19.3.10

Notre Dame (part one)

Thanks for your patience during my repeated absences! I’m back in Paris!

After three years of blogging and some 600 posts, I have not yet made one on Notre Dame! So, it’s about time. I will actually make two posts, one about the exterior of the Cathedral, one about the interior. Let’s logically start with the exterior, including a visit to the top of one of the towers. (The global pictures below have been taken during different seasons, which explains that the trees are not always naked.)
The richness of arches and other decorative aspects is perhaps even more visible from the back side.The Notre Dame de Paris is the cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Paris. It was basically constructed between 1163 and around 1250, but was really completed in 1345. It’s definitely one of the master pieces of the Gothic* architecture – arches, vertical emphasis, light....

As most churches Notre Dame suffered a lot during the Revolution, but was restored as close as possible to its original state during the 19th century by the architect Viollet-le-Duc (see previous post), who also restored and saved the Sainte Chapelle (see previous post), the Saint Denis basilica (see previous post) and a lot more.

The mostly rich ornamentation is very present here; it's amazing to see how the whole building is covered by friezes, statues of saints, prophets, kings and also by legendary creatures, gargoyles... originally partly painted, as often was the case with gothic church facades.
Many of the stained glass windows have suffered from previous restorations, revolutions..., but fortunately the rose windows which we see here only from the exterior (we will see them from the interior in my following post), from the 1250’s, are still there; the smaller one on the front facade is even from 1225.The towers date from about 1250 and are 63 m (207 ft) high. You can visit the SouthTower. There are some 400 steps to climb (no lift).

The top picture as some of the other ones where we can see some “funny” creatures are taken from half way up.
On the way to the top you can have a look at the biggest bell (the Emmanuel bell) which is to be found in this tower. It dates from 1685 and has since rung out the high historical points of the Cathedral, of Paris, of France...From the very top, you have of course some splendid views of Paris. We can also have a look at the “parvis”, the open space in front of the Cathedral and see the traces which have been left of the small streets and buildings, including the old hospital “Hôtel Dieu”, which still existed here until around 1870, when Baron Haussmann “cleaned” it all (see previous post).
On one of the close-ups we can see the little, perhaps oldest, Paris church, Saint-Julien-du-Pauvre with the oldest Paris tree in front of it, planted in 1601 (see previous post) and the bookshop “Shakespeare & Co” (see previous post).__________________
*/ “Gothic” architecture has actually nothing to do with the historical Goths. The Goths are said to have their origin in “Götaland”, in the south of Sweden. They crossed the Baltic Sea during the 2nd century and established themselves in the present Poland. Different Gothic civilisations, often referred to as “vandals” can be found in Europe until the 6th century. “Gothic” architecture is actually originally a pejorative term used by the Italian Renaissance finding this type of architecture too extravagant and not in line with their Roman ideas.

43 comments:

Simony Silva said...

Welcome back Peter!
Beautiful aerial views that we don't see very often.
Those creatures watching the city grow through all the centuries... very beautiful!
Don't you wish you could sit there with them and watch too?

The Clever Pup said...

I've been curious about the "climbers" that you feature in one of your photos. From the ground they look almost like soldiers.

I just joined you today - I didn't know you'd been on hiatus.

James said...

Welcome back Peter. This is a wonderful post and I even learned a few things. I've been trying to decide if I want to make the trek to the top of Notre Dame when I'm in Paris next. These photos are very persuading. :)

from cali said...

What wonderful shots of the gargoyles keeping watch over the city.

Louis la Vache said...

«Louis» very much regrets that he didn't make the climb when he lived in Paris. It's been three years since he was there, and seeing these photos really make him wish he could return.

Have you discovered that little brass plague on the parvis from which all distances in France are measured? It's hard to find - it isn't marked and there's usually a tourist inadvertently standing on it.

hpy said...

No lift! Not for me!

SusuPetal said...

Welcome back, Peter.
Those gargoyles are just charming.

claude said...

