Thursday, 16 July 2015

Notre-Dame de Paris et plus

Notre-Dame at the end of the C19
Notre-Dame - one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture
Before entering, ponder and observe, the intricately carved Gothic stonework sculptured around 1220 which surrounds each of the three western portal doors. The first portal depicts scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary and the third shows scenes from the life of St. Anne (the Virgin Mary's mother). It is the central portal showing 'The Last Judgment' that is my favourite. 
On the lower lintel, the dead are being resuscitated and awakened from their tombs by angels blowing trumpets. Above the archangel Michael is weighing their souls according to the lives they led on earth and the love they showed to God and to man. The chosen people are led to the left towards Heaven (on Christ's right) and the condemned are lead to the right, to hell, by evil looking devils. In the tympanum, Christ is seated in majesty on his throne of glory, reminding the observer that he came to earth to save humankind through his sacrifice on the cross. He is showing the wounds on his hands and side whilst the two angels next to him bear the instruments of Passion: the angel on the left is holding the spear and the nails of the Cross, and the angel on the right is holding the Cross itself. Mary and John the Baptist, kneel behind the angels in support of Christ as they did at his crucifixion. At the top can be seen the Heavenly Court showing angels, patriarchs, prophets, martyrs and virgins
A medieval stone carvers idea of heaven and
hell - lots of lively antics going on here!!!
In closeup note the anxious and distressed faces of the condemned and the wicked expressions of the devils. Amongst the condemned are bishops, monks, kings and queens. Beneath the lintel the resurrected, their eyes still sealed in death, are pushing up their tomb lids. One has to marvel at the exquisite artistry and vivid imaginations of these medieval stone carvers
The South Rose Window
The three rosettes Notre-Dame de Paris are some of the greatest glass masterpieces in Christianity. The South Rose Window was donated by King St. Louis designed by Jean de Chelles and Pierre de Montreuil. The rosette is dedicated to the New Testament and has 84 panes divided into four circles. The first one has 12 medallions and the second has 24. A third circle is made up of quadrilobes, and the fourth circles has 24 trilobes. This window features the religious symbolic number 4, along with its multiples, 12 and 24
A 1000 years of hand stroking has polished the base of these pillars
Diagonally across the River Seine from Notre-Dame is one of our son's favourite places in Paris
Shakespeare and Co is a mecca for all bibliophiles. During the 1920s it was a gathering place for writers such as Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce and Ford Madox Ford. 
Taking a walk up the steep hill to eglise Saint-Étienne-du-Mont with a pause at this boutique filled with intriguing objet d'art - here our son saw a French 'automata' - an elephant juggling balls, which travelled back home with him
A rest and an ice cold drink at this highest point in Paris was welcome

In the church of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont is the shrine of Sainte-Genevieve. She became known as the "Patron Saint of Paris" after she supposedly helped avert an attack by Attila the Hun and prevented famine by penetrating a military blockade with boatloads of grain. There are many heroic accounts of her life which are a mixture of both fact and legend 
The church possesses a remarkable early French Renaissance C16th rood screen which dramatically crosses the original Gothic nave like a bridge with a high walkway along the length of the nave and accessed by spiral staircases on either side. It is totally unique and conjures up strong feelings  - admired and loved by most Parisians but disliked by others - however, there is no doubt that it is a tour de force in carved stonework
The upper level walkway
The organ and case dating from 1633 is an acknowledged masterpiece considered to be the most beautiful in Paris. Renowned organist, composer, and improviser Maurice Duruflé held the post of Titular Organist here from 1929 until his death in 1986.
Another treasure is the wooden pulpit dating from 1651. It is on a monumental scale, beautifully carved and has at its base, whilst holding the pulpit on his shoulders, a sculpture of Sampson. Around the pulpit are carvings of 7 women symbolising the virtues: Prudence, holding a book; Justice, a sword; Faith, a cross; Hope, an anchor; Temperance, pouring wine from a jug; Fortitude, holding a club and Charity, surrounded by children

60 comments:

  1. Paris sera toujours Paris. Nous sommes toujours honorés lorsqu'un photographe de talent se penche sur notre ville préférée, Paris.
    Merci.

    Roger

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    1. Thank you Roger for your visit and your kind comment - I am pleased that you felt my photos honoured Paris, a very special city.

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  2. What a nice post again, those carving details at the entrance are beautiful, they must have cleaned them, can't remember seeing them so clear.

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    1. There is so much detail to see in each of the three western portal doorways - they could really do with a post of their own - thank you for your kind comment

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  3. Just super lovely images, every detail is stunning.
    White staircase is incredibly gorgeous.
    In the old days men knew how to build beautiful.

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    1. Thank you Orvokki - the church with the white carved stonework really takes your breath away when you first walk into it.

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  4. A fascinating post ... I have learnt a lot and will pay more notice to the amazing carved stonework next time I visit! Thank you.

