Cruising With Teens, Are They Paying Attention? This One Was: A Kid’s View Of Rouen

A teen in France: My son Alex “Grizz” in Rouen. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

I wasn’t even sure he had been paying attention, and yet he had been. That’s the way it is when you travel with teens. They can appear to be uninterested and distracted, and yet, a couple of months after we returned home from a cruise along the Seine River on Avalon Waterways’ Creativity, my son Alex told me he had written a story about the Rouen Cathedral for his sophomore class. When he read it aloud to me, I was stunned. He had taken it in, after all, and appreciated it more than I had. Here’s his story. I hope you enjoy it.

What is a cathedral?

If you are wondering what it is, I can tell you. But you need to get quieter.

On a luminous, sunlit day, you approach the massive, ornately carved wooden door with tremendous brass handles and step into the incredible Rouen Cathedral. It’s not loud and noisy anymore; the blazing sun has been gently blown out like a candle. It is peaceful and quiet inside, except for the echoes of hushed footsteps.

The massive interior of the Rouen Cathedral. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

You look up, and there is a remarkably high, domed ceiling, and on the walls, exquisite stained glass windows in shades of blue and yellow, with religious artwork in each pane. You can see the sun shimmering through the glass, illuminating the floor.

The ceiling and walls feature sculptures of demonic, angry-looking gargoyles carved in stone.

Toward the front of the presbytery is the area called the nave. In front of the nave are rows and rows of congregational seating. As you walk in, you see the candles flickering on the candelabra, the beauty and solemnity causing you the think about the people and things you love.

You find a seat, sit down in peaceful silence, and take time to think and pray.

Solemn and sublime: the nave of the Rouen Cathedral. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

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