Saturday, June 18, 2011

June 14th

I had a very busy day today! I started by going to Sainte Chapelle, which is my favorite gothic cathedral and one I've wanted to see since we studied it in AP Art History. After waiting in line for forever and going through airport security I finally got inside. You go into the basement area, where all the vaulted ceilings are painted blue with gold stars and all the columns are painted red and blue. Then you walk up the narrowest stairs on the planet and emerge into the cathedral proper. I cant even describe what its like to emerge into that room. For those of you that haven't googled it by now, Sainte Chapelle doesn't have walls. It has stained glass windows. It's like if some one filled a crystal bowl with jewels and then you dived into the middle of it. It was absolutely breathtaking. I know religion has been responsible for some horrifying things, but you cant stand in a place of such beauty and say that religion is completely bad. Not when it produces something like that.

After that I went to Notre Dame. The cathedral itself is fine, but the real fun is going up to the top. The wait was like two hours, but it was so completely worth it. I have all the Sherlock Holmes stories on my ipod so I amused myself by reading The Hound of the Baskervilles while I waited (I finished it last night- AMAZING). Then you climb 400 terrifying narrow worn down steps and you're there. I'm really glad I switched to sneakers at the last minute this morning instead of my slippery flats.

Now, like most of you, when I went to the top of Notre Dame I expected this to happen:

As it turns out, the gargoyles do not in fact come to life and make wisecracks and sing songs. DISNEY LIED TO ME YOU GUYS. But despite the disappointing lack of musical numbers, the top of Notre Dame is really cool. You can see the whole city and the gargoyles are incredible.

Then I walked over tot he Hotel de Ville, which is Paris' city hall and therefore not a museum like it should be, the pillar marking where the Bastille used to be, and the Place des Vosges which is a nice little park and the oldest city square in Paris. They used to have jousts there! I think a knight on horseback charging through the picnicers would have been an amusing addition to the scene.

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