Happy Birthday Notre Dame!

It’s hard to believe that last Sunday I was in Paris, but I was. A week later I am back in Houston, with a two night trip to St. Louis in the interim.  But this post is about last Sunday in Paris.

You may recall that we tried to see the Edward Hopper exhibit at the Grand Palais, but gave up after waiting in line for over an hour and making only the slightest progress toward the entrance.  The exhibit ended at the end of the day on Sunday, and during its final three days the exhibit was open around the clock.  Crazy, right?  So Sunday morning we got up at the outrageously dark  hour of 6:30 and walked up the street to the Grand Palais.  As we walked up deserted Franklin Roosevelt, we had grandiose visions of being alone with the Hoppers, a private tour of just us two crazies there at 6:45.  When the Grand Palais appeared out of the darkness, we were shocked to see moving figures in the vicinity, and when we got close to the lighted entrance, we were confronted with a line of crazy people as long as the one we had abandoned on the previous weekend.  We quickly decided that Hopper clearly wasn’t in our future, and continued walking toward Notre Dame.


And on your left, the Petit Palais, which is completely deserted at this hour, as it should be.


7:20 at the Musee D’Orsay, and all is well.



All the sellers of books, magazines, and art are still sleeping.

All the sellers of books, magazines, and art are still sleeping.

Hark!  Is that Notre Dame I see by the dawn's early light?

Hark! Is that Notre Dame I see by the dawn’s early light?



Clearly, we have arrived at Notre Dame, a mere 45 minutes after abandoning the Hopper idea.  Why are we at Notre Dame shortly before 8:00 in the morning?  Because, my dear friends, Notre Dame had just received some brand new bells, and they were on display in the nave of the church.  I really wanted to see them, and I was happy that we arrived just as the doors were opening.

The nine newly cast bells were commissioned as part of the celebration of the cathedral’s 850 year anniversary, and (it is hoped) will make a more melodious sound than the old bells, which were dreadfully off-pitch.  The new  bells will be on display in the church for three weeks, and will be heard for the first time on March 23, the day before Palm Sunday.

Lucky for us, fans of the new bells were not awake as early as the Hopper fans, and we had them virtually to ourselves.  They were stunningly beautiful, each with unique markings, and each named after a saint or a famous Catholic.



IMG_2985 IMG_2989









When we finally tore ourselves away from the gorgeous bells, the sky was even more dramatic than when we had entered.



A rosy hue on the buildings facing the other direction

A rosy hue on the buildings facing the other direction

I was so glad that our early morning had not been a total wash-out.  I may never see the Hopper exhibit, but I will carry the sight of those magnificent bells with me forever.


Filed under Grand Palais, Notre Dame, Paris, Uncategorized

8 responses to “Happy Birthday Notre Dame!

  1. Wonderful post, while I will miss seeing the bells as close up as you managed, I am sure I will get to hear them when we go to Paris in July. Great pictures of the deserted streets and morning sky, thanks and keep them coming when you get back.

  2. Once again, your pictures are amazing. But I am starting to think ND can’t take a bad picture. It is fun to see it in different kinds of light. I have pictures of the front in the morning and the back in the afternoon, and it looks quite different.

  3. How amazing… Personally I think you got the best deal. There will surely be more Hopper exhibitions, but once the bells are installed you would never get the opportunity to see them again…….AND you have let ME know about them so I can go to see them next week..

    Better on two fronts. as I wouldn’t be able to see the Hopper anyway. LOL!

    Enjoy St Louis. ( not that I know anything about St Louis, so look forward to visiting it through you!)

    Love Denise

  4. Mary Laurie

    beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing…wish I could have seen those!

  5. Just beautiful…I agree you got the better deal between the incredible bells and gorgeous sunrise! A wow moment!

  6. Linda Kirkwood

    Thank you for the beautiful pictures. I am visiting in March. Are there any wineries in the Bordeaux region you recommend? We are very excited about our trip. Thanks for any advice you can give to a fellow Texan!

  7. Tracy Thornton

    Wow. Those bells do leave a lasting impression. Love how you can see the hand-work on them. Hope we get to hear them when we come June 6th.

Hollah back y'all!

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