Catherine paced back and forth in front of the cathedral, trying to keep warm as she waited for Farukh. At least the weather was dry. She had wondered more than once over the course of the week what had made her ask Farukh for supper; she could have bought him some small gift, after all.
But then she remembered his cat-like dance down the institute’s hallway and could not help smiling.
“I hope you have not been waiting too long.”
Catherine hadn’t even recognized him as he approached. She’d been watching for the admittedly dreadful beard … which had been trimmed into chic submission. His thick black hair was wind-tousled.
“No, not long.”
“Your cheeks are red from the cold,” he smiled … a smile that rendered him more handsome than Catherine had expected.
“Well, the restaurant is not far.” She pointed down the way. “Just past Shakespeare and Company, in the Rue de la Huchette.” — From my novella, His Beloved Infidel
Notre Dame de Paris is an impressive example of French Gothic architecture. It’s the first known example of flying buttresses — but they were not part of the original design. As the weight of the stonemasonry increased during the building process, they were added to keep the walls from collapsing.
It’s also the oldest continuously-active church in Paris, with construction begun in 1163 and completed in 1345. The night we visited, I lit a candle for my French teacher, Mademoiselle Lois T. Sato, who had passed away just two months prior. A Vespers service was taking place … and shortly after we left, the giant bell, Emmanuel, began to ring out to let citizens know that a new pope had been elected: the man who would become Francis I.
Of course, it’s not Monday here without a song, so here is “The Bells of Notre Dame.”
(Photos of Notre Dame taken by the author.)