Gothic Dreams Entrance
Free E-mail News Report: 'The Rose' Historic Overview: Notre Dame de Paris 

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Earthlore Explorations  Notre Dame de Paris
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.

       They 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.

—Alphonse Daudet, Victor Hugo

Photographic Features of Notre Dame de Paris
Images Will Open in a Separate Window
Gothic Heart Vista of Paris from atop Notre Dame - 45k
Gothic Heart Vista of Notre Dame from the Southwest -
Gothic Heart View of Notre Dame from Southeast -
Gothic Heart Vista of Notre Dame from the Seine -

Gothic Heart Interior of the North rose window - 165k
Gothic Heart View of the West facade, 1890s -
Gothic Heart Vista from the Southeast, 1890s -
Gothic Heart View of the Barricades, 1870s - 48k

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