Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Paris, Day 3

Most of Sunday was spent on Ile de la Cité. The highlight was definitely attending a Gregorian Chant Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral.

Ile de la Cité is truly an island right in the middle of the Seine.

Here was our first view of Notre Dame. The picture was taken from the large square in front of the Cathedral.

The gorgeous central gate cannot fail to catch the eye. Above the door are carved 28 statues of the kings of Judea and Israel, representing the Tree of Jesse.

Here's the nave of the Cathedral. The 'faithful' were led into the nave of the Cathedral for Mass while tourists continued to move through the cathedral along the side aisles. All throughout Mass camera flashes could be seen from the ambulatory and side aisles.

Here is a sample of the many beautiful windows. This is a part of the North Transept.

This statue of St. Therese of Lisieux was in a side chapel.

These bas-relief wall decorations circled around the ambulatory.

This beautiful rose window is in the South Transept of the Cathedral.

The Cathedral itself was quite dark. Tom was able to get these two atmospheric photos by looking through the arches at the chandeliers.

This is the Baptismal Font.

This sculpture was directly to the left of the Portal of the Virgin and shows John the Baptist (beheaded), two angels and either St. Stephen or St. Denis.

Here is a picture of the cloister area behind the Cathedral.

These views show not only the cloister area but the distinctive flying buttresses as well.

This picture shows the South Transept rose window and the two towers of the Cathedral.

One last view of this beautiful Cathedral shows the entire south side.

We walked to the other end of Ile de la Cite to the Palais de Justice where Sainte Chapelle is located.

This picture of the Palais de Justice was taken from one of the 4 bridges that cross this tiny island.

Here is Pont Neuf. You can also see La Tour Eiffel in the distance.

Tour St. Jacques, pictured here, stands on the other side of the bridge (not on the island).

Sainte Chapelle was built in the 13th century by St. Louis to house holy relics. It's a small, but very tall church.

There are actually two chapels. This is the lower chapel. There are 40 columns holding up the central vault. The floor is paved with tombstones.

Each column is painted with castles or fleurs-de-lis. You can see the castles in this picture as well as other decorations.

The upper chapel was breathtaking! The stained glass is the oldest in Paris. It lines all the walls of this chapel. There are 1,134 scenes depicted in the glass, from Genesis all the way to the Apocalypse.

This close-up shows how large the windows really are.

The interior decorations were also extremely colorful, as this view of the main altar shows.

Lining the walls under the windows are statues of the apostles, each holding one of the Church's 12 crosses of consecration. This sculpture is of St. Peter.

The main entrance to the upper chapel had these bas-reliefs telling the story of creation. They were stunning.

After lunch, we had more time, so we went to St. Eustache Church, located in the area called Les Halles. What a find!

Here's another close-up of St. Eustache.

This interesting sculpture sits in the plaza outside St. Eustache. It weighs 70 tons and was sculpted by H. de Miller.

This picture shows how tall the ceiling is. It rises about 112 feet!

This picture shows the North Transept windows.

The Lady Chapel was absolutely gorgeous, from the paintings to the altar with the Madonna and Child sculpture.

This picture shows the High Altar. Just look at how high the ceiling is!

This final picture shows the nave of this beautiful church.

Well, by then it was time to head back to Charles de Gaulle airport. What a wonderful trip!


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