3 Reasons to Visit, Notre Dame, Paris

Before traveling to Paris I had a list of many majestic and exciting places that I wished to visit, and Notre Dame was patiently waiting on the top of that list. When I finally found myself climbing out of the underground train station into the hustle and bustle of a Sunday morning in the heart of Paris, many feelings began to wash over me. My head was in a whirl, unable to consume all of the new sights, sounds, and smells. I wanted to plant my feet right there on the cobblestone street and attempt to let everything soak in, just stand there… and then I saw it.

The Notre Dame, hovering over the city streets like an ancient grandfather frozen in time. It was as if the city was built around this wonder and it has managed somehow to remain completely unchanged over the years. You see I am a bit of a whimsical person and my imagination often runs wild, so seeing the Notre Dame for the first time was for me, a moment of complete awe.

I was a little obsessed. So instead of rambling on about my obvious obsession, I wanted to share 3 reasons why it is so magical to me, and why it now holds a special place in my heart.

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Notre Dame the Time Machine

If you can block out all of the tourists and noise it can become quite amazing that what you are looking at is the same changeless building that was the backdrop for events such as the great plague, the French Revolution, and even the Nazi invasion during World War 2. When standing outside looking at the towering building above me it was easy to place myself in those times.

And how about some perspective? I am from St. John’s, Newfoundland the oldest city in North America, it was “discovered” by the English over 500 years ago. Ground broke on the construction of the Notre Dame in 1163, making this place almost 400 years older than the oldest city in North America. Wow! Putting things into perspective certainly, adds to the grandeur of that is Notre Dame.

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Ancient Architecture

When people think about Notre Dame they may first think of the Gargoyles or the bell tower made famous by stories like “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” but take it from me there is much more to this structure then just this. Although the somewhat sinister guards of Paris “the gargoyles” are really enough of a reason to love this construction. I would, however, like to mention the beauty and wonder that is the flying buttresses. When you see this building up close and personal it is hard to imagine that it was built by people hundreds of years ago with limited technology, but the huge structure remains strong, thanks to the genius of the

I would, however, like to mention the beauty and wonder that is the flying buttresses. When you see this building up close and personal it is hard to imagine that it was built by people hundreds of years ago with limited technology. But the huge structure remains strong, thanks to the genius of the Flying Buttresses. Take some time to check out the back of the building and you will see what I mean and why this makes my list.

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Spirits in the Hall

When we finally entered the church I felt an overwhelming sense of spirituality wash over me. It was as though I had been transported into another realm. I imagined the millions of people pouring their worries, grief, wishes, and joys into this building through the centuries. The energy was not to be ignored. Even my friend that I was traveling with felt the energy in the air. We sat and listened to the service, I prayed to perhaps unlistening ears. It was a moment of perfect calm that I wish I could recreate. I thought once again back to centuries past and imagined the poor, sick and desperate people of rat infested Paris entering the church. I thought of their escape, the stone figures watching over them, the sun spreading through stained glass, filling the room with light. What a perfect escape it must have been.

The energy was not to be ignored. Even my friend that I was traveling with felt the energy in the air. We sat and listened to the service, I prayed to perhaps unlistening ears. It was a moment of perfect calm that I wish I could recreate. I thought once again back to centuries past and imagined the poor, sick and desperate people of rat infested Paris entering the church. I thought of their escape, the stone figures watching over them, the sun spreading through stained glass, filling the room with light. What a perfect escape it must have been.

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Of all the places I visited in Paris, this was by far my favorite. There is no comparison for a place like this, it is perfect in its consistency, it is perfect in its eternal spirit, and it is perfect in its history to the world.

When you visit the Notre Dame leave the tourist mentality at the door, take an afternoon to see this place for what it is, was and always will be.

Are you traveling to Paris? Don’t forget to add The Catacombs to your places to explore.

PicMonkey Collage
“Architecture has recorded the great ideas of the human race. Not only every religious symbol, but every human thought has its page in the vast book.” – Victor Hugo

26 COMMENTS

  1. mescalime | 6th Sep 15

    Know the feeling, I also had it when I first saw Sagrada Familia.

