I’d never dare to suggest that an enormous stone staircase in a tourist-focused area of Paris would be a “secret”, but that glowing doorway below street level looks like some secretive club or spy rendez-vous.
Paris is a city where relics of many eras coexist together: Notre Dame from 1345 above the Pont au Double from 1883 and the futuristic light streaks of a twentieth-century riverboat. Perhaps that’s why the city makes such an excellent setting for cyberpunk fiction like William Gibson’s Neuromancer.
So many people have a connection to Notre Dame, and in the hours after the fire was announced, it seemed like everyone had their personal Notre Dame picture to show. The number of visitors explains the ubiquity: 30,000 people per day, 13,000,000 per year. That explains why the crowds in this picture, even on a rainy night in late November.
Of the people standing in the dusky light and the long line to enter Notre Dame, it was actually those at the end of the line who were luckiest: they were still outside a few moments later when the lights illuminating the outside of the cathedral activated.
Though the symmetry of Notre Dame de Paris stands out from the mere mortal constructs around it, I enjoy playing the game of identifying the breaks in its symmetry. Some of those are small, like the different statues around the building. Others are more significant, like the triangle in place or an arch above the left-most set of doors.