April 16, 2019


Words Saanika Sardeshmukh
Pictures: Shutterstock

Notre Dame-Cathédral

An ice-cream in one hand and a book in the other, walking on the banks of Seine… This dreamy scenario was my reality when I visited the City of Lights. It was a spring evening, I was walking on the banks of Seine, admiring the view around me. On the other side of the river were cherry blossom trees, attractive strangers living their daily lives, waving at the curious tourists on the cruise tour, and the famed tower glistening in the dusk light. I returned to my book, in which Victor Hugo wrote, “Notre-Dame de Paris is, in particular, a curious specimen of this variety. Each face, each stone of the venerable monument, is a page not only of the history of the country, but of the history of science and art as well.” The novel’s protagonist is not a person; it’s a building. And now I know why, I thought, as I took a turn to come to a cobblestoned street shadowed by something huge, a church that spelt gothic with a capital G; the Cathédral of Notre Dame. The church’s creation started in 1163 when the Romanesque style of architecture had begun to evolve into Gothic, paving path to more such masterpieces like itself.

Notre Dame-Impact of the French Revolution

Looking up I saw ornamental stone statues; the gargoyles staring down at people, like they knew the secrets of the city, the building or even mine! Their expressions nearly scared me, one looked as if it had just savoured its prey. Thinking, what they would say if they talked, I went inside the Cathédral, I was awestruck by the heavy influence of naturalism peeking through the stained glasses, filtering sunshine through, casting iridescent light on the of nave, the colossal array of artworks, the rose windows and objects that channel the neo-gothic theme. As you stroll around appreciating the work of art this church is, you tend to forget that this very monument was badly damaged during the French Revolution, and restored by Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century. This massive architectonic masterpiece is worth climbing. The view of Paris from the top is breathtaking. I was overwhelmed with the city, the church, all the monuments and everything that was going around me. So I went down, found a bench and sat in the hallway. I wanted to breathe and calm down and digest all that happened to me on this trip. The so called Gothic church became my safe place, at least temporarily.

Notre Dame-Serenity Defined

Broken things can mend too and this creation is just an example of that. Walking back outside, I was again surrounded by all strangers, parisian air and people crowding at the fresh bread sale stall at the end of the road. Notre Dame gets millions of visitors each year for its intricate work outside as well as inside, the towers, the steeple and the gargoyles, but for me, it’s always going to the place I found my place of serenity for sometime.

4. My Life’s A Movie

Melissa is a Canadian doll. She has no filter and is such a warm hearted individual.
YOU MUST catch her on Snapchat or Youtube. She's either hitchhiking though SE Asia or sharing her travel shenanigans. She’s such a talented individual and has truly proven that hard work pays off. Melissa has been published on Huffington Post, Matador Network, Thought Catalog and much, much more. She’s a true female backpacker and an inspiration!

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