Sunday, November 27, 2005

An Ode to Notre Dame, Paris

View of the cathedral from the south-east end, across the Sienne

When Sunit and I were planning our trip to Paris in the summer of 2003, he asked me what I wanted to particularly see in the city. Much to his astonishment, I replied - Notre Dame. He had half expected me to vote for Eiffel Tower, I guess. So it is befitting I think that my first of the many memoirs of our trip to Paris start off with an ode to this ancient Gothic Cathedral.

The West side, or the front

My interest in this monument was sparked by one of Victor Hugo's famous novels - The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Who can forget the disfigured Quasimodo and his love for Esmeralda. Much to my delight, Sunit actually booked our place to stay in the Latin Quarter of Paris - we were just 5-10 minutes of walking distance from this Cathedral and I had my fill of it because we saw it every single day we were in Paris.

Notre Dame at twilight

Notre Dame is built on an island on top of Sienne, the river around which most of Paris is located. Its construction started in 1163 and continued for about a 100 years. One of the most ancient churches in Paris, it has seen the city through its ups and downs for a good 800 years now. The gargoyles, the stained glass Rose windows and the ornately carved exterior with loads of depictions of biblical figures and scenes - all add to its splendor. Here are pictures of the cathedral ( I have many more :-) ) that I think capture some of the beauty of this place.

The Centre door at the West side

This and the next picture are close-ups of the front of the cathedral. While the three doors depict three scenes from the bible, flanked by the apostles and other biblical figures, right above the doors is the "Gallery of Kings" - I think 32 figures in all.

Gallery of Kings

The next couple of pictures are of the stained glass windows from inside the cathedral. One of the best part of the Parisian churches is their stained glass art.

Stained glass window

The Rose Window

Getting to Notre Dame is not all that difficult since it is located at the heart of the Latin Quarter. It is easily accessible by the local metro that runs throughout Paris (RER) and is also one of the stops for Batobus (the boat service that runs on Sienne). We travelled in early July and it was a little bit drizzly on the first couple of days, but in general thats a good time to travel to the city.

Our stay in the Latin Quarter gave us a feel of staying in Old Paris as opposed to staying in the more modern part of the city. Many of the other attractions in Paris are also located at a convenient walking distance. There are numerous hangouts for local artists and many inexpensive hole-in-the-wall restaurants that offer delicious food and wine. A small walk around the place and one is sure to see some doorway with a sculpture on the front door - all this just added to the charm of the place.


Mridula said...

I will be waiting for more about Paris. What a trip it must have been. Enjoyed your post and pictures.

Pooja Aggarwal said...

Thanks Mridula. I hope to post some more on Paris soon

Mridula said...

Pooja, I need a favor. please update my bloglink:

And we need a new post here.