Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Our Lady of Paris - Notre Dame de Paris

We arrived in Paris between Christmas and New Year's so the large crowds around the major landmarks were expected.  We also expected they would diminish after the first week of the year.  We would walk by and do an "hours" test.  If the line was more than two hours, we would have to come back, mostly because there hasn't been two hours without rain since we arrived and standing in the cold rain for hours doesn't sound fun when we could be back in the apartment by a fire with Kala.

By an unexpected stroke of luck, we were walking by Notre Dame on a breezy and cool (sans rain) Sunday afternoon and found our window.  As we approached the doors, we realized mass was being held.  The burning incense, the choir singing, the organ playing and the priest blessing the congregation in french created an amazing ambiance to see this ancient cathedral.  

Here is the Wiki 411 on Notre Dame, but to throw out a few dates - it was originally built in 1163 and was added on to throughout the centuries - mostly finalized in 1345 with a few final additions to the modern church as it is today in 1845....twenty years before the US Civil War, forty years before the Eiffel Tower and twenty years before the Louvre Museum.    

We also took the opportunity to climb the 368 steps to the towers that rise above the city.  We were able to see the gargoyles and chimeras up close enough to touch, the statues of the twelve apostles as they line the steeple and even pay a visit to Emmanuel, the largest bell in the south tower.  This bell has survived (and escaped) the French Revolution, WWI, and WWII when the city was under siege and it's icons were under threat of being destroyed.  

The visit was amazing and definitely worth the wait!

The Portal of the Last Judgement
The Twelve Apostles
Emmanuel, the bell


The North Rose Window
View of Ile de Cite as the Seine flows around it.

The Three Portals - Portal of the Virgin, Portal of the Last Judgement and Portal of St Anne
The levels of water in the Seine have risen recently because of rain which causes problems for the river barges as they will have difficulty passing under the bridges.

Crown of Thorns offered to Louis IX in 1238 by Baldwin II, Latin Emperor of Constantinople

Flying Buttresses - epitome of gothic architecture
An incident during one of our "walk-by's" stopped us from going in the church.  These guys, the gendarme, cordoned off the plaza and kept the area clear as helicopters landed on the plaza and men were deployed to search for a woman who fell in the Seine.  She was a member of the police diving team doing a training exercise when the current swept her away.  The french do not take incidents lightly and men with machine guns and armor were a common sight.
Search and Rescue

1 comment:

Sabrina and Tom said...

I didn't know you could go up in the towers. Very kewl!

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