husband and I had been to Notre Dame before. However, we included a visit to Notre Dame in our recent itinerary with our kids because it is an iconic Paris site. Just by accident, we ended up entering the cathedral right before mass, and it was an incredibly happy accident. We saw Notre Dame as we had never seen it before.
Now, the facade of the Notre Dame is a masterpiece. And really, you have to visit this cathedral MANY times before you could be bored with all of the detail. And who are all of those people? I need to have a guide give me the scoop on that next time.
Once inside, the stained glass and the architecture are always amazing…the COLOR of the glass is striking.
But, experiencing the cathedral as a place of worship instead of a tourist attraction really changed my whole perspective. The organ music, the worshippers/choir singing, the ceremonial entry with the incense…all of it created this 4-D drama for us that completely brought Notre Dame to life and took our breath away.
Now if you are clever, you might have thought we were out of breath because we climbed the 387 steps of the tower. You can climb the top of the South Tower, Hunchback of Notre Dame style, and be face-to-face with a gargoyle. We actually missed this because we stayed for the first part of the 5:45pm Sunday mass. By the time we exited, they had closed the access. Here is the timetable/information from the website so that you don’t miss it!
I suppose it is for the best that we didn’t do the climb. My younger daughter wasn’t feeling well and instead we went to a delicious dinner. And, it’s always good to leave something to look forward to for next time! 🙂 But we did make sure to walk around the outside of the cathedral and look up. We recommend you do that…the view upward is amazing.