This is my personal account on visiting the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris for the first time. I had not planned for this visit, but somehow, I got lost on my first day, on my first time in Paris. By the miracle of heavens, someone up there guided me and bought me to this gothic cathedral and to experience time travel on earth.
I wrote this article using second-person point of view in an attempt to bring to you the facade of the beautiful cathedral and experience the overflowing emotion that goes with seeing it for the first time.
You have been walking for hours, lost amid the patches of arrondissements of Paris. Your feet are crying for a pit stop, a break from threading the cobblestoned side streets. You pretend not to hear the pleading, the begging. You head on. You make a pact with your lower limbs that once you reached the other side of Pont Au Doble, you will stop for tea and admit defeat and that you are indeed lost.
Then you arrived at the west side facade of Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris and all your weariness fades away. You don’t hear the pleading and the begging of your weary limbs anymore. Your entire body became quiet. Instead, you are drawn to what is in front of you. You don’t notice all the other tourists clamoring for space to get a closer look and to snap away. You are pushed and shoved on both sides of your body but you don’t mind. You were too busy to take notice of the hustle and bustle around you. You just can’t be moved. You are drawn to the entourage of biblical figures that line the doorways and to the giant heavy door.
You walk to the next portal and see similar biblical figures. You walk to the next one. You count three portals to this west side of the majestic cathedral. You marvel at its height. You are awed by its rustic red heavy doors and the intricate designs that adorn it. For a moment, you cannot help but reach out to touch it. You trace the designs with your fingers. You admire all the painstaking work devoted by the medieval stone cutters, who crafted the finely detailed sculptures.
You realize that it is telling you a story. The portal on the right side depicts the Nativity and story of Saint Anne, Virgin Mary’s mother. The portal on the left side depicts the story of Virgin Mary’s assumption and the Ark of Covenant. The center portal illustrates the Lord Jesus Christ as the judge and the archangel Michael leading the souls to heaven and damned to hell. You recall it all from your religion subjects from your middle school days. You remember those days when you need to read the Gospels and Mysteries of the Rosary and submit countless homeworks about it.
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You walk thru the high doors and find yourself entering a whole new world, confused by the medieval interiors as if you travelled through time. You are awestruck by the sheer immense of interiors that now surround you. The noise of the crowd just outside is now drown out by the angelic singing of the choir. With each step, you crane your neck to try to see everything, the high spacious ceiling, the grand chandeliers, the high-vaulted nave, the checkered pattern of the tiles. Your eyes are caught by the impressive stained glass windows that glitters like valuable stone jewels.
You walk along the sides and idle around the trésor in the southeastern transept that had an exhibit displaying liturgical objects and first-class relics. The ‘Holy Crown’, which is purportedly the wreath of thorns placed on Jesus’ head before he was crucified, brought here around mid-13th century is on display. You read on that the Holy Crown is only displayed on first Fridays of each month and every Friday during Lenten Season. Out of curiosity, you glance at your watch to check on the date and see in disbelief that today is the first Friday for the month of September.
You take your place in one of the pews in the center. You decide to sit a while and be on your way. You sneak to take a photo of the spacious ceiling on your phone. “Just one shot.”, you say to yourself. You justify that you need a photo of the immense gothic interior.
And then you realize that your timing cannot be more than perfect, for now a mass celebration has started. And then, the choir started to sing its opening hymn. As if on cue, the audience and you, stood up to celebrate the coming of the priest and the clergy. The mass is delivered in French but you don’t mind at all. You say your prayer of thanksgiving. For some reason, you start to sniff and tears start to come down your cheeks. You cannot control these overflowing emotion inside you. You know that an angel guided you here. You are moved by all these.