We decided to spend our last full day in Paris staying “local.” Touring Notre Dame, just a 10-minute walk away, was on top of our list. It was a cold windy morning, and the line for the tour was an hour or more long when we got there. Since the weather was grey and we would likely not see great views from the tower, we opted to just visit inside the cathedral instead—when we were in Paris in 2004, there was scaffolding everywhere so we did not get to see the inside very well. This was our chance.
It was a good decision. The crowds were thin as we were early, and we got to walk around and marvel at the beauty of this architectural marvel built between the 12th and 14th centuries. Unfortunately, it’s very dimly lt and the sun was not shining in, so taking pictures was a challenge. I did manage to capture one picture to share (with the help of photo enhancing software:
Then we set off to find Sainte Chapelle, which we had read about and for which we had a ticket on our Paris Pass—it was only a short walk from Notre Dame. On the way, I peeked into a corridor and saw what looked like an amazing structure. Turned out it was a public medical facility and is dedicated to personnel that lost their lives during World War I—and open to the public to view. What opened up in front of us was amazing:
Sainte-Chappelle was built the the 13th century by Louis IX to house the relices of the Passion of Christ. It consists of two chapels, one on top of the other. The lower chapel was the place of worshp for the palace staff and is now the visitors center. The upper chapel breathtaking, consisting of 15 floor-to- ceiling stained glass windows depicting stories of the bible. In addition to that, there are statues of the 12 apostles.
On the way back to our little apartment on Ile St Louis, we caught one more glimpse of the magnificence of Notre Dame, this time in the early evening light:
From there we went “home,” ate “leftovers”–if you can call smoked salmon, cheese, bread, grapes, with sparkling rose leftovers–finished packing, and prepared for the next phase of our European adventure: five days in Brittany.