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Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris

Metro : Cité or Saint-Michel
Photographies from Doug and Pat, tenants/friends in Studio Saint-Germain and Mazarine september 2003.

garguoille de notre dame paris  The Cathedrale de Notre-Dame itself is so much photographed, painted and sketched that, seeing it even for the first time, the edge of your response may be somewhat dulled by familiarity. In recent years, however, workers have paintstakingly removed decades of dirt, grime, pollution and pigeon droppings, and the results are almost startling. Now a gleaming alabaster, it is truly impressive. The great H-shaped west front, with its strong vertical divisions, is counterbalanced by the horizontal emphasis of gallery and frieze, all centered on the rose window - a solid, no-nonsense design that confesses its romanesque ancestry. For a more fantastical kind of Gothic, look rather at the north transept façade, with its crocketed gables and huge fretted window-space.
Notre-Dame was begun in 1160 under the auspices of Bishop de Sully and completed around 1345. In the nineteenth century, Viollet-le-Duc carried out extensive renovation work. He added the steeple and baleful-looking gargoyles, which you can see close up if you brave the ascent of the towers, and he remade most of the statuary - the entire frieze of Old testament kings had been damaged during the revolution by enthusiasts who took them for the kings of France.
Inside, the immediately striking feature is the dramatic contrast between the darkness of the nave and the light falling on the first great clustered pillars of the choir. It's the end walls of the transepts that admit all this light, nearly two-thirds glass, including two magnificent rose windows colored in imperial purple. These, the vaulting and the soaring shafts reaching to the springs of the vaults are all definite Gothic features, yet, inside as out, there remains a strong Romanesque element in the stout round pillards of the nave and the general sense of four squareness.  Free guided tours take place in french every sunday at 5pm, plus four masses on sunday morning and one at 6h30pm. The trésor is not really worth the entry fee.

10 mn walking from Studio Marais , rue du Bourg-Tibourg,
15 mn walking from Apartment Place des Vosges, in the heart of le Marais.

gargoyle notre dame parisgargoyle notre dame paris

Trocadero and Palais de Chaillot history
Les Champs-Elysées
La Place de la Concorde
L'Opéra Garnier
Père-Lachaise Cemetery
Musée d'Orsay
Musée du Louvre
La Madeleine
Les Invalides
Ile St-Louis
Tuileries Gardens
Musée Marmottan
Passages and Galeries
le Jardin des Plantes
Place Vendome