Rainy Notre Dame

by Jessica on March 10, 2009

We had just finished lunch at the Louvre and we were finally starting to feel our eyes relax from the hours of looking at art. We stepped out into the dreary day to walk towards Notre Dame Cathedral. On the map it seemed to be a short walk from the Louvre, but we neglected to consider the scale of the map. I guess it was not more than a mile to walk, but with the drizzling rain, it seemed much longer. The boys were real troopers. Aidan even fell asleep in the stroller with the rain pelting him in the face. Still, we had to stop several times and huddle under an awning to muster up more resolve to walk on. At last, we reached the Cathedral, much like pilgrims at the end of a harrowing trek.

The Rose Window of Notre Dame

As it was Sunday, there was a Mass going on in the Cathedral with a section marked off along the perimeter for visitors. It was almost possible to ignore the passing tourists, and become lost in the holy atmosphere of the stained glass and strains of majestic organ music. We sat a long while soaking up the moment, taking full advantage of the quiet that accompanied Aidan’s nap. Ryan was thrilled to have some time to sit and sketch, and then decided to explore more outside.


We passed up the line to climb into the tower to view the gargoyles, but instead walked around the back to see the flying buttresses. It was here that we got our first pay toilet experience, a first for me and the boys. The kids were actually allowed to use the restroom without paying, but the adults were required to pay and pass through a turnstyle.

Flying Buttresses

Underneath the flying buttresses, we found a charming little playground, and fortunately the rain had stopped and the boys were able to play happily. Just a short walk down the street, we found a patisserie where the boys stared wide eyed and the rows of confections. We each chose a selection of sweets, and took them back to the park to enjoy.

Spinning wildly next to Notre Dame

While I was eating my chocolate éclair, and the boys were off happily playing, I had a moment to think. I have always been a traveler, even before my traveling began. In college, I studied art and architecture and dreamed of visiting the places I read about in textbooks. As a mom, I have showed the same pictures to my kids and taught them the importance of each landmark and great work of art. But it was all just book knowledge, and I yearned to feel these places in my soul. The boys playing happily. Sharing the sights of Paris with the people I love most. The chocolate. All these things together nourished my soul in a moment that can only be described as perfect. And to complete that moment, I put my hand on my stomach to feel a strong baby kick inside me, and I thought about the things that I would be able to show to him as he grows. Perfect.

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