They paused as they posed for a Polaroid photo, she whispered in his ear “Exactly-oto, Quasimodo”…

Who else but John Prine could work Quasimodo, the famous Hunchback of Notre Dame, into a contemporary song?  John is to me the “thinkin’ and drinkin'” man’s singer/songwriter: few others seem to have his gift for clever, whimsical wordplay.  The dramatic lighting in the image below makes Notre Dame pop, and it’s gorgeous at night, but really it’s wonderful at every time of day.  It’s sits where the Romans of Jesus’ time constructed a temple to Jupiter, alongside the River Seine.  After the fall of Rome, Jupiter fell into disrepute and his temple into disrepair.  The Parisians broke ground for the cathedral in 1163, finishing some two hundred years later.  Generations of the faithful toiled on the project, led by a succession of master builders and craftsmen who devoted their lives and entire careers to Notre Dame.  During the French Revolution, the Church was seen as allied to the nobility, and clergy lost their heads while the Cathedral was turned into a saltpeter plant.  By the mid-1800s, the Gothic style had fallen out of fashion and the cathedral had become so run-down that local builders wanted to dismantle it and use the stone to build a bridge!  Luckily, the Cathedral had an admirer and ally in Victor Hugo, who it is said set his novel in Notre Dame in hopes of rekindling interest in the Gothic masterpiece.  His strategy succeeded beyond imagination, as the public rallied behind his beloved church and raised necessary funds for its renewal.  It remains a classic monument to the faith of man, a symphony of delicate flying buttresses, imposing towers, and grotesque gargoyles of every description.  If you go, take time to climb the tower and join the chimeras enjoying one of the finest views in the City of Lights…you’ll be glad you did.  (30 November, 2011  Paris, France)

5 thoughts on “They paused as they posed for a Polaroid photo, she whispered in his ear “Exactly-oto, Quasimodo”…

    • Very kind of you to say so Wade! I enjoy it, which is why I do it, and if I thought anyone would publish it I would be so all over it.

  1. How timely this photogragh is Unc Jay! Beck and I are reading a book called The Family Under the Bridge which takes place in this beautiful city. In it there is a reference to flying butresses – Beck asked what these were and now I can show her.

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