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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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May 24, 2012

Thursday - a very encouraging day

Wednesday evening I had looked at possibilities for Thursday and mapped out what I hoped were some correct metro plans.  The easiest one (no transfers) was to Notre Dame so this morning I decided that's the one I would do.  I got a relatively early start for me, found the metro station with no problem, followed the signage to my line, got on the train (and they were coming through one right after another - I guess cause it was rush hour or something).  Just to make sure I asked a friendly sort of looking man "Chatelet" cause that was the direction I wanted to be going and yep, it was.  Just stairs down so no suffering there.  It was a very quick ride to the stop I had picked out but then maybe a three block or so walk to actually get to Notre Dame.  But I got there and when I did, there was just a very short line going in and I scurried to get into it cause there were numerous tour groups standing about outside getting organized.  Once inside I took lots of pictures.  If anyone gets tired of all my pictures, I'm sorry, but some places compel me to take picture after picture and this was one of them.  The more you see the more stunning it is.

It is so much more vast than it looked when Heather and I were just standing in front of it.  The front is really misleading - that's not a negative comment - just mean it doesn't lead you to believe it will be like this inside.

Was trying to show how big these corner columns were, both in girth and height (which I couldn't get to the top) but the only thing that really portrays that are the little tiny people at the bottom.
I thought that all the side windows were the same and basically, except for one which is down below, I think they are.  There's one in every side chapel.
And this is St. Joseph's chapel and the statue is lovely.  I think it must be fairly modern.  I like it's very parent and child feel.
This is the only one I saw that was different.
St. Joan of Arc and the reason there's a statue of her here I guess is because Notre Dame is where they beatified her in 1909.
January - here's one of your favorites - St. Thomas Aquinas teaching at the University of Paris. :)
This panel runs the whole length of the "choir" which my guidebook tells me is the area where more intimate services can be held in such a huge building.  There is one on each side.  This one had good signage and so I know it represents all the miracles occurring with Christ's resurrection.  They really are beautiful carvings.
And I had to include this even though it's a poor picture because we've seen St. Denis carrying his head and in this picture, he's about to lose it.  There was another statue or painting of him side Notre Dame and I think it's because he is the patron saint of France.  Plus he does have an interesting story!

These next six pictures are from the treasury and don't really scratch the surface of what was in there.  I took other pictures but all the jewels don't really show up well and plus, it begins to be a bit much.

This is a reliquary holding I don't know what but the bust is of King Louis IX who is the only king to have been beatified.
And I thought this must be the reliquary for the Crown of Thorns that the English guide sheet I was given say are in the treasury.  When the woman gave it to me, she circled the three "relics of the Passion" saying "very important" and "at back".  So this was just about at the back but I don't think it's the reliquary.  It looks like a giant's music stand because it has like music holders near the top.

One of the stained glass windows in the treasury which was a sacristy at one time.
This and the next couple of pictures are of the stained glass windows in chapels behind the altar.

And this is a gigantic chandelier sitting on the floor right now and there was a big sign with French AND English explaining it's undergoing restoration and hung I think over the altar area, maybe?  Because after the first few lines of the lengthy explanation, I had no idea what they were talking about.  I appreciated their effort in having it in English, but it was pretty much Greek to me.  A lovely work of art, though.

One of either two huge rose windows - very slightly different from each other - I had to really look back and forth several times to make up my mind.  They are, as you can imagine, absolutely beautiful.

A pieta behind the altar - and the altar is almost invisible, somehow - it looks very modern and is very small.  I'm a little puzzled at the empty cross here because in a Catholic church, it's always Christ on the cross.

The wood here is the front of the "choir" that I showed the back of earlier.  Oh, and the bit of sculpture on the right is, as far as I could tell, the altar.  Do you suppose I'm right about that?
I think this is the other rose window.
This wasn't identified but I'm assuming it's Mary and the baby Jesus since this is Notre Dame.

A smaller rose window behind the organ pipes (which was being played the whole time I was in there - beautiful!)
And the glass showing up better...
One of the side aisles.

And back outside...dog tourists!

