By the time I visited Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris, I was already exhausted yet contented walking alone around the city of Paris. The number of people waiting in line to see the inside of the church and to climb the cathedral two towers was overwhelming despite the occasional light rain and cold weather.
I got so used to the idea of waiting for an hour to go inside any of the city famous museums while my Paris Museum Pass has given me an advantage of bypassing the regular queue on most instances, however it was no use for climbing the towers of Notre Dame, where everyone was expected to patiently wait given that the church towers has no other access but a one way long spiral staircase.
Not for the claustrophobic, taking the narrow staircase of 387 steps was all worth it, as it allows visitors to see up close the church bell tower and the famous, mystical gargoyles and chimeras.
I was imagining Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame novel while I took each dizzying steps on what seems to be a never ending spiral steps, imagining how Quasimodo resided on this very church, faithfully and masterfully climbed each steps as he made his way to the top and perform his duty as a bell ringer.
Taking different animal forms, sometimes of half man and half beast, with wide eyes open, pointed ears and menacing grins, the gargoyles are strange, mystical sculptures place at the end of the roof gutters to drain rainwater and protect the walls from damage.
Though more than its main function, the Gargoyles of Notre Dame is synonymous to the Gothic architecture style and these stone sculptures has provided a different aura to the city of Paris, the one full of mystery and fright.
Apart from the gargoyles, there are more to admire about Notre Dame Church.