Among My Souvenirs

Stories of the road

Notre Dame

When you travel there are just some photos you MUST take. And a picture of Notre Dame from the river is one! We arrived in Paris in the late afternoon. Paris, at long last. We had seen many other great sites on our tour, but none is as fascinating as The City of Lights.

Paris was founded around the end of the 3rd century BC by the Gauls who were called Parisii. In 52 BC Julius Caesar's legions conquered the territory, founding the Roman city, Lutetia on the earlier settlement. Christianity was introduced in the second century AD, while the Roman domination ended in the 5th century with the arrival of the Franks. In 508 Clovis I established Paris as the capital of the kingdom.

The Middle Ages was a period of great prosperity for the city of Paris: construction was started on the cathedral of Notre Dame in the 12th century (the work would continue for almost 200 years), while the swampy area of the Marais was drained to become the area now called the Right Bank. Sainte Chapelle (which contained the remains of the True Cross) was completed in 1248 and the Sorbonne opened its doors in 1253.

For more reading about the Cathedral itself consult Notre Dame

The temps remained in the low 50’s as the night was falling. Our guide Sandra announced that after dinner she was taking us on a river boat cruise down the Seine River. “Bucket List,” we all shouted!! Gathering at the appointed time she walked us to the bus line and after a few short stops, we were at the Arc de Triomphe and lo and behold there is an underground walkway. Like kids we gleefully followed her through the tunnel to the other side of the street. Another fun night adventure. Arriving at the dock, she quickly herded us onto the river boat and off we went. The night was magical. The shimmering lights of the city teased our senses and delighted our eyes. Yes, it was an open-air boat and as the boat momentum picked up, so did the wind. Although a little cooler than we thought we huddled together and marveled at the city that lay open before our eyes.

The turnaround point came as the river separated around the Ise de France. The slow turn in the narrow waterway gave us ample opportunity to witness the beauty, the breathtaking beauty, of the Cathedral that sat high on the promontory point of the island. Although in the dark, not as much of the detail was revealed, yet in its place was the regal sense of grandeur and majesty as it sat solemnly, reverently blessing the people and the river below.

Departing the boat, walking back to our hotel past the grand expensive shops, the streets lined with lovers, Paris gave of a taste of all that she had to offer.