We’d bought the Paris Pass which included a day hop on - hop off bus tour and fast track museum entry. Day #1 on the bus was excellent as we got a sense of the layout of the city and its famous attractions. Lovely warm, sunny weather.
Notre Dame Cathedral is dark and brooding, with windows, candles and gleaming sculptures gently pooling light into the shadow. The vaulted ceilings seem cavernous rather than heavenly, the saints on the facade somewhat at odds with the gloomy interior: the gargoyles are more at home here. But in the twilight there were many glimpses of beauty. Modern people need to learn that this is where a pre-electric, pre-literate and pre-consumerist era glimpsed and grasped the holy. Today the crowds shuffle past or snap iphotos.
By contrast Sainte Chapelle Cathedral is a tapestry of light, an impossible array of tiny rainbow glass. slender windows reaching up and up. It is intimate, regal, yet other-worldly. And that, of course, is the history of western civilisation - unspeakably beautiful architecture and art built on the backs of the poor.