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