Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"Notre Dame" or "Onze Lieve Vrouw"

I know the name "Notre Dame" since I heard about the book "the hunchback of notre dame" by Victor Hugo many times since childhood.

But I never knew that it was the name of a church.

Thanks to our visit to Paris with Maikel, I now know that it is the name of a very famous church in Paris, located on one of the small islands in river Seine. It has very nice and majestic look.
More surprising for me was to learn its meaning. Since the name was always associated with hunchback in my mind, I thought it was probably a person with a hunchback.

When we were inside the church, I saw the explanations in different languages; and my eye caught the word "onse lieve vrouw kerk" (our lovely lady church). I was surprised that they mentioned about a dutch church in the explanations. "Why" I asked Maikel. "What has this church to do with a dutch church"?

"It is this church" was Maikel's reply to my amazement. I did not get it. Then he told me that "Notre Dame" was the french word for "Onze Lieve Vrouw". How surprising!

And I realized that the novel by Victor Hugo was actually about the church. It was not a personal name...

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