 Incredibly enough, I'm not done yet.  I wanted to get pictures of the flying buttresses because they're very ornate for buttresses plus I wanted to visit the "deportation memorial" in memory of the 200,000 French citizens who were killed or died in German camps.  It's behind the cathedral so I started walking down along the side of the building to get there and just had to stop every few feet and take yet another picture (no, they're not all here).  The sides and the back are so very ornate and so lovely.  Again, the front gives no clue of that.  So, here we go.

Each one of those wall looking things with a gargoyle and little house type topper are flying buttresses against the side wall.
 This steeple was added to the church many years after it was built.  A similar one on Sainte-Chappelle my guidebook says was added in the 19th century - don't know about this one.  Maybe Chris will have the answer to that.
 It's a little strange sitting on this very massive stone building but it certainly is beautiful.  And I almost forgot - look for the pale green "blobs" at the base of the steeple - those are statues climbing up.
 One of the rose windows from outside.
And I'm thinking maybe all these little pointies were added at the same time as the steeple?
 Big and not so elaborate buttresses for the circular back of the church.

I walked to Sainte-Chappelle after I finally finished here.  The deportation memorial was closed, by the way, which was a disappointment.  And when I got to the entrance there was a line of course so I got in it like a good girl and waited and waited and waited a little more but at least moving as I waited.  And that was for the security check.  When finished with that, went into the courtyard and there was another long line for buying tickets.  So I got in that - in the hot sun - and waited and waited and waited and didn't move.  And finally decided "okay, I'm not doing this - I'll come back in the morning on another day" and I left.  And walking back to where I was going to catch the metro back home here's what I found and it IS the type of metro stop Chris was asking about.  There are only 144 of them in the city and so I was happy to find this one.

 Pretty isn't it?  And, OMG, then there's this:
Saw that walking back from the metro stop to the apartment during which I got totally twisted around.  Got home to my oven, worked on the blog out in the park area, did a little more grocery shopping, saw a sushi place and later went and bought a roll for dinner and oh, boy - it was good.  I have been eating really strangely since I've been here and am going to try and do a little better.  But not a McBaguette!!!

And on that hilarious note, I'm signing off for the night and guess what?  I'm caught up!!  Yippee. 


Christopher said...

Wow... That is QUITE an impressive interior! Great job on getting the feel of the height in the images. I love the round wagon-wheel windows up high, but below the highest windows. And I'm glad you stumbled onto one of the "vintage" metro entrances... they really are lovely! (One of them came to DC on a museum tour, so I'd seen it years ago.)
(And I dunno---that McBaguette looks surprisingly good in the photo!! ;)

January said...

WOW! Notre Dame looks like it is something else. I'm glad you took (and shared) so many pictures! Did you ever find the three important reliquaries? I'm really curious to know how they would house a relic of the crown of thorns, and what the other two were (a piece of the cross? a clipping of the shroud? what?!). Thanks for the picture of good old St. Thomas - he really looks like he's enjoying himself :) Maybe the cross behind the alter is bare because of the pieta right in front of it. It would be weird to have a crucifix right by Mary holding Jesus taken off the cross. And since it's Notre Dame, maybe they decided to give her a little more focus in that area, even though the crucifix would be more typical? Clearly, I'm going to have to do some roaming around there sometime!

Mary Lynne said...

Hi guys - great to hear your comments as always. I wondered the same thing about the pieta maybe replacing the crucifix, January. It would make sense. The three "important" relics were the crown off thorns, a nail from the crucifixion and a piece of the cross. I read about it all on wiki and they have images. I still don't understand it all because Louis or someone built Sainte-Chappelle to house the crown of thorns which Henry or someone (too many kings) had bought from the Sulieman of Constantinople(!) cause he was deeply in debt. But the crown of thorns are, in fact, in Notre Dame. So maybe when show them, they TAKE them to St. Chapelle? I just don't know. And they show them fairly often actually, more than I would have expected. Maybe when you get that job in Germany or France, you'll be able to roam around some. :) And maybe when you do, I can come visit you - ah, bliss!

Chris, I agree that McBaguette looks right tasty but gee whiz...Rick Steves says that when they opened a McDonalds on the Champs Elysee of all places, Parisians were truly horrified but it is now the most successful McDonalds IN THE WORLD!!! So much for French cooking. Oh, and wait til you see Friday's metro picture. :)


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