Saturday, January 2, 2016

Joyeux Noël

We walked over to Notre Dame early, expecting a line for the service, but we could go right in and stand in the back while the other service ended.  It was a good thing because it was cold outside!

There was very little extra decoration other than these tapestry hangings that we assumed were to represent the different seasons.  I was kind of hoping there'd be a little more greenery around for the holiday, but the fact that we were in Notre Dame made that hope go away rather quickly.

When the service ended, we made our way up the aisle to find seats.  We settled on a few next to the side pulpit, about a third of the way back.  The service began shortly after.  We picked this one because it was called The International Service, so we thought it might be in English, but the only English was translated readings, printed in the program.  That was fine with us though.  It was pretty amazing to hear some beautiful french echo through the building.  And the priest spoke slow enough that I could pick up a few words here and there!

After the service ended, we walked up the left side to see more of the interior.  To our surprise, there was this beautifully colorful and detailed Christmas sculpture.  With the blue trees and the lit up windows, it was quite the nativity scene!

And of course we saw more of the permanent Notre Dame interior before heading back out into the cold towards our apartment.  It was pretty unbelievable to spend the biggest religious holiday of the year in one of the oldest and most well-known cathedrals in the world.  I had been inside when I studied in Paris five years ago, but it's a completely different experience when you're participating with the structure in the way that it was intended.

(photos by e.hunt)

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