When we walked over to Notre Dame from our Left Bank hotel on our first evening in Paris, I was completely taken aback, even though I've seen it before and knew what to expect. How was something so magnificent ever imagined, let alone created? I felt exactly the way I did when I first saw Michelangelo's David: like crying. Maybe it's because I have no imagination or capacity for creating things in three dimensions; architecture, geometry, sculpture, the mediums of stone and glass -- all beyond me. If the world had depended upon me for the development of shelter in any form, we would all still be huddled in caves, awaiting the full impact of global warming as we did the last ice age. Fortunately, the great cathedrals of Europe, all built within the same few-hundred years' time span, were not dependent upon anyone with my limitations.
Onew of my favorite things about the cathedrals is how they incorporate so much of so many kinds of things -- and the gargoyles are among my favorites of those things. When you visit Notre Dame, you can climb the North Tower, walk across the outdoor balustrade between the towers, and climb up and down the South Tower. Up on top, you can see the upper ranges of the cathedral, you can scan the rooftops of Paris, and you can make friends with the gargoyles.