No visit to Paris could be considered complete without seeing le Cathedrale de Notre Dame. It is the heart of old Paris, famous both historically and architecturally. We saw Notre Dame as part of a larger bus tour of the city. Our guide, while knowledgeable, sounded a bit like Minnie Mouse, and referred to anything she considered entertaining as "Eet eez like Disney, voila?" I unplugged my headset and wandered at my own pace, surrounded by peace and beauty. Babygirl and I lit candles for our friend Kate, and for her son Mason in honor of his second birthday. It was easy to feel his spirit in that holy place.
Despite our tourguide's annoying chirkiness, she made several good suggestions about things to see. It was on her advice that we went on our own to see Sainte-Chappel.( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sainte-Chapelle). Built in the 1200's, it predates Notre Dame. It is constructed in such a way that it appears to be almost entirely glass, soaring a hundred feet into the air. The windows tell much of the Bible in pictures. Deuteronomy through Joshua/Judges was being repaired while we were there and not available to view. The book of Genesis is carved in bas relief on the stone walls outside the cathedral doors - creation, Cain and Abel, the flood. The window colors are of breathtaking intensity. Short of the Taj Mahal, it is the single most beautiful building I have been privileged to see.
Our final church visit was to see Sacre Coure Cathedral in Montmartre, a neighborhood on the highest elevation of Paris. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacre_Coeur_Cathedral Built of white marble, it is visible from nearly anywhere in Paris. The climb from the train station too the foot of the hill the church rests upon is steep. One then has the option of climbing a LOT of stairs or taking a funicular ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Funiculaire_Montmartre_d%C3%A9but_XXe.JPG )which was fun and had a spectacular view. Since we were able to clearly see this church from our hotel window, it was fun to try and do the reverse and spot our hotel from the steps of the church.
Montmartre is a place I'd choose to spend more time if I ever go back. The shops were fun, the restaurants had a lot of Middle Eastern influences, and the atmosphere generally festive. Babygirl bought her souvenir Paris bag there for far less than we had seen the same one sell for in our neighborhood of Montparnasse.