Thursday, September 4, 2014

Notre Dame and Montparnasse

Set off to Ile de la Cite in good time this morning and stopped in at the Ste. Chapelle church.  This amazing Gothic church was built in only 6 years and finished in 1248 for King Louis IX (now a saint) to house the Crown of Thorns.  The first floor was for the staff and other commoners to worship and the glorious second floor was for the royalty, showcasing lacy stonework and 6500 square feet of fabulous stained glass windows.

Then it was on to nearby Notre Dame.  Started in 1163, it took 800 years to complete and suffered the attentions of many architects.  It is nonetheless a paean to Gothic architecture.  Though it has many stained glass windows, the addition of the flying buttresses allowed the nave to be widened, pushing out the windows and resulting in a dark interior.  The soaring nave, intricate columns and arches combined with the works of art make for a stunning hymn in stone.

After a quick snack at the nearby “Aux Tours de Notre Dame Café” (naturally vary expensive; two croissants, two coffees, $22), we hopped on the Metro again for the Tour Montparnasse.  First we detoured to the Galeries Lafayette to find an SFR phone outlet and get our French phone activated.  This accomplished, we flashed our Paris Passes and took the elevator to the 56th floor of the 59 floor building.  The last three floors to the observation deck are stairs.  Seriously.  It was fairly hazy so photos weren’t as nice as they could be.   We lunched extravagantly at the 204 meter high resto, contemplated the nearby Jardins de Luxembourg and Cimitiere de Montparnasse but were outvoted by our tired legs and sore feet, so metroed back to our hotel for a rest.

Approach to Ste. Chapelle

Window, first floor

Wall decoration

First floor

Altar 2nd floor

Ceiling 2nd floor

Notre Dame

Rose window 

Central nave and altar

Pieta on the high altar

Bois de Bouloigne from the Tour

Paris from Tour

Eiffel from atop Tour Montparnasse

Les Invalides from Tour

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