Notre Dame Cathedral as seen from the left bank Seine River.

On the right bank of the Seine River that splits Paris in half stands Notre Dame Cathedral. The first stone of this ancient and enormous house of worship was laid in 1163 by Bishop Maurice de Sully. Built of limestone from nearby quarries, Notre Dame, or “Our Lady,” took almost 200 years to complete and today is the most visited site in Paris.

While Notre Dame seems hidden until relatively close due to surrounding structures, once in eyesight it immediately dominates the skyline. In cool morning air and soft light with the flowing water – before crowds arrive in the hundreds – the scene is calm, relaxing.

Something as simple as circling the cathedral is astounding. It radiates history. Everywhere hand-carved statues and motifs overwhelm the eyes. One can’t help but imagine simple peasant farmers in the early days seeing Notre Dame and thinking  they had seen part of heaven.

A jogger makes his way along the Seine River with Notre-Dame Cathedral in the background, July 8, 2013.

A jogger makes his way along the Seine River with Notre-Dame Cathedral in the background, July 8, 2013.

Notre Dame as seen from the left bank of the Seine River.

Notre Dame as seen from the left bank of the Seine River.

Architecture close up.

Architecture close up.

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