Bonjour mon chéries! I know that I have been gone the longest in my blogging history but I promise I am back. It has been an absolute roller coaster since I have arrived in this city and finding time to just sit down and write a well thought out blog post just hasn't happened. But, c'est la vie! I must say before I go on, my French is improving really well. It was the one thing I really hoped I could take home from this lovely city.
My experience in Paris as been a rather rocky one. Many people don't know this yet but I wasn't exactly happy with my choice of destination when I got here. I was expecting something very different than what I was experiencing and it was kind of a disappointment. At this same time though, I found out I wasn't going to be able to go to Italy and what I thought was a done deal for an apartment fell through. Not only was all of this happening but one of my classes just seemed overwhelming. So what was just a really rough time for me personally was projected onto the city. However, now that I've warmed up to it and gotten to get the feel of it, I am much more happy with my decision. Paris is a lovely city and I cannot wait to share all that it has to offer with you guys.
The stained glass windows are absolutely gorgeous. Right now, I'm starting with the grand Cathedral of Notre Dame. Notre Dame translates to "our lady" for those of you who did not know. Most people are aware that I was raised Catholic but do not practice the religion. However, I do have a great appreciation for history and beautiful places. Notre Dame is certainly old but as they say, beauty comes with age.
I've heard people use the expression of being moved to tears often by the raw beauty of something but I had never experienced it myself. Walking through this giant, gorgeous Cathedral and the amount of history presented, I felt my eyes get a little warm. As you walked through the Cathedral, there were little areas to sit or kneel and pray. Some were in front of altars, sacristies, sculptures of saints or the Blessed Mother. It wasn't the religious elements that effected me but the bare emotions that came from the people on their knees in front of them. As I was walking past the little nook that had the original painting of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, a woman of Latin descent was practically sobbing and holding a rosary in her hand. Something that I would have normally found a little dramatic became touching to me. There was just an overwhelming feeling from being inside this landmark. A feeling that really cannot be described.
When I entered Notre Dame, I was immediately struck by scenes from The Hunchback of Notre Dame (the cartoon of course). It's amazing seeing something come to life for yourself after picturing if for many years. I was not disappointed with the architecture either. For those of you who are not familiar with the history of Notre Dame, the Cathedral was built between the 12th and 14th Centuries. After centuries of not being well-taken care of or renovated, Victor Hugo wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame which brought attention to the grand Cathedral and initiated long overdue renovations to a practically deteriorating landmark. It was renovated in the 19th Century and survived through two world wars.
My overall experience at Notre Dame was amazing and I want to go back to take a view from the top. It's supposed to be gorgeous there. Well, I hope you enjoyed the pictures and the little stories interwoven. Look for more Paris posts very soon.