May 9, 2015

Notre Dame

No one could ever deny that I was an odd child. I'm still a little weird, so this shouldn't come as any surprise. Though I loved Disney Princesses as much as the next little girl, one of my all time favorite Disney movies was always The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I was fully obsessed with it and the saucy Esmerelda. I would watch this twisted film frequently, curled beneath my Esmerelda blanket, obviously. 

Now, for those of you who haven't watched this movie in a few years, or maybe a decade, I really think now is the time. From the plot line to the soundtrack, I do not use the adjective "twisted" lightly. There are often underlying themes in Disney films to entertain adults, but once you get to an age where you can fully comprehend the plot of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, you realize that the adult content wasn't hidden in the least. On the lightest end, you have a ridiculed misshapen orphan, and on the darkest, an angry Judge Claude Frollo lusting after the "gypsy girl, the witch who set this flame". Then there's the delightful middle ground of persecution of the Gypsies in Paris. It's really a splendid movie. 

If you can't appreciate the film for its outrageous subject matter, cleverly targeted for children, then you must at least give Disney kudos points for the phenomenal illustration. When we started our second day in Paris with the agenda to go see Notre Dame, I didn't believe it would actually bear such a resemblance in detail to the animated version. Bravo Disney, bravo: not only did your film spur my initial intrigue into the grand gothic cathedral, but it guaranteed that I could hum haunting melodies all the way through the great halls, but not before Brooke, Lindsey, and I started our day with pastries and cafĂ© au lait, like proper Parisians. 

Strolling along the Seine, Brooke and Lindsey listened to me prattle excitedly about our destination, but that's what they get for bringing an architecture AND a Disney nerd to Notre Dame. 

One of the great things about Notre Dame is it is equally striking from afar, as it is up close. 

Oh, oops, how did this get here? 

At this point if you're uninterested in spectacular architecture and feats of detail, this post may not be for you. 

We unfortunately did not make it to the top of the cathedra, but still managed to check out some gargoyles, which are by far the best attribute of French Gothic architecture. Not only are they practical, but they're creepy as all get out and the creepiest things, are always the most interesting.  

This goofy looking guy in the middle's purpose is to route water off the roof to avoid damage. Considering it was built in the 1300's and is still as magnificent as it is today, I would say this job has been done well. 

As we waited (im)patiently in line to enter the cathedral, the many, many detailed saints looked down upon us. 

Can you imagine the patience and dedication it must have taken to sculpt each figurine on this resplendent facade? I barely have the patience to just sit on the couch and edit pictures (which is why I'll never ever finish blogging about Europe). 

The forbearance to slowly walk around the grand hall and appreciate every inch of the splendid, chilly space, was luckily something we did possess. 

I mentioned previously that Paris was a hoot for us; for some reason we could just not escape absurd occurrences, and I believe my favorite from visiting Notre Dame, was hearing about the Transformers.  

"Transformers?", you ask. The perplexed look on your face probably mirrors Brooke, Lindsey, and I's as we listened to some yahoo giving a tour to some poor bamboozled tourists, during which he explained the apostles depicted in the stained glass as Transformers. 

"Y'all have seen Transformers right? Well the apostles are just kind of like that. You see, Mark transforms into a Lion, and then Jesus, he's one too: He transforms into a lamb!" 

I kid you not, this man said this, and I'm pretty sure he was being paid. Goddamn, I should just become a tour guide if he's my competition. 

We giggled our way out of the cathedral, completely confounded by the ridiculous man we observed within, and emerged into a brightly lit, beautiful Paris day.  

The sun livened up the afternoon and the building, somehow making it even more impressive. 

I can only imagine enjoying a beautiful day like that right now, sitting along the Seine, basking in the afternoon sun, beneath one of the world's most fantastical pieces of architecture. *sigh* 

Yours, Kenna 

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