Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris and Marchés de Noël

A few days before Christmas, we headed over to one of our favorite spots in Paris- Notre Dame Cathedral.

It’s traditional to wait until Christmas to place baby Jesus in the nativity

Notre Dame de Paris translates to “Our Lady of Paris”. It is considered one of the most well-known cathedrals in the world and also one of the most beautiful.

Construction on the cathedral began in the mid-1100’s and wasn’t completed until the early 1300’s. Notre Dame has very gothic architecture and was one of the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress.

We really enjoyed walking around the outside of the building looking at all the little details in the statues.

 

 

The inside was gorgeous! I loved all the stain glass windows.

 

The carvings above depicted the ministry of Jesus.

Further in the cathedral, they had a second, more intricate nativity. At the very center was Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus.

 

While I did see families enter the cathedral, they do ask that you stay silent while in the building. Our two kids were asleep at the time so Aaron stayed outside with them while I ran in for a few moments.
After checking out the cathedral, we walked around the surrounding area and found a very nice Marchés de Noël just across from the church.

The market had all sorts of specialty items and gourmet food. We tried two types of cheese (and later bought a bit of each). The red cheese has tomato in it and the green cheese has pesto in it. Both were delicious, although if I had to pick a favorite, I’d go with the tomato.

 

Samples were being given out at just about every food stall, including foie gras. We had our first little taste of foie gras and decided to buy some as part of our Christmas dinner. Foie gras is considered as part of a traditional appetizer for the Christmas meal and we wanted to try and have a traditional French dinner (more about that in a later post!).

Fois gras

After checking out the Marchés de Noël, we walked along the Seine River. The Seine is 776 km (482 miles) long and twists through Paris. It’s a beautiful river and often has tour boats and other vessels running through it.

Along the river are little stalls where one can buy art or books or other small items.

On our way back to our car, we crossed over the Pont de l’Archevêché bridge, another popular spot along the river to hang “love locks”. In 2010, the mayor began to express concern over the love locks stating that they were problematic for preserving the city’s historical architecture. The locks cause additional weight on the bridges which can lead to other problems.

Love locks can be found on at least 11 of the city’s bridges crossing the Seine. Unfortunately, many tourists believe that this is a longstanding tradition, not realizing that this has been going on for less than 10 years.

In 2014, the city asked that tourists no longer place locks on the bridges and instead take selfies. Obviously people are still putting locks on the bridges, but hopefully that campaign helped a little bit.

Along the Seine, one will often see different street performers like the photo below. He played Christmas music for the girls and me while Aaron ran back to buy a few things from the Christmas market.

We had a wonderful day and continue to enjoy the area. I highly recommend coming here, Christmas time or not. It’s a beautiful part of Paris and one that can be enjoyed by everyone.

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