That Most Terrible Church…

“That most terrible church of the most glorious Virgin Mary, mother of God, deservedly shines out, like the sun among stars.”

Jean de Jandun 1323

Well again the ides of jet lag were with us and we arose early to catch the metro into Isle de la Cite. Of course once you’re on the island you’re standing in the secular and religious heart of france. Funny that it’s a island…

Yes, Notre Dame, that most beautiful of medieval churches. Though not the most beautiful and terrible thing on the island for me. 🙂

Apparently the term Gargoyles only applies to the sculptures that act as water spouts. If you look carefully you’ll notice that they are slightly different, embodying the medieval architectural principle that perfect repetition was to be avoided.

Beautiful details on the Cathedral’s door knocker, though I’m wondering who would actually knock on the door.

The cathedral is so dark, even the brilliantly illuminated windows and votive candles do little to cut the gloom.

There is something of a stone forest about the way the columns of a medieval church soar up to touch the graceful arch of the vaulted ceiling above.

And of course there’s the richly gothic carvings and reliefs like the back of the choir stalls. Hey it’s enough to turn the head of a lapsed anglican boy like me. Back in the day the exterior of the cathedral was also painted so one can only wonder what that would have looked like.

A detail from one of the sarcophagi.

Side windows lighting up the gloom, back in the day these windows essentially were the bible as most people couldn’t read.

Looking to the south rose window. It’s easy to get a little disorientated inside the church so you need to keep your wits about you!

Next stop the roof… and gargoyles!

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