    • StephJ | 6th Sep 15

      Another place I would love to visit!

  2. Akash V | 6th Sep 15

    This post hurts me so much, you can’t even imagine.

    I was supposed to travel to Paris from Rome 15 months ago and I was really looking forward to going to Notre Dame – the excitement was almost on par with that of seeing the Eiffel Tower. Just as we reached Rome Termini, we found out that the entire French railway system was suspended because of some kind of strike.
    I missed out on Notre Dame, being short on time, and it’s one of my biggest regrets.

    Your post makes me want to go there once again! Good writing 🙂

    • StephJ | 6th Sep 15

      That is a horrible stroke of bad luck! I hope you get to see it someday. For me it was more amazing than seeing the Eiffle Tower, both amazing in there own way of course. Good luck on your travels!

  3. koolitzable | 6th Sep 15

    Well written ☺️☺️☺️

    • StephJ | 7th Sep 15

      Thanks for the feedback 🙂

  4. Abi | 6th Sep 15

    Lovely post 🙂 !! I hope to visit France soon. I really enjoyed reading your posts especially the one about sleep. Thanks for sharing.

    • StephJ | 7th Sep 15

      Thanks so much! 🙂

  5. ctunchained | 22nd Sep 15

    Such a grand post. We live Paris. Art and romance abounds.

    • StephJ | 22nd Sep 15

      It is a beautiful city!

  6. heimwee2456 | 26th Sep 15

    Paris is amazing for everybody who was,is & will be there. I write about traveling, too, can we do follow for follow? 🙂 I wrote about The Eiffel Tower today, you can read it on http://www.asequibles.wordpress.com 🙂

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  8. mopana | 19th Nov 15

    I know how it is. I went there when I was 14 🙂

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  10. travelwithclem | 1st Dec 16

    Hi Steph! I am actually going to do a Eurotour pretty soon, and I’ll be passing through France. I will definitely put “Notre Dame de Paris” on top of my list! Thanks for sharing.

    • StephJ | 1st Dec 16

      You will love it! It is a really magical place! Make sure you go up and visit the gargoyles!

  11. Pam Miller | 4th May 17

    Must be a common experience at Notre Dame in Paris. I too walked in awe. I didn’t take my paints or sketch. I did take photos and asked someone to take a photo of me and my husband. Still in awe, I didn’t have the sense to drop the blue, plastic bag of souvenirs. So here I am in one of the greatest cities in the world, wearing my trench coat and looking like a bag lady. Paris! May it never be tarnished!

    • StephJ | 4th May 17

      It is such a beautiful place!

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  13. anhistorianabouttown | 13th Jul 17

    I’m not going to lie, I had a terrible time in Paris- mostly due to feeling unsafe and multiple pick pocketing attempts. However, Notre Dame was absolutely spectacular. When I was there, they were celebrating the 850th birthday of the Cathedral and they had the most gorgeous artwork throughout the Cathedral. The carving and stonework is amazing, especially given all that Paris has seen! (Plus, as someone who worked in roughly the sixth to eighth century, Notre Dame is quite modern haha)

    • stephaniewp | 13th Jul 17

      I loved my time in Paris although I will agree that I did feel unsafe at times. Using common sense and street smarts saved me in many situations. But one of the reasons I loved it in Notre Dame so much was that it gave me a place to relax and provided a great sense of calm. It remains my favorite church I have visited 🙂

      • anhistorianabouttown | 13th Jul 17

        I can be rather a cynic ( :s ) so nothing ended up happening but I don’t like having to feel “on guard” everywhere 🙁 My favourite church I think has to be Christ Church in Dublin, but I spent so many hours there that I’m undoubtedly biased haha!

  14. Gabe Burkhardt | 13th Jul 17

    Although I’ve been to Paris more times than I can remember, These are the first glimpses I’ve had of the interior of Notre Dame. Something has always come up by the time we reached the gothic facades.

    Thanks for sharing the beautiful peek!

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