Notre Dame, France, Spring 2015

nd side viewThe first time I visited Notre Dame, I was put off by the crowds and noise. It didn’t match my image of a cathedral. Things haven’t changed much, but despite that, it still draws me.

This year, the first time we entered there was a service going on. Banks of candles and a black priest swinging the censor.

Notre Dame Service

I wanted to see the series of carvings around the choir that tell the story of Christ. I love their medieval colors and how they spring from the shadow. But with the service, the area was blocked off. So we came back a second day. Actually my hubby went for ice cream while I was inside.

The beginning of the saga – nativity, magi, etc – was very badly lit and I hate to use flash. Luckily, on the other side, there was more light. This first picture is a closeup of Christ, in blue – see his halo on the wall – calling Peter, with a smaller halo.

notre dame 6Below is the full scene. Note the boat on the right. On the left, Doubting Thomas with the rest of the apostles. Something hilarious about them peering from their little houses!

notre dame 4And finally, the women when he has risen. I am always moved by these images of the old stories made in a time of great belief by artisans who undoubtedly offered up their work to God’s glory (remember, we don’t know their names). They seem to me to epitomize the heart of late medieval Christianity. Of course, I’m a romantic.
notre dame 5In the same vein, take a look at the detail on the corner, outside. Gargoyles, of course. But Corinthian capitals, flourishes, furbelows, lace-like detail, all in stone. Marvelous. They cared about every inch.

nd detail

As I was exiting, I noticed the man with his little boy and then when I came out, there were masses of nuns and other clergy on the plaza. Because it was Sunday, I’m guessing. A very happy feeling all around. (The pictures aren’t my best, but are part of my determination to include people in my photos after those in Italy which looked like we were the only ones in the country…)


  1. The pictures without people makes it feel intimate, but with people kind of shares the noise and activity. Yay for all those artisans of the past!

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