Thursday, April 16, 2015

N = Notre Dame Cathedral, French Faves - A to Z Challenge 2015


Our Lady of Paris
aka Notre Dame de Paris



Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, by DG Hudson


N = Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame de Paris, one of the finest examples of Gothic cathedrals from the medieval period, is one of the largest and most well known of churches. Flying buttresses were integrated into the design to counter the stress fractures that developed from the weight. It was complete by 1345, replacing the Saint Etienne Basilica, which had replaced a Roman temple to Jupiter on the same site.

There is a narrow climb of 387 steps on spiral staircases, to reach the top. As you ascend, the famous bell and gargoyles can be seen, and once you reach the top, Paris lies at your feet.


During the French Revolution in the 1790s, Notre Dame was desecrated, as were many other buildings. Much of the religious imagery was destroyed. Restoration began in 1845. A project of further restoration and maintenance began in 1991. Today, it is a beautiful sight, with something different in its architecture on each side. The square in front of the church is welcoming and populated with a mix of people and pigeons. It also includes the entrance to the Crypt Archeologique and the Centre of Paris stone marker (see last image).


Pigeons on the wing. . .

Notre Dame with Pigeons in Flight, by DG Hudson


Many small individually crafted statues were placed around the outside to serve as column supports and water spouts. Among these are the gargoyles and chimeras, designed for water run-off. 


A Side View of Notre Dame, Paris, by DG Hudson


The cathedral treasury of Notre Dame is notable for housing some of Catholicism's most important relics. (See wiki link below for more detail.) That and the fact of previous churches on this same site must make this sacred / hallowed ground.


Centre of Paris Marker, Notre Dame Square, by DG Hudson


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Do you like visiting churches or cathedrals built in olden times? What do you think of the intricate decorations and the gargoyles and chimera? Have you seen a church or cathedral that made an impression upon you?

Please leave a comment to let me know you stopped by, and if you are part of the A to Z Challenge. I'll be sure to check your blog, and reciprocate. If you're not in the challenge, thanks for stopping by to visit! I try to reply to all comments.

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The A to Z Blog Challenge is brainchild of Lee, at Tossing It Out.  Please visit the A to Z blog site to find out more information and the participant list.  There are also Twitter and Facebook presences if you want to check those!




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References:

Notre Dame Images, previous A to Z post 2012:
http://dghudson-rainwriting.blogspot.ca/2012/04/i-ile-de-la-cite-and-ile-saint-louis-to.html

Notre Dame de Paris (re-relics and other details)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notre_Dame_de_Paris 

Gargoyles and Chimera at Notre Dame
http://www.notredamedeparis.fr/Gargoyles-and-Chimera

Definition of Gargoyles and Chimera: animal and human figures, half-man and half-beast, grotesque, horrific, fantastic creatures with eagles’ beaks and wings, lions’ talons, serpents’ tails
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20 comments:

  1. Hi DG - Notre Dame is an amazing building and I really need to visit again. I love all the things about those ancient buildings - their architecture etc ... such a pity about the desecration over the centuries ... our Dissolution of the Monasteries ... some of the Abbeys still exist - now as Cathedrals ... Peterborough Cathedral was amazing to visit ... yet the tiny churches too .. with one or two pews ... I love the hammer beam ceilings in some of the old buildings ...

    France has some stunning architecture ... lovely to see these and to dwell on other sights seen .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Politics causes people to do foolish things. Observe our world today. I too, love old buildings that have survived time, and admire those who realized the value of their upkeep. Europe in general has much more history that has been kept in repair. Other locations have destroyed their history for the sake of modernity.

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  2. I love cathedral architecture and will always spend time shooting. I remember going to Notre Dame on that trip and seeing that marker on the floor....I thought our guide said that was 'Mile Zero'. What I remember most about that stop was when we went to get back on the tour coach, we were surrounded by vendors jostling and pushing us, trying to get us to buy their cheap knockoffs. Then once we were on the coach, the chaperones did a passport and ID check to make sure none of us got pick pocketed.

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    1. We were warned about pickpockets in other locations, JoJo, the Metro and near the Eiffel Tower. We,being just the two of us, never were swarmed, but we saw the types. I would think it would be worse during high tourist season, and we were there in late September. I never saw vendors in Notre Dame square when we were there.

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  3. I've always liked gothic architecture. Notre Dame Cathedral is one place I'd like to see.

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    1. Sacre Couer is interesting too, but Notre Dame impressed me and became one of the landmarks we became familiar with, as it was close to where we stayed.

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  4. I'm amazed at the intricacy of the architecture. It's gorgeous and complex and just Wow! That is one thing that Europe has over the US. So many things are old, including the churches, and they are stunning. That was the feeling I had in Europe... it's so old. So much has happened. Everywhere I went felt like hallowed ground... inside and outside of the church.

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    1. Notre Dame surprised me too, but I hadn't seen many Gothic churches. Seeing all that history reminds us how young the US and Canada are.

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  5. Such intricate, detailed work in such a monumental structure. And to think it was vandalized in the name of liberty! :-(

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    1. Yes, what I call 'stinking' politics. . .why do any militants think they have the right to destroy the history that belongs to all of us? They destroy what time has built.

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  6. too bad images and art and such are destroyed during revolutions. So much history lost die to idiots and morons.

    Stephen Tremp
    A to Z Cohost
    N is for Numerology

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    1. Cool heads do not generally prevail in moments of passion. Yet after the occupation, one man was told to torch Paris, he didn't, so we still have some of that history left.

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  7. Old churches are always fun to explore. Amazing what they could build back in the day.
    Shame the French destroyed so much of their own cathedral.

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    1. It's not just the French, Alex, sometimes during war, those retreating, even the owners, will burn what will be left to keep it out of the hands of the marauders.

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  8. It is a lovely building and as one can see now, lovingly cared for. One of the symbols of Paris. Perfect photographs as well.

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    1. Thanks, loverofwords, I plan to get photos from the top next time. I'll have to train for the stair climbing.

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  9. Isn't it so fascinating that it is holy ground, obviously, since so many cultures have used this area for rituals? I can't help but think of the YA novel Anna and the French Kiss. A really climactic scene happens in the square and at the top of those stairs. I was in Paris for about 48 hours in 2004, but didn't make it to Notre Dame, sadly. It just means that I must go back!

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    1. I've not read that book, but it's a great setting for any fiction, remember the hunchback of Notre Dame?

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  10. Okay, I'm back playing catch-up. Glad I decided to start where I left off and not miss a thing.

    Notre Dame is indeed a marvel as are your pictures. I had no idea that some of the structure was designed to be functional as well as decorative or interpretational. As alwaysand interesting, informative, and beautiful post, enhanced by your wonderful photography.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words about the photos. I have a fond place in my heart for that cathedral and its location. I found it calming in the square in front. I only regret not climbing it to get aerial photos. Will next time. I loved the fearsome waterspouts and all the detail.

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