The Facade of Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris

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.

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris
Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris

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.

Le Portail du Judgement. #latepost #paris #notredamedeparis #latergram #tbt #amwriting

A photo posted by carla abanes (@justtravellingsolo) on


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.

One's destination is never about a place, but a new way of seeing things. - Henry Miller Click To Tweet



Liked this article? Share it using the sharing buttons below!


Tags: ,
Previous Post Next Post


Add Your Comment
  1. Reply

    I know what you mean when you say you can’t stop the flowing emotions. I get that sometimes and I put it down to being spirally connected to God. He is in my heart that I can’t help but feel teary every time I feel close to him!

      • July 27, 2016

      I know! There’s something that moves you that you cannot explain and suddenly you’re teary eyed. Thank you for dropping by.

  2. Very beautiful and intricate. Being in the Philippines, we also have a lot of cathedrals that look much like this. But this one I wanna see in person because it’s very iconic!

  3. Reply

    I feel like it’s time to visit Paris again! I’ve been there once, but that’s already 13 years ago. Now I feel old hahaha. Paris is really beautiful. I enjoyed being there even while I was only 16. I loved the Cathédrale Notre Dame. But I also enjoyed going to the Louvre and seeing the Mona Lisa. Loved to read your article, made me feel like I was in Paris again :).

  4. Reply

    I haven’t tried travelling solo for the reasons that I’m pretty scared to be alone because I know no matter what… I’ll get lost. I have bad sense of direction. Lol. Paris is one of the countries I’d want to visit, the structures, fashion and many others. I’ve heard though that there are a lot of pickpockets so better be careful. Btw, the cathedral is mesmerizing.

    There’s More to Mica //

  5. Reply

    Beautifully written account of your time, when you were lost, then found your way to the cathedral. While most tourists would be mindful of others, you were lost in your thoughts. You saw the stunning architecture, and somehow, someway, made a spiritual connection. It is you and God. 🙂

      • July 27, 2016

      Thank you Robert. I always feel connected with Him in my travels. I don’t know what it is, but it feels magical and a blessing that I reached this far in my travels with His blessing. Thank you for dropping by. I feel honored that you read my article and find it beautiful.

  6. Reply

    My first reaction on the photo was really Oh My God! They have such wonderful and intricate carvings on that structure! I remember reading a book about Notre Dame Cathedral. I don’t know if it was one of Dan Brown’s books or other.

  7. Reply

    It looks very impressive. I have not been to Paris yet but it is on my list. I will definitely visit Notre Dame, especially that I know that is situated in such a beautiful neighborhood, with a lot of personality.

  8. Reply

    This is so beautiful! In our country we have lots of beautiful and historic Cathedral as well. Hope that I can visit this place to give thanks to Almighty 🙂

  9. Pingback: Learnings from a Parisian Classroom or How I Got Me Into Writing - Just Travelling Solo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *