Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Notre-Dame

 The morning of our anniversary we went to see one of the most famous churches in the world, the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris. Construction first began 1163 and it has been expanded (and restored again and again as it ages) over the centuries. Is it weird that I kept thinking of the Disney movie the Hunchback of Notre-Dame, and that the song God Help the Outcasts was in my head the whole time? Now I want to go back and re-watch the movie to see what they got right with regards to the cathedral.

For some reason this one keeps uploading side ways, I give up. The sideways Notre-Dame. But note that you can see the River Seine in the background. Notre-Dame is actually on an island in the middle of the Siene called the Île de la Cité. It is the oldest part of Paris, where the Parisi Gauls first settled in the second century B.C.

 There was a really long line to get it, but it moved really quick and once we were inside we were able wander around freely and stay as long as we wanted. It is still a working cathedral so you are able to come and worship if you can deal with all the sightseers.
 Joan of Arc statue.

 From the front looking back.

This was the largest cathedral I have ever visited, but what impressed me the most was not it's size,
but the beautiful stained glass windows. The two rose windows, one on the north side and the other opposite it on the south, were built in 1250 and 1260, but have had to have been restored several times. Underneath are stained glass windows of 16 prophets painted in the 19th century. You might just barely be able to make out that the four center prophets- Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel- are carrying four figures on their shoulders- the evangelists Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John.

As you can see, very large, with a lot of stained glass.



From the back looking towards the front.
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 Then we went back outside and took pictures of more detail of the outside- statues on the front.

 Above the front door.

Lots of gargoyles. We were planning on paying to climb up to the bell towers, but once we saw the line we decided to skip it and use our time doing something else. So we just used our camera to zoom in really far...



 A view with the statue of Charlemagne on the right.

Side view with the famous flying buttresses. Notre-Dame was one of the first cathedrals to use flying buttresses.

 Selfie with the outside of the rose stained glass window.

Before leaving the island we walked down along the river to Pont Nuef. It was built in 1578 and is the oldest standing bridge in Paris across the Seine. When it was completed King Henry IV road across it on his white horse and now there is a statue of him on his white horse at the center of the bridge.

 I thought the view looking away from the bridge was cool because it was just typical Paris. Paris has definitely been my favorite major city so far to visit, but it's also the only European city I have ever been to (all other major cities were either U.S. or Latin America). More European travel for us in the future? Somehow I doubt any other city has as much charm and meaning all in the same place as Paris.

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