The first leg of my Parisian tour was a visit to the Eiffel Tower. Sauntering towards the tower from the pont de la seine, I gazed at the magnificent steel edifice which is almost a hundred years old. Designed by French engineer Gustave Eiffel, Eiffel tower kisses the horizon. People who throng this place are glued to the tower and click pictures of the architectural marvel. We can reach the tower top and the panoramic view from there is breathtaking.
Since it is customary to remember any place by buying souvenirs and postcards and keychains, we were not exempted from buying them. I saw tourists grabbing souvenirs to gift to their friends and relatives. We stood at pont de la seine and looked at the tower and the river.
A beautiful garden one side of the tower is a lover’s paradise. Well-manicured lawns and emerald green foliage enhance the beauty of the place.
We left the place reluctantly and proceeded to our next stop - Notre Dame cathedral. Notre Dame (Our Lady) stands majestically with its Gothic architecture and the Seine flows quietly by its side as if to seek the blessings of Virgin Mary.
On this hallowed spot, there was a temple of Jupiter, a basilica, and a Romanesque church.
The idea of building a big church was conceived by Maurice de Sully, bishop of Paris. The construction work started in 1163 and it took 180 years for completion. The enticing statue of Mother Mary with Infant Jesus in her arms is mesmeric.
Notre Dame cathedral had an eventful history over the centuries. The Crusaders prayed here before leaving for the war front. Polyphonic music developed in this sacred place. Mary Stuart became the Queen of France after her marriage to Francois-2. It was here that Napoleon crowned himself emperor and his wife Josephine, empress.
Since we were at Notre Dame late evening we had the fortune of praying in the historic hall and witnessing the mass. The façade of the cathedral is stunning. I stood there pondering about Napoleon and other queens and kings as I sailed into the pages of history.
(To be contd)