Friday, May 27, 2011

Day 1 and 2 - Trocadero, (A Glimpse of) The Eiffel Tower, and Notre Dame

Day 1 - Trocadero 

The first day seems like a blur, now. After taking the metro to Trocadero and stumbling in front of the Eiffel tower, my mind is a little muddled. The museum, however, was amazing. It felt like such a privilege to view these structures and statues as close as I could. It would have been near impossible to see the figures of Notre Dame up close, and with that, I now understand the exceptional scale of the figures. I would have never of imagined that they would be so much larger than life. 

Not to mention the Chartreuse de Champmol, too. Look at Moses' lil' horns! Had this piece not been cast, I would have most likely never seen it. I was able to walk the full circle, observing every figure -- their poses, their expressions, the dialogue between all of them. The natural light cascaded down on them, and really accentuated the deep folds and texture on each figure... beautiful. I doubt the lighting scheme was the same at the original location, but from a observational standpoint, the full, natural lighting allowed me to become aware of just how immensely detailed these figures are. 

Day 2 - Notre Dame  

How does one even begin to describe the sheer majesty of this piece? Historically, I am a person of little faith (and I in no way bash those who wholeheartedly believe the opposite) – I never truly embraced the teachings of Catholicism, or found pleasure in visiting churches. My main reason to see this architectural wonder was the historic value that it held (okay, and I might have been curious just how accurate the Disney version was...wanna fight about it?), but I never expected it to resonate as much as it did.

Once stepping through the doors, the space was one of solitude. It may not have been dead silent, but a hush had enveloped most of the crowd. This combined with the (sadly) pre-recorded audio, dim lighting from the interior, the grandiose stained glass, and sheer immensity of the structure pulled an immediate response from almost all my senses. At that point, I realized just how human I was. This space may be occupied by humanity, but the structure itself was built for God.  

I felt a wave of goosebumps travel from the tip of my head, down to the very end of my toes. I've only ever experienced that once before while watching Buddhist monks chant at a shrine in Kyoto. Is this what true spirituality feels like? I never felt this in any other religious structure, nor have I witnessed it when trying to find my spirituality.

Perhaps this was the response that Notre Dame wanted from its audience – that visceral response that causes them to reflect on their faith and their place as human. Compared to the outside of the structure, the interior -- though still immensely detailed -- does not have the amount of decoration that the facade holds. One does not need the grandiose, however, if they are trying to become closer to God. The magnificently high ceilings give the feelings that you're reaching towards Him, as if his presence is found in your prayer. 

As I said before, I'm not necessarily the religious type, but this structure pulled a response from me (both physically and emotionally) that I never thought I could have. 

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