Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Around the Cathedral.

There's not really much I can add to what's been said already about Notre Dame de Paris, so let's just take a quick tour around the building:

Long ago, when I was a sillier, younger thing, I climbed up to the North Tower (on the left). After the harrowing experience that was the stairway (narrow, crowded, circular with grooves worn into the stone from hundreds of years of footsteps), I spent most of my time clinging to the wall behind me, not daring to look down. Eventually I was convinced to come forth, take a look and maybe some pictures by a particularly handsome Italian tourist. Silly female I was, I got all clumsy over his gorgeous Italian-ness and dropped my camera overboard.

Mercifully, I don't believe it's possible to climb the towers anymore (but I could be wrong). Safe on terra firma, the only thing to worry about was my guide teasing me over Italians and cameras.


The rose window, from the south bank of the Seine.


Detail from the rose window: Not everything in the tacky souvenir shops around Notre Dame is tacky or awful. I found this nifty card tucked in among faux Cluny tapestries and guaranteed genuine Limoges porcelain bric-a-brac.


Notre Dame is a Gothic-era cathedral, but some areas are Gothic Revival. This steeple was built at around the mid 19th century.


In this closeup of the steeple, note the figure of the man at the base: that's a "self portrait" of Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, the architect who directed the restoration.


Flying Buttresses have always fascinated me: how do these relatively ethereal structures support the tons of material that make up arches and the vaults? My guide remarked that, as their construction required a fair bit of complex calculation, often they were built by trial and error. Meaning: construction was fairly slow, so if one buttress started to buckle, stuff would get shored up until they rebuilt it.


Dr Bob said...

You can still go up the towers -- more expensive than Eiffel's though!

Be said...

And I don't have the student discount anymore, either. Oh well. Once was more than enough for me.