The Historic Heart of Paris Apr 09, 2018

Let’s begin where Paris did, on the Ile de la Cité. Your guide will lead a walking tour of the city’s early history, including visits to a pair of the world’s most significant medieval Gothic churches: the legendary Notre-Dame Cathedral and the exquisite Sainte-Chapelle. Then we’ll take a stroll through the bohemian Latin Quarter, with free time for lunch on your own. We’ll end our afternoon at the Cluny National Museum of the Middle Ages, where, after an introduction, you’ll be free to visit the sublime Lady and the Unicorn tapestry and have a rare, up-close look at the artistry of original stained-glass windows from Sainte-Chapelle. Walking: moderate.


Just like my personal and business life, the best plans need immediately changing as soon as they are implemented. Since I had no expectations of what was going to happen, I really had no concerns about the days’ agenda. We did a fast subway trip and then a walking tour of Ile de la Cité.

Even though the tour was narrated and things were being pointed out, I did not even realize that that was part of the days’ agenda. Beautiful things are being pointed out here and we, like a bunch of ducklings, just walked along the beautiful streets of Paris. We ended up at Sainte-Chapelle cathedral, on the island Ile de la Cité. It was gray, cloudy skies on that day and after a quick check-in for the group and a walk through security, since we were next to the parliament seat of France, we walked in to the courtyard next to Sainte-Chappelle.

I stopped in the doorway and gasped as I viewed the majestic sanctuary of Sainte-Chapelle. This view did take my breath away these pictures cannot show the true majestic views of this place.

Stunning stained glass. Arranged across 15 windows, each 15 meters high, the stained glass panes depict 1,113 scenes from the Old and New Testaments recounting the history of the world. Debra, a few years back, had a hobby with stained-glass and truly enjoyed seeing the detail in these window panels. We were just shocked at this phenomenal 13th century stained-glass that depicted The Bible from the beginning to end. If you were to make a movie of The Bible, a story board is used to make screen shoots.  These panels could be used like a story board of The Bible.  We were told that this was done to teach The Bible to those who could not read.

After Sainte-Chapelle cathedral we walked to Notre-Dame Cathedral, as we continued our tour of Ile de la Cité. The streets of Paris are everything that one could imagine, as we went through little alley ways then to behold the Cathedral of Notre-Dame.

One of the things that took me surprise again was hearing the bells of Notre-Dame. I was like, “Hey, you can make a movie of this such as, “Phantom of the Opera” or “The Hunch Back of Notre-Dame”.  Honestly, I did not realize this till I saw the Cathedral.  Showing my ignorance hear but I did have an, “ah ha moment” and figured it all out.  I also learned during my epiphany that Notre-Dame means “Our Lady of Paris“.  Like a good raised Catholic boy, I had to light a candle for my Mother, and said a quiet prayer of thanks for all that she has done for me and my siblings.

To finish the day, we were scheduled to visit the Cluny National Museum of the Middle Ages, where, after an introduction, you’ll be free to visit the sublime Lady and the Unicorn tapestry; however, the museum was closed due to renovations, so instead the Pantheon was scheduled instead.

At this time jet lag was starting to overcome our excitement. Once at the Pantheon, we failed to take in the significance of this national treasure. The Pantheon now functions as a secular mausoleum containing the remains of distinguished French citizens. With humility, I admit that I knew nothing of this national monument for citizens that are entombed there.  Traveling opened my eyes to this history and for that I am thankful. After a faster than deserved walk through, we gave in and headed back to our hotel to rest and recover for the next days’ events.