Paris, France of June 2004, Log 03

 
     
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Heading off to Notre Dame Cathedral, built in 1345 of gothic design, we walk along the river and in the good bright sun, there are folks that just walk on the is on a small islet on the seine.

A great number of people walk towards it and the carnival atmosphere attracts both the young and old. As we headed there, we saw 2 queues; one up an apparent lift (which you have to pay) and the other just into the church.

     
 

Right outside, we were fortunate enough to see a group from the local polytechnic that was trying to raise funds by singing together in an all-male choir group.

No geeks allowed, they looked more to me like the local rugby team than anything and they were fantastic with their melodious voices and were powerful! All of them were wearing long tail tuxedoes and this is what we call busking!

   

 

 

This stained glass window, termed as the rose window in the north. The haven of stained glass development was the Île de France region. The glass works of Chartres Cathedral are widely recognized as the finest example from the High Gothic era. Many of the more than 170 original windows remain intact.

Subjects featured were often individuals from the old testament, particularly characters from the life of Christ, the prophets and the apostles.

   

 

 

The treasure of the cathedral, looted may times (like during the 1831 riots), still contains some reliquaries of which the thorn crown of Jesus, the one he wore during the Passion.

It is presented as a rattan tressed ring on which thorns were added. It was given to Saint-Louis by the Oriental emperor Baudoin II with a piece of the original Cross. The official reception of the crown was at Notre Dame on 18th August 1239.

Ten years later Saint-Louis had it transferred to the Sainte-Chapelle, which was especially built for that purpose. It was conserved until the beginning of last century and came back to Notre Dame.

We were fortunate enough to see it on display after paying 2€ per person to visit the church treasury.

   

 

 

Another church we got to visit was the Basilica Sacré-Cœur, which is in Montmartre, a very artistic area that has restaurants and cafes. There were however many africans peddling hand bands and were very persistant. The only way we got away from them was to speak to them in Chinese and feign ignorance.

The Basilica sits atop a hill and as we get to the top, we get a fantastic view. It was dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Built (1875-1914) by subscriptions as a votive offering after the Franco-Prussian War, it was consecrated in 1919 after World War I and has a patriotic as well as religious symbolic significance. Designed by the architect Paul Abadie, the basilica is a huge and harmonious edifice in the Byzantine-Romanesque style. Behind its tall dome rises a bell tower 276 ft (84 m) high.

   

 

 

On one of the nights, we got a chance walk down the famous street - the Champ Elysee where all the famous shops are! It also leads on to the Arc De Triomphe (the Arc of Triumph) that is a big arc in a roundabout.

We had dinner before that in Montparnasse in a cafe, where we had sauerkraut! Excellent pork dish that our friend Jiunn had recommended. A definite one!

     
 

At Champ Elysee, this was one sight. The famous Loius Vuitton shop that was under renovations. It was all boarded up, yes, but we it was with a LV casing that was 5 storeys tall! Brilliant!

At the end of our Paris trip, we took the metro till one of the suburbs stations where the Euro-lines terminal was and we took a bus down to Brussels, our next leg of the journey!

     
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