November 30, 2008

Notre Dame and the Latin Quarter

I visited the Notre Dame de Paris on my second day in the city, and met up with an outspoken Frenchman named Jacques there. We had worked together in Bangalore. Undergoing restoration for the past several years, the landmark Gothic cathedral still maintains its historic appearance even as many aspects of it have been modernized. The famous bells of Notre Dame are now rung by a motor, so a hunchback is no longer necessary to ring them manually. I walked in and around "Our Lady". Independent of my presence within it, the church contained a massive organ. It has around 7800 pipes and is fully computerized.

Jacques then took me to the Latin Quarter, a lively area full of restaurants. Located near several universities, the name of the district is derived from Europe's ancient language of learning. I enjoyed a donair at a food stall owned by South Indians. Jacques introduced me to the wonder that is Orangina. The carbonated beverage is a mix of several varieties of citrus. The French soft drink has high juice and orange pulp content, and I immediately became a fan. We went to a grocery store to pick up a large bottle before. Several drinks later we bade farewell.


"When a man understands the art of seeing, he can trace the spirit of an age and the features of a king even in the knocker on a door." - The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo