Paris 2014: Inside Notre-Dame de Paris

The architecture we know today as Gothic developed in France in the middle of the 12th century. The main features of this new architectural style as opposed to the old Romanesque were pointed arches, ribbed vaults, high ceilings, stained glass windows and on the outside flying buttresses and gargoyles and chimera. People from all over the world flock to Paris to see one of the finest examples of this architecture: Notre-Dame de Paris on the east side of Ile de la Cité. There is no admission fee to walk inside the cathedral and gaze at the magnificent structure and so Notre Dame has become the most popular tourist site in France. More than 13 million people visit the cathedral every year. Trip Advisor rates Notre Dame as #11 out of 750 attractions in Paris. The tour of the cathedral’s towers is # 14.

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Paris 2014: The Odeon Theatre

Both the the neighborhood between Blvd St Germain and the Luxembourg Gardens and the local Metro stop on St Germain get their name from a theater two blocks from the apartment where we lived during our three-weeks in Paris last May. The official name of the theater is Odéon-Théatre de l’Europe and it is one of six national theaters in France.

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Paris 2014: Notre Dame de Paris

It’s not the prettiest church we’ve seen. It’s the largest in Paris but we have seen many in Europe that are larger. It’s not even the oldest Gothic church around. St  Denis is older. Hey, but it’s Notre Dame and it dominates the east side of Ile de la Cité and can be seen from most of the city. Napoleon was crowned emperor here. Henry IV and Margaret of Valois were married here. So were Mary, Queen of Scots and Francis II. The world’s greatest organ is here. Charles de Gaulle’s funeral was here. And we were here in May of this year.

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Paris 2014: The Domes of Paris, Part Three: Institut de France

No one can visit Paris without gazing at the Institut de France at least once. This majestic building sits proudly on the left bank of the Seine directly across from the south wing of the Louvre’s Cour Carée. In fact, the famous Pont des Arts bridge directly links the front portals of each building. So if you come to the city to see the Louvre, the Seine or maybe just the Pont des Arts, you will most likely also see the Institut de France.

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Paris 2014: Candles at Notre Dame

We have visited a lot of churches these last few years in our travels around the world. During our recent three-week stay in Paris we visited eight churches including Notre Dame Cathedral which is in the heart of the city on an island in the Seine called Ile de la Cité.

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Paris 2014: The Domes of Paris, Part Two: The Church of Val de Grace

Christopher Wren, the preeminent British architect of the 17th century, visited Paris in 1665 and on his return to London in 1666 and after the great Fire of London he had a hand in the rebuilding of 53 churches including his masterpiece, St Paul’s Cathedral. The two churches he saw in Paris that inspired him to go back to London and build St Paul’s were the Chapel of the Sorbonne (see my posting The Domes of Paris, Part One) and the Church of Val de Grace.

On one rainy day in May I decided to take a walk to the area of the 5th arrondissement south of the Sorbonne called the Val-de-Grace quarter and visit l’eglise du Val-de-Grace, considered by many as the most baroque of all buildings in Paris.

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Paris 2014: French Sculpture in the Louvre

I visited the Richelieu Wing on my second visit to Louvre during our stay in Paris last May and spent most of my time viewing the French sculptures that were spread out over two floors and two courtyards. I also looked at  several paintings by Dutch, Flemish and German artists of the 16th and 17th centuries. This was a much more relaxing visit than our first which was spent mostly in the very crowded Denon Wing. It seems that most visitors to the Louvre just want to see the Mona Lisa and some of the Romantic paintings of the 19th century. They are both in the Denon Wing. The next most popular area of the Louvre is the Sully Wing where you will find the Venus de Milo.

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