Soon enough though we are climbing narrow winding stairs that seem to go upward forever.
Since we go up in a group, I feel that I have to maintain the group pace -without a rest break. (I am SO out of shape.) Needless to say, I’m relieved when the group slows and I see people turning off in a different direction. We must be there!
Unfortunately, “there” turns out to be the gift shop.
Yes, before we can see the gargoyles, we are held hostage in the gift shop. How irritating. I refuse to buy anything simply as a matter of principle. I don’t see anyone else buying anything either, but more because everyone seems a little bewildered. Rather than shopping, people wander around, oblivious to the merchandise, searching for another way up.
At last the stairway is reopened and there is a rush to continue upward. There seem to be a LOT more stairs, but this time when the pace slows, it is in order to step out onto the gallery where Paris is spread out below us.
Even on a dark day with weird light, the city is beautiful. However, I am disappointed by the fact that there is a large net of sorts separating me from both the scenery and the building’s lively cast of carved chimera and gargoyles.
Still, this is a very cool place. . . and a very busy place, decoration-wise. Everywhere I look there seem to be more and more carved figures and weird ornamentation.
From this level I also enter the south tower to view the 13 ton Emmanuel bell.
Unlike the worship space below, the upper levels of Notre-Dame are a carefully controlled tourist facility, so we end up waiting again before we can continue up to the top of the tower. (They only allow a limited number up there at any one time.) Finally it is our turn.
We again climb the twisting stairs. . . and then we are there!