|Southwest Perspective - Contemporary View|
|View of Notre Dame de Paris from the Southwest|
He had scarcely arrived back in the beloved city before he was anxious to know its new districts, its latest passages, its broad avenues, now filled with the noise of the horns of the tramway conductors, the Seine covered with ferry-boats. All those innovations of late years, which give Paris a new physiognomy, rejoiced the heart of the poet. His greatest pleasure, at early morning, was to climb to the top of an omnibus, and so traverse the whole city, passing the sumptuous boulevards, the workmen?s quarters, the districts of the poor, until he reached the gloomy streets of the suburbs, near the fortifications where, along the walls that skirt the yards of low, one-storied houses, grow in luxuriance the dandelion and the nettle. Every day, in the heart of Paris, which is undergoing so many changes, Victor Hugo would discover some picturesque, unknown corner; and it is in this manner, on the top of an omnibus, observing and dreaming, at the time when the streets awaken to their morning life, that he has written most of his latest poems.
Indeed, there can be no better observatory, none more propitious to the flashing glance of thought, the straying of the imagination, than this humble post on the public conveyance, which, going from one barrier to the other, making its easy journey in three-quarters of an hour, introduces you successively to all the quarters of Paris, revealing and anon concealing, as in a dream, the rich first floor, with its heavy, ornamented curtains half-opened, and with its creamy waves of muslin, and, farther on, the poorer suburbs, where the eye looks into basements sombre and bare, for which a tin reflector steals from the street a few rays of sunlight, or where, for the needs of work or of trade, the gas is lighted before noon. Victor Hugo was known to his neighbors on the omnibus.
had learnt the name of the fine-looking, strong, old man, in his
short jacket, with a felt hat on his head, who took his place beside
them and politely passed their change. Sometimes the conductor had
to inform them, whispering in their ear, 'It is Victor Hugo.' But
the poet's wish to be unrecognized was more gallantly respected
than that of a queen on her travels. His desire was understood by
all, and while they might glance at him aside, out of a corner of
the eye, they pretended not to know him.
|Photographic Features of Notre Dame de Paris|
|Images Will Open in a Separate Window|
of Paris from atop Notre Dame - 45k
Vista of Notre Dame from the Southwest - 50k
View of Notre Dame from Southeast - 95k
Vista of Notre Dame from the Seine - 50k
of the North rose window -
View of the West facade, 1890s - 50k
Vista from the Southeast, 1890s - 40k
View of the Barricades, 1870s - 48k
|Return to Earthlore's Historic Overview of Notre Dame de Paris|
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