Formidable post Peter, tu es un chef !
Ils sont beaux tous ces détails de notre belle Dame de Paris.
Tu as eu le courage de monter jusqu'au haut pour nous offrir de supers vues sur la capitale, et les cloches qui ont sonné la libération de la ville.
Je repasserai pour rejeter un coup d'oeil, car ça vaut le coup.
Je t'ai décerné un Award hier.

Shionge said...

YESS!!!!! My favourite place in Paris..been there so many times, inside outside front & behind, I just love to soak in the atmosphere.

I rememebered sitting outside carrying my younger daughter then as my hubby and uncle climbed up to the top of Notre Dame. While she sleeps in my arm, my elder girl feed the pigeons. It was so cold then and I enjoyed every minute of it looking at all the tourists and people walking and busy taking photos.

After that, it is off to the cafe beside Notre Dame having a warm cup of cofee following by shopping.

Ahhhh...I love Notre Dame :D

Olivier said...

The pictures are rare and amazing. Thanks for sharing this. The gargoyles seem to have quite a story to tell!

Victor The Great said...

This great Dame inspired me a lot too ! You present here the reasons why. Watching at your pictures, I feel myself dived into my book.

Cheryl said...

I've been to Notre Dame a number of times, not just to see as a tourist but for Sunday service. But Ive never been to the top---afraid of heights! But maybe I'll force myself to go up next time to see those beautiful views for myself.

Carole said...

Super Peter !!
Ah Notre Dame....et ces gargouilles...formidable, cela donne envie d'aller y faire un tour
Bon week-end Peter ! (et merci pour ces photos !)

Jeanie said...

Welcome back, Peter! Staying near Notre Dame, seeing it was my first Parisian landmark experience! I was impressed by the massive facade (and loved feeding the birds!) -- but my heart melted when I saw the rear view. St. John Pl? I can't remember -- I just found it graceful and elegant, much airier! I didn't have the wherewithall to take the trek to the top, but seeing your images, I wish I had.

Can't wait for part 2!

Corine said...

Peter, you took my breath away with this post. First off, I love the view of Paris from the top of the Cathedral...its splendid! Second, I am in complete awe of all the details in the Cathedral itself. Craftmanship is just not the same in contemporary buildings.
Thanks for sharing this. It makes me that much more homesick for Paris. I cannot wait :) Have a great weekend and welcome back.

Adam said...

Welcome back - spring has arrived at last during your absence!

I've still never climbed the tower here. Your photos remind me that I'll have to do it one day!

lasiate said...

Enfin tu l'as visitée!!!!! Un regard classique et complet de ce superbe monument

Harriet said...

What a wonderful post -- great photos! Welcome back.

Trotter said...

Welcome back!! This is an awesome post with some gorgeous pictures!! Excellent. Seven stars, like they now say for some superb hotels...

Now, commenting at 2:04 a.m. Paris time? Long journey into the night... ;)

Thérèse said...

Que c'est beau, que c'est beau!
Une belle visite guidée de l'extérieur et j'aime beaucoup l'introduction avec ces gargouilles qui ont si bien su poser pour l'éternité.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hi Peter Wow what a brilliant post, your photos are amazing. I have quite a few photos myself but none from the top of the tower. Another place for me to visit. I love the views over Paris, simply breathtaking.

Thank you for your comment about the postcards. It is brilliant that my friends remember me on their holidays. I have swapped addresses with quite a few bloggers. I hope that it continues.

alice said...

J'aime beaucoup ton clin d'oeil gothique de la première photo! Bon week end!

claude said...

Pour répondre à ta question sur mon bidule à oiseaux, effdectivement il y en quelque'uns communs à chez nous. Moineau, troglodyte, mésange...
Bonne journée Peter !

Leena said...

Yes, I know your temperature and I was saying to my husband, that could we live now two months starting this day and another two months starting 1th October away from Finland :)) He was shocked ;))
I know, that he can not leave his dear university for so long time!I was just teasing him a little.
So, we will take two weeks journeys instead to warmer countries now and then :)
I remember nice streets and houses behind Notre Dame, and very good ice cream there bought from old beautiful house :)

Thank you for sharing your wonderful world!

Bergson said...

