Walks and Thoughts

of Michael Simes

An old Man's Tale:

Shelf

Brighouse

West Vale

Clay House

Ripponden

Cragg Vale

Todmorden

Heptonstall

Pecket Well

Luddenden Dean

Jerusalem Farm

Catherine Slack

Stone Chair

It's Just Like Home:

Hong Kong

Auckland

Rotarua

Napier

Picton

Marlborough Sounds

Kaikoura

Milford Sound

Sydney

Manly

Blue Mountains

Northern Beaches

Thailand

A City Of Revolution:

Paris

Versailles

Sacré-Cœur

Notre Dame

A Weekend Holiday to Paris, Sacré Cœur and Versailles


Travelling Round Paris Sightseeing and Exploring


Notre Dame

A City Of Revolution

Approaching Notre Dame
We have a free period until we depart at 3pm. Our southern sister group leave at 11.00am. We have dialects from Liverpool, Newcastle, Huddersfield and Leeds.

We catch the number 72 for the thirty minute journey to the Hotel De Ville for €1.30 – the Town Hall with the rallying cry of the revolutionary fraternity, equality and liberty built into its structure.

Along the banks of the Seine you recognise the Eiffel Tower, Musee D’Orsay and Place de la Concorde where Madame Guillotine was sited. The end of the line for the aristocratic tumbrel. You can have your own municipal tour bus passing by Tuileries Gardens and Louvre, once France’s largest royal palace. The Louvre is the world’s most visited museum housing 350,000 priceless objects. You can wonder at the works of Picasso and Rodin. See the enigmatic Mona Lisa, Leonardo’s favourite painting clutched constantly to his side.

Notre Dame from the sideWalking over the bridge to the Ile de la Cite seeking our lady, the geographical centre of Paris. Externally Notre-Dame has elaborate carvings of iconic figures decorating the walls as an ecclesiastical masterpiece. A gothic cathedral founded at the seat of higher education before creation of Sorbonne.

Long queues to enter the Tower, the recreation area for the hunchbacked bell ringer, Quasimodo, and his love interest the beautiful gypsy, Esmeralda. Bound together in tragic unrequited love in the novel by Victor Hugo. He had saved and restored Notre-Dame after it had been sold to a scrap dealer.

The first stone laid in 1163 and toiled for over 170 years before completion. It contains France’s largest organ. Tourist climb 387 steps to the twin towers for vista over Paris. Here the 19 year old Joan of Arc resisted the English invasion. She was burnt at the stake for heresy and posthumously declared innocent. Napoleon was crowned as Emperor in 1804. De Galles celebratory Mass held here to mark the heroic French resistance and liberation of Paris in 1944.

Notre Dame from the SeineInside there’s a noisy murmur in the darkened towers. Visitors ignore instructions not to flash. Rose windows produce pulsating rainbow colours. It’s god’s house disturbed by frenetic activity and mundane conversations. There ought to be an inhibition ceremony, some sort of contract for respectful dignity. Notre-Dame experienced as a sad ascension into material life. Flashing digital’s act as defence against immersion. There’s a gloom spread by spectators. You’d be better going to Mass at 8.00am and enter into the spirit of things.

On this our last day lunched at Notre Dame sweeping away pigeons and accede to requests for photographs with our lady in the background. Lunch-time at Notre-Dame and back home in bed by midnight. Eurostar a smooth operation perfected by carrying 100 million passengers.

Our Geordie friend’s journey home eager to share their conviction that Paris by Eurostar “has been the best short holiday we’ve ever had”. You get a dip, a taste and a flavour over the weekend. You will need to keep returning to digest..