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    1. Do keep it in mind next time you visit, there is much more to see than I have shown

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  5. Rosemary, you and your camera are doing wonders. How beautiful all is, and to stand the test of time....those that built back then knew what they were doing, and I wonder did they think it would last for so long, we will never know!
    Regards,
    Margaret in Darwin.

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    1. I imagine that they did not think about how long the buildings would stand as their life was so tough, disease ridden,and for most it was a case of simply trying to survive. However, I do sometimes wonder just how long my own garden will be here for.

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  6. Old and beautiful.
    A fascinating historic post about.
    Greeting Liplatus

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    1. Hello Liplatus - thank you for visiting - I am pleased that you found this post of fascination

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  7. Lovely, lovely photos, it has been many years since we've been to Paris, but it looks like we might be going there next year. I've always wanted to visit Shakespeare and Co.

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    1. Paris is a city that you can return to again and again, and still discover new places of interest to visit

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  8. Hello Rosemary,
    The pulpit at the church of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont has me speechless. What a daunting experience it must be to read and speak from such a place of honour.
    I have appreciated your images and explanation of the South Rose Window at Notre-Dame de Paris. And what excellent taste you son has in choosing Shakespeare bookstore as his favourite.

    Wishing you a glorious weekend
    Helen xx

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    1. Hello Helen - I felt quite excited in this church as it had so many unusual features within it. The pulpit in particular was extraordinary and really deserves a post all of its own. From the heavenly summit surmounted by angels down to the lion lying at Sampson's feet.

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  9. That rood screen is truly magnificent! How could anyone dislike it?

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    1. Mostly it is loved but it does have its detractors

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  10. Dear Rosemary,

    The beauty and love with which you show Paris through your eyes and lens ought to make every habitant of Paris proud. A lovely post Rosemary and a trip to Paris is definiely a must for me. ASAP. :)

    Take care my dear!♥

    Charlie
    xx

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    1. Thank you so much dear Charlie - do go to Paris, wander leisurely around, sit and watch the world go by, and enjoy as much as you can in this wonderful city.

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  11. So many wonderful detailed pictures of The Notre Dame, beautiful details of heaven and hell, all your photos are wonderfully detailed. That Shakespeare bookshop is a gem, next time we go to Paris I definitely have to pay a visit.

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    1. Everyone should visit Shakespeare and Co. it is such an atmospheric place. I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing the close up details from one of the western portal doors to Notre Dame.

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  12. Dear Rosemary,

    Looking at your photographs, I really appreciate that you've shared details that I haven't ever seen in other places. On the other hand, I've seen photographs of those portals many times, but not the way you've broken them down for better viewing. The way the heavenly court is arranged in tiers, almost like a medieval auditorium, is delightful!

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    1. Dear Mark - There is so much detail and a story to be told surrounding each of the portals that they deserve more than a cursory glance - the more you look the more you see.

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  13. Hello Rosemary, Sometimes exquisite workmanship is better seen close up, which perhaps is the case with that marble screen--I love to look at the carving, but am undecided about its total effect in the older church.
    --JIm

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    1. Hello Jim - inside the church feels akin to being within a wedding cake, however, the screen is actually older than first impressions give, it is 500 years old.

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  14. I remember visiting Paris for the first time with my parents as a teenager, I have a photo of them standing outside the doors of Notre-Dame. It was lovely to again admire the carved stonework with you and relive some memories of that trip. Sarah x

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    1. My first visit was as a teenager too - the lovely thing about Paris is that it still gives and retains the impressions I remember from that time.

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  15. A fabulous trip around Notre Dame. Its a while since I've been, so this is lovely. I just disagree with your choice of cold refreshing drink.....apart from that...perfect ! Jx

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    1. Not my normal choice but at the time I was so hot I could think of nothing else - it was a diet one!

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  16. Such amazing and intricate details! It was wonderful to go with you! xx

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  17. Fantastic images. Notre Dame and Ile de la Cité are wonderful places in Paris

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    1. Thank you for visiting - glad you enjoyed the images.

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  18. I'm amazed at seeing these wonderful photos with so much detail, from the door knocker, the carvings on The Last Judgement, the glorious south rose window in Notre-Dame to the shrine of Sainte Genevieve, the beautiful rood screen, the organ and the pulpit in Saint Etienne-du-Mont. The Virtues and Sampson are unusual on a pulpit, I think. I wonder - does Sampson represents the OT scriptures or the virtue of Courage as well as physical strength? Anyway, beautiful carving and it would be quite an experience to climb up and preach there.

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    1. Dear Linda - I really enjoyed telling the story of the Last Judgement according to the stonework surrounding the central portal, and also discovering all of those exquisite details in Saint-Étienne-du-Mont. To know that you enjoyed seeing them has made my day - thank you so much.
      I imagine that you are correct and that the sculpture of Sampson holding up the pulpit must represent Courage and Strength.- It is extraordinary - isn't it?

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  19. Notre Dame is a beautiful church...the best of Paris! I walked there for hours and hours....
    Have a great weekend, take care Rosemary!
    Titti

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    1. It is so difficult to take everything in on one visit to Notre Dame, it requires many more.