La première est superbe réflexion sur la ville

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Hi Peter
I just popped over from Jeanne' blog and so glad I did.. What a treat.. post after post of visual delight.. You know some days I feel like that gargoyle in the 1st photo.. although with his view you would think his disposition would be slightly better.. thanks for the photos.. Julie

joanny said...

Hello Peter:

Welcome back and thank you for this great post, The gargoyles almost look like they are going to run around, the rose stained glass windows in your photos one can see a lot more details that is normally missed by the observer. I did not know that about the Goths, and the history of them...interesting.

Joanny

Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

"After three years of blogging and some 600 posts, I have not yet made one on Notre Dame!"

Indeed! And I am so glad! WOW. I am so impressed with that first photo. I showed it to Paul, too, who really enjoyed it. I love how you captured the Sacré Coeur in the distance. Great stuff, Peter.

Your post makes me really think about just how much the Notre Dame de Paris has really "seen" throughout history. It is really quite incredible those rose windows survived. Also, thank you for the added information about what "Gothic" architecture really is. I seem to recall more than 20 years ago an art history class that informed me of as much, but it was really nice to refresh my understanding.

Thank you so much for visiting my blog, too. I'm looking forward to post #2! Welcome back, and see you around the blogosphere, Peter. :)

Karin

Kate said...

Good afternoon, Peter, and welcome back. Like so many others, one of my favorite landmarks. When we used to visit Paris more regularly, we rented from a friend one block from the Seine and two block from Notre Dame and passed and admired it regularly. Terrific location and we loved it! Unfortunately, the flat has been sold...so our visits have ceased. While we were there sometimes with our grandson, he used to love to watch the skateboarders in front of the Cathedral! As a small boy the facade was admired by him, but the activity really caught his eye!

Virginia said...

I'm sure you zipped right to the top with your usual speed! Happy to see Paris from that wonderful spot and I didn't have to climb it myself. Maybe Janet and Maya will meet us in Paris again and the Happy Climbers will make the trip up. I"m not promising anything.

The view is spectacular. As always your photos give us a real sense of it all. Can't wait to see the inside through your lens now.
V

ALAIN said...

Bonsoir Peter, je suis content que tu sois revenu et que tu reprenne tes publications parisiennes. L'escalade des tours de Notre Dame, c'est toujours impressionnant.

JM said...

Those gargoyles are unbeatable! Just put them side by side with Quasimodo and any child wouldn't sleep for a week! LOL! Fantastic photos!

By the way, I really hope the sky in summer will be very different from the one I posted yesterday, for the sake of both of us! :-)

Catherine said...

Glad you are back in Paris - your blog always makes me want to revisit as i haven't been there for years - love those shots of the stone sentinels overlooking the city - thanks and greetings from mexico!!

Cezar and Léia said...

Welcome back dear Peter, it's so nice to see this important and wonderful spot by your creative posts.
I loved the views but I'm really impressed by the details.Hmmm those gargoyles are scary! :)
Fabulous post and collages, thanks so much for sharing!
hugs
Léia

Starman said...

I wish I were able to make that climb.
RYN: We are hoping to be in Europe from August through Octobre. August = Frankfurt. September = Barcelona. October = Paris.

Denise said...

great post. Before I come to Paris I will have to read your blog straight through! Especially, love the gargoyle photos!

sonia a. mascaro said...

Hi Peter, welcome back!
As always your post are stunning and I am without words to express how I enjoy so much to seeing your Marvelous City! Notre Dame de Paris is really a masterpiece.
Thank you for this great post.

Have a nice Sunday.

Ruth said...

Thank you for the glory of these photos from a sunny day! Brilliant.

And yes, it's time. :)

Peter said...

Once agai, sorry for commenting you all individually, but great thanks for your comments!

This was the first time I made it to the top of the tower. It was worth the effort!

I see the Victor has commented! I thought of making a reference to him, but I'm happy his essential presence concerning the history of Notre Dame somehow appeared!

Maya said...

Wow, you have some beautiful shots here, both inside and out!

Peter said...

Thanks Maya!

Terresa said...

Thank you for the tour. My heart just stopped beating for a moment, looking at those pictures from such soaring heights. Beautiful.

Peter said...

Terresa:
Thanks! ... and welcome here! :-)