I was 14 when I saw Notre Dame. A visit to Paris at the end of a summer trip to Strasbourg through I a local historical society- I think at the time it was a historical society in Valley Forge but it has been so many years.
On this trip it was teenagers with chaperones and while in Strasbourg we lived with families. That is how I made my life long friend, Marie Claude.
When in Paris, we stayed in an old but respectable hotel near Gare De L’Ouest and my friend blew the fuses when she plugged in a hair dryer. They were definitely not luxury accommodations but to a bunch of kids it was cool!
Now here is a personal fact you wouldn’t expect from me I think: I may be well read, but I am not necessarily well traveled. I have not been to Europe since I was a teenager. Life has just not happened that way.
I do remember being in Paris and being overwhelmed because it was so big and busy. I remember doing things like stopping in a grocery for a baguette and cheese and fruit with my friend Lizzie and seeing Notre Dame and part of Versailles.
I do have a bucket list of places I would like to see now that I’m older, but I hadn’t put Paris on it. Maybe I should now. A great deal of my bucket list surrounds the United Kingdom. I want to visit all the gardens I’ve read about and been inspired by over the years, and I want to go to wild places like the Shetland Isles, visit the Highlands of Scotland, see Haverfordwest and parts of Wales, and visit Ireland.
Notre Dame is indeed a structure and a place which has figured prominently in a sense over the lives of so many people. The centuries of history and what Notre Dame has seen and survived, art history classes, the very symbol of it if you are Catholic.
Notre Dame is just iconic.
Yesterday to most in the US was just another tax day. Well, maybe not just another tax day because thanks to our current president’s great “tax incentives, tax plans” it was kind of chaotic. And miserable. But that’s not for this post.
I remember I was standing in my kitchen and I had asked Alexa what the news was. I literally dropped a glass in the sink when I heard Notre Dame de Paris was burning.
When I first turned on the TV all the US channels of major networks had game shows and the equivalent on air. So I turned to the BBC channel for news and pretty much remained riveted there for hours.
Notre Dame has survived centuries of war. Only on April 15, 2019 it has nearly burned to the ground. The news this morning is good, and already money is being raised for her restoration and rebuilding. But I can’t help but wonder all that has been lost while I marvel at the miracle of what was saved.
Here we are in one of the holiest weeks of the year. Are we supposed to learn the lesson that with endings there are new beginnings once again? I don’t know. But I have photos taken by my sister and my friends Jane and John to share with all of you. Enjoy the majesty that is Notre Dame de Paris and say a prayer for her restoration.