Monday, January 30, 2012

Notre Dame Cathedral ~ Paris ~ France

Our double-decker bus tour of beautiful Paris offered the option of getting on and off the bus whenever we chose to spend more time at any location.  This tour included a drive by Notre Dame Cathedral so we took this opportunity to stop and see more and have some lunch nearby.  We didn’t go inside as we hadn’t timed it right for that but the sight that we saw offered plenty to enjoy.
Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France
There were hundreds of visitors in the square, many of them enjoying their lunch and most were likely waiting for the next service to begin.  There are over 13 million visitors a year for 5 daily services and 7 on Sunday.  That would make over 2,000 celebrations a year and we weren’t there at the right time for any!

Portal of the Last Judgement on Notre Dame Cathedral
There is such detail that is not obvious when you first look at these incredible structures steeped in history but on a closer look you will find an endless supply of art that tells stories.  Many of the sculptures on Notre Dame Cathedral tell stories from the bible but there is French history included as well.

Statues on the face of Notre Dame Cathedral
The carved rose, almost 10 meters in diameter on the upper level in the center features the virgin with child with an angel on either side of her.  Statues of Adam and Eve are on either side of the rose were added in the nineteenth century.  Across the width of the Cathedral is the Gallery of Kings.  These statues represent 28 generations of the kings of Judah

Carvings of the Portal of the last Judgement
The portal on the lower level on the left is known as the Portal of the Virgin, on the right is Portal of St. Anne and in the center is the largest called Portal of the Last Judgement. 
This one tells many stories but the one shows the souls of the dead being weighed to determine whether they go to heaven or hell.  The carvings surrounding in the arch are those watching from heaven above.  These portals were carved in the 1220’s to 1230’s.

Notre Dame Cathedral from River Seine
This view of the Cathedral was taken during our cruise on the River Seine. The first spire was built in 1250 and was the bell tower then this spire was built during a later restoration and stands 93 meters in height.

Apostles climb the spire of  Notre Dame Cathedral
The most interesting feature of this view, I found was the copper statues; some of the 12 apostles can be seen climbing the spire. If we could see all four corners of the spire at once, which could only be done from above (: then we would see 3 apostles climbing up each corner. The challenge of that construction alone is amazing.

Notre Dame Cathedral on Ile de la Cite
The Notre Dame Cathedral sits on Ile de la Cite which was the center of medieval Paris and the contemporary capital.  It is formed by two meanders of the River Seine which offers great opportunities to see the Cathedral while cruising the Seine.
We've seen so many wonderful sights in Paris and it is impossible to name a favorite.  Other 'can't miss' places to see in Paris include Sacre Coeur Basilica, Montmartre, Arc de Triomphe and of course the Eiffel Tower and so much more. Click on these locations and you will see more of this beautiful city of Paris.

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