• Sheryl Gwyther

#14 Paris ... The Pigeon of Sacré-Coeur

It's no surprise Paris is a city of cathedrals. Its Catholic history started with King Clovis the first king of the Franks (464 - 511 AD), through Charlemagne the Great, the 'Henry' Dynasty and the 'Louis' Dynasty.

It stopped, violently in a time of guillotining and burning at the stake during the French Revolution, and finding its way again in modern France.

These Gothic or Roman-Byzantine cathedrals are also a tourist mecca ... the city reaps the monetary benefits. ... everyone is happy.

Ancient cathedrals are expensive to upkeep. Just ask Victor Hugo. It was Hugo's famous and popular book written in 1831 called The Hunchback of Notre Dame that encouraged people pay a tax towards saving the cathedral before it fell into ruin. It is still the most magnificent structure, and so are its gargoyles.

I have to admit, I am a bit museum-ed, and cathedral-ed out, but one of Paris's finest is my firm favourite and has been for many years. (I'm an atheist nowadays. I don't feel devotion when I walk in these places, only the heart-lifts of seeing their beauty, majesty and history.)

The best of them sits on the hill of Montmartre, Paris's highest mount. And when you keep walking up that steep rise and then tackle the 300+ steps to the top of the roof and Dome, the white Basilica of Sacré-Coeur is the best way to view Paris. Especially if you are a pigeon.

A flock of the birds lives in a turret, a dove-cote. One of them sat watching me on that roof, then stared out over the abyss below to the far distance, as if deep in thought. It wasn't long before a story formed in my mind too - a picture book this time. The Pigeon of Sacré-Coeur.

Tomorrow, we have one more full day left to see Paris ... and I just realised over on the Île de la Cite in the Seine River, there's a church filled with brilliant stained-glass windows, the Sainte-Chapelle, Kingdom of Light.

#Paris #childrenspicturebooks