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  20. Dear Rosemary, You said it best "exquisite artistry'. That is how I describe your post. Your photographs place the viewer right into the middle of the scene. And because your photos are so excellent there really is no reason to hurry to see for oneself.

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    1. Dear Gina - sometimes it is difficult to know quite what to photograph when the surroundings are so overwhelming. I do appreciate your very kind and encouraging comments - thank you

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  21. I am going back to Paris in April. I will have to seek out that beautiful church. I have a painting of the bookstore...and was sad to hear that the wonderful exccentric owner died a few years ago.

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    1. The bookstore is now run by his daughter - hope that you enjoy visiting the extraordinary church of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont when you visit next.

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  22. Last Christmas, we didn't beat the queues in front of the Cathedral, so we didn't enter, but I have several times visited this architectural gem in the past.I was happy with your post, retracing its glorious history. I still wonder how magnificent photos you can take in enclosed spaces, how patient you must be and attentive as well.
    Wishing you happy, sunny days ahead and looking forward to "meet' you again
    Olympia
    P.S. The apricot ice cream was really perfect!

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    1. Dear Olympia - the first time we visited Paris when I was still a teenager we had Notre Dame almost to ourselves, how times change. I am pleased that you were happy to see the post, and particularly happy too that the ice cream worked for you. You can try other flavours using the same basic mixture - strawberry, raspberry, rum and raisin, nutella, banana, peanut butter etc. the sky's the limit.

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  23. Dear Rosemary,
    thank you for those beautiful, beautiful photographs! As I am back from two new journeys (Hamburg and Munich after Crete and New York), I am a bit "fatiguée', and will have to sort out myself. Looking at the picture of "Shakespeare and Co" my inner peace builds up - yes - the flowers are so beautiful. So: I'll pour me a Coke too, in boiling-hot Berlin -- and rejoice in a good book.

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    1. Dear Britta - what exciting times you have been having, and no wonder you are a bit fatigued, now you need time to relax and recharge your batteries. It is hot here too, but definitely not boiling - enjoy your book.

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  24. Dear Rosemary
    The pictures all certainly have the wow factor - such beautiful spaces which I am sure we wouldn't be able to re-create these days - such skill involved. And as for Shakespeare and Co. - I would be in 7th heaven - a delightful bookshop indeed.

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    1. I have been wanting to pop into Shakespeare and Co. for a long time - eldest son was very happy to oblige.

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  25. Dear Rosemary,

    The first time we were in Paris were long queues waiting to get in - when we went back in winter walked straight in. It is such an amazing Cathedral and enjoyed seeing your photos and all you wrote - thank you. The bookshop looks wonderful too.
    Just want to say - how delicious the apricot icecream you made, in the previous post.
    Hope you are having a lovely weekend
    hugs
    Carolyn

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    1. Dear Carolyn - Years ago when I visited Paris you could go into Notre Dame and have it almost to yourself so I was surprised when I saw how many people were queuing to get in. That seems to be the way of the world these days, tourists are everywhere, I don't include myself of course!!!
      The good thing with the ice cream is that it is easy to change the flavour - use nutella, banana, strawberries, raspberries etc.

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  26. An amazing set of photos. I love the contrast of the majestic cathedrals and tiny shops. Now I'd like to go (back) to Paris.

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    1. Thanks Katharine - I am always happy to return to Paris - my son spent 5 years living there then went to Norway for 5 years, and now he is back in Paris. It is beginning to feel like my second home.

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  27. Great series!
    Congrats, Rosemary!

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    1. Thank you kindly PhotoLeoGrapher I appreciate your comment

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  28. This post takes me back to when I was 16 and we holidayed in Paris. Days filled with these architectural beauties took our minds off dinner back at the hotel with Monsieur Blavette's frequent tantrums over disasters involving the " 'ot hooven" in his kitchen.It was Fawlty Towers a la francaise!

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    1. I went at a similar age Nilly - we had a day there before catching the night train to travel down to Spain in a couchette. I recall that we had a little camping stove which we fired up on the banks of the River Seine to make ourselves breakfast, coffee, boiled eggs, and baguette - we had very little money. I cannot imagine doing that today but nobody was around to stop us. The other thing that I remember was the overpowering smell of garlic from the little French family that shared our couchette - unbelievably, garlic was still a little known ingredient in the UK at that time.

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  29. Rosemary, I'm quite breathless after viewing this amazing post. I have never seen such fabulous details in any other photos - you are to be commended for bringing such beauty and creativity so close to our eyes.
    Love everything and hope to be back in Paris soon!

    Hugs - Mary

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    1. Thank you very kindly Mary - for me it is the little details that bring the buildings to life, and I am glad that you enjoyed seeing them. I too am always happy to return to Paris especially as my eldest son and his family live there.

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  30. Notre-Dame i know and love, but thank you for this introduction to the fascinating and beautiful Saint-Etienne-du-Mont.

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    1. It felt a bit like walking into a wedding cake

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