After Lynne and I had explored the Louvre courtyard we popped back onto the Metro and went to the Ile de la Citi.
As we came out of the Metro station we saw the back of the Sainte Chapell. It was built by Louis IX in 1245 and was built to be the reliquary of the crown of thorns.
It sits right next to the Palais de Justice which is said to house a piece of the true cross.
We walked around the square and then found a sidewalk vendor and got some lunch!
This lovely looking food is a Parisian variation of the Donner Kebap!
I must say we enjoyed it immensely and should I return to Paris, I’ll be sure to visit this place again!
The table we sat at with our lunch was apparently for sit in patrons so we took ourselves off and found a nice little wall down by the River Seine to enjoy our food and the hum of the city.
Such a beautiful view!
After a refreshing hour of eating and drinking in the view we walked on to the Notre Dame!
This is another sight that will never get old for me.
The sheer size of this cathedral is staggering…
206 feet from the base to the top of the bell towers.
And the details that cover this monument make it fascinating.
I do not believe that either of us could get our fill of looking…
There are over 5,000 Gargoyles on the Notre Dame cathedral.
This is the outside of one of the windows… it holds a statue of the Virgin Mary holding the Baby Jesus and flanked by two angels.
The three portals on the front of the building are from right to left;
The Portal of the Virgin, the Portal of the Last Judgement, and the Portal of Saint Anne. This last portal holds some of The Notre Dame’s finest and oldest (12th century) statuary.
A close up of some of the gargoyles…
Above those three portals you see the Gallery of Kings which has 28 statues of the kings of Israel.
This is the Grande Gallery and is the last level of the building before the bell towers.
Here I am, standing in the Notre Dame plaza which was designed by Haussmann in the 19th century, and holds France’s “Point Zero” which is a bronze star which is said to be the center of the city.
It is said that a tourist that stands upon “Point Zero” will one day return to Paris.
Here is a close up of part of the Gallery of Kings.
In the early 19th century the cathedral was in a state of disrepair. The city planners began talks to tear it down.
Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame was written to draw attention to the Cathedral and raise awareness of the issues. Funds were collected and repairs commenced in 1845. Can you imagine all of this being gone?
After we had ‘drunk our fill’ of the sights, as it were… we went inside the cathedral.
The main hall is flanked by pillars and small chapels.
The roof is a staggering 155 feet and is supported by flying buttresses.
All throughout the cathedral are stations where you can purchase candles to light in prayer.
The hall is adorned by dozens of stained glass windows.
Each chapel is filled with statuary and artifacts.
The cathedral can hold up to 9,000 worshippers at any given time.
The stained glass dates from the conception of the cathedral to as late as 1965.
The atmosphere of this place is supposed to instill in the visitor the gothic perception of our earthly limitations compared to the limitlessness of the divine.
I must admit that I do feel a certain kind of smallness when I stand here…
Here I stand in the reflected light of what mans’ hands can accomplish…
With full knowledge that these creations do not even begin to touch the majesty of our creator.
That these creations, so far beyond anything I could even come close too are the frustrated attempts of man to show their awe of our creator.
Whatever else Notre Dame is… it is a humbling experience.
One I am privileged to have seen…
To think that there was a time when this testimony to human creativity was to be demolished.
That all of this beauty and history would have been lost for ourselves and for the generations to come…
And in this modern age where speed and cost drive so many things it would have been a shame to lose this work of art, this building from a long gone age when it was not uncommon to spend hundreds of years working on something, compared to the few short months acceptable in our day and age.
Though this was my third visit to Notre Dame it was the first time I sat down in a pew for 20 minutes and just soaked in the atmosphere. I would be lying if I said that I did not come away affected.
After our long visit inside the cathedral we left and explored the park and the back of the building.
Close up the 700 years that this building has graced the earth show in the blackened stone…
The gothic spire and flying buttresses.
And I’m spent.
I must break here to tell you that I am quite out of things to say….
After three trips to Paris I have exhausted my knowledge of these place, I have exhausted every guide book and website I can get my hands on…
And find that there is nothing else I can say without repeating myself!
So I will end with this…
Though this was my third trip to Paris and though I have no details left to share I will be quite happy to be speechless! Paris and it’s wonders will always hold a place in my heart.
After a long day of walking we headed back down into the metro and caught the train back to our hotel to collect our bags.
Once we had collected our bags we found that we had a few hours left before our train back to Germany left. So we went to the little restaurant that Ryan and I had found last time we were in Paris and had some dinner and relaxed. One of the men that worked there was kind enough to take our picture!
Once we had finished our dinner and wasted all the time we could we headed to the main train station and prepared to catch our I.C.E. train back to Germany.
In a strange turn of events we ended up in a first class car! This would have been incredibly exciting if it didn’t mean we were closed into a small space with three Parisians who wanted to do nothing but loudly eat bread humus and stinky cheeses for the whole ride! What a smell!!! Doesn’t Lynne look thrilled?
We changed trains in Stuttgart and then again in Trier where we caught our last train home to Philipsheim.
It was a trip of a lifetime for Lynne (stolen camera and all) and I left another piece of my heart in Paris…
Au Revoir for today!