Sacre Bleu! Sacre Coeur!




























































The Air Is Fine Up Here



The stairwell to reach the dome of Sacre Coeur winds tight and steep around a solid stone column. There is no central stairwell.. No windows to break the monotony. At any given point on the journey one can only see the few steps ahead and the few steps behind. Did I mention no windows? No windows to catch a glimpse of the outside world, nor fresh air to fill the lungs when the panic attack  hits you about half way up..   Well at least that is my story and I'm sticking to it...


This was the site of panic attack #2 of my five week european vacation..  Another complete surprise to find I was claustrophobic and conveniently determined about half way up the 350 odd stairs it takes to reach the top.. In fact I'm still not sure if it was claustrophobia or simply a physical reaction to being out of breath in a dark airless cavity, no sight of top or bottom, no knowledge of how much longer I will be captive within this endless climb,  walls closing in tighter and tighter with each laboured step.... [Let Me OUT!!!!]


I try to take a deep breath but my heart is pounding too fast... Fresh air .. I need fresh air... How much further? I stop to listen for the footfalls of the person I know to be ahead of me.. At first all I can hear is my own heart thumping loudly in my chest., but then.. YES!!  I can hear them.. Tap tap tap and then mercifully.. The slam of a door... The top... The top must be near.. I push on and up and finally swing open the door to my freedom.. My lungs thank me for my perseverance .. My eyes thank me for the feast laid out in front.. A view of all of Paris from the highest point in the city! Thank goodness I was ignorant of my phobia or I might not have attempted the climb ...The reward was worth the torture!!





Have A Great Week


Thanks for the well wishes.. Seems I had a touch of food poisoning but all's fine now
I have more shots of the fabulous view from Sacre Coeur which I'll bring you in another post!






What You've Missed So Far



IMAGE SOURCE & CREDITS:
ALL Text, Original Photography & Artwork [copyright beingRuby©]
ALL shots taken in  Paris,  France ... August 2011




31 comments:

Francine Gardner said...

OMG we do have one thing in common, claustrophobia and panic attack. I have never made it up these steps and while visiting the famous Sagrada Familia in Barcelona I had a total panic attack on the very last top step!!
My son wants to get into photography, i should send him to study with you...your are brilliant!!

Ann said...

Julie-
Just lovely!

I've never been to Sacre Coeur and feel like I've been spoiled seeing it from your eyes first.

Très beau!

marina said...

Julie preciosas fotos.Tu esfuerzo valió la pena para obtener esas imágenes fabulosas.Un gran abrazo.Marina

mermaid gallery said...

as always...wonderful presentation!...i am prone to panic attacks as well....keeps me grounded much too often. .....the fear of the fear thing....glad you made it....the view does look sensational!Somehow you have managed to keep all those pesky people out of the pictures....makes Paris look very mysterious....beauty!

Splendid Sass said...

Too late to ask if I have a twin, but I have claustrophobia also. Glad it got to where you were going!
Well...thanks for sharing the results of your fight. Stunning.
Teresa
xoxo

louciao said...

Ignorance is bliss, until it isn't. Thank goodness you managed to "stay calm and carry on" (well, "calm" is a relative state of mind when in the middle of a panic attack) and were able to capture these great shots from a unique point of view (and I don't mean just geographically speaking).

5th and State said...

panic attacks can be quite frightening as they can feel like a real heart attack. so glad you made it to the top julie.......love your perspective
xo
debra

Loree said...

Oh My. Those photos are superb. We did not climb to the top of Sacre Couer when we visited. I see now that it would have been worth the climb.

JBeaudetStudios said...

Hi Julie! Your photographs are amazing! Glad you pushed through and made it to the top! I would have felt the same way for sure! I'm enjoying all your posts I've missed.
Take care,
Jennifer:)

Christel said...

Oh, so wonderful photos!! I love this place, I love Paris!! ♥

Tanks!
Xoxo Christel

Blue Muse said...

You poor thing - I was panicking with you just reading your words! Thank you for going through that torture in the dark to get to the top for these unbelievable photos - they are breathtaking! I love your close ups with the hazy backgrounds - your details set you above and beyond.
I'm loving what you're doing to your blog The new font & its color is fab (both on the post and in the photos!).
Glad you are feeling better! I didn't know :(
xo isa

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

YOU and Dawne Polis make my heart soar, my head spin and my eyes POP OUT with wonder....you both capture Paris like NO ONE ELSE! OH, and Virginia from Paris through my lens is great too!!!! Anita

alaine@éclectique said...

Beautiful! Love the close-ups of the embellishments too. Did you take any shots when climbing up? Where did you stay in Paris?...we'll be looking for accommodation this time next year...all the better if it's recommended.

Sharon said...

Julie, you have truly suffered for your art. These images are some of the most wonderful photos I've ever seen of and from this landmark - and that includes those Magnum people. I thank you for your determined perseverance. You made it to the TOP, in more ways than one!

helen tilston said...

Julie, so glad you persevered and made the climb, we certainly benefit from your keen eye.
Hope you are feeling better.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

As we say in the South, "Bless you little heart," Julie. What a scare for you in the tight stairwell and what a wonderful recovery to capture those exquisite shots. The soft colors are beautiful both "above" and "below."

Your focus is so precise as to even show us the faces peering out from the dome.

Your blog is just stunning and I am looking back at previous posts. Merci!

Bises,
Genie

red ticking said...

eekkk dont know if i could do it... but so happy to see it and your photos are amazing as always... hope you are well my sweet friend...xo

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Good morning Julie dearest,

Thank you for visiting me. It is always so nice to get a message from SO FAR AWAY!

Gosh I love your work!!! Anita

becky said...

So proud of you for making it to the top!!! Fabulous pictures, well worth the panic, don't you think?

Virginia said...

Oh I can relate to your trip to the top. My first trip in 07, I thought I might just die right there in the stairwell and then realized they'd never get a cot up there to f etch me so I persevered! Being able to walk outside a bit was a relief, but you're right, the view from the top is like nothing else. I'm proud to say I did again in July '09 with friends. Whew!

I Dream Of said...

I had that same moment in the Duomo in Paris. Yikes. But glad you carried on because the resulting photos are gorgeous! Thanks for taking us along on the hike!

Beach House Living said...

The things you do for great photos!
I'm like that about airplanes. Let me off now.

michelle said...

Oh I am not sure if I could have done that! I am so glad that you pressed on, I know that panic attacks are NOT fun. It was so well worth it, these are just gorgeous! Your photos are so beautiful, seeing all the details of where you have been have been such a joy, thank you so much for sharing these. The hotel that you stayed in was beautiful! WOW!! I am glad that you are feeling better and I hope you have a wonderful week!!
xoxox

sharon said...

What an experience Julie, a fear like that is so hard to overcome! Loved these pics so much that I shared the first one on facebook - hope that's ok.
love to you
xox

Stanley Johnson said...

I've been there several times but it's like seeing it snow when I look at your photos.

Stanley Johnson said...

That should have said "anew" not "snow". Oops!

Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita said...

That must have been scary! What a place to get a panic attack! But oh my what a gorgeous feast you lay before us! Absolutely stunning images!

La Petite Gallery said...

I have been up the back steps and also the front. This is my hang out area in Paris.. I want to see it one more time.. big hug to you Julie.

My best memories are in Montmartre.
yvonne

simon said...

I know those stairs too!

Life love, clutter and other beautiful things. said...

Gorgeous! I love this place, it IS a hike isn't it!! worth it though xox

Gabrielle said...

Absolutely GORGEOUS shots! A slight correction: the 2 photos you've identified as Saint Pierre are Sacre Coeur's campanile (belltower). Saint Pierre is around the corner. It's a lovely little church where I attended my neighbor's funeral a few years ago.