When I thought of sharing images of places of worship I visited while in France, it seemed most appropriate to begin with Notre Dame in Paris. It is not only a beautiful cathedral, but also the venue for interesting fictional characters. Perhaps most famous is Victor Hugo's Quasimodo, the cathedral's bell ringer known as the Hunchback of Notre Dame. It's a destination for about thirteen million visitors per year, with as many as fifty thousand on peak days. Despite the number of visitors, it's a very active cathedral with several masses celebrated each day.
Construction of Notre Dame began in 1163, making the year 2013 the 850th anniversary of the cathedral. A large grandstand was installed on the plaza near the main entrance, adding a challenging dimension to photographing the building. There's a lot of activity within the cathedral, but areas for worship and repose tend to be respected by visitors. It's possible to climb the four hundred eleven steps to the bell tower, something that is reported to offer spectacular views of the city. Regrettably, our attempts were unsuccessful, as it was closed each of the several times we visited. I look forward to returning some day to take it in.