A Favorite, Quiet Moment

My trip to Paris is drawing to a close and I’ve been reflecting on my favorite moments during the trip.  If you are a traveler, you know what I mean — those moments when things crystallize and, in a strange way, the travel experience is reduced to its essence.

The view from the Square Jean XXIII

There have been many such moments on this trip, but one of my favorites occurred during a visit to the Ile de la Cite when Richard and I sat for a bit on a bench in the Square Jean XXIII, a small park directly behind the Notre Dame Cathedral.  It is a green, peaceful location, and we found it on a bright, sunny morning.  It was out of the tourist mainstream and a perfect contrast to the hurly-burly of the Louvre and some of the other, more crowded tourist destinations.

At the center of the square is a small statue, in the gothic style, and formal garden beds.  They are surrounded by rows of trees that provide wonderful deep shade on a sunny day for the benches underneath.  This quiet, shady spot allowed us to revel in the coolness as we admired the sun-baked statue and gardens and, in particular, the massive yet graceful hulk of Notre Dame looming behind, with its swooping flying buttresses.  I sat there, somewhat dazzled by the scene, and was immensely happy that Richard and I could enjoy that moment.