Every year France organizes Les Journées du Patrimoine (Heritage days). The public is given the opportunity to which a variety of monument which are usually off bounds. Right from le Palais de l'Elysée (residence of the president), the sénat, l'Assemblé Nationale, in fact every single monument undertaken by the government is opened to the general public during an entire weekend in September. Of course an idea that has a lot of success for over 30 year now. Other countries like India should take up such kind of interesting ventures in order to encourage the random public to understand, value and protect their very own heritage. So Monsieur S., the brother and me decided to visit Victor Hugo's house which is located at Place des Vosges in Paris. Originally I wanted to see the house of the president but no one was keen on waiting in queue for 8 hours with me, so we had to drop that idea and think of another monument that excited people a little less. Victor Hugo is undoubtedly one of the world's most influential writers, poet and politician, made famous by his works like Les Miserables, Notre Dame de Paris, etc.
Every visit in Paris is filled with the discovery of beautiful things. Tobacco free cafés and tobacco filled térrasses, a pistacchio green autobianchi which drove to France all the way from Italy (thanks to Monsieur S. for details on said car), very green trees at the start of autumn and two cute dogs huddled together on a cold gray sidewalk.. ah Paris! je t'aime :)
Arriving at Victor Hugo's house, you are immediately bowled over by the amazing buildings surrounding his, you wait anxiously for your turn to enter into the uber chic apartment of one of your favourite people in the world.
You enter. You see. You love. You want to read everything he wrote all over again.Like every other uptown Parisian appart, Victor Hugos' doesn't fail to impress. There's so many details, so many porcelain beauties, chandeliers, etc.
But your favourite item is the quill pen you find in the inner most room of the apartment, where magic was created by candlelight, sweat and stress. You leave the house happy and inspired, ready to spread the word to your students, your blog, your family that Victor Hugo still lives through words. Powerful words.Later you walk along the Seine which is always eventful. You decide that sometime soon you will try visiting Paris by boat/ par les bateaux-mouches.
You arrive at Notre Dame de Paris. Coincidence! Did Victor Hugo want you to open your eyes wide and really take in his muse? I wish to think yes.
On looking at the cathedral, unlike for the tourists present, all that unfolds before you is the entire scene from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. You can sense the fury, the betrayal, the treachery, the sorrow and ofcourse the eternal love, witnessed only by two other people in the world: Victor Hugo and his eternal Notre Dame de Paris.
Paris bloquéÔ ville, tu feras agenouiller l'histoire.
Saigner est ta beauté, mourir est ta victoire.
Mais non, tu ne meurs pas. Ton sang coule, mais ceux
Qui voyaient César rire en tes bras paresseux,
S'étonnent : tu franchis la flamme expiatoire,
Dans l'admiration des peuples, dans la gloire,
Tu retrouves, Paris, bien plus que tu ne perds.
Ceux qui t'assiègent, ville en deuil, tu les conquiers.
La prospérité basse et fausse est la mort lente ;
Tu tombais folle et gaie, et tu grandis sanglante.
Tu sors, toi qu'endormit l'empire empoisonneur,
Du rapetissement de ce hideux bonheur.
Tu t'éveilles déesse et chasses le satyre.
Tu redeviens guerrière en devenant martyre ;
Et dans l'honneur, le beau, le vrai, les grandes moeurs,
Tu renais d'un côté quand de l'autre tu meurs.
- Victor Hugo