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Notre Dame is one of my favorite places of Paris. When I lived there years ago I used to go inside regularly and sit down to enjoy the cool darkness and the deeply nourishing atmosphere and quiet. In recent visits to Paris, I still enter beautiful Notre Dame at least once, to go listen to the soprano singing vespers and just to be there. It has less to do with religion for me, and much more to do with the amazing beauty of this structure, and the energy one can feel.
The special energy of this sacred space has grown over the centuries as people of all faiths and walks of life have gone inside to connect with something ineffable but tangible, and greater than themselves.
And if you have a chance to visit at around 5:30 or 6:00 PM sit down and wait for the soprano to come sing solo accompanied by the organ, and let the sound wash through you. It is exquisitely beautiful. Although I don't understand the Latin words, the feeling is so very very sincere and moving. Wondrous!
Little secret for those of you who love to find the golden treasures from the angels: look for the little chapel of La Vierge de Lourdes. It's inside along the north wall, near the entrance. Stay there a long while very quietly and watch the candles and the statue, and see what happens. Millions have prayed there. It is a mindspace of gossamer energy that soaks your soul in radiance. What a gift that place can be if one is willing to receive. I left the cathedral with eyes of Wonder.
[Tout simplement dit, j'adore Notre Dame. Un de mes lieux preferes a Paris, j'y retourne chaque fois que j'ai l'occasion de visiter Paris. Et la derniere fois que j'y etais, je me suis trouvee devant la chapelle de la Vierge de Lourdes, tout tranquilement pendant longtemps. Le passe' - le present - et le future s'effondraient ensemble .... le temps passait et le temps ne passait pas. Dificile de m'arracher de cette orbe d'energie bienfaisante. Quand je suis sortie de la Cathdrale, je me suis sentie changee. Dans notre age de materialism regie par la Raison, il est heureusement toujours possible d'etre touche' par les Anges. Ils sont tres tres pres. On doit simplement laisse' la porte ouverte.]
Information about Notre Dame here: fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cath%c3%a9drale_Notre-Dame_de_Paris
Here is a link to a wonderful series of old maps of the historic
center of Paris, showing the development around the Ile de la Cite and
Ile St. Louis from the 1400's to the 1800's.