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Cathedral Light (& thoughts on religion)

I’ve had the chance to visit lots of Gothic cathedrals in Europe while I lived in France, and one thing that always fascinated me was the light inside of them. It’s elusive and fleeting, but always beautiful because of its rarity, so I thought it was time I dedicate an entire blog post to it.

But before we get into that, I thought this would be a somewhat appropriate time to talk about my views on religion. I haven’t publicly spoken about it before – as far as I can remember – and I don’t often discuss it in-person. But today, I’m putting it all out there! If religious discussion doesn’t interest you, however, just start reading at the line break further down.

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The Paris Memoirs: Magical Moments

The memories that remain with you the longest aren’t the landmarks you saw or the things you bought – they’re the experiences you have with people and the feelings you get. I could go on for hours about all the amazing meals, nights out, nights in, and inside jokes I had during my five months in Paris, but no amount of storytelling skill would convey the reality of each personal experience.

So instead, in order to make this way more accessible, I’ve decided to share my top four memories of Paris, that is, the images I get in my head when I think of this city. These were the magical moments.

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Cathedral Light

Since I simply can’t keep my blog posts caught up with my crazy schedule, I’ve decided to organize my posts by place or theme!

Today I want to share with you the beauty of light in Gothic cathedrals. The majority of these pictures are from Sainte Chapelle, but a few are from Notre Dame. If you happen to visit a Gothic cathedral at the correct time of day, when the sun is low enough in the sky to create golden light with long shadows, you’re in for a treat. I tried my best to capture the glow of it, but nothing substitutes actually being there.

The past two weeks I was lucky enough to have two visitors: My mom and my grandma! I showed them around the city, and pretty much checked everything off their Paris To-See lists. I felt like a pretty adept mock-tour-guide!

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Inside Notre Dame

Daniela and I finally had a free day this Saturday, so one of the things we decided to do was explore the two islands of the Seine. We started by seeing the interior of Notre Dame.

I love seeing inside Gothic Cathedrals – they’re so full of mystery and beautiful light. I love the pointed shapes and heavy stone. Being inside a place like this makes me feel safe and calm. Although, it’s really hard to keep hoards of tourists silent inside such a large space that is prone to extreme echoing. The church has a track they play every hour or so that says “sshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh – silence please.”

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Notre Dame

I’m back with some more pictures!

This was my second excursion of the semester. This trip particularly will remain in my mind because it was the first moment of authentic enjoyment I felt in Paris after the dismal loneliness of the first few days. It was the first time I felt myself relax and thoroughly enjoy being in Paris. I didn’t think I’d enjoy seeing Notre Dame as much as I did, but it was beautiful! I was able to leisurely stroll through the streets taking pictures. The entirety of Ile-de-la-Cité had such a charming ambiance. One of these days I’m gonna go back and see St. Chapelle and wait in line to go inside Notre Dame.

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