Wednesday, August 26, 2015

They were clever in the 12th century

Notre Dame, Paris
We think we are pretty smart building skyscrapers nowadays and the higher they are the more we congratulate ourselves on our progress.

Enter a building like the Notre Dame in Paris though and you wonder if we have progressed or gone backwards in the 900 years since it was built.

The building was begun in 1163 and if you consider the tools the builders had at their disposal in the 12th century, the building of such structures surely beats anything we can manage today.
In the Cathedral there are a series of pictures showing the progress of the building as the decades passed. Bit by bit they put it together, and when it was finished they modified Ii, adding ever more features.

Build something beautiful and people will want to come and see it. The  queue stretches right down the large square in front and yesterday morning when I was there it was wet and blowing a gale.

Notre Dame in the wind
A lot of tourists were wearing those cheap plastic raincoats and the queue sounded like a plastic flapping washing line. The queue moves fairly quickly though and once you are inside the crowds disappear into the vast inside space. By the time I emerged the wind had blown away the rain.

Across the road is a warren of back streets with trinket shops and restaurants offering set price menus.

There among the many restaurants is another  church which is also large but tucked between the surrounding buildings so closely it could easily be overlooked. It is the church of Saint-Séverin and it is almost completely empty.  

Its many glass windows are as beautiful as those of it's more famous neighbour. They are also closer to eye level so easier to see.

Window in the Church of Saint-Séverin 
Notre Dame window

Notre Dame: The north transept rose

No comments: