Free hugs from Paris (5)

Paris Travel Blog

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Twin-tower Notre Dame Cathedral

(cont'd...) This is part five of my Paris blog and I may finally end it here, or not. With all the stunning places and things to witness in Paris - as a tourist, and one who is inclined to writing - I can still weave more words to describe our trip experience we had of the city including its beautiful people.

After a quick sidetrip to  Montmartre area to see Sacred Heart Basilica on its superbly windy and highly-elevated location, and the very historic Moulin Rouge cabaret building located in once was the red-light district area of Paris, our next stop was Notre Dame Cathedral.

Our visit to this great cathedral was only planned to be brief as possible, and it proved to be so since there was an activity going on at that time inside the cathedral that prevented us from peeking the interior of the cathedral.

Facade of the cathedral
 Unlike Il Duomo in Milan, Saint Mark in Venice, and Sacre Coure Basilica du Paris where we both witnessed their magnificent interiors, this time we had to contend taking picture of its west exterior facade with its twin towers standing side by side. I wish I took time circling the cathedral because at the south side is where I would see more of its unique Gothic-type architectural details like the flying buttress design of its structure, which I've seen several times in History channel. Aesthetically speaking, this may not be as majestic as other cathedrals we've already seen in Europe, but suffice to say, it also has its place in history being the official seat of Archbishop of Paris in the past where church had massive influence in politics, decision-making, and power-playing.
The crowd

The plaza in front of the cathedral was teeming with people. Among the crowd, I remember was a group of young teenage kids with them a cardboard with the words "free hug" written on it. One of them, a young teenage girl - although a bit flush-faced yet seemingly unpretentious, still managed to approach us. Without saying a word and with only a smile on her face, she hugged me and the wife. You just got to admire these kids and their adorable welcoming gesture. We've been to several cities elsewhere, but that was the first time we experienced such a genuine gesture from a city I was least expecting it, and indeed as being one of several pleasant experience we brought back home. This is why, if one can remember from my earlier blog writings how I had to take back my deep-seated impression of French people as being too aristocratic; on the contrary, they are one of the most courteous.

My share of free hug
 

Within the vicinity, I also saw a makeshift ice rink where many kids were playing obliviously amidst their busy surrounding. The "winter" scene in Paris that afternoon reminded me of how - in contrast, a Canadian winter can sometimes be unforgiving. The kids' laughter and joyous shouting that filled the wintery air almost overpowered the occasional voice over at PA speaker coming from a  nearby merry-go-round operator.  To be continued...

emmllerg says:
Enjoy your next vacation to Paris
Posted on: Jun 02, 2013
oriel says:
I've always found Parisians to be reserved - formal almost - but always willing to help if asked. I remember asking a gendarme for directions to the musee d'orsay. as he bent over my map (which was in English) his shouldered machine gun pointed right into my face. He apologized for not being able to help. he was from another part of France. Hugs sound a bit unusual - though welcome - but reserved friendliness is normal
Posted on: Dec 08, 2008
mga_galang_paa says:
ha ha! I bet she is!
Posted on: Nov 19, 2008
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Twin-tower Notre Dame Cathedral
Twin-tower Notre Dame Cathedral
Facade of the cathedral
Facade of the cathedral
The crowd
The crowd
My share of free hug
My share of free hug
free hugs everywhere
free hugs everywhere
The colourful carousel nearby
The colourful carousel nearby
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photo by: Sweetski