Though it occaissionaly descends into bombast, the Aura experience, a sound–and–light show inside the Notre Dame Basillica, is quite affecting. Really, how could it not be? It uses as a backdrop one of the most magnificent spaces in North America. Sitting in a pew, while evocative music swells and surgically precise lights pick out the filigreed columns, the castle-like altarpiece, the handsome statuary, and the star-studded ceiling, is a transcendant experience. It's a lesson in how sightseeing should be done: instead of rushing through another church, participants sit quietly and study the exquisite details that make up the space, guided by the artistry of the designers, who draw parrallels, through lighting, between the different elements of the sanctuary. When they're not adding their own designs to the space, that is. Did we need to see the church drown in a Noah-level flood? Perhaps not. But even when the experience veers towards the hokey, the wizardry of the designers keeps it fun. And how often, upon leaving a church, do you hear a a 10-year-old exclaim (as I did) "That was totally awesome!".
- Pauline Frommer