📍 🇫🇷 Notre Dame de Paris, from late afternoon to dusk
“A symphony of stones, the prodigious product of all the forces of an era, whose sheer mass fills with dread those who contemplate it..." wrote French novelist Victor Hugo in Notre Dame (1832).
Presently towering at a height in the Parisian landscape that no skyscraper can (yet), Notre Dame stands tall. But Notre Dame is now surrounded by non-believers (mostly) who do not fear Hell when they enter. But if it (“she”, Parisians say, charmingly) does not scare anyone anymore, it is also true that the disastrous April 2019 fire brought all Parisians around her.
That is because all French share a sense of respect for its persistence : for the strength of its architectural structure under stress; for features and decorations that remain “trendy”, permeating modern culture, after more than eight centuries of existence...
Notre Dame is a tall edifice, yes, but with balance, and symmetry. It is without the massive disjointed spires you see elsewhere. Some sculptures and pinnacles akin to other buildings are here as well, but restrained. Look around Notre Dame and notice how the entire neighborhood seems to be designed around its style.
French elegance standardized there for centuries.
____ Sources ____
>> Victor Hugo, “Notre Dame de Paris”, 1831