Friday, December 28, 2012
When I was a nineteen year old backpacker I stayed in a hostel for Asian and African students in Paris -- it's a long story, ask me sometime! One evening I walked to Notre Dame Cathedral with a thoroughly disagreeable Brit -- it's a long story, ask me sometime!-- where we took in a organ recital.
I have been back to the cathedral a couple of times, including about thirty years after my first visit as I was on my way back to Canada from the Taize Christian community. I stayed in a truly grotty little hotel called the Esmeralda, just across the Seine River from the magnificent church. The only charming aspect of this abode was the name. You may remember that Esmeralda was the beauty to the Hunchback's beast in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
The cathedral is awe-inspiring, one of the greatest examples of Gothic architecture, although like many cathedrals it's construction began long before the true flowering of that style.
PARIS -- Dignitaries, tourists and Parisians gathered in the thousands Wednesday for a ceremony and Mass marking the beginning of year-long commemoration of Notre Dame Cathedral's 850th anniversary.
The 12th-century Gothic cathedral looming over the heart of the French capital will get a set of new bells in February, one of the highlights of a year's worth of planned events including seminars, concerts of sacred music and the issuance of commemorative stamps.
Archbishop Andre Vingt-Trois and Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe are among the civil and religious dignitaries taking part in Wednesday evening events marking the beginning of the cathedral's construction in 1163.
Notre Dame's new bells will go on display in February and are scheduled to be rung for the first time on March 23, 2013.
Have you been to Notre Dame? Have you experienced other cathedrals? Awe-inspiring, or leave you cold?