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12 In Paris/ Travel

Paris: Notre Dame

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If the Notre Dame has a twin it must be Westminster Abbey, because they are very similar in form. So much so that you’d be tempted to say that they look exactly alike, as they are both extraordinary examples of Gothic architecture. But if you take a closer look at Westminster Abbey, you’ll find that the Notre Dame is like Westminster Abbey on steroids. There is so much detail on the facade alone that the Westminster Abbey almost looks plain in comparison.

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I stood before the Notre Dame having seen Westminster Abbey and Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London, so my awe at the time was mostly in the architectural detail and the beautiful stain glass windows. Now I wonder what it must have been like when the Notre Dame was first constructed. I’m sure most people couldn’t afford to travel long distances and stayed in one area throughout their lives. You and I have come across so many architectural buildings through photos in the media, but back then the only pictures and architectural wonders were probably at the cathedral. What would it have been like to walk up to this cathedral, which must have been the tallest building in the country? After all, there was no Eiffel Tower or any other tower standing back then. You could have probably seen the Notre Dame for miles around. Children would have grown hearing the bells everyday, and look up at the statues feeling a mixture of emotions; this feeling of protection and sanctity or perhaps fear and unease.

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Moving to the side of the cathedral I saw these peculiar.. creatures extending out from the side of the building. Some of them look like humans, some of them look like a cross between a monkey and a bird. That man in the top right corner of the photo sort of looks like some sort of traveler, or perhaps a soldier with a helmet. Apparently they serve as some sort of drainage system, but I can’t help but wonder if they stem from this idea of creatures keeping away evil spirits as I mentioned in an earlier post about Pont Neuf.

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Your turn ♥ Have you ever been to a building that had a surprising architectural element to it? Is there a Gothic cathedral you’d like to visit some day?

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  • http://ablogbyrobert.com Robert

    “Notre Dame is like Westminster Abbey on steroids” Haha! Made funnier by the fact that it’s true :D Beautiful photos Kim. I love the first one and the third/forth one where you can see all the detail on the facade!

    • http://www.silentlyfree.com/ Kim

      The details were insane!! I wish I could have flown up to get more of the top of the facade; it’s a shame we don’t have wings like angels!

  • http://www.cityloveee.blogspot.com Christina Richards

    OMG the detail on the facade. It’s insane. (Did you see Saint Denis? You can see him in this post: http://cityloveee.blogspot.com/2015/04/best-of-paris-france.html) I love imagining what I would be like to see the world before photography. In museums and at these huge monuments, I would always think, “what would it be like just to be in awe of this?” While traveling I felt like people were so consumed with photographing their memories instead of embracing them. So ya, I wonder what it would have been like to see the Notre Dame before photography. I’m sure people pooped their pants. :-P I really like the picture you painted with this post. Great writing.

    • http://www.silentlyfree.com/ Kim

      Ahhh no I missed him somehow! Which side was he on? I’m guessing he was on either the left or right doorway because I think I got wrapped up taking photos of the center and then got swept inside. I am very much the same way when I see towering monuments and buildings! But I’m so glad that I get to enjoy them in the 21st century when I get to take as many photos as I please lol. Thanks for the lovely complements Christina :D

      • http://www.cityloveee.blogspot.com Christina Richards

        He’s on the left side by the exit! I enjoy taking photos of the cities and museums, too but some tourists are so crazy, it can become overwhelming.

        • http://www.silentlyfree.com/ Kim

          Yes! Especially when there is a huge crowd of them! It’s so easy to get distracted sometimes!

  • http://endlesspostcards.com/ Deepti @ Endless Postcards

    Beautiful photos — I’m going to Paris next year and every post I see makes me wish that I would be going to Paris tomorrow. Love the details of the buildings!

    • http://www.silentlyfree.com/ Kim

      Thanks Deepti :D Sounds like you have a good amount of time to figure out what you want to see! How long do you plan to stay in Paris?

      • http://endlesspostcards.com/ Deepti @ Endless Postcards

        I’m currently planning to stay in Paris for about 6-7 days!

        • http://www.silentlyfree.com/ Kim

          Oh wow, you’ll have plenty of time to see Paris at your leisure ;)
          Have you started making a wish list for what you want to see in Paris?

  • http://www.diamondcanopy.com/ Winnie_dc

    It’s a wonderful building and has been the longest time since I’ve been back to the Notre Dame, I’ve only seen it at night though where it sort of looms menacingly over that space at the front. It’s a beautiful bit of architecture!
    http://www.diamondcanopy.com

    • http://www.silentlyfree.com/ Kim

      Ooh, I didn’t get to see the Notre Dame at night. Did they light up the